Balsa Throw Glider, I Made It at TechShop

Introduction: Balsa Throw Glider, I Made It at TechShop

About: I am an auto safety engineer. In my spare time I like sailing and radio control airplanes and boats.

This is a simple hand toss glider made out of balsa.  It can be thrown normally, discussed tossed or by rubberband/bungee catapult.  It is made from 1/8" sheet balsa.  This was created as a project to practice 3D modeling a multipart object on Autodesk Inventor and transferring to a laser cutter.  This was drawn using Autodesk Inventor and cutout on the laser cutter at Techshop in Allen Park, MI.  

I made it at TechShop.

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Step 1: Create on Autodesk Inventor

Draw the airplane on autodesk inventor.  This is drawn so that all the parts will fit on a 48" x 4", 1/8" sheet of balsa.  The sheet is cut in half into 2, 24" strips because the available laser cutter has a 24inch dimension limit.

The .pdf file of the printout is included here.  This can be read into adobe illustrator which can be used for printing to a laser cutter or it can be saved from there as an .ai file which Corel Draw can read in if that's what prints to your laser cutter.

Step 2: Laser Cut

Parts are laser cut on Epilog laser cutter.  Power settings used were speed=35, power=40, frequency=500.

Step 3: Attach Wing Joiner

Attach the winter joiner part.  There is a front and back edge to the wings.  Check the alignment with the fuselage slot to verify which is which.  I used Zap brand CA adhesive.

Step 4: Attach the Other Half of the Wing

Glue the other half of the wing on.

Step 5: Attach the Horizontal Stabilizer

Attach the small stab mount piece to the stabilizer and then attach the stabilizer to the fuselage

Step 6: Attach the Wing

Attach the wing to the fuselage.  

Step 7: Balance the Plane

The plane needs to balance about half an inch behind the front edge of the wing.  This step is important.  If you don't do this, it won't fly.  This needs quite a bit of weight because of the long tail moment.  On version 2, i would hollow out a good bit of the fuselage behind the wing and also extend the nose forward an inch or so.  I used some metal fender washers to get it to balance.

Step 8: Go Fly It

Now it's ready to fly.  It can be tossed normally in the same way as a paper airplane.  You can discus launch it by grabbing a wing tip and throwing it side arm.  There is a hook incorporated into the fuselage design so that a bungee can be used to launch it.  

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    4 months ago

    I really like the idea to attach the wings and stab to fuselage..very simple and practical.
    Btw, how long the longest flight for hand launch and catapult launch?