Introduction: Hits Your Eye Like a Big Pizza Pie
I love pizza. I love unusually shaped aircraft. I love quick (60 minute) projects.
This project checks all three boxes. Sadly I haven't figured out how to make it edible.
Concept + Design + Construction = About three hours. Please see lessons learned, and things to consider at the end.
Step 1: Tools and Materials
- Wing & Rudder = 20”x30” foam board from the Dollar Store =$1.00
- Fuselage = I used a 22" length of 3/8" x 5/8" scrape basswood, but any stiff, lightweight 22" length will work: Dowel, Cardboard tube from clothes hanger, small rigid plastic tube etc.
- Wing Pizza Graphic = Printer paper, 'free to use' image, tile printer app (I used free Rasterbator)
- Rudder Pizza Cutter Graphic = printer paper
- Balancing Weights = I used some washers and a couple of fishing weights, but anything that is weighty for it's size can be used. For my 20" wing I needed about 2.5 ounces.
- Straight edge/ruler
- Compass, or large plate, pot lid, anything to trace a large circle
- Exacto knife
- Scotch tape
- White Glue
Step 2: The Wing & Rudder
- Draw a large circle on the foam board. I used a compass at a 20" diameter. The compass creates a center point. If you are using a large plate, bowl, or some other large rounds thing to trace a circle you will need to find the center point- Finding the center
- Cut out the circle.
- Draw a line through the center point on both sides of the circle wing. These will be the attachment reference points for the Fuselage on the underside and the Rudder on top. It is important that they be in line with each other through the center point.
- Print out the pizza cutter graphic you have chosen. Flip the image horizontally and print it again.
- Trace the outline of the pizza cutter graphic you have chosen onto a scrap piece of foam.
- Cut out the foam.
- With a very light coating of white glue apply your graphic to the foam cut out. Note: the paper backer of the foam board is water soluble. If you apply too much glue the paper backing will come away from the foam. A light touch is key
- Cut a straight edge at the bottom of the pizza cutter: part of the pizza wheel is in the pizza. This will be the attachment point to the wing.
Step 3: Finishing
Adding Wing Graphic, Fuselage & Rudder
- Using a tile print App, print out your pizza graphic to fit the size of your wing.
- With a very light coating of white glue apply your graphic to the foam circle wing. Note: the paper backer of the foam board is water soluble. If you apply too much glue the paper backing ill come away from the foam. A light touch is key.
- Turn the wing over and hot glue the center of the fuselage to line down the center of the wing. The fuselage should extend an inch or two past the wing. These will be the attachment points for Center of Gravity balance weights.
- Turn the wing back over. The Rudder does not have to be on the edge of the wing but it does have to be on the center line of the wing. The line is now covered with the graphic so closer to the edge is easier to position.
- Using the bottom of the Rudder as a guide, place it on the wing and trace the attachment point outline. Cut the graphic and paper backing. Hot glue the Rudder to the wing. The hot glue will melt the foam so use a small bead of glue and work fast to bring the rudder and wing together.
Step 4: Balancing and Flying
The glider will not fly unless it is balanced at the Center of Gravity. In this case the CG is 25% back from the very front of the wing. In the case of a 20 inch diameter wing that is 5 inches back. Measure and mark this point. Add weight(I used washers) to the protruding part of the fuselage until balanced.
When ‘launching’ the glider it is important that the line formed by the wing is parallel to the ground, or a few degrees up.The ‘throw’, should feel more like a firm push forward than a snap.
If your glider flies nose down into the ground, remove some weight. If the nose of the glider pitches up and then stalls, add weight. The first launches should be gentle until you achieve a flat glide.
Lessons learned and things to consider
1) The rudder is too small so the glider tends to flying to the left. Consider making yours larger than is shown.
2) The whole glider is heavy requiring additional nose weight to balance. A light gilder flies further. Consider weight as you build: less paper, less glue, etc
3) The fuselage that I used is 3/8 x 5/8 inches. This makes holding it to launch difficult. Consider adding a hold point just behind the CG: a piece of foam or balsa will work.
Runner Up in the
Make It Fly Speed Challenge