The Dale C. Maley Family Web Site

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Stained Glass Airplane

I was searching the Internet for different types of things to build using stained glass, and I found this neat looking stained glass airplane.

I found that one of my stained glass suppliers sells these kits, so I ordered one.

The kit comes with the patterns to cut the stained glass, and pretty detailed instructions on how to assemble the plane. When the plane is done, it is also a kladeiscope. You look into the back of the plane fuselage, then spin the 2 round discs in front to see different color patterns.

Below are sequential pictures of how I assembled this kit.........

The plans called for using masking tape to permanently hold the 3 mirrors together.  My experience with masking tape is that it gets very brittle over many years.  I chose to use black electricians tape.  It will last many more years that masking tape.

For the eyepiece, the plans call for using thinner clear glass, like 1/16" thick versus standard 1/8" thick glass.  I went to  Walmart and bought a $5 picture frame, because they typically use the very thin 1/16" thick glass. I used a piece of black tape to temporarily hold the eyepiece in place, for tack soldering it.

As shown above, I used 2 pieces of scrap pine to temporarily hold the wings parallel to each other, while I soldered them.

Once I got the main body done, I hand brush scrubbed off the white markings, and washed it.

Next was making the 2 round colored propellors, or color discs that you rotate to get the kaleidiscope affect.

I was all excited, because once I soldered up this first ring, then I could see how well the kladeiscope worked.............but I grabbed the soldering iron........and it was dead cold :(

Apparently it burned out, DARN !!

New Soldering Iron

On Amazon Prime, I ordered a  new Weller soldering iron for $80.  Hopefully it will last many years.  It is lighter weight than my old one, so easier to handle.

Here is plane with patina applied......

Cracks in lower wing

At this point, I noticed about 3 cracks in the glass of the lower ring.  Each crack originated where I soldered on a vertical strut.  I have no idea why I cracked the glass, I have never had this happen before.  Maybe I got that spot too hot when soldering?  At this point, I am going to leave it alone.  It would be simpler to build a new plane, versus taking the old one apart to repair it.

Below are both of the propellor wheels I made.  I put some clear glass in each one, so you can see the color well.

Run-out of Propellors to the axle

I followed the directions. I put down some 2-sided tape to hold the brass grommet. I laid the round propellor on 3 pieces of scrap glass to get the right spacing, then soldered the grommet to the glass ring.  One the first propellor, I put it on the shaft, and had zero ru-out.  But on the 2nd one, I had excessive run-out or wobbling.  I left the disc on the shaft, and used the soldering iron to soften the solder, so I could move the disc with respect to the grommet.  This worked, but caused a lot of problems.  The solder got on the shaft and threads, etc.  Next time, use a piece of scrap brass rod to support the disc.

Securing the Mirrors

I put 3 of the stick on pads on the back end of the mirrors, to keep them from rattling against the eyepiece.  The instructions say to use a dab of silicone on the front of the mirrors to hold them in position.  I used a dab of hot melt glue on each side, which seemed to work well.

Finished Stained Glass Airplane Kaledoscope

The 2 wheels were easy to solder on.  The hardest parts of this project were the struts and the one propellor with excessive run-out.

Closing Thoughts on this Project

My hat is off to whomever came up with this unique design.  Not only a plane made of stained glass, but a kaleidoscope as well!!!!!!

I'm going to order another kit, so I can make another one.