Introduction: Card Stock Violet Dragon Glider
A unique glider design that inspires the imagination!
This glider is advanced, compared to my other designs, and may take four to five hours to make.
-one sheet of light card stock, 8.5" x 11" and 65 lb. / A4 and 176 gsm
-one sheet of paper, 8.5" x 11" / A4
-piece of chipboard (also called cardboard or kraft board), about 8" x 8" / 20 cm x 20 cm
-piece of polystyrene from food packaging, about 6" x 1" / 15 cm x 2.5 cm, with a thickness of about 3/16" / 4 mm
-piece of manila file folder or medium card stock, about 10" x 4" / 25 cm x 10 cm
-small piece of kneaded eraser or modeling clay and/or a machine nut, 3/8" / 9 mm
-liquid white glue and glue stick
-scissors and hobby knife
-pencil or pen
-attached PDF file
Step 1: Body
Trace the shapes onto the manila file folder. Make marks and transfer the lines that show the three sections, foremiddle, and aft. Cut out the pieces.
Trace the front section onto chipboard, and transfer the line. Cut out the shape and make duplicates. I used six layers of chipboard that was bought at a craft store. Food packaging (such as a box of pasta) tends to be a little thinner, so eight layer may be better.
You can cut out a space in the center layers to hold the optional machine nut. When you glue the layers together, fill it with glue.
Trace the center section of the body onto your piece of foam. Trace the tail twice onto chipboard. Cut them out. Taper the aft end of the foam a little.
Make sure the pieces fit together well before gluing. Modify them as needed, then use liquid glue to bond all the pieces and make sure they are well aligned.
Step 2: Wing Construction
Trace the shapes onto card stock and carefully cut them out.
Make two wing spars out of chipboard. (You could also use coffee stir sticks, bamboo skewers, etc.). Make them 18 cm long, 6 mm wide on one end, tapering to 4 mm at the opposite end. Use a thin layer of liquid glue to attach the spars to the wings, 1 cm back from the leading edges at the center line (and about 1.2 cm back, where the wing chord is greater). The spars will hang over the wing tips and can should be trimmed.
Cut out two pieces to reinforce the center line of the wing. One should be, roughly, a rectangle of 8 cm x 2 cm. The other will be a spar reinforcement, 0.5 cm x 14 cm. Attach them with liquid glue. Use a ruler to establish a crease on the center line. The wingtips should be about 5 degrees above horizontal.
Step 3: Wing Completion
Cut out two paper rectangles that are large enough to cover the wings. Use a glue stick to cover the four edges of the paper, as well as the wing spar, then place the paper over the wing. Run your fingertip around the profile of the wing, pressing down to ensure a bond. Wait a minute, then trim the excess paper.
Trace the wing brace onto card stock. Cut it out and attach it to the top of the wing, using a glue stick.
Make two small relief cuts on the front and back of the wing, on the center line, to allow the wing to be both dihedral and cambered. Shape the wing into an airfoil, like that of a bird's wing (in other words, cambered). This can be done by pinching and curling the material repeatedly.
Step 4: Scales
Start on the ventral side of the dragon, at the tail. Cut out strips of paper, starting at a width of about 1cm. Use liquid glue. Add another strip, overlapping the first, and repeat. Make the strips wider (up to about 1.5 cm) in the middle section of the body.
Next, cover the dorsal side, starting at the aft end, but leaving the last 2 cm uncovered for the tail piece to be attached later. Also, you can leave about 2 cm uncovered where the wing will be attached later (is won't matter much, because two pieces are going to be covering area of the wing roots). Take care with the length and shape of the dorsal scales, if you contiguous lines. You may also need to make small relief cuts on a few scales to get them to conform.
If you did not place a machine nut in the head, make the scales thicker around the neck in order to add weight. If you have card stock of a suitable color, make the scales out of that. If you only have paper, double the layers.
Trace the head covers from the plans. Cut them out and attach them.
Step 5: Attaching the Wing
Make two slightly crescent-shaped rectangles, about 4 cm x 1 cm, out of chipboard. They need a curve that matches the bottom of the wings. Cover one side of each chipboard piece with paper, just for looks. Glue them in place on the sides of the body, positioned so they protrude above the top by about 2 mm. This makes a cradle to support the wing.
Apply a good amount of liquid glue to the cradle. Place the wing. Check to make sure it is perpendicular to the body, and press down on the front and back center line to maintain the camber. Hold it in place for at least five minutes so the glue can set up. Lastly, add a strip of card stock over the center line to help keep it securely in place.
Step 6: Tail
The main tail piece should be cut out of card stock, and the bracing layer out of paper. Use a glue stick to bond the two.
Use the edge of a ruler to establish creases on the dotted lines. Raise the right and left tip of the tail by about 15 degrees. Raise the ruddervators by just a few degrees each.
The little ventral fin is optional. If you want to include it, cut out the piece and its brackets from card stock. Establish creases on the dotted lines. Use liquid glue to attach the brackets to the fin, then the fin to the bottom of the tail.
Step 7: Finishing
Cover the head. Be as creative and intricate as you want to be. For added visual appeal, use violet and white colored pencils to add some shadows and highlights.
Check the fore-aft balance of the plane. The center of gravity should be at the back of the wing spar, or perhaps a few millimeters behind it. (For the sake of brevity, I won't explain how to check the CG of a glider, but there are many explainer videos online.)
A tail-heavy glider will never fly correctly. To increase the nose weight, add layers of material to the neck and head. You could also use a kneaded eraser or modeling clay to do this. In the case of my dragon, I used both methods because I did not embed a machine nut in the head. Fortunately, there was a void at the back of the head that I could fill with eraser, so that's what I did.
Step 8: Flights
It is best to conduct test flights indoors, if you have a suitable space. If testing outdoors, do so when the air is still.
Check the front, back, top, and bottom. Make sure it is symmetrical. Often, as glue dries, a wing or stabilizer will get warped or twisted. Correct flaws by gently bending the card stock, and repeat until it starts to retain the desired shape or angle.
Throw the glider gently and level, and consistently, to observe its tendencies. Always make tiny adjustments when trimming it. If it drifts left, trim the rudder to the right a few degrees (or if you opted for no fin, raise the left ruddervator slightly and/or lower the right ruddervator slightly). Do the opposite if the drift right. If it tends to pitch up, adjust both ruddervators down by a degree or two.
If the glider flies erratically and crashes quickly, it is probably tail heavy, or maybe the breeze just caught it from a bad angle. Temporarily add some weight with a small piece of kneaded eraser or modeling clay (about the size of a peppercorn), and test it again. If that doesn't work, add a little more weight and try again. If the problem persists, check again for a twist or bend in the wings, stabilizers, and body.
Good luck! There is an accompanying video, and there will be another that has more flights. https://youtu.be/1I2150WPhAg
This is an entry in the
Colors of the Rainbow Contest