Red Baron II: Hand Launched Biplane Glider




About: You fail the moment you stop learning.

Intro: Red Baron II: Hand Launched Biplane Glider

"Red Baron II: Hand Launched Biplane Glider" is yet another hybrid PLA / balsa wood hand launched glider and is the result of the numerous thoughtful comments and emails I received regarding my "Red Baron Hand Launched Glider" model. Some reminded me that while indeed Mr. Schulz's "Snoopy" character was at the helm of his doghouse, he imagined it (his doghouse) to be a "Sopwith Camel" which of course is a "biplane" and not a "monoplane". So in thanks to those who reminded me, here's the biplane, and for Instructables members / users / followers, I've included the Autodesk Fusion 360 cad file "Red Baron II, Biplane.f3d" which is the cad file of my design of "Red Baron II, Hand Launched Biplane Glider". And as is the monoplane model, this model is designed for indoor / calm weather outdoor flying.

The design combines a 3D printed fuselage structure in conjunction with balsa wood flight surfaces in order to minimize weight and increase glide performance. Consisting of only three 3D printed fuselage components, and three 3D printed templates (used for cutting the six flight surfaces from 1/32" balsa wood), this model is pretty easy to print, assemble and fly. I used 3D printed templates for cutting the flight surfaces knowing I had many more of these to make.

As usual, I probably forgot a file or two or who knows what else, so if you have any questions, please do not hesitate to ask as I do make mistakes in plenty.

Designed using Autodesk Fusion 360, sliced using Cura 3.4.1 and printed in PLA on both an Ultimaker 2+ Extended and an Ultimaker 3 Extended.

Step 1: Purchase, Print and Prepare the Parts.

I purchased a 1/32" by 4" by 36" sheet of balsa and some neodymium disk magnets (I used two 12mm diameter disk magnets for balance) from my local hobby shop.

I printed one each of all parts at .1mm layer height, 20% infill, and printed "Fuselage, Tail.stl" using a brim.

Using the template parts as a guide, I cut four wings and one each of the horizontal and vertical stabilizers from the balsa sheet. Note the grain orientation when cutting the wings and stabilizers.

Once cut, I sanded the edges of the balsa parts using 220 grit sandpaper.

Step 2: Assemble the Tail Section.

Slide the horizontal stabilizer into "Fuselage, Tail.stl" as shown, making sure it is centered.

Slide the vertical stabilizer into the assembly as shown.

Secure both stabilizers in position using small dots of thick cyanoacrylate glue.

Step 3: Assemble the Wings.

Join "Wing, Root, Biplane, Lower.stl" and "Wing, Root, Biplane, Upper.stl" together using "Wing, Root, Biplane, Joiner.stl". Apply small dots of cyanoacrylate between the joiner and wing roots to secure the assembly.

Press one wing into "Wing, Root.stl, Biplane, Lower.stl" as shown. Note the photograph shows the wing root thumb grip away from the camera. Press the second wing into the assembly as shown.

Press the third wing into "Wing, Root, Biplane, Upper.stl" as shown. Press the fourth wing into the assembly as shown.

Step 4: Final Assembly and Test.

Press the tail assembly onto "Fuselage.stl" as shown.

Press the wing assembly onto the fuselage in the approximate location as shown.

Attach the two magnets to the fuselage in the approximate location as shown.

To fly the glider, grip the thumb grip on the wing assembly using your thumb and index finger as shown, then gently throw the glider into level flight.

Examine the flight path and if the glider "stalls", slide the wing assembly towards the rear of the glider, if the glider noses down, slide the wing assembly towards the front of the glider. The magnets position and size may need to be adjusted in conjunction with wing assembly movement. Once your glider flies to your liking, fix the magnets and wing assembly into position using small dots of cyanoacrylate glue.

That is how I printed and assembled "Red Baron II: Hand Launched Biplane Glider".

Hope you enjoyed it!



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    7 Discussions


    4 weeks ago

    Fantastic! i didnt even have to read the post - once I saw the idea - Favorited and downloaded. Great Job! ....the kids are gonna love these. Thanks for sharing.

    1 reply

    Reply 4 weeks ago

    Thank you very much, I'm truly glad you liked it!

    My kids and grandkids run all over the yard and parks flying this and the monoplane version. And to reaffirm the "template" idea, they've broken a few flight surfaces during indoor flight attempts...

    Thanks again!



    4 weeks ago on Introduction

    Nice project, gzumwalt, but for several reasons (cost, convenience, ecology) I'll make this out of styrofoam (which is, I'm told, NOT styrofoam but expanded polystyrene). What ever it's called, comes with almost every package of store-bought meat and many store-bought vegetables. Cleans with ease, too.

    1 reply

    Reply 4 weeks ago

    Thank you very much, I hope you enjoyed it!

    According to Cura 3.4.1, the costs of the flying plastic parts of this (biplane) model is $0.92 USD (14 grams of PLA), and for the monoplane model is $0.52 (9 grams of PLA). Also PLA is derived from renewable resources and is recyclable which I enjoy!

    Thanks again!



    4 weeks ago

    Could you be so kind and publish the plans in common type of file (dwg, stl etc.)?

    Thanks indeed


    5 weeks ago

    Great job! Well that settles that now doesn't it! Right on! And so quickly too! thanks for sharing your ideas!

    1 reply

    Reply 5 weeks ago

    Thanks, glad you enjoyed it!

    I was truly embarrassed that I overlooked the Sopwith Camel's biplane design, so I had to redeem myself as quickly as possible!