Whether you want to make wings from feathers or fabric, you’ll need a base if you want them to be articulated. Rachel came up with a lightweight design using a frame backpack and balsa wood, and once you build the framework, you can modify them to make them look like wings. He wrote a thorough tutorial and some of the materials used include hanger strap, lots of screws and washers, balsa wood, and as mentioned, an aluminum frame backpack. The first step is preparing the backpack for modifications:
Remove the pack from the frame and the inner frame from the pack. Toss the pack on your scrap heap, you don’t need it for the wings. You do need the U-shaped aluminum tube that forms the pack’s inner frame.
Cut the top of the backpack frame off just above the highest crossbar. I used my Dremel for this and it took about 15 minutes to cut both sides. I then sanded the raw edges smooth. These will form part of the hinges that let the wings flap.
Next cut the inner frame in half using the drill cutting wheel or metal snips or whatever seems best – the cut edge won’t show so it can be messy. Bend the pieces further at the existing right-angle bends, until each is a long thin U shape and the long bits are parallel. When you’re done, the cut end should fit through the nylon cap (R) into the cut edge of the main frame. These pieces will form the verticals that the wings attach to – the shoulder joint, as it were.
Read more about cutting the balsa and making all the hinges at Rachel’s instructable.
Editor’s note – looks like someone reposted the project on another site, we updated our page with the original author/name/credit – thanks everyone who sent that in.
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