Your Halloween Costume May Be Cool, But It’s Not Laser-Cut Cardboard Vintage Airplane Cool

While others are absorbed in baseball playoffs, [Aidan] has spent his recent Octobers planning incredible Halloween costumes for his son. We don’t know what he did last year, but there’s no way it’s better than this laser-cut cardboard airplane costume.

He had a few specs in mind and started with a model of a Grumman F4F-4 Wildcat from 3D Warehouse. Using SketchUp, he simplified the model and removed the landing gear and the propeller. [Aidan] created a simpler model on top of that, and set to work changing the proportions to make it adorable and toddler-sized.

To build around his son’s proportions, he inserted a 10-inch diameter scaled tube vertically into the model and squished down the fuselage in SketchUp. The plan was to have it laser-cut by Ponoko, which meant turning the design into flat pieces for them to cut. He ended up with 58 parts, many of them mirror images due to the symmetry of his design.

When the box from Ponoko arrived, [Aidan] was giddy. He was astonished at the quality of the pieces and found the plane very satisfying to build. But, he didn’t stop there. Using LayOut, he created a custom instrument cluster with reflections and shadows. The plane also has a Wii steering wheel, a motorized propeller, and of course, decals.

33 thoughts on “Your Halloween Costume May Be Cool, But It’s Not Laser-Cut Cardboard Vintage Airplane Cool

    1. Maybe it isn’t a hack, but there sure was a lot of engineering that went into this seemingly simple item. I’m happy HaD put it up so I could learn about how this guy turned 3D objects into flat shapes to be laser cut.

        1. Edit: I read the article and know he used sketchup and put some work into it. Just for clarity, I posted the above link so you could give something similar a try quickly and easily. Not implying he quickly ran his creation through 123d.

          1. 123D is completely closed source and cloud based, so you are stuck with their proprietary files and cannot modify them. It’s a neat service but the tradeoff is asking too much for me personally.

  1. There is always some asshat who wants to proclaim “not a hack”. However, hackaday.com/about clearly states “We are taking back the term “Hacking” which has been soured in the public mind. Hacking is an art form that uses something in a way in which it was not originally intended. This highly creative activity can be highly technical, simply clever, or both.”

    This statement is an obvious indicator of the varying type of content that is going to be posted here and that said content will go beyond the simple definition of hacking as set by a few elitist.

    You can stop failing to see by shutting your mouth, then opening your mind.

    1. Well you can’t just accept HoD’s new radical definition as conical. In fact, their intention may be to CHANGE the definition, which does not ignore the real definition, which THIS definitely is not.

      1. It is not about blindly accepting HaD’s definition as the only answer.

        To put my previous comment in simpler terms, one does not visit a Proctologist to get a general physical exam. It is clear that HaD has set what they consider to be a Hack in general, if you want someone to specifically stick a finger in your ass, go else where.

    2. You seem to be missing the point. Using a laser cutter to cut out flat panels, is EXACTLY THE INTENDED USE OF A LASER CUTTER! There is nothing in this project that is in any way a creative use of something other than its intended purpose.

      1. If you are so picky, fine: using wii wheel for cardboard halloween costume is not an intended purpose. Happy now? ;)
        Maybe this article is better suited for craft magazines, but it’s inspiring and I think it should stay here.

  2. I’d love to make one for my son, but I it doesn’t look like he’s made the files available. Please correct me if I’m wrong! My laser’s not big enough so it would have to be manually cut (or resized for his toys), but I’d still be happy to give it a go.

    And for those saying “not a hack”, surely we can make some room for craftsmanship this good.

    1. I think adding a motor… yes, if you bother to actually read the article, it has a motor and to spin the prop, and a nice big toggle switch to start it up, no arduino PWM control though }:¬) … and WII controller to a bunch of cardboard counts as a hack… besides the attention to detail and finsh for what is in effect a cardboard box halloween costume makes it a work of art, so either way it gets my vote.

  3. “set my camera to a top, parallel projection view”

    This guy knows his Solidworks. The hand nesting was well done but time consuming and could possibly be slightly improved, more so if Ponoko offered larger sheet sizes.

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