Introduction: Mini Fokker DR.1 Triplane

Those Magnificent Men in their Flying Machines!  Hello everyone, a project closer to earth.. a Fokker DR.1Triplane!

A new genre for mini popsicle stick models, the Fokker DR.1 Triplane was renowned as the aircraft flown by Manfred Von Richtofen, the famous Red Baron during the first World War.

The model was a simple build that required very few parts and uncomplicated carving/shaping steps.  The only major challenge for this project was carving the triplane wings to simlulate the serrated edges and ribbed surfaces.

Step 1: Materials and Tools

Because of the small scale of this model, majority of the materials used were from the scraps box (left overs from previous projects).  Only the materials used to fabricate the fuselage and the wings were from whole tongue depressor sized popsicle sticks.  Check out the side-by-side photo of the Fokker Triplane and the Avatar Scorpion Gunship....

Tools used for this project are listed below:

  • Dremel Rotary Tool Model 3000 and MiniMite with the following attachments:
    • 1/2 and 1/4 inch drum sander (fine & coarse grade)
    • fine and coarse sanding disc
    • regular and reinforced cut-off wheels
    • #125 and #193 high speed cutter
    • #83702 silicone carbide grinding stone
  • Olfa cutter with #11 Xacto Blade
  • Fine tweezers
  • mechanical pencil and ruler
  • various mini clamps
  • Elmer's white multi purpose glue
Course sanding, grinding and drilling was achieved using the Model 3000 while more intricate sanding was done by the Dremel MiniMite.

Step 2: Schematics and Ilustrations

I found several schematics for the Fokker DR.1 Triplane.  Featured in this instructable are blueprints from the sites and  URL for the schematics are:

Pictures of the Fokker DR.1 are plentiful via bing and google images search.  The key words used are "Fokker Triplane".

The urls for the illustrations used in this instructable are:,_Evergreen_Air_Museum,_McMinnville.jpg

Again, my greatest appreciation to netizens who contribute the amazing pictures and schematics!  :)

Step 3: The Fuselage

Parts for the fuselage were cut from tongue depressor sized popsicle sticks patterned after the size illustrated in the schematics from the previous step.  I laminated five pieces to account for the width of the aircraft in the blueprint.

The tapered shape of the fuselage was carved using a drum sander attachment in a Dremel 3000 moto tool.  The hole for the cockpit was drilled using a #125 high speed cutter bit for the pilot hole and finished with a #193 high speed cutter attachment on a MiniMite moto tool.

A slot for the elevators was carved at the tapered end of the fuselage using a reinforced cut-off wheel attachment.

A scrap popsicle stick was used for the engine cowling.  It was cut and carved into shape using a course/fine disc sander attachment.  The engine cowling was glued to the leading edge of the fuselage and allowed to dry.  A notch was made below the cowling using a #83702 Silicone grinding stone attachment to simulate the access slot for the rotary engine.

Slots were carved for the lower and middle wings using a regular cut-off wheel attachment on a MiniMite moto tool.

Step 4: The Wings

The top, middle and bottom wings were from a single large tongue depressor sized popsicle stick cut and shaped using the schematics from step 2 as a guide. A drum sander attachment on a MiniMite moto tool was used to carve and finish each wing piece. 

Guide lines were drawn to mark the ribs and serrations in the schematics and illustrations.  The serrated trailing edge and wing ribs of each wing were made using a #83702 silicone grinding stone attachment. 

Step 5: Elevator, Rudder and Landing Gear Assemblies

The elevator, rudder and landing gear assemblies were from odd parts from my 'spares box'.

The elevator and rudder were patterned, cut and carved using the schematics from step 2 as guide.

A spare thin coffee stirrer was used for the wheels and wheel mount.  A fine disc attachment on a MiniMite moto tool was used to shape the round wheels.  The wheel mounts were cut using an olfa cutter and finished with a fine disc attachment.

The wheels were glued to the wheel mount and allowed to dry.

Step 6: 'Tiny' Parts

The propeller, spandau gun receivers/barrels, wing tip skids, tail skid, top wing mounts and landing gear struts were from various shapes and sizes of household toothpicks.  The more cylindrical-shaped toothpick was used for the gun barrels and the flatter-shaped for the other tiny parts.

The propeller was carved at an angle from a single toothpick using a fine disc sander attachment.  The length and shape of the prop was patterned after the blueprints from step 2.

The spandau gun receivers began as small rectangular blocks from a toothpick.  A notch was made using a fine disc sander attachment.  The notch locks the gun receiver in front of the cockpit during final assembly. 

The spandau gun barrels were from cylindrical-shaped toothpicks, sanded thinner and cut to size.

The tail and wing skids were sanded regular toothpicks.  The length of the tail and wing skids were patterned after the illustrations and schematics from step 2 of this instructable.

Similar thin toothpicks were glued to a V-shaped configuration based on the length from the step 2 schematics.  I needed four V-shaped toothpicks for the top wing mounts and landing gear struts.

Step 7: The Final Assembly

For the final assembly, the elevator, rudder, bottom and middle wing were glued to the pre-cut slots in the fuselage.  A pair of  V-shaped braces for the top wing were added after the glue between the middle wing and the fuselage has dried.  Scrap popsicle sticks were used to prop up the V-shaped braces while the white glue dries.

The spandau gun receivers were glued at the front edge of the cockpit.  The notch carved in step 6 locks the gun receivers in place.  After these have set, the spandau gun barrels were glued just in front of the gun receivers.

Next, the V-shaped landing gear struts were glued underneath the fuselage.  Again, scrap materials were used to prop up the landing gear struts while the white glue dries.

The top wing was glued to the V-shaped braces mounted earlier to the front fuselage.  The wing struts connecting the top, middle and bottom wings were from fabricated from a single toothpick cut to fit the spaces between the wings.  Each wing strut between the top and middle wing and between the middle and bottom wing were carefully aligned and fixed as illustrated in the blueprints from part 2.

The entire aircraft was turned over to provide access to the under side of the model for the wing and tail skids.  The wing skids  were glued at the left and right bottom wing tips.  The tail skid was glued at the center of the tapered end of the fuselage beneath the rudder and elevator.

The propeller was glued to front of the engine cowling and a tiny propeller hub from a toothpick cross section glued at the center of the propeller.

Finally, an aircraft worthy of a place in Von Richtofen's Flying Circus!!! 

Epilog Challenge V

Participated in the
Epilog Challenge V