Sparrow Glider

by exosequitur, published

Sparrow Glider by exosequitur Apr 17, 2013


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This is one of my older planes - its obsolete, but there's a lot of better ones available to print now!

For a better glider, with the glide ratio of this glider, combined with high energy launch capability and enhanced stability check out the Super Stratos at: http://www.thingiverse.com/thing:97803

If you want to learn how to design amazing, highly functional designs for 3d printing, design and print useful repair parts, and generally print useful stuff faster, more reliably, and with less problems check out my books, Functional design for 3D printing and the Zombie Apocalypse Guide to 3D Printing on Amazon!

If you like my gliders, check out my other models here on thingiverse and more models and books I wrote on 3D Design and 3D Printing here at threedsy.com
All of My Favorite / Best Gliders and some older ones FREE here on thingiverse

Derived from the smaller chickadee, the Sparrow is a highly efficient glider that flies best with a gentle launch.



Your printer will need to be capable of printing smooth 1 and 2 layer .15mm prints. Adjust your first layer settings to achieve solid layers with no surface debris or curling.

Some cleaning of print artifacts and fit checking is a good idea prior to getting out the glue...

Layer height matters, as does fill ratio. Increasing the fill ratio for the fuselage will shift the CG forward, which may be desirable depending on your results.

I am using .15532 layer height and a bottom layer height close to 80% - you will want to be as close to this as possible, or calculate a layer height that gives 4 layers at .60mm on your setup.

The important thing is that the web of the flying surfaces should be two layers, and the spars and wingtip reinforcements should be 3-4 layers. If you can't get it to fly stable, try a tiny bit of weight forward.

More layers should also be ok as long as they are very thin so that weight does not increase too dramatically....I am using 700mm of 3mm filament

My nozzle is .35mm, and some of the walls are designed to be 2 nozzles wide, so other nozzle widths may not work well.

The wing must be very flat. Use care when removing the wing and tail sections from the bed. Peel up from the tips toward the fuselage with a thin blade or spatula, lifting only as much as needed to break free, being careful not to disturb the spanwise symmetry. If the wings are not perfectly symetrical when viewed from the front of the aircraft, adjustments will be required for proper performance.

Glue the tail and canopy / hook into place with a tiny drop of superglue.

Known working instructions:

Print the chickadee using ABS, .15 layer height with a .8 first layer height (or close). Use 2 perimeters, and 2 solid layers, 30% rectalinear fill (you can increase the fill ratio to move the CG forward if desired) . Use a fill orientation of 0 degrees to the axis of the fuselage. 45 degrees works also, but causes uneven flexing of the wings under load, resulting in a strong turning tendency at high launch speeds.

Print the launcher with 3 perimeters (2 for .5 nozzle), 2 solid layers, and .35 line fill. Two perimeters are not enough, and will break. Scale the part to your preference - it is not layer critical.

Flight tips:

Fly with eye protection if using the rubber band launcher! The plane is tiny, hard to see, and may return to the point of launch at high speed. (yes, I did hit myself in the eye flying one of my plastic planes)

Carefully bow the wings upward to give a slight rounded dihedral.

Carefully bend in a tiny bit of up elevator so the plane does not dive towards the ground. Adjust elevon surfaces further as needed until the plane flies straight and level.

Put on your safety glasses, a nice stretchy 2mm cross section (18-24" extended) rubber band on the launcher, and fly!

A small amount of weight (3mm washer, etc) can be glued to the fuselage aft of the hook for more stability or longer flights.

Except in extreme cases, do not bend ailerons in the wing. Use the elevators as elevons instead. Using the rudder will cause side-slip drag, and will result in shorter flights. If the model seems to be skidding, use the rudder to align the fuselage to the direction of flight, then elevon tweaking to get straight and level or any other desired flight profile.

A neat trick is to adjust the pane for straight looping flight, then launch at about a 30 degree roll angle, slightly upward. Keep adjusting launch and control profiles until the plane circles around so that you can catch it.

Other materials and layer heights may work as well, please post your results!

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