The gyro glider is a one-seat glider with a propeller attached to a rotor disc on the roof. You have to tow it behind a vehicle for it to lift into the air. In 1954, Igor Bensen designed a famous gyro glider which was available in kits for £65 so families could build it at home to enjoy. Creating a wooden propeller for the gyro glider requires woodworking skills such as laminating, chiselling, grinding, sanding and finishing.
- Skill level:
Things you need
- Propeller blade template
- 6 pieces 1-by-6-inch lumber 10 feet long
- Wood glue
- Source image
- Hole saw
- Electric sander
Cut out the blade templates for each board. Set the templates on the 1-by-6-inch boards. Trace them with a marker. Cut out the traced outline on the boards using a jigsaw.
Lay the largest piece of lumber on the floor or table. This will be the centre board of the propeller. Drizzle a generous amount of wood glue down the length of the lumber. Place the next smallest board on top of the first, sandwiching the glue between them. Drizzle glue in the same manner on this piece of lumber. Continue layering glue and lumber until the top half of the propeller is sandwiched together. Clamp the pieces together tightly with numerous clamps running on each end and along the sides. When clamped tightly the glue should ooze out between the boards. Allow to dry for 24 hours.
Remove the clamps. Repeat the layering method of glue and lumber with the lower half of the propeller. Clamp and allow to dry for 24 hours.
Remove the clamps. Carve out the propeller shape using a hammer and chisel. Shape the blades so they tilt in opposite directions which should already be evident from the use of the template. Cut a hole in the centre of the propeller using a hole saw. Refer to a source image for shaping details.
Grind the propeller to refine the angles and begin to smooth out the wood. Smooth the wood thoroughly with an electric sander. Sand the edges to round them.
Make the propeller as smooth as possible with fine grit sandpaper. Sand in the direction of the grain. Brush off sawdust with a clean, dry rag. Rub finish into the propeller with a clean rag. Allow the finish to dry for 24 hours before applying another coat. Two or three coats of finish will seal the lumber and lock out any potential moisture.
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