The revolution of 3D printing is certainly based on fun toys that you can easily print for yourself at home and assemble together with your children, for some extra crafting and quality time spent together.
For example, out of the many new and innovative designs that have been recently launched, the quadcopters are quite a lot of fun to play with. Even more amazing is the encounter of a cool solar powered toy airplane, like the one created by Instructables user JoKu.
If you are looking for an environmental lesson, to teach to your kids, you might choose some wood or paper DIY toy. Since 3D printing is not the most environmentally-friendly activity in the world because it uses a lot of electricity and mostly non-biodegradable plastics, this is not necessarily a fully self sustainable operation. But the solar power component plus the loads of fun that you can have with it surely make up for every lack it has.
The plane practically functions based on two solar cells attached to the wings. So if you need it to function, you should better catch a sunny day! Who flies planes in the rain, anyway?
The plane’s designer JoKu believes that the choice he made for using solar cells was one conscious ad environment related, entirely. In fact, this is what differentiates this plane from any other plane that can be 3D printed, based on an available design. Combining 3D printing with a solar module seems to have been a real success for the designer that learned to use 3D printing techniques and especially dedicated software, for this very project.
The instructable files and design has been openly shared, you can find the instructables here. Simply download the four files and you can then 3D print them in your favorite color. The instructable files do not include the wheels of the plane, the solar modules and the solar engine or micro motor, unfortunately. So get be prepared before you promise your kid a plane to fly!
The assembly of the plane is simple and fast. The four different components slide together in a single effort. The more challenging part is connecting the wires, as to bond the engine to the solar modules. Once that is done, all you need to look for is a sunny day and you are ready to fly your plane!