Project: Rubberband Glider

by insane66 Sep 6, 2016
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This was a great activity for me and my students. I liked how it built up to the exciting part of experimentation. I was wondering what other STEM teachers did when it came to printing. I have 4 printers available and 4 classes of 6 groups each. Since printing takes me about an hour, I had an issue with "stand-by" for a lot of groups and had to do a lot of the printing on my own time/preps. Does anyone have a way around this?

I am really happy that your students enjoyed the project. I have only brought these projects (I have several others) to large groups in a 1day weekend event. I do all my printing ahead, and it does take time. I am not sure how to alleviate that problem myself. This project is featured in the Makerbot Educators Guidebook and they (Makerbot) may have some suggestions to help you.

Aside from any suggestions they could offer, a little creative scheduling could help maybe? Not knowing your class length, I am going to assume a 50 min period, 4 printers mean 4 groups could potentially get going during a class. 1 hour print time kinda gets you jammed up across classes without a lunch break or something, but I foresee something like the following may be: 3 days - Day 1 (design/slicing day) classes have the designs ready and sliced to give you time to fix slicing issues, any teams ready early could send the file to the printer. Day 2 (main printing day) have students come in and load the file into the printer (or be ready with the file that you can get into the printer). Day 3 (catchup day) catch up any straggling printing. Maybe cover some advanced topics on the unit - addon content - while printing - or review some results from a previous set of students. Disclaimer: I am not an educator.

Maybe someone else who reads your comment can offer a suggestion too?

I like the design/angle. I wonder if it just needs to be a little deeper so there is more of a hook.

Thank you so much for this activity! I am using this with my 8th grade STEM class at West Salem Middle School in Wisconsin. My students designed the wings and tested them. Attached are pictures of our test base so that we all have the same constraints. Then we graphed a scatterplot based on wing thickness. Students realized quickly that the thickness of the wings make a big difference. With our current tests into a 3mph wind we are getting numbers anywhere from 20 feet to 60 feet of distance on our flights.

One question: Can you design the base so it has a bigger hook for a thicker rubber band? Many students have trouble hooking the rubber band to the airplane.

Try the new V6-11-2018 body file in the thing files. I made the notch ~20-25% bigger and hopefully doesn't alter the center of gravity much.

I went through many iterations on the hook design. I can certainly revisit it. After having worked on many other projects, I might see it a little differently.

I had to resize the glider to fit on my printer platform. Unfortunately, I can't figure out the scale I used because only the nose of the glider shows up on the program because it is so large. I was able to resize it by using the button that automatically resizes the image to print on the platform. Now that I want to print the wings I am stuck. I don't know the scale in order to resize them. Can you tell me the size of the original glider? Then I should be able to figure out the ratio and resize the wings accordingly. Thank you!

Out of the thing details:

"The wing root has a 2.4mm square design ~18mm long, the wing will need an inside 3mm square ~20mm long to slip onto the root."

The stl files should be in mm, so I am not sure what the scaling problem might be. Works fine in makerbot desktop, cura, and simplfy3d.

If there is another dimension I can help with let me know.

I love this, but the thin section between the body and tail section won't print for me. Any suggestions?

Some things to check:

  1. Are you using adequate support? (the boom and tail need some support material)
  2. Is your slicer creating lines with the tail boom or at 45° to the tail boom? Maybe change the model orientation or slicer settings to help?
  3. Did you scale the model up or down in size?
    Then some things to help me help you, if the above don't help:
    What material are you using?
    What printer are you using?
    What slicer and settings are you using?
    I have printed many of these on a Makerbot and a knockoff Prusa i3. PLA for the Makerbot. ABS and PETG for the Prusa. No scaling. 0.2mm layers, I like to use 3 shells. 100% infill.

Hi! Thanks for your response. I am very new to 3D printing. We bought one for our 5th grade classroom. I did not use support for the tail section. How do you do this? It is currently creating lines with the tail boom. I did not need to scale the size at all. It fit on our printing platform. I'm using a Shining 3D Einstart printer. My slicing software came with it.
We really appreciate your response. This project would be great for my class.
Thank you!

Googling shows that that printer came with software called 3DStart. If so, looking through the manual I could find:
There should be a button for "path generator" (third from the left?) and when you push it, it should give you a list of drop-down boxes
Basic settings:
Print mode:
Print material:
Support mode: <--- That should be where you change to full support.

The support material should put down some pillars or a zigzag of material to hold up the tail section where it needs to be when it prints. It should also help the spars for the wings print correctly.

It would be cool to put an attiny85 and a small servo on this as a remote control glider, how large can it be printed? Would there be room for a servo like HobbyKing Ultra Micro Servo 1.7g and a 3.3v button cell?

Dimensions: 20.8 x 15 x 11mm
Weight: 1.7 g

"how large can it be printed?" Well, I guess the real question is how large is your printer?
"Would there be room for a servo like HobbyKing Ultra Micro Servo 1.7g and a 3.3v button cell?" Not at the current size, but if you were to plan ahead on your larger scale print, I think there could be room. You would probably want to do some design work of your own and plan for the servo's location. I have included the Fusion 360 files. Creating a R/C glider out of the base design is a bit beyond the scope I had envisioned for this project. I was more along the lines of balsa wood glider, like the flat wood, slip together, launch with a rubber band kind. Let your imagination be your guide (and maybe some flight physics). At the minimum, you would need to design control surfaces, as mine are all fixed in this design and project.

Isn't the point to glide and land slowly not glide then crash. Cause it will destroy the plane.

The point is to design wings that have the performance you desire. This is an educational project. Emphasis on project.

Where is the stabilizer? It is required unless you have a special wing profile.

Print it and try it out. I think you might be surprised. Maybe it would bring benefit, maybe not. The weight added doesn't seem to bring that much aerodynamic benefit at this small scale. I would hardly say "required"!