Introduction: Slingshot Airplane Glider
This project is fun and easy to make. It is perfect for young kids, or beginner model airplanes enthusiasts. This will teach you the basic functions of an airplane, and it will show you how to build a super fun little plane. It's perfect for backyard summer fun or as an easy stem program. It should fly over hundred feet, and it'll only cost about two cents.
So let get started!
hot glue and hot glue gun
drill with small drill bit
something to cut a paint stick, like a scroll saw or a coping saw
sand paper and/or sander
1 wooden paint stirrer
1 foam board
1 wooden barbeque skewer
handful of rubber bands, same thickness
1 paperclip or steel wire
There are an infinite number of designs you could create. Not all of them will fly, but most of them will. And since this project is easy and inexpensive to do, it's fun just to try different designs and see which ones work the best.
We are making a glider, which means it does not have any moving parts.
This is meant to be launched off of a slingshot that we'll make later.
If you don't want to start your plane from the scratch here are the basic measurements of the plane that I designed
The body is 12in long and the widest part is 1in
The very back end is the thinnest part and it is about 1/8in
The front of the wings are 4 1/4in from the tip of the nose
The hook is 1/2in from the nose.
The center of the a pennies are 1 1/4in from the nose.
The rear skewer is 3.5"
The wings are 7in long and 2 1/2in wide the Tilted up part is 2 1/2in Long.
The tail is 3 1/4in long and 1 1/2in wide.
The runner is 2 1/4in long and 1 1/2in tall.
Let's start designing.
Take your paint stick and we need to draw a waterdrop shape on it that is really stretched out. but unlike a waterdrop the top and bottom of your design shouldn't be symmetrical, the very end of your plane shouldn't be level with the nose, it should be about a 1/8in lower.
Draw a center line from the nose to the back of the plane to help align the tail and wings.
Now that you have your design drawn on your paint stick, we need to cut it out.
there are a large number of things you can do this with, you can do it with a scroll saw ,band saw, box cutter (if you are confident enough) and a large number of other things.
I suggest using a scroll saw.
Once you have it cut out we need to send it smooth. you can do this with sandpaper if you have the patience or you can do this with an electric sander, either one fine.
Now it is time to make the wings. There are several different wing designs you can use they all do something a little different which makes it a lot of fun to try out different ones on different planes
The wings will be made out of foam board. this is a great material and is used on large RC airplanes quite often.
The design that I went with is just a simple straight wing design with tilted edges (see measurements and step one for the wings that I made)
Once you have drawn one of your wings cut it with a box cutter and then trace it on another piece of foam board. but remember the wings are supposed to be a mirror image of each other not identical.
Don't attached your wings yet!
Now it is time to make the tail and runner.
On most planes half of the tail and rudder hang off of the back of the plane.
In most cases the tail should be not as wide as the wings and about a quarter of the length.
Your tail should be one piece with a slot cut in it. To slip around the back.
The runner is usually longer than the tail.
Don't attach the tail or rudder yet
Now that we have the body, Wings, tail and rotor cut out it is time to put them all together
I prefer to use hot glue but you can use any glue you comfortable with.
First glue the tail on to the back of the body make sure that it is level.
then glue the router right on top of it make sure that it is had a 90º angle with the tail. Now we need to figure out where we are going to to put the wings They need to be on the top of the plan so they don't hit the rubber band when we launch them.
sense every plane is different you have to play around with the weights and the wings to get the center of gravity, it should be on the front of the wings.
take a piece of tape and tape the wings on to your plane where you think it would be most balanced, then hold your plane with a tips of your fingers underneath the front of the wings if it falls backwards you need to move the wings back. if the plane for Falls forward you need to push the wings up. sense these plans are pretty light we want to add 2 Penneys to the front of the plane.
when you have your wings on, in a place that it is almost balanced tape the pennies on to the front and slide them up and down until the plane is balance with the wings and the pennies and then glue them into place.
When you glue the wings they should not be flush with the top of the body they need to be parallel with the center line on the body that we drew and step one
Now that we have pretty much everything glued on it's time to add just a couple of extra things
First we need to take some miniature popsicle sticks or skewers and glue them underneath the middle of the wings and to side of the body.
this will help the wings to not get bent out of shape when the plane hit the ground or a tree or the sidewalk or air or a roof pretty much everything.
Now we need to do the same thing on the top with toothpicks on the tail and rotor.
Take a section of score and glue it to the back bottom of the plane hanging off the end so when you pull it back on the slingshot you can hold on to it.
Now drill a hole about a 1/2in back from the nose and about a 1/8in from the bottom of your plane, that you can attach the hook to.
The very last step is to take a piece of wire a (paperclip or steal wire) and bend it into a hook to put your plan on the slingshot.
Congratulations your plane is all done now all we have to do is make the slingshot!!
Before you shoot it off the slingshot it is a good idea to toss it around a room to make sure it goes straight.
Now we need to make the launcher
This is pretty straightforward all you need is a single something to stick into the ground and about ten rubber bands larger rubber bands last longer then thin ones just attached about 10 rubber bands together by slipping them through each other and then take one end of your rubber band string and put it on a pole outside it could be the handle of a shovel stuck in the ground or the edge of a fence or tall stick doesn't really matter
You could also just attach two rubber bands together and hold one end with one hand and the plane with your other hand.
Now we are ready to watch our new plane fly.
Now that your rubber band string is on a pole hook the airplane into the end rubber band
Hold the back skewer and hold it all the way to the ground that way it will take off at a steeper angle. when you're ready, let it go and watch it fly.
it should fly about 100 feet.
Troubleshooting: P=problem, R=reason
P Plane it's the ground right after it's launched
R the plane is front-heavy or the rudder is tilted up
P the plane does loops around and doesn't fly straight
R Rudder is tilted down or wings are not level
P plane goes to left or right
R your tail isn't level your Rudder isn't straight One Wing is higher or bigger than the other
P plane won't launch
R you're not pulling the plane back far enough or it is hitting the pole the rubber band string is attached to
P plane is caught in a tree
R you're you are flying around trees
There are a LOT of variations that you could try like putting more weight on the front what would happen if you put the big wings on the back and a small Wings on the front can it fly without a tail and rudder the possibilities are really endless
Thanks for reading my instructorable . if you liked it vote for me and if you tried it send me a picture please.
I am going to do more airplane projects in the near future so keep an eye out.
Participated in the
Make It Fly Speed Challenge