A Glider Made From a Barbecue Skewer

20,539

164

15

About: Hey, my name is James and I like making things - mostly that fly. Check out my youtube page and website! www.youtube.com/projectairaviation www.projectair.co.uk

Intro: A Glider Made From a Barbecue Skewer

Here's a short tutorial showing you how to make some great little chuck gliders from balsa wood in just 5 minutes!

Gliders are great to experiment with. They can be made cheaply, with hardly any material, and can teach you a lot about basic aerodynamics. You can make them with your friends and fly them wherever and whenever! There are no electronics - it's just the bare minimum needed for flight. Let's make one.

Step 1: Cutting the Wings

  • Start by finding some thin balsa sheet for your wings. You'll be using a BBQ skewer as the fuselage of your glider, so find this too.
  • Measure out the shape of your wings. Make sure that your wings are about 25% longer than your skewer. I decided to make mine 1.5" thick at the centre.
  • Draw out one half of the wing at a time to be joined together later. You can hand draw the outer curves of the wing to your own design if desired. If not, just go for a simple squared wingtip.

Step 2: Adding Dihedral

Glue these two wing halves together and stick a strip of balsa on top for extra strength. You'll want to make sure you have some dihedral in your wings to make them self-level. Without this, the aircraft will probably be unstable during flight. Use some extra skewers or some spare material to prop up each wing evenly until the glue hardens.

Step 3: Adding a Tail

  • Moving onto the tail, make a judgment about how big you want your tail to be based on your wingspan. To keep things simple, you can make a V-tail by cutting out just two pieces of balsa.
  • Stick them to the BBQ skewer at roughly 90° of each other.

Step 4: Putting It All Together

  • Next, attach the wings. Just use a small amount of hot glue. It helps to have a small cutting mat (like the one pictured below) to make sure that everything is aligned.
  • The final thing to do is to balance your glider. Use a small nail and attach it loosely with tape to the nose. After finding the correct CG under the front of the wing, you can attach it more permanently in place. Moving this weight backward and forward can govern the flight path of your model.

Step 5: Flying Your Glider

  • These things make for a lot of fun! All you have to do is give it a nice big toss forwards and it will soar away. You can simply hand launch them or try something more complicated such as dropping them from an RC aircraft.
  • You can experiment with different wing sizes, shapes and tail designs to see what's the furthest you can make your glider travel. Customise them to your heart's desire and see what happens. Why not see how a swept wing performs? All you'll need are more offcuts of material!


Check out the flight footage at the end of this video. Thanks for reading this article. Make sure you leave me a comment below!

Share

Recommendations

  • Plastics Contest

    Plastics Contest
  • Optics Contest

    Optics Contest
  • Halloween Contest 2018

    Halloween Contest 2018

15 Discussions

0
None
laith mohamed

8 weeks ago

What the amazing glider is that .

0
None
DreamDabbler

2 months ago

Love it! All sorts of potential for experimenting with different designs, such as delta wings, canard wings, etc.
Hope you don't mind my tooting my own horn, but people who like this might also like my shingle arrows -- they're fun flingers that preserve an old-time pastime!
https://www.instructables.com/id/Shingle-Arrows/

0
None
seamster

2 months ago

Very cool!! I played with store-bought balsa gliders as a kid, but never thought to make them from scratch like this. Great instructions, thank you.

1 reply
0
None
JamesWhomsleyseamster

Reply 2 months ago

Yep, it's really quite easy. :) You're very welcome.

0
None
paleseu

2 months ago

Awesome!! I made a lot of paper gliders years ago, now this look similar, but also completely on another level!!
This is so much fun!!

1 reply
0
None
attosa

2 months ago

Super cool. Would love to try this :)

1 reply
0
None
ajinkyadixit

2 months ago

Wow.... really nice glider....!!!

What dimensions you have taken for wing & tail part ??

Also at what location from nose, you put the wings...???

Thanks

1 reply
0
None
JamesWhomsleyajinkyadixit

Reply 2 months ago

Thanks! I kept the dimensions a little vague as it depends on the length of your barbeque skewer. As mentioned in the video, make the wings about 1" (2.5cm) thick and the span twice that of the fuselage length. The location of the stabs and wing can be guessed based on ballence. :)

2
None
dacusa

2 months ago

I save the Styrofoam packaging from meat trays bought at grocery store. They make great wings, etc. I don't have any store within 30 miles where I can get balsa wood.

1 reply
0
None
Gearhead_shem_tovdacusa

Reply 2 months ago

I used to do this too, but I've found many styro meat trays these days have a built-in sort of blood sponge which is impossible to rinse out properly. You can tell if there is no absorbent bit under the meat and the tray has a grid of what looks like drain holes in the top side.

3
None
Kink Jarfold

2 months ago on Step 5

Ah, his is so nostalgic for me. Balsa wood gliders and even the ones with propellers are a fond memory of my youth back in the 50s. Great Instructable. So glad you posted it. KJ

Balsa Planes.jpg
0
None
Troubah

2 months ago

Nice glider ! I'll definitely build one. Thank you for the idea and instructions.

1
None
Thorondor95

Tip 2 months ago

This looks ideal for making a bow-and-arrow-plane.