Plane Launcher

Final Product

Joseph Chafkin

After tweaking and tinkering, we finally made something presentable. We created a working trigger and put it inside of the gun, which was make from laser cut sheets of plywood. The final product looked and worked very similarly to a crossbow, with a T-shaped piece of wood at the front of the gun running perpendicularly to the rest. In place of a rubber band, we used super-durable vulcanized rubber surgical tubing, cutting it down to appropriate sizing. Two pieces of electrical tape were placed in the middle of the piece of rubber, indicating where the plane was to be fired from. Luckily for us, the Stratos Glider came with a hook to allow it to be shot from a rubber band, so we did not have to change that design at all. The launcher was, at this point, practically finished.

We went out in the hallway to test our masterpiece and quickly noticed a couple things that needed to be changed. The electrical tape was off-center, causing the plane to be fired in inconsistent directions. A piece of the trigger was sticking out too much, and the plane's wing would collide with it every time. These problems, thankfully were easily fixed, and we had a working launcher by the final day of the Toy Studio. I'm really proud of Brian, Eli and Javier for working hard and producing a very cool toy. 

Plane Design

Joseph Chafkin

For the first week of our project, the group overlooked how challenging designing a plane would actually be. We first experimented with paper airplanes, identifying where the center of gravity and center of pressure were located. Saeed demonstrated to us how small changes in an airplane's composition can completely change the plane's flight trajectory by folding different pieces of a paper airplane.

Keeping our lesson from Saeed in mind, the group began designing dozens of plane prototypes on Adobe Illustrator to be laser cut. Most designs were original, but we also tried tracing the plans of balsa wood glider toys. We cut designs out of wood, paper, foamcore, and various types of acrylic, but nothing was able to fly. With only a few days left and no functioning prototype for the plane, we felt for a moment that we had bit off more than we could chew. 

We considered changing the design from a plane to a dart, but decided that that change would be straying too far from the original design. Luckily, coach Matt was able to find the plans for a glider on that could be 3D printed on NuVu's MakerBot. Though we were disappointed to not be able to use our own plane design, this glider was functional, easy to make, and our only realistic way to make a working, final product in the few days we had left. Accepting this, we were able to move onto the final phases of our project.