Adventures with Skyaak

The first Skyaak prototypes were simply cut out of stiff paper with scissors. Hey, it worked! Then I graduated to cutting out plastic containers with a utility knife. What an advance. It worked better. So I made several hundred, trying out different angles, figuring out the best way to make it easier to build. I started to run out of room in my studio so I made the studio bigger, with higher ceilings and better light. I found that cutting out conical surfaces was very difficult so I then tried to figure out a way to start flat, so the cut-out shapes could be more controlled and uniform. Many attempts later, I was getting closer to figuring out what worked best. I needed to flesh it out with physical prototypes, as I am a hands-on developer.

The ‘aha!’ moment came when I was informed that my flat design could be converted to a ‘vector file’ that could be fed into a computer-assisted router, and also a computer-assisted laser-cutter. Fancy! Imagine my delight when I witnessed the first prototype being created via my drawing cum vector-file on a high-tech router table! My access to fabrication technology and a working budget had finally coincided with my artistic vision.

Over the past couple of years Skyaak has covered a lot of ground, been to a lot of places and has landed in lots of folks’ hands. I’ve put together a fairly comprehensive photo album that chronicles the trajectory of the Skyaak project from its very beginnings up to the present.

Although our focus has been on developing the DIY ‘deuce’ for the past couple of months, I wanted to remind our readers that there is much more to this line than the paper version, cool as that is.

The photo album is called “Adventures with Skyaak” and you can check it out here.

You might find it interesting, because one of the most frequent questions I get about Skyaak is “Where did you come up with the idea?”

This album shows a reproduction of the very first little ‘ring-wing’ glider I ever saw way back when I was a 19-yr old living in Halifax, N.S.

Let me tell you, for some reason…once I tossed this little unit around with my friend, I was hooked! You might say it was “Love at first flight!”

The album goes on to show my first rendering in which I worked out the strut design inside the ring-wing that could hold the shaft in the center of the ring for better looks, balance and aerodynamics. As you will see, the design has come a loooong way since its crude beginnings.

But isn’t that the way with most inventions?

You have to start with the seed of an idea and then slowly nurture it along until you have something more fully developed. So what if it takes a life-time to do it, as long as you follow your bliss then it’s a win-win situation.

Just to pique your interest here’s the 1st picture in the album:

Very 1st Ring-Wing replica


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