I first began planning the project by creating cardboard models to scale.

The wings were 15cm wide and 4cm deep. They are meant to be placed on the flat section of the main fuselage and held there with rubber bands.

These are the laser-cut prototypes I had made in order to figure out the best method to create the wing portion (it goes from left to right). By creating little flaps instead of the entire wing, I was able to both save material and a lot of time. My first prototype had a large section of thinned wood that was supposed to bend over on itself. However, it was still too stiff to bend. As such, I moved onto a design with a smaller but deeper thin section that would have a larger possibility of being able to fold onto itself with a fairly tight radius. After playing around with varying spacing between the etched lines, one of the wooden pieces snapped off (3rd from the right). When I put the top piece into the slot made on the bottom piece, it created a shape similar to the one I wanted. For the last two iterations, I deliberately split apart the top and bottom pieces and made them join together.

Based on this design, I created a large wing to fit on the fuselage I had laser cut. The fuselage design changed a little from the original design as I noticed that the wing shifted a lot front to back, and that the rubber bands had nowhere to go. As such, I made a cut at the flat section so the wing would have a place to slot in, in addition to having two small slits for the rubber bands to fit into.


The final product did not live up to the success standards. The wing flopped to the side every time it was thrown as the surface area of the top of the fuselage is very thin. The wing provided lift, though the extreme tail-heaviness of the plane made it very hard to predict where it would fly.

Based on the observations made on this iteration, in addition to more information found online, I decided to try a conventional wing design out of foam as it would take much less time to cut compared to wood and would theoretically be much easier to mold into shape. I cut a 20×4 rectangle of foamboard and shaped it into an airfoil shape.

I used clamps as my hands got tired pretty quickly as was compressing the foam. The final shape of the wing was acceptable, so I put it on the original fuselage.

It flew much better than the original wing, though it was still very tail-heavy and thus did not fly well.

 

Although I enjoyed the entire process of trial and error as I made this glider, it was still very frustrating. The next time I make anything similar to this, I will pay more attention to the center of gravity as I believe that having a good center of gravity is more important than the effectiveness of the wing. I will also make the fuselage much thicker to have more surface area for the wing to rest on and thus have more stability.

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