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Topic: Printer paper asymmetry  (Read 779 times)
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« on: December 16, 2016 08:13:23 PM »

I tried to make a paper airplane but it turned downward(wings moved towards the floor) while throwing it as well as nosedived. I looked at it closely and realized there was asymmetry. Noticeable asymmetry. I think it was because of the paper I used. Printer paper or any non-origami paper(even construction paper) is hard to get to be symmetric even when you do something as simple as folding in half.

But I don't have origami paper(besides, most origami paper is too small for making a paper airplane(paper airplane requires 8.5 x 11 or in other words, letter sized paper)).

With all the folds required for even the most basic paper airplane, that asymmetry you get in the folds adds up until you get my situation(won't fly straight).

So obviously I have to get symmetry and not asymmetry. But that is hard. I mean when I fold paper in half, 1 end of the paper might be exact while the other end is off by 1/8 inch. So I get a tiny little triangle of paper that is not exactly folded in half. With folding into triangles, it is a different story. The triangles start overlapping so much that 1 little bit of the paper gets super bulky from all the triangle folds while the rest of it is the thickness it should be.

And folding in half and folding into triangles are the essence of what makes a flat piece of paper into a paper airplane. Even the most complex paper airplanes are still based pretty much on these 2 folds.

So how can I get symmetry so that my paper airplane will fly straight instead of turn and nosedive?

I mean when I fold, I aim it so that the 2 edges that meet are symmetric. But this forms a loop of paper and that loop becomes a problem when I crease the fold. That creasing is when I get the asymmetry.

Would using a paper clip to hold the paper in place help me get it to be symmetric?
« Last Edit: December 16, 2016 08:15:45 PM by caters » THIS ROCKS   Logged
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« Reply #1 on: December 17, 2016 09:25:08 AM »

What size paper do you need?  You may just get two corners to meet and trim the other edges of the paper to get symmetry.

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« Reply #2 on: December 17, 2016 10:19:41 AM »

Didn't I already tell you? I need 8.5" x 11" paper. I did finger pressing on my second try but it still isn't flying right. It is still asymmetric. 8.5"x 11" is not only the size of paper I need but is also the largest size of paper I have. I am not so sure about trimming the little bits of paper that make it bulk up or be asymmetric. I mean that wastes paper unless you are making something from paper mache and I don't plan to make anything out of paper mache.
« Reply #3 on: December 17, 2016 07:46:43 PM »

I think the aerodynamics of a paper plane matters more in how it is folded/its shape, rather than the exact symmetry of folds. For example the tips of the wings might be folded up to create lift for a heavy nose.  If you look at a real plane you will see the wings and tail have flaps that move back and forth.

And I am not sure how a piece of paper can be asymmetric even with one fold, especially to the extent that will noticeably affect your plane, unless the factory has badly cut the paper. You might try measuring it for squareness just to be sure this is not the case.

The paper clip will also add weight to that spot and will affect the weight and aerodynamics of your plane too.

Try using lighter weight paper and a bone folder. You might just have to try larger papers, maybe gift wrap or newspaper is inexpensive enough to experiment with for folds that get very bulky.  And consult some professional paper plane folding sites and videos. Good luck!
« Reply #4 on: December 29, 2016 04:30:45 PM »

if you feel that the weight of the excess paper on one side is the problem, you could glue a similar-sized piece of paper (actually a teensy bit smaller to account for the weight of the glue) to the other side for balance.

But I made paper planes as a kid, out of whatever paper was available.  It's the design that makes them fly, not the paper or perfection

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