Easy Paper-Plate Airplane - Great Flyer!

About: Daddy-O...

I first saw this airplane at a Scout-o-rama last Spring.  There was someone cutting them out one-by-one, and I thought there must be an easier way to do it.

I've used this design with both paper and styrofoam 9" disposable plates. Both work very well.  Styrofoam does NOT, though, belong in the Laser Cutter...

I found the pdf of the airplane at this URL: 
http://www.hobbiesr4u.com/images/Paper Plate Airplane.pdf

I modified the drawing a bit using Corel Draw.  I'm including the file (v15) with this Instructable.

I cut these using the Laser cutter at TechShop San Jose - www.techshop.ws

Bring your own Penny...

Materials needed:

9" Paper Plates
Tape - I've used 'scotch' tape as well as blue painter's tape with equal success.

Step 1: Set Up a Jig on the Laser Bed

Hopefully when you look at it, the bed, jig, and paper plate will be in better focus than this photo...

Since I had a few dozen paper-plate airplanes to cut, I used a few scrap pieces of wood to build a nest/jig.

1. Focus the laser on the main part of the plate - not on the raised edge.

2. It's important that the wood (or whatever material you use) for your nest/jig is low enough to clear the traveling lens/mirror.  This should make it low enough to stay below the gantry as well.

3. The paper plates are 9" x 9", so the nest/jig will need to accommodate these dimensions.

Step 2: Load the Attached File and Make Some Test Runs

Since the paper plates are very light, I found it could be a bit tough to keep the plate up against the jig.  You may want to add something to keep it in place.

I found I needed to burn the plates a couple of times to get my alignment right - the cutting should be symmetric with respect to the plate's edges, so that the wingtips are the same or close to it.

Step 3: Trim the Cutout As Needed

Since the plate is not perfectly flat, the laser will be out of focus along the edges.

I found that I needed to complete the cutout a bit with some scissors or a sharp knife.  Not a big sweat.  It's helpful that there will be lines left by the laser to help guide the trimming.

Once you've trimmed, you get the two parts of the plane, shown here.

Step 4: Attach the Vertical Stabilizer/Rudder

The side of the Stabilizer/Rudder with one slot meets the middle slot in the wing.  Slide the Stabilizer/Rudder's slot into the middle slot of the wing.

Using  a bit of tape, make sure the stabilizer/rudder is perpendicular to the wing.  I often use a couple of pieces of tape with no hassles due to weight.

Step 5: Turn It Over...

The airplane should look like this about now...

Step 6: Use Your Luckiest Penny...

The penny will be held in place by the flap on the front and  a piece of tape.  Use a Lucky Penny for best results!

Step 7: Attach the Penny...

Pretty simple - put the penny in place, fold over the flap, and tape it down.

Again, I've used both "scotch" tape and painter's blue tape for this with equal success.

Step 8: Time to Fly It!!!

These fly surprisingly well.

This photo shows how to hold it for flying.

The flaps on the wings and the Stabilizer/Rudder can be adjusted as needed once you've started flying 'em....

Have Lots of Fun!

I'm havingtoo much fun at TechShop in San Jose - www.techshop.ws



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    4 Discussions


    5 years ago

    My 5grade teacher taut me how to make them

    Oh yeah!

    I have also used the laser to burn cut lines and had help cutting the airplanes out.

    This time I had close to 100 to prepare, though. By myself...