DaVinci's flying kite

by Sedak, published

DaVinci's flying kite by Sedak Jul 18, 2015

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Seeing Thingiverse Challange #CatchTheWind the first thing that came to my mind was Leonardo Da Vinci's flying machine and his fascination with the wind altogether.
So I made his design (with a few intentional alterations) into model that is easy (no support needed, custom brim already incorporated into the model) and quick to print. Every part except body (2 h) needs approximately 1 hour to print.
The wings are printed like a flat surface but are bend according to the main ribs when assembled. The wing span is 65 cm.
The body is designed so that is aerodynamic and lets the 4 screws that hold the tail and main ribs to the body to penetrate making it ideal for a variety of add-ons.
You can now print it, assemble it and have your own DaVinci's flying machine that can actually fly like a kite.
No additional materials needed (the wings are printed so that they are not able to loosen up, they are light, strong and flexible so they can be bended), just print all the parts, screw everything together (the wings are holding themselves tight to the main ribs even without the screws) add some nylon threads and make it fly!
p.s. I am working on some add-ons for this thing. The video of me assembling and flying it will follow shortly.

Added STL files Left wing_big and Right wing_big for printing the wings in one piece on large printers.

Print Settings








15 - 0 %


Print without support.
If you don't have the build height needed (18 cm) you can lay down the ribs and print them horizontally with support.
The wing are 0,4 mm thick so watch out when removing it from the printbed (although in my experience the are quite hard to break).
Material // PLA (ABS would be better)

Layer height // 0.15 (for wings - don't go over 0.4 or it won't print good)

Layer fan // on (i had my off just to see if it can print without it - it can but it's messy)

Perimeters // min 2

Infill // 15 % in case of Body and Tail, down to 0 % for the Ribs and Wings

No support needed.
Assembling (will be described in the assembly video)

Printed parts, 18 (or less) M3 nuts and bolts and a nylon thread or something like that to hold and control it in the air.

The nylon threads are tighten to the main ribs between the two m3 bolts that connect the two parts of the main rib.

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How long should the M3 bolts be?

For the tail - 20 mm or longer, for the ribs - the hole is 3 mm long so something longer, for the connection between the ribs and the main body - again 20 mm or longer

how would you prevent the rib from oscilating and falling down as it is so tall? I tried to print but the rib start inclinaising and print failed at 7 cm height

Now all goes fine, I printed just with 5mm brim, no raft no support
It was my bed adhesion not good.
I changed another bed and now the printed parts sticks just so well.

I am glad to hear that! :)

I just used a brim (I think it was as little as 5 mm) to stabilise and stick the print to the bed. I really don't now why is this happening to you - on my Prusa i3 I didn't have any problems printing the ribs vertical. If the problem persists - you can try using custom supports to stabilise the horizontal movement of the part. Also - do you have a part cooling fan on your printer? Sometimes these kind of objects with small surface area can curl up on their sides and cause the extruder to crash into the part and tip it over. If you don't have the part cooling fan, you can try with the Lift Z option during the retraction and non printing moves.

I hope this helps. Comment again if you have any problems or you can also message me through the Thingiverse messaging system. Good luck!

Thanks so much for you quick reply.
I successfully printed the rib 1 of L/R sides with support generated with slic3R. For rib2 I used meshmixer to configure manually the support structure. Still trying.

Magnifico trabajo. Saludos
Great job. Greetings

Thank you! :)

Hello. I love the design, but a quick question is can it fly and what program did you use to design this?

Yes, it can, but not on a normal breeze...there must be some consistent airflow. I tested it on a windy day and with 3 strings added to the object it was possible to fly the thing. The higher it gets the more easier it is to fly it. I made the drafts in AutoCAD and then moved to Rhinoceros where I modeled the thing. Hope this helps. :)

I am using a Replicator 2 and unfortunately some the pieces are too large to fit, so the Replicator say scale to fit. Unfortunately I do not know the scale, and the parts that do fit will not be scaled. is there a different download I could obtain to fir the Replicator 2?

All the parts can fit into the Replicator 2 build volume. The only parts that you need to rotate to print are the ribs (they are 18 cm high so you need to rotate them horizontal so they can fit - it is mentioned in the description). Because of that - you need to turn on the supports for that parts. So - rotate the parts : Right rib_1, Right rib_2, Left rib_1, Left rib_2 and turn on the support for those parts. All the other parts should be oriented the way there are and printed without support (they should fit the build volume).

how do you attach the parts together

Today I saw that my reply earlier was modified and everything I wrote on how to assemble this object was deleted. I don't know how, and I am sorry about that, I must have deleted it accidentally. So I made an Assembly guide pdf - it was uploaded a few minutes ago.

The parts with the extension _big replace the files with extension _1 and _2 (wings in one part instead in two)

  1. You connect the two parts of the main rib (Right rib_1 + Right rib_2//Left rib_1 + Left rib_2) with the M3 nuts and bolts (2 of them on one rib). Between that two parts and between the bolts you fasten the nylon thread.

  2. Clean the wings from the custom "brim ears". Connect the wings to the main ribs (model with two small ribs goes to the outside regarding the body). One part of the wing additionally connects the two parts of the main rib). This can be difficult to do, so use some force, but not too much. The thin part must go between the flaps and into the slot along the rib. If everything is ok, the wings should be fixed to the main ribs, but if you need additional fixation, you can use the 3 mm holes on flaps of the main rib (you must drill the holes on the wings with 3 mm drill - I didn't make the holes on wings because when I put the model together the wings were holding strong to the main rib so it wasn't a need for it).

  3. Now that you have the wings finished you can attach the main ribs to the body. But before that, put the nylon thread through the hole on the bottom of the body and lace it up. Ribs go into the big holes on the side and are fixated with 2 M3 nuts and bolts.

  4. Now you only need to connect the tail to the body. You slide it into the body and fixate with 2 M3 bolts.

You are done! The nylon threads must be long so you can fly it in the air. I am still working on the handle but it is possible to fly it without it.

Hi, did you print the parts with a FDM printer? The wings look incredibly thin, I doubt a FDM printer can pull that off.

Yes...I printed the wings with my Prusa i3 (J head 0.4 mm hole). It printed in 2 layers only and that was with layer height of 0,25 mm for first layer and 0,15 mm for all the others. And it printed out great with PLA plastic (shown in the pictures). I didn't try to print it with ABS but it should be the same or even better (because ABS is more elastic). The wing are so thin so that you can bend them after the print according to the main ribs that are curved in 3 dimensions.