Introduction: Easy DIY Balsa Wood Plane
This is a lightweight glider of my own design, and is made to stay aloft as long as possible.The exterior of the wings and tail is made from balsa wood and filled in with Glad plastic wrap, both materials chosen for their lightness and exceptional aerodynamics. The rest of the plane is also made of balsa wood, hand cut and adhered. If you are following along with this Instructable you can cut the balsa wood with an X-ACTO knife and a hand saw, but for the sake of simplicity I will have the pieces already cut in the other steps. I will still include the dimensions of each piece so you can cut the wood at home.
1/4 x 1/8 inch balsa wood strips
Glad plastic wrap
Staples (optional, for rubber band.)
Rubber band (optional)
Step 1: The Wings
The wings for the plane are 13.25 inches wide and 2 inches long. You will need 2 strips of wood that are 13.25 inches long, and 2 that are 2 inches long. Glue these together in the shape of the frame shown above, and then use the plastic wrap for the inside of the wing. If you can, leave a 1/4 inch gap in the middle of the wrap to make room for the frame to fit, but if you don't want to its not going to be a problem.
Step 2: The Tail
The tail wing will require two 1.5 inch strips and two five inch strips of wood. Glue them together and wrap the wing in a single layer of plastic. The tail is much easier to build as it is smaller than the main wing, and is included mostly for stability.
Step 3: Assembly + Frame
The final component for the glider is the frame. For this part you will need a strip that is 14 inches long, aligned vertically if possible. You will be attaching both wings to this part. The tail wing that we designed in the last step will be glued to the back of the strip, as illustrated in photo #2. The large wing that we made in step #1 will be glued 1.5 inches down from the top of the frame.
Step 4: The Propellers (optional)
For this step you will need a propeller and a long rubber band. Keep in mind that this step is completely optional and will only extend the flight of the plane, but the plane itself will glide perfectly well on its own without this extension. The First picture will show you what the plane looks like with the propeller and rubber band on, and the second and third pictures will show different ways to attach the rubber band. The first way to affix the rubber band to your glider is to use a staple, trapping the band in place. However, If you do not want to use a staple you can just tape the end of the rubber band to the airplane instead.
Step 5: Testing the Plane:
To achieve the best results from the glider, throw it in a circular motion, so that it stays aloft for the longest time possible. I tested the plane myself, with and without the propeller. Both times it worked great, but the propeller definitely improved the flight time and speed of the plane. A word of caution, however, since this glider is made of very fragile materials it will break very easily if not used with caution. Any supports that you can add to the bottom of the wings will help stabilize them and make them a little more crash-resistant.
Participated in the
Make It Fly Speed Challenge