Solar energy has many applications. One of them, very original, is to propel an airplane for recreational purposes, can you imagine building it yourself? If you are passionate about these devices and clean energies, you can do so by following these steps. The project is not easy or suitable for beginners, according to high school students in Texas, USA, who developed it. However, following this method They not only succeeded in designing their aircraft, but were rewarded for the creativity of the project.

Materials needed for the solar plane.

As you can imagine, they are not uncommon. Before acquiring them, you will need to check whether you have the necessary tools to undertake the project, mainly for welding, as well as a heat gun, sealing plate, drill, multimeter, a wire cutter and knives.

As for the materials to build the solar plane, you will need at least the following:

  • Glider.
  • Monokote or other plastic material of a similar nature.
  • 3 x 6 solar panels.
  • Wiring for solar panels (so-called tab wire Yes bus wire), plus a standard cable.
  • A Micro Servo device.
  • The stems.
  • Nylon anchors (nylon control horns).
  • Propeller.
  • LiPo battery (lithium polymer).
  • An electronic speed controller.
  • Charger.
  • Cable connectors.
  • Recipient.
  • Electric motor.
  • Contact glue.
  • Heat-shrinkable sleeve.
  • Wire.
  • Connector for synchronization.
  • Nuts to balance the wings.
  • Balsa wood if the wings are very large.

Step by step manufacturing of a solar airplane.

Build the wing.

The first stage of construction will be the fabrication of the wing, which will house the solar panels. While the process will depend on the type of glider chosen, one formula is to adhere the panels to the wing or, as they did in this case, extend its reach with balsa wood and place the wing systems. energy capture between the woods, in the form of the grid.

Placement of panels.

It is a very delicate process due to the rigidity and fragility of the panels. Therefore, extreme caution should be exercised in all tasks. These will consist of placing them on the structure, fixing them with glue and connecting them in series. The wiring of the panels (bus wires) will be connected with another cable which must lead to the central strip of the wing, on each side.

Fuselage, monokote and electronics.

Although these three aspects are not extremely complicated, they do require some specialization, so to follow the steps precisely, especially when it comes to the fuselage and electronics, you can consult the manuals for this project. Take into account the temperature resistance of all components to avoid any risk of short circuits.

To align the wings of the plane with monokote, it will also help to see some tutorial on Youtube. In the meantime, it is advisable for this case to use a transparent material that does not obstruct the entry of light. As for the practicalities, the best thing to do is to start covering the lower part and then cover the upper part. With a sealing plate, the product contracts and closes completely around the skeleton of the wing.

Electronic test and flight test.

Now entering the final phase of the manufacturing process of this aircraft, it will be necessary to verify that all electronic systems are working properly, including solar panels. To test them, you will need to perform tests outdoors on a sunny day and check with a multimeter if they go into service and, if so, at what voltage.

On another side, the flight test will also remain. It is recommended that it be performed by someone experienced in piloting who, precisely for this reason, will help to detect possible errors and to apply improvements to the system which, as you have seen, is not easy. to manufacture.

Despite the difficulty of the process, embarking on this project can be stimulating, entertaining and a way to expand knowledge among enthusiasts of clean energy and sustainable technologies.