I’ve been playing around with the idea of a Depron/foam board DLG. I wanted something as simple as possible. What could be more simple than a paper plane?

This is how the Depron Dart project started. I say “project” but it’s only taken just over an hour to get to this point and I don’t think it will take much longer to get to the maiden flight…

Building the Depron Dart

A classic paper dart

I started by folding up a classic paper dart.

I started by folding up a classic shape paper dart from a sheet of A4 paper. This gave me the rough dimensions for the model. I wanted to use single sheet of 6mm Depron so after playing around with a calculator I settled on a scale of 1:2.5 from the model. This gave me a wingspan of around 240mm and an overall length of 680mm.

Depron Dart Sheet

The plans drawn out on the Depron sheet.

I transferred the measurements quickly (and messily) onto the Depron sheet and cut out all the components (all three of them) in under 30 minutes. The bends on the winglets, aileron hinges and joint between the fuselage halves and doublers were all score cut and then cracked to make the alignments as good as I could get it – which was admittedly not great.

The wing in a simple jig to get the tips square.

The wing in a simple jig to get the tips square.

The wings were put into a makeshift jig to hold the tips steady whilst a bead of hot glue was run into each. The excess was scraped off with some scrap foam and then left to dry for a minute or two. The result is a suprisingly tough join – more than enough for these winglets.

Depron Dart components

The finished components ready for final assembly.

Another few beads of glue from the gun and the fuselage halves were assembled and then joined together. Sadly this process only served to highlight the inaccuracies of my measurements! Fortunately though everything was close enough for this prototype model. The resulting fuselage structure is both light and strong. The four layers of foam at the front also give a satisfying thickness that makes me think it might last past the first heavy landing.

Depron Dart airframe

The final airframe – with added fin!

The fuselage and wing came together easily and I am pretty happy with the result so far. I suppose I could spend a bit more time shaping and sanding the nose – maybe V2.0? I did decide that the two winglets were not going to provide enough lateral stability so I added a fin from some of the leftover foam.

Stay tuned for part two where I will fit the gear and see if the Depron Dart stands any chance of getting airborne…