Introduction: Pencil Eraser Popsicle Plane
I came up with this design in preparation for the DTLA Mini Maker Faire in December, 2019. You can find all the materials at your local arts & crafts store.
-Sheet of card stock, 8 1/2 " x 11", 65 lb.
-Pencil tip eraser
-Popsicle stick, 4 1/2" x 3/8" x 3/32"
-Glue stick and liquid glue (white, all-purpose will work fine)
-Utility knife / matte knife
-Sandpaper (approximately 120 grit)
Step 1: Download and Print
PDF Document. It should be correctly formatted to print at 100% scale on 8.5" x 11" paper.
Step 2: Cut Out the Pieces
Leave the corners and the v-shape indentations on the sides of the wing in place for now.
Step 3: Fold and Glue Wing
The front section of the wing folds down and under. The dotted line becomes the leading edge. Use a consistent, thin layer of glue. Place a heavy book on top and allow it to dry for at least 15 minutes.
Step 4: Shape the Popsicle Stick
Use the reference diagram in the plans. CAUTION! Using a sharp tool on a small object is problematic. Hold the stick down very firmly and make light passes with the blade. Next, use sand paper to smooth rough edges and remove about half a millimeter of material off the top and bottom. Make sure the top of the stick is flat and straight.
Step 5: Make the Creases
Dotted lines on the horizontal stabilizer, fin, and braces should be creased.
Step 6: Finish the Wing
Trim the corners and make cuts on the four short black lines at the center. Give the wings a little undercamber by sliding the leading and trailing edges over the edge of table while gently pressing down. Use the undercamber reference on the plans. Lastly, use the ruler to establish the two creases at the center line of the wing.
Step 7: Attach the Braces and Assemble the Tail
Use liquid glue for these steps. Attach the wing braces to the sides of the stick. Attach the fin braces to the top of the horizontal stabilizer (allowing a 1mm gap) and wait a minute. Spread the top sections of the fin braces, apply a little glue, put the fin in place, and pinch the braces against the sides of the fin.
Step 8: Attach the Tail and Wing
Use liquid glue for these steps. Apply glue on the top sections of the wing braces. Place the wing in position. Pinch were the braces contact the underside of the wing. Use a narrow object (such as the scrap of the popsicle stick) to press down the tabs at the front and back of the center line of the wing. Make sure the glue has bonded well. It's okay if the middle rises above the top of the fuselage a little bit. Lastly, apply glue and place the tail in position. Keep an eye on it as the glue dries. The tail might wander to the left or right (as seen above) and must be nudged back to a horizontal position.
Step 9: Adjust Wing As Glue Dries
Raise the wingtips about 15 degrees above horizontal, and reestablish the undercamber a little by pinching along the leading and trailing edges. Note that the leading and trailing edges drop below the top of the fuselage.
Step 10: Finishing Touches and Flight
Slide the eraser over the nose and make sure the elevator is raised slightly. Conduct some test flights indoors. Throw the plane gently and level. If it quickly pitches down, raise the elevator a little more. If it noses up too much, lower the elevator a little and/or slide the eraser forward a bit.
When outdoors, remember that even a slight breeze will influence the flight of the plane significantly. When throwing into a breeze extra lift is created under the wings and the plane tends to pitch up. When throwing with the breeze the plane may have additional speed but may also tend to pitch down. Throwing transverse to the breeze can be fun. Try throwing the plane in such a way that it turns into the breeze, which will allow it to gain altitude. As it finishes the turn it will gain a tailwind and speed.
I do not recommend trying to chuck this plane with all your might. The wing roots aren't very strong. Neither do I recommend throwing it at a steep upward angle, unless you're trying to make it loop, which it definitely can do when the elevator is raised.
CAUTION! A wingtip to the eye could cause serious injury. Be careful when throwing. If other people are around, allow a safe distance.
Step 11: Video
Flights and build montage!