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 www.thingiverse.com 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.