The Ultimate Paper Airplane | WIRED

Over the last decade, designer Luca Iaconi-Stewart has been building an incredibly detailed model of a Boeing 777, right down to the tiny seats and moving landing gear, using only paper folders and glue.
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The Ultimate Paper Airplane | WIRED
I like to joke with people that i have . made a paper airplane when you think of . a paper airplane you probably think of . something like this but for one designer. a paper airplane is something completely . different . and a lot more detailed and of course . they're not people . i'm sure think i'm totally crazy and . then when i actually show them photos . they often are pretty shocked and they . probably think i'm crazy in a different . way which you know might be valid for . nearly a decade on-and-off-again luka i . akoni stewart has been painstakingly. designing and building this 160th scale . model of a boeing triple7 it's a project . that's really hard to explain in in . words and so i often avoid doing that i . just kind of skip to pictures because . that's really the only way you can . convey this sense of detail and just the . kind of insanity of it all . it even blows my own mind i don't really . know i've done a lot of it this is no . off-the-shelf model he uses a bare . minimum of tools and materials it's you . know manila folder glue exacto blade . straight edges it's a pretty simple set . of materials that i use and it's small . about using those two to make all . different kinds of things and that's . kind of the challenge and the fun in it . i have cut myself doing this project . definitely sliced the very tip of my . finger off just the skin it all began as . a school assignment it started on a much . smaller scale in terms of the detail . there are still parts of it that are . original but i increased the complexity . over time i just found my skills . increasing and so i wanted to add more . detail and i've torn it apart many times . to add more stuff or to make it more . accurate so detailed that there are tiny . lamps made of strands of paper above the. first-class seats and moving wing flaps . engine parts and landing gear that . actually retract created both sides here . and i mounted them in this like little . test. that replicates the main structural. elements that they're connected to so. this would be like the cabin floor would . be this way and then the wings would be . kind of this way they have all the kind . of steering function so it was actually . kind of shocked that it all worked out . given how small the scale is yeah this . is completely made out of paper the the . tires are completely solid core insides . that they can actually support a fair . amount of weight this is the nose . landing gear which is a lot less complex . but even at the time that was another . piece that it was kind of like wow you . know i can't believe this this has . worked out as well so it just kind of . retracts like that it's a pretty simple . concept but you know getting it to work . in paper can be a challenge there are . two types of manila folder i use there's . a thinner kind that's like the regular . folder you might you know encounter in . the wild and then there is a thicker . kind that's more of a divider though i . use those for structural elements like . in the wings that need to be much more . kind of load-bearing making these parts . can take weeks or even months luka . designs the pieces prints them cuts them. out by hand and then painstakingly glues . them together there is a fair amount of . concentration that that i have to have . when i'm putting this stuff together but . once i kind of get the hang of it i know . what i'm doing this is very much a . unique project in that i've had to . research everything and drop my own . plans and that's what i think a lot of . people don't realize i think i'm either . working off a kid which is . understandable but that's really not the . case and i've had to come up with all of . my own plans and obviously even if you . had a kit it wouldn't really translate . or lend itself to this type of material . you know i have to translate what they . make into something that i can build and . that will work in paper and there's a . huge difference in how you know . something will look the same on my model . but the way it actually works is . completely different because i'm taking . into account how paper responds not . having plans means that sometimes. hundreds of hours of work end up . scrapped. so this i like to jokingly call the . plane-crash . because you know it's like so these are. all sections that i've kind of ripped . out over the years you can see this is . like the cabin side wall kind of looks . like again like what you might see in a . plane crash just totally shredded parts . of the fuselage so why would anyone . spend this kind of time on a project . like this i've mainly done this project . because i really enjoy the sense of calm. and meditation that it brings when i . really get into the building process the . most satisfying thing is to look at. pictures and know the actual plane and . transform that into your own plans and . then see it actually come together in . paper that's probably the most rewarding. feeling and it's kind of exhilarating . when you get to the end and you really . see a component coming to life it's like . a really exciting sense of achievement . and so that's kind of what keeps me . going. sections of the cabin actually open up . to reveal the interior so that's first . and business class and this is business . and economy i haven't been able to fully . replicate all the detail or rather . haven't wanted to the overhead bins. don't open the seats don't actually . recline i think people often think they . do but they don't unfortunately thanks . to some press and lucas popular youtube . channel the plane model has taken him to . some unexpected places even to the . actual boeing assembly line and so i . actually got to see their whole . production facility and actually got . really up close to these planes and that . was an amazing experience . their assembly line is really a feat of . engineering obviously it's an the sense . of scale is just otherworldly and it's . landed in pain work making this . advertisement about two years ago i was . contacted by singapore airlines and i . was lucky enough to work on a project . with them an ad campaign for social . media and so i actually got to build . this plane behind me the a380 2/3 was . their flagship and after thousands of . hours of toiling over the paper version . a few years ago he finally flew on the . jet his model replicates a boeing . triple7 300gr . i really was glad that i was finally . able to and it kind of unfortunate that . it took me so long but it was it was . cool just to see the actual thing all . that time looking out the window got him . ready for the last challenge so yes the . plane does not yet have wings i'm kind . of in the midst of designing them and . i've broken them down into sections and . i've been slowly creating each different . subsystem if you will but yeah it's it's . a notable omission thus far and that's . kind of the last it's like the last . thing i have to do which is in fact a . multi-year ordeal i'm not sure why i'm. so interested in airplanes when i was . little it was trained i think it's hard . not to be amazed by the fact that these . huge pieces of you know metal and now . plastic can take off into the air and . that they're they're so advanced and . complex the testament to human ingenuity . 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