Balsawood Glider - I Made It at Techshop, Chandler

Introduction: Balsawood Glider - I Made It at Techshop, Chandler

I'm practicing with the lasers at techshop so I made these balsa wood gliders, one from 1/8 inch balsa wood wings and the other from 1/16 balsa wood wings. Both have fuselages from 1/8 inch balsa wood I bought at Micheals.  I drew the design in Rhinoceros 3D and saved the file as a dxf. 

At Techshop, I loaded the drawing into CorelDraw and changed the colors of the lines to red where I wanted the part cut out and black for the parts I wanted engraved. 

I then just went to the "print menu, print" and the file loaded to the laser software where I chose the material of balsa wood and the thickness of 0.125 inches or .0625 for the thickness of the balsa. 

It engraved the word "techshop" and then cut out the balsa parts. 

What I learned was that I need to design in a "kerf compensation" of about .005 inch to allow for the balsa wood that the laser burns away so that the parts will fit perfectly. So the next time I cut it out I will try that. No matter what the material, if you want a perfect fit you will need to use a kerf compensation. 

They flew well with some clay on the nose for added weight.

I've included the dxf file which has lots of extra parts on it. 

 I couldn't have done it without the lasers at

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    4 Discussions


    4 months ago

    It's really nice, I'd like to make as well. Would it be possible to have the plan in pdf?
    Thanks in advance.


    6 years ago on Introduction

    Do those jigsaw shapes on the wing-tips have a function, or are they just decorative?


    Reply 6 years ago on Introduction

    The jigsaw shapes were to test the quality of fit I was getting and also to orient the grain of the wood to make the tips a little tougher, but it's not really necessary. The most important thing is I saw that I need to do a kerf compensation by how poorly those fit since they had a gap.