If you are a model plane aficionado or simply got bored on tinkering away on an old junker in the garage, the MakerPlane might be the perfect project. Able to be made for $15,000, the two-seater airplane is designed to be a lightweight commuter that can be fabricated on a CNC at home or local maker space. 3D printers are used for all non-structural components, and each step of the construction process comes with detailed instructions, videos, and animations. They even use slots and tabs to help with assembly.
In an effort to challenge the aviation industry, the MakerPlane allows amateurs to create complicated models for little money and with the help of a community. Three out of four projects are abandoned before they are completed, translating into 6,000 endeavors and their materials being junked annually. With the aid of 3D printers, parts such as a wing rib that could usually take several hours to build by hand can now take only several minutes. The build time for the MakerPlane is estimated to be about 500 hours. After inspection by the FAA and the appropriate licenses, pilots can take to the skies.
The 2-seat Experimental Light Sport Aircraft (E-LSA) aircraft can be flown with a Sport Pilot License in the US. The design team hopes to complete flying prototype of the finished plane and present it at at AirVenture, Oshkosh in 2015. The free, downloadable plans for the plane are predicted to be completed within the next 12 months, and are being funded by a Indiegogo campaign. The engineering team is looking to raise $75,000 to get their project off the ground. You can visit their official website for specs, tutorials, and a chance to contribute.