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    cardboard and duct tape airplane

    Carboard and Duck Tape Airframes

    Hey All,

    I have, despite the obvious risk to life and limb, taken a bet that I can indeed build and fly a cardboard and duct tape airplane for 1/2 hour at 50 feet.

    Now, I haven't worked in the field in several decades (not since being run over by that drunken judge really). I can use all the help I can get.

    Naturally, I plan to stretch the rules somewhat by making my own cardboard. I plan to form a sharp conical main spar of corrugated cardboard with formers formed of bidirectional outlaid corrugated cardboard and a glued and taped stressed skin of packing tub type cardboard with bidirectional corrugation and water seal the lot with duck tape. I'll stress the lot with air pressure. I plan to make it as big as possible, like an old O-40odd series observation ship, and count on economy of scale to make it light enough.

    It should work, as Goodyear (?) had a rubber air pressure stressed wing airplane in the sixties that I worked on the concept and drawings for that air dropped inflateable rescue plane.

    By the way, it must make use of lawn mower engines, and I must pilot it and I weigh a substantial 255 lbs. (Wouldn't want to make things easy.)

    I have nothing in the way of ability to calculate the likelihood of failure and my funding is nearly nil. But I've always been lucky designing by the seat of the pants.

    The bet is that if I can do it, three fellows I know will go into business with me; I'm a crippled deadbeat dad, broke with brain injuries, thus I really need help with the licensing end of rebuilding my economic life (note if you will under those conditions in Maine -Maine treats the brain injured as "mentally ill" and one can't bill the mentally ill for child support as it cost the state more money to treat the medical conditions exacerbated by the threats intimidation and downright abuse than the child support will ever justify - imposition of child support is forbidden the court by statute - but neither the DHHS nor the judicial care - the local mobs penchant for shooting people in the head seems to trump all legal aspects of this pathetic existence).

    Don't worry about me though, I've got food, lodging (courtesy of the State Mental Hospital and CHCS's shelter plus care!) and I'm a Bell Ringer for the Salvation Army (they tell me I'm even famous) - so perhaps even God has heard of me and is on my side! (wish I could afford a hair cut and the occasional toilet paper roll though...but who knows, If I don't get squished flying a paper and tape airplane I might get to own another business or two, maybe even buy a few more hospital helicopters for foreign governments! After all, we can't rely on GWB to do all the winning of hearts and minds can we? - not that he's not doing a bang bang bang up job!)

    I have always counted on humor to get me out of tough scrapes, and I'd hope that a cardboard and duck tape airplane might be a worthy medium.

    If on the other hand, this project has already been done there is no use reinventing the wheel so please send me any details you might have of any former attempts.

    Thanks and God Bless,
    javascript:smilie('')
    Bananna Wade Edward Hinson
    AKA: Hue Ward (of)Whos

    PS:I thank the fellow in that other forum for redirecting my inquiry here; but, please forgive my bad spelling and grammer and don't get too mad that the other forum passed the buck on this one! I have a bad habbit of making the same bad bets - some of which I never quite get around to doing, others ... well but, if you've heard this all before please thank you for the past help, but the brain injuries do keep me from recalling everything when I desire it. So, bear with me.

  2. #2
    Registered User StRaNgEdAyS's Avatar
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    1/2hr at 50'
    Interesting task for cardboard, but then I guess with the right planning anything is possible. One question I do have is what do you intend to use for power? I've a feeling that you'll be hard pressed to put an engine on it, but then with enough laminations i guess you could make sufficiently strong mounting points. I'd hazard a guess that cardboard would be too heavy to allow Human power though.
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    Registered User pylon500's Avatar
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    Now this is getting interseting!
    Re,
    StRaNgEdAyS comments, You may need to create a set of definitions here to cover you with the bet.
    'To build and fly an airplane made from cardboard and duct tape' implies the above materials are to be used for the 'load bearing' majority of the structure.
    So, while that by definition precludes the use of steel cables for load bearing, (ie:a wire braced biplane) you probably still have the ability to install some 'Hardpoints', like bits of plywood, to attach motors, seatbelts (better safe than sorry!), wheel axles and so on.
    Just as long as you can prove they are not forming part of the PRIMARY load path.
    I had thought of many places you would need hardpoints, but with a bit of planning many of these could also be cardboard like control pushrods (rolled up paper tubes), undercarriage legs (use a mono wheel with tip skids, even the wheel could be cardboard!!), control belcranks (make them REAL big to cut down point pivot loads).
    As for your 'Duct' tape, here in Australia if you say duct tape, we tend to think of a plastic coated adhesive tape that has a cotton cloth backing with a very 'gummy' adhesive, that is very similar to a product we refer to as '100 mph tape'.
    This is of far better quality having more threads per inch (but still of cotton) and a finer grade of adhesive that is less likely to creep.
    BUT, while 100 mph tape is good, it is not as strong as fibreglass reinforced PACKING tape, which would be more in keeping with the 'built from boxes' concept, as well as being about a quarter of the price!
    This stuff has some serious tenslie strength so multiple layes of it would make good lower spar caps, as for compressive loads I would look at 'bundles' of cardboard tubes (minimum x3) tightly cross spiral (ie; both directions) wrapped to form top spar caps or more likely multiple top skin 'stringers' for the wing.
    OK, the wing....
    What do we need?
    A really DEEP wing to keep the top compressive loads down.
    We also need LOTS of wing area to keep us slow and do the 'concept of scale' thing.
    So far so good, these both help one another.
    What DONT we need.....
    Lots of bits and pieces to carry other bits and pieces and extra bits supposedly for stabilty and the like.
    So where am I going?
    Build a really big DELTA after all, this all probably started with a paper dart!!
    Maybe you need to look at building a double (or triple!) sized 'Facet Mobile".
    Who knows, Barnaby might even help out!?
    That's my nickels' worth.
    Arthur.
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    Registered User velojym's Avatar
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    A class group from my tech school participated in a glider contest in a nearby town. It's kinda like a small scale Junkyard Wars, and they are supposed to construct a glider from the junkpile provided.
    One year, they won with a foam and duct tape plane.
    The next year, our team bit the dirt with an chunk of corrugated cardboard and duct tape, which showed little planning and way too much weight. *sigh* When I get some time I'm gonna get together with my niece and try to do a bit better.
    It's good to step back once in a while, go simple 'n stuff.
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    Super Moderator orion's Avatar
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    Although not exactly cardboard as most of us klnow it, a full scale paper airplane has already been done by Molt Taylor and Jerry Holcomb. The technique, called TPG (Taylor Paper Glass) used Kraft paper, sandwiched between thin layers of glass. The paper stock was used for virtually the entire airplane, with the exception of a few wood pieces for siffening and in one or two areas, as the primary load carrying member (the paper would have been too heavy).

    A simplified version might be possible but should not be taken lightly (sorry about the pun) as the paper has a very low modulus and so, unlike more conventional airplane materials, would have to be designed for panel buckling more so than anything else.

    The task should be possible but will most likely have a very limited life and will be structurally very marginal.

    I like the delta idea but it will require quite a bit more power due to the characteristics of that particular configuration.

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    Thanks all,

    Actually, there was a stipulation in the bet that multiple small lawn mower engines be utilized as power plants. Yes I know, power to weight ratios are not ideal. But there was an airplane that flew with bungee assisted takeoff way back when with a three cylinder Franklin of quite a low rating and that carried two people; so I figure it all should even out. Again, I know that Briggs and Stratton do not make an approved engine, but at 500 feet above sea level there shouldn't be that much difference in operation - it should work. And with multiple engines the safety factor should be adequate. I've opperated these engines both here and in Monson on the hill and that is over 500 feet higher than here I would hazard a guess.

    As for the layout, I was going with a conventional monoplane with no landing gear similar to what I helped design in rubber and polyester for the US armed forces at the end of the Viet Nam war. (There were built two types one enclosed and one open cockpit the former a two seater and the later single). I would use the paper in place of the polyester and the duct tape in place of the rubber, sort of.

    As this design used air pressure to "stress" the airframe, buckling is not the problem, and it plays well off the strengths of paper, which we all know lie mainly in the tensile area. As for engine mounts I was thinking sandwiching the compressed cardboard between the engine and a portion of the lawnmower base.

    Finance is a problem, as I am a deadbeat dad; thus until I "get over" being a brain injured cripple or risk another heart attack and go to the court (I'm scared of court officials - one of them ran me over in a borrowed car and without insurance or conscience and some of the others seem to have covered up for him so this is a real issue with me) I cannot possess any money and I've only been gifted one working lawn mower engine and I'm pretty sure 3.5 horses just wont do it no matter how many bungee cords I use to sling her up with. I like the idea of making a documentary of the project (the last forum suggested this) and maybe I'll finance the project that way.

    Either way it's definitely an outlaw venture; I'm quite sure the FAA would frown on me flying again, even if it weren't in a cardboard airplane. (Maybe I could put it all on a fishing boat and get 200 miles out and have a go? - but I don't quite know how I'd legally pay for the stuff to make the plane out of or the transport outside the national airspace - of course cardboard is free, but duct tape! - that is precious stuff!) I'm asking for advice - please send no money!

    Wade

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    Registered User pylon500's Avatar
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    You mention some Vietnam time inflatables?, were these the GoodYear machines?
    If so, I remember that they relied on external wire bracing as well as the internal pressurising.
    If you are allowed external bracing the whole project is much easier.
    As for motors, if you have to use lawnmower engines, I would tend towards using two strokes where possible.
    I know a lot of people hate them, but, you need POWER with as little weight as possible.
    'Tecumseh' use to make a range of small two stroke mowers with engines that may have been based on McCulloch models, that have a one piece cast alloy case and barrel with a steel liner.
    With bigger carbs and a non restrictive exhaust, you could get around 10 hp from a 144cc model.
    I had two of these on my very first attempt to build something!! Just wish I could find the photos?!
    As for 'Duct Tape', remember the fibreglass reinforced tape....
    Arthur.
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    Registered User tankboot's Avatar
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    cardboard?

    You guys are nuts, however I was bet 3 years ago I couldn't build a flyable airplane from strickly home depot materials. I did it and won the bet, and it's still flying at 147.3 VNE.

    Construction methodology is paramount.


    Card board is heavy and useless in my humble opinion, I prefer foam, however it can be done, if you honeycomb several parts including the spar, build it as if it were a sailplane and utilize all methods possible to save weight, like covering it with brown masking paper, which is a dirivitive of cardboard. Worse case scenerio, I would also use solar panels on the tops of the wings, and fuselage and an electric "lawnmower engine" to power my craft in a perfect, abundantly funded world, in keeping with the bet. I would lauch myself (with a parachute on my back) from the highest point in america, and try to keep it gliding for the .5 you required, as the solar powered prop helps you maintain, and rising heat to keep you aloft. Generally speaking, Cheating is not wrong, (despite societies thoughts) finding new ways to cheat and win, is adapting and overcoming obstacles in the shortest amount of time.

    Remember the Kobiashi-Maru? (I think I spelled that wrong)



    Plenty of cardboard my be obtained behind appliance stores, or simply by asking for it at you're local big screen TV store.
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    Again marvelous stuff, thanks everyone.

    I like the two stroke info; I might need that and it sounds very nice indeed; very good power to weight ratios on two stroke engines, and the faster operation might actually help with keeping engine mounts together. The question is is there enough reduction in the drive train to be useful driving a prop? Would a model airplane prop work? Some of those jobs do 10hp.?

    I like the idea about using height advantages except for one small thing: one changes altitude too much for adequate safety in terms of engine reliability. I have crashed too many times already! Wouldn't want the carb to need preheat or variable jetting; I like the idea of saying I didn't cheat! And I like the KISS principle in all things.

    Instead, as with the rubber airplane, I would gain speed advantage through a ground launch assist; either by bungee or as per the Wright Fliers through a dropping weight. A Low tech. version of a JETO pack!

    I know that the rubber plane concept would be possible in paper; reinforced paper is comparable enough to polyester in terms of tensile strength. I know that there are reinforced card-boards used in shipping crates used for furniture; I used to work with furniture. I don't think that it would be cheating to pick what type of cardboard I chose to employ.

    Although there were rigging wires on the rubber plane they were mostly to keep the engine pod pointed in the right direction and upright! There were no real flying wires per se'.

    No, the craft would have flown with no wires at all, but the internal pressures might have needed to be different to keep that engine from eating the airframe. The tail was kept trim with wires, but again, this was not really required for flight, though it did help with stability of the flight controls, but I don't need to fly quite as fast as the speed that plane was intended to be able to achieve in a dive. I'm not planning on being shot at. So don't tell the FAA if you see me blown across the 200 mile limit!

    I have already thought of using thin film photovoltaic but I'm happy the idea doesn't sound too kooky to work to others. In fact, I've already been talking about a business loan to the government for several years, with just that point in mind. The thin film solar voltaic based on a copper film was my idea (copper is in and of itself a solar electric material - it is simply less reactive than those "expensive" materials).

    Eventually, I hope to have enough partners to defeat the deadbeat dad "laws" that prevent my saving people's lives by making redundant airframes. You can see that as I've laid out my cardboard and duct tape project, it is to be "fold-able". Using different materials, like diamond fibers and Mylar the weight becomes an issue only when inflated. (today a redundant airframe pack can be built in a package under one tenth the 400-600 lb size of the old rubber / polyester job.) Thus the size of the airframe if sustained flight is needed can match the output of the solar film's capacity to produce power. I will get back to you when I have proved that the power generated by the cells is enough to keep a rescue plane / redundant airframe aloft indefinitely. At that time we will no doubt have no use for ejection seats with parachute packs on board, and our civilian craft will finally have total redundancy in their systems, right down to the airframes.


    Thanks, Wade

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    Registered User pylon500's Avatar
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    Just had a bit of a dig around, and there has been a few attempts at making inflatable aircraft.
    some one tried to make an inflatable man powered delta!

    I'm not sure that trying to build a paper 'inflatable' plane is really going to work in that the amount of pressure you will need to create the skin stiffness you are looking for would then require extra structure to avoid bursting (I think?)
    Also found a picture of one of those Tecumseh engines I've got.
    I was running two of them as pushers on a trike I built, the props are home made and the last ones I was using were 30"D x 11"p.
    Arthur.
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    Registered User pylon500's Avatar
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    Here's an inflatable wing.....
    Arthur.
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    A correction

    I remembered a thing or two about that rubber airplane.

    The important thing is yes it did have flying wires. I can't believe I forgot this, as it was one of the principle argument I had with the fellow I was working with. I wanted them, he said the angle was wrong and they wouldn't work anyway, and that they might snag stuff on takeoff. I argued that the wings would bend under pressure and then the wires would work, as the angles would inherently change. As one can see on the films of the airplane, it did just as predicted, and as my partner was the test pilot, he was a tad happy when those wings stopped bending.

    Thanks for the info on the engines and the pic of that inflatable plane.

    Someone mentioned Goodyear, I believe we asked Goodyear, but they wouldn't build it, so we started with BF Goodrich.

    Wade

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    What about using a carpet tube for combe spar and leading-edge, with an outboard rib and root rib, skinned on top with that rip-stop style paper vapor barrier... ala Princeton wing?

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    You guys are nuts, however I was bet 3 years ago I couldn't build a flyable airplane from strickly home depot materials. I did it and won the bet, and it's still flying at 147.3 VNE.
    Tankboot
    Would you mind elaborating on that?
    You got me interested there. What materials, did you get your own mechanical characteristics, or just what the producer supplies?
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    Essentially, the Princeton wing is a tight fabric that uses one combo spar and leading-edge with a root rib, wing-tip and a cable or rope to keep the trailing edge tight. The fabric is attatched, so that it wraps over the top of the spar, forming the upper part of the chord.

    Rotating the wing-tip acts as ailerons ala Wright Bros. and wing-warping.

    As the air flows across the wing, the fabric adjusts itself into the most efficient airfoil for that portion of the wing, independantly, across the entire span, adjusting for the airspeed and all.

    This was developed in the Vietnam War, as part of an idea to have flying ejection-seats. The seat used a drogue-chute to extend a telecoping boom fuselage and the wing spars were hinged and cabled to swing into flight position, as the boom extended and locked.

    A pretty simple "T" srtucture, with the seat canted back, above the frame and a conventional (tail-dragger) landing gear. It used a small turbo-jet, mounted underneath, for propulsion.

    Basically, we're looking at a MONSTER-Scale model, using alternative materials...

    Another pair of designs are the "Maersk Momarch" and the "Woodhopper."(Not the Weedhopper) Both are ultralights...

    Monarch is a large flying-wing with a large vertical-stab and rudder, with a pusher-prop behind the fuselage/pod, underneath.

    Woodhopper had a glider-style wing and tailboom with seat slung underneath.

    Both used single-engines, but could be twin... If you could reduce the requirement to one powerplant, you'd be better-off.

    If you could get away with filling the cardboard tubing with triple-expanding foam, the resulting pressure and foam core will add strength, while adding minimal weight.
    Last edited by J.L. Frusha; February 18th, 2006 at 04:12 PM.

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