I made a wooden toy plane out of a scrap 3mm MDF sheet I had laying around basing the design on the clasic paper airplane. This was part of the initiative "Makers Care" by Steve Ramsey and there a lot of cool planes out there that you should check!
I owed a gift to my friend who works as a clown making children happy so it made a lot of sense that this was for him.
Check the video above to see the how to!
Step 1: Make a Paper Plane and Use It As a Template
Just fold a paper sheet until you get the plane you want and then cut it along every edge line with one of those craft knives. Notice that in some parts of the plane there are two layers of paper, we will want to replicate that with the mdf/plywood to resemble better the paper plane.
Transfer the shapes onto the MDF and cut them using a bandsaw, coping saw or a scroll saw. Since the wings are symmetrical is a good idea to stick two sheets of MDF or plywood together with double sided tape and just cut once. You might need to sand the cuts a bit afterwards.
It is important to acknowledge where and how the pieces meet to leave "tabs" in which the finger joints will be cut!
Step 2: Finger Joint the Wings
I cut fingerjoints with a small jig in the tablesaw to put together each part of the wing. There are lots of tutorials on how to make finger joints so I will not cover that here, but it is very simple. In my case I chose a finger width that would mach the thickness of 2 layers of MDF so they end up protruding like cubes, but you can choose any finger size.
I needed a bit of adjustment with a file to make it work but they went great with glue.
Step 3: Assemble the Main Body
I cut a scrap in the tablesaw to match the angle I wanted to use it as a template for the glue up. Quite simple :)
Once the wings were dry, it was time to join the two plane halves, this was a bit trickier. I used the same template to hold the plane while cutting a flat side in each plane half so they could be glued. I didn't use finger joints for this central seam because they would have been too long since it's a very sharp angle.
So, with some scotch tape in both the angle scrap and the plane half, I used hot glue to stick them together and run it through the tablesaw. The video will help a lot to understand this part!
With both halves cut, I just have to match and align them with some glue in between and wait till next step.
Step 4: Finishing Touches
Glueing the spoilers was very straight forward, no template needed, I just used a drop of CA glue to keep it in place while the wood glue dried.
Once everything is dry, I sanded some edges in the disc sander. Some joints may have a thick look and we want that to resemble a paper airplane. Finally hand sanded everything with 320 grit and that was all.
Step 5: Enjoy Your Plane!
....and fix it after it breaks! :D I gave it to my clown friend and it fell down after playing with it for 5 minutes. If you try flying this plane you will sure have to fix it afterwards :)
Full video of the accident: