Card Stock Trainer Airplane [STEM Plane]

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Introduction: Card Stock Trainer Airplane [STEM Plane]

About: Airplane enthusiast and dream aviator.

This easy-to-build airplane includes two wing shapes in the plans. Additional wings can be created and subjected to testing. The fuselage design allows wings to be replaced effortlessly.

A 1/2" diameter vinyl thread protector (or thread cap) is used to mimic a cowling and protect the nose. It's an inexpensive item that is available at hardware stores. A substitute piece could be fashioned from chipboard rolled into a cylinder.

Other than the nose cap, only card stock and chipboard are needed to make this plane. I used chipboard from food packaging (such as cracker boxes). You can buy 12" x 12" sheets of chipboard at your local arts and crafts store, and that works well. Due to variations of weight, you may need to adjust the center of gravity by sliding the nose cap back or by adding a bit of clay, or even a small metal washer, in the nose cap to increase the weight.

The CG should be behind the leading edge of the wing, about 30% of the chord length.

Supplies

-Card stock (65 lb.)

-Chipboard (such as a cracker box)

-1/2" diameter vinyl thread protector

-Scissors

-Utility knife or hobby knife

-Metal ruler

-Glue

Step 1: Download and Print

Print or photocopy onto card stock.

Step 2: Cut Out the Pieces

Scissors will be your main tool. The blade can be handy for tight corners.

The fuselage pieces need to be traced onto chipboard and then cut out.

Step 3: Glue Together Main Pieces

The central fuselage piece has the tail fin. Two side pieces are glued to it and must line up precisely.

Step 4: Rudder, Elevator, and Wing

The edge of a ruler is handy for making creases. Use one hand to clamp the card stock (horizontal stabilizers) or chipboard (vertical stabilizer) to the ruler, such that the edge of the ruler is where you want the crease to be. Use your other hand to gently bend the material that overhangs the ruler. The elevator should be raised by about 5 degrees, and can be adjusted after test flights. The rudder should be straight until adjustments to flight are needed.

As explained in the directions, there is a fold at the leading edge of the wing. Fold down and under, and use glue (preferably a glue stick) to bond it to the bottom side of the wing, creating a double layer of card stock.

Step 5: Attach the Tailplane

Use a fair amount of glue. Scrape away the excess and allow this to dry for a few minutes before working with it.

Step 6: Establish Camber and Dihedral

This is another step that is shown in the video.

You can use the edge of a table, desk, or book to camber the wing. Place the wing flat, allowing it to overhang the edge by a couple of millimeters. Apply some pressure with thumb or fingers, pushing the leading edge downward a bit. Use very light pressure so it bends rather than creases. Slide the wing so it overhangs by another millimeter or two. Apply pressure again. Repeat this a few times along the leading edge, and several times along the trailing edge.

Establish a crease for the dihedral angle. Start with a slight angle. Over time, the crease will lose stiffness and the wingtips will want to rise when the plane flies. This can be countered by adding a strip of paper or clear tape, 4 or 5 cm long, across the bottom of the wing.

Step 7: Attach the Wing Pull Tabs

These tabs extend forward, past the leading edge of the wing. They help stabilize the dihedral angle and add nose weight.

Use glue and attach the tabs to the centers of the wings. They should taper outward toward the nose. Again, this step is shown in the video.

Two wing shapes are in the plans. If you're going to come up with your own wing designs, try to make them so the median chord is in the same position (relative to the nose of the airplane) as the other wings.

Step 8: Place Wing and Nose Cap

Once everything has dried for 15 minutes, you can try sliding one of the wings into the fuselage. Hopefully it will be held by friction. If the slot is too narrow, use some sand paper to widen it. If it is too wide, add a layer of card stock to the pull tab to make it thicker.

If desired, use a marker to shade in a ring on the nose cap, giving the visual cue for an old radial-engine.

Slide the cap over the nose. This is the primary source of nose weight, so its position will affect the flights of the plane. With the versions I have made, the CG is correct when the cap is on just far enough to grip the nose securely.

Step 9: Flights and Adjustments

Sight down the nose and tail of the plane to check for straightness of the fuselage and symmetry of the wings. Make corrections with a light touch.

Conduct some test flights indoors. Throw the plane straight and level, using just a little force. Try to throw it as consistently as possible. Use the elevator to influence the pitch (nose up or nose down), or try sliding the nose cap a little forward or back to change the CG.

Keep in mind that the nose cap will get pushed back by collisions. Make a little pencil mark on the side of the fuselage, once you've found a good position for it, so you can quickly adjust it after a crash.

Use the rudder to influence the plane's yaw. A tad to the left, and it will tend to go left. A tad the the right, and it will go right.

If the plane is wheeling over to the right or left, and crashing nose first into the ground, it is probably tail heavy. If so, the nose cap needs to be further forward, or you may need to just add some nose weight.

CAUTION! Plane may cause eye injury. Be careful when throwing it. If other people are around, allow a safe distance.

1 Person Made This Project!

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20 Comments

0
Jordan90
Jordan90

Question 3 months ago on Introduction

Hi, just to ask about ‘chipboard’. Do you mean ‘cardboard’ because in my opinion chipboard is heavy wooden sheets of board usually 8’ x 4’ and used to build all sorts of cabinets, shelves etc? Usually about 12mm thick ? Just confused ? If you could describe the type of card used it would be most helpful. Thnx.

0
RayJ12
RayJ12

Answer 2 months ago

Nope you are thinking of particle board or wafer board or osb, Just look up heavy chipboard on Amazon, Most light weight food boxs are chipboard not cardboard. cardboard contains multple corrugated layers. chipboard is only one layer.

0
zdedesigns
zdedesigns

Reply 2 months ago

Well, I have heard OSB called chipboard, and I have heard chipboard called cardboard (specifically non-corrugated), and I have heard 4 or 5 different terms for a hobby knife. LOL. There's a lot of regional variation in the US, Canada, and the UK too.

0
zdedesigns
zdedesigns

Answer 2 months ago

Thanks for the question. Yes, it is also called cardboard, but I avoid that term because it seems to cause even more confusion. Most people think of the corrugated type. Go to an arts and crafts store website, search 'chipboard', and you'll see it at the top of the results. It's used for the backs of notepads, food packaging, board game pieces, and other stuff.

0
JohnW51
JohnW51

3 months ago

Another great design! You are so talented at making these nice little planes. I've tried to get my 15-year-old grandson interested in making some of your designs, but he'd rather play video games. His fine motor skills are much better than mine.

0
Crafty platform
Crafty platform

3 months ago

I am so glad to see this project :)

1
UserInstru
UserInstru

3 months ago

My compliments. You've used technology only to realize this video with YouTube. In your project there is no an Arduino, not an RC, not a transistor or a led ... no electronics components! You are demostring that we could be do very beautiful things with poor and simple material, and have in return an uncomparable happiness. You've enlarge our harts, you're showing us a simple way to play, and maybe .... a way to live!

0
charlessenf-gm
charlessenf-gm

3 months ago

Brilliant! Enjoyed watching the video and the build.
Did you mention the camera trolley setup you built for the action shots in (what I assumed was) your back yard?

That's gotta be candidate for a build!

1
문하민
문하민

2 years ago

oh it`s great
amazing I like it

0
zdedesigns
zdedesigns

Reply 2 years ago

: )

0
Builder_Boy395
Builder_Boy395

Question 2 years ago

What else can you use for the front cap?

0
zdedesigns
zdedesigns

Reply 2 years ago

Thanks for your question. You could try making a small cylinder out of chipboard. Or you might find something cylindrical that fits, such as a large marker cap, which you could cut to length and pack with a modeling clay or a kneaded eraser.

0
zdedesigns
zdedesigns

Answer 2 years ago

Looks like fun. If I were to try that, I'd do it on a lighter and slighter larger plane.

1
botinabox
botinabox

2 years ago

** Happy Plane Noises **

Excellent job!

1
zdedesigns
zdedesigns

Reply 2 years ago

'Preciated!

4
Gusgonnet
Gusgonnet

2 years ago

nice airplanes

is the video gone by any chance or is it my computer that doesn't want me to watch it?
thanks

0
zdedesigns
zdedesigns

Reply 2 years ago

Thank you!

0
zdedesigns
zdedesigns

Reply 2 years ago

Sorry about that! The video got corrupted the first time I uploaded it. Thanks for asking.