To kick off Makers Care and raise money for The Make-A-Wish Foundation, we are asking you to make an airplane. It doesn’t have to be wood: you can make it out of anything you like! We just want you to participate.
Please learn more about Makers Care and get involved at MakersCare.org.
How to make a wooden toy plane. Two options!
I couldn’t decide whether I wanted my plane to be a single-wing plane or a biplane so I made both! They are basically the same design: for the biplane you just need to add the upper wing and the connecting struts. Free plans for both versions (in imperial and metric) are available here.
I used 3/4″ (18mm) wood from my scrap bin. This project is perfect for a band saw. If you don’t have one, you can use a jigsaw. For the thinner wings and propeller, I suggest using 1/4″ (6mm) plywood.
Then cut out the shapes of the plane parts. There will be four: the fuselage, the wing (this will be resawed into two pieces for the biplane), the tail wing, and the propeller.
If you are making the single wing plane, you can split the wood into two pieces now. (You will only use the half with the template still glued on.) Again, you can just use thin plywood if you don’t want to split a board in half.
If you are going to make the biplane, drill the holes for the struts before you split the board in half. That way you will only have to make four holes instead of eight, and they will line up perfectly when you attach them with dowels.
Sand all the pieces smooth. With the template still glued on, you can sand the pieces right to the line.
Be sure to mark where you will need to drill the holes for the wheel support dowels. That way you can locate them once the paper template is peeled off.
I used my router to round over the edges of the fuselage.
If you don’t have a router, you can ease over the sharp edges with a lot of sanding. I had to sand the wings because I don’t have any roundover bits small enough to work on the thin wood.
Using my drill press, I bored two holes for the wheel supports. For the biplane, I just drilled the holes all the way through.
Then I drilled a hole for the axle in each of the wheel support dowels.
I glued these into the holes on the wings and made sure the holes for the axle rod lined up.
Glue the tail wing into place.
For the biplane, glue in the four struts and assemble the wings.
Gluing on the wings.
Glue the wheels onto the axle, being careful not to get glue on the wheel supports. I used store bought wheels from a craft store. It’s way easier than trying to make your own.
Then cut off the ends of the axle.
Drill a hole in the nose of the plane and use a screw to attach the propeller.
I finished my planes with spray lacquer, but it would also be fun to paint them!