back to article PARIS skins up with Rizlas and dope

Work continues apace down at the Paper Aircraft Released Into Space (PARIS) workshop, where we've been looking at just how to skin our Vulture 1-X vehicle. Before we get to that, though, we're delighted to announce that our audacious upper atmosphere project now officially exists, because Wikipedia says so. Lovely. Now, on …


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  1. Lottie


    I'm finding this coverage really rather exciting. I can't wait for the next article.

    So when do you reckon it'll be airbourne?

  2. DZ-Jay

    Printer paper?

    Won't it add too much weight to the air(paper)craft? My guess is that you already took this into consideration, so I'm curious to know how are you managing the design trade-offs (if any) to account for the paper and glue covering?


    1. davcefai

      Model Aeroplane materials

      In my distant youth I used to build balsa wood planes skinned with tissue. The tissue was somewhat stronger than the stuff you buy at the newsagent and there was a special solvent based dope for it.

      You skinned the plane, sprinkled a little water on the tissue to shrink it and then doped the skin. The result (most times) was a tight, tough, wrinkle free skin. The dope added a lot of toughness.

      1. Jeremy 2

        Shrink dope!

        I remember that stuff. Of course, you had to remember to use it in a well ventilated room... Or not...

        I wonder if it's still readily available or if it's been banned by 'elf and safety?

      2. Anonymous Coward

        Snue gliffers

        "In my distant youth I used to build balsa wood planes skinned with tissue"

        Same here.

        "You skinned the plane, sprinkled a little water on the tissue to shrink it and then doped the skin. The result (most times) was a..."

        A very stoned Mahatma. Glue-sniffing modellers. Gah.

        <-- Flame because you couldn't dope tissue and smoke at the same time.

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    What about the latter?

    You speak of the former, - what of the latter?

  4. Dave Walker

    84gsm Paper in the Bog? OUCH

    Which is your standard: Glossy or Matte?

    1. Marky W

      Double ouch!!

      Beats the P180 grade wet and dry....

      (badgers due to the legendary roughness of their posteriors)

      1. A J Stiles

        Not even true

        If badgers' arses are really so rough, why do they make shaving brushes out of them?

  5. codemonkey

    Drawing a blank...

    I've no idea why I'm following this it cause I is geek? Loving it!

  6. LinkOfHyrule

    Blue Peter

    This reminds me of Blue Peter! All the tissue paper and PVA I mean, not the Rizlas and dope!

  7. Trollslayer Silver badge
    Thumb Up

    Good work!

    OK, joking aside this is showing excellent engineering practice - what would have happened if you hadn't tested the release mechanism properly? This would make a good introduction to engineering article.

    Now all it needs is a copule of paintball cannons...

  8. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    Looks OK, but I'm somewhat puzzled by the use of PVA. A shrinking dope would surely be better since it will pull the skin nice and tight. If you're concerned about the amount of shrinkage putting the skin under too much tension then don't - you can vary the amount of shrinkage,

    I've even come across people going so far as to use different amount of shrinkage on different panels in order that the tension will alter the shape of the structure. Going a bit far if you ask me.

    1. leakyPC

      Where is the ..,

      Double sided sticky tape?

  9. Neil Barnes Silver badge

    80GSM paper for tissue?

    Tissue is not so feeble once it's been shrunk and doped - did you get as far as trying that? I'd be trying it, myself. I can't help feeling you're adding a lot of mass with the thicker paper skin. The idea is to support things on the frame and use the skin to provide rigidity.

    You can still poke a hole through it, but it's pretty strong and you'll sort out the wrinkles at the same time.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward


      When it comes the strength you can get tissue with directional "grain". To make a strong covering with this you can layer it with the grain running at right angles. You can also change the angle for different effects or increase the number of layers. The world is your lobster.

      One thing to watch out for is that this stuff doesn't necessarilly shrink the same amount along and accross its grain when treated with a shrinking dope.

  10. Anton Ivanov

    You are still using wrong paper

    The best paper for this kind of stuff is the so called "rice paper" which used to be used by draftsmen for copying stuff around a drawing. Try that - it is lighter than normal 80, much stronger than 80 and you really need to break the stupidometer by driving it off the scale to wrinkle that.

  11. Chris Collins


    The accuracy and integrity of the Wiki can not be doubted - indeed, it is most likely that the name "Vulture 1" has something, a vague something perhaps but a likelihood no less, to do with the vulture logo. I'm guessing. Maybe you need to join the talk page and add a little something.

  12. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Up

    Is this a title?

    Lester - you get to build paper planes and type things like "tighter than a nun's naughty bits" and call it work.

    You lucky, lucky bastard!

  13. Jason 24

    Hard to find?

    "with silver Rizlas and dope. Sadly, the former are a bit hard to come by round here,"

    You guys are smoking some serious shit if only the Rizlas are hard to find, nice, pass the doobie now?

    1. BorkedAgain


      Well quite.

      Can I borrow your job sometime please? It looks like a hell of a lot of fun...

  14. lpopman
    Thumb Up

    titular thingy

    If you want a carton of silver Rizlas, I've got one going spare. As I said previously, I hate 'em ;)

  15. Justabloke 1
    Thumb Up

    I'm loving this :D

    I hope you guy's are gonna publish the plans once you're done... we can all have PARIS then!

  16. Velv Silver badge

    Paris 2010

    I love how El Reg has embraced the greatest of IT traditiions by sticking 2010 as part of the version and logo.

    A date that is surely destined to slip (if IT tradtition is to be followed).

    Unless 2010 doesn't relate to the year, and is some other relevant number ?

    Grams weight of the vehicle?

    Metres from launch point expected to crash (sorry, land) ?

    Number of ants carried ?

  17. Rumcajz
    Paris Hilton

    More on this, please

    I, and I think I speak for most Reg readers on this, would like to see a lot more high-res, detailed pictures of Paris's bare skin, shot from all angles and (preferably) in good light, although the light is a secondary consideration. If you could possibly get together a video covering the entire area of skin, that would be even better.

  18. SkippyBing Silver badge

    How cold is your freezer?

    By the time you, well the plane, get to release altitude it's going to be at most -50C which is colder than most domestic appliances manage. If you're only testing in a home freezer you may still get problems at release as things get more brittle.

    Just a thought.

    1. Lee T

      A way of testing in colder temps

      possibly lester can get his hands on a CO2 fire extinguisher - give it a good solid blast from that and it should get pretty darn cold right quick. alternatively, get your hands on some dry ice/liquid nitrogen and an esky? should be available, and -200 odd degrees should be colder than you will see in the atmosphere.

      <-- good pub engineering this.

    2. Cantab
      Paris Hilton

      Good point...

      I got a -80C in the lab at work if you fancy shipping a sample out to Seattle I'll pop it in over night to give it a test! Anything to cop a feel of PARIS ;-)

      <- Well it's obvious ain't it.

      1. Paris Hilton
        Paris Hilton


        Thats a bit nippy.

  19. Scott Broukell
    Thumb Up

    Cheech & Chong

    Like man, hey, like ... "Big Bambu" ... album .... rizzla papers ....... like, what were we doing here.

  20. Ben Holmes

    All well and good...

    ...but will we see Vulture 1 at the 2011 Farnborough Airshow?

    1. Ball boy

      PARIS at Farnborough?

      In 2011? I doubt it'll be making any kind of formal representation; Farnborough's every two years and it was on last week. Next offical one: 2012. Mind you, if PARIS wants to come and lie on a table outside the entrance gates next year, I'm sure there'd still be a hommage.

  21. Ausmith1
    Paris Hilton

    Dope & silk

    When I used to make model planes 20+ years ago I used silk and nitrate dope, I found a good site describing exactly how to do it:

    1. Grease Monkey


      Maybe you've missed the point, but this is a PAPER plane.

  22. Matt Collins

    Traditional coverings

    I too built balsa planes in my youth and recall doping tissue paper very well. At one point in the '80s, I tried a shrink-wrap plastic covering which was light, very colourful and easy to apply. While these coverings would almost certainly be lighter than normal paper and PVA, I think they might stress the straws too much. Balsa 'gives', straws buckle. If you can afford the weight, go with what you've got.

    1. Naughtyhorse
      Thumb Up

      exactly what I was thinking

      propietary name solar film i believe

      yes i was right.!

      it's the mutts nuts for what you are about - you can vary the tension my varying the heat you apply.

      also as noted elsewhere - you need to dope the paper properly to relalt test this, i tjhink we used to use buturate dope? few coats of that and you'll have no problems with water.

  23. Peter Lowden


    From memory PVA is not water resistant.

    What are the chances of condensation or clouds becoming an issue at lower altitudes? The plane will probably be quite cold too so might attract condensation.

    1. Grease Monkey


      Immerse PVA in water and it won't be happy, but it will take a while. I think it's best described as water resistant. Water does run off it. I've seen this often engough with stuff my son makes with "sticky white glue".

  24. Mips
    Jobs Horns

    The P in PARIS...

    ...clearly is plastic not paper. Just because it contains some paper does not make it a paper aeroplane. You will be telling me next that a Jumbo is made of rubber just because hat rubber tyres (or is that tires?)

    By the way PVA dope: that is "Heavy man, really heavy".

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward


      ....which bits of the structure are plastic then?

  25. Anonymous Coward

    To be fair..

    it doesn't really have to fly... It is only a Paper Aircraft Released In Space (or close enough) That says nothing about acutally having to fly... infact if recovery is intended then a really poor glide slope would help a lot. just imaging how far you'd have to drive if it achieves a 1:35 glide slope.. (I know it can't achieve that initially, but hey, do the maths for fun!)

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