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Table of Contents
Introduction.............................................................................................................................9
Format.................................................................................................................................................... 9
Using Printouts....................................................................................................................................... 9

The Tiny Tots Diamond Kite.................................................................................................10


Tiny Tots Diamond Kite - Step By Step Instructions...................................................................11

The 1-Skewer Sled Kite.......................................................................................................17


1-Skewer Sled Kite Plans.......................................................................................................18
1-Skewer Sled Kite - Tips..................................................................................................................... 19
1-Skewer Sled Kite - Plan View Photos................................................................................................19

1-Skewer Sled Kite - Step By Step Instructions........................................................................20


1-Skewer Sled Kite - Sail...................................................................................................................... 20
1-Skewer Sled Kite - Spars................................................................................................................... 22
1-Skewer Sled Kite - Towing Points...................................................................................................... 23
1-Skewer Sled Kite - Bridle................................................................................................................... 23
1-Skewer Sled Kite - Tails..................................................................................................................... 24
1-Skewer Sled Kite - Flying!................................................................................................................. 24

1-Skewer Sled Kite Selected Flight Report.............................................................................25

The 1-Skewer Diamond Kite................................................................................................27


1-Skewer Diamond Kite- Plans..................................................................................................28
1-Skewer Diamond Kite - Tips.............................................................................................................. 29
1-Skewer Diamond Kite Plan View Photos........................................................................................ 29

1-Skewer Diamond Kite Step By Step Instructions.................................................................30


1-Skewer Diamond Kite - Sail............................................................................................................... 30
1-Skewer Diamond Kite - Spars............................................................................................................ 32
1-Skewer Diamond Kite - Attaching Sail............................................................................................... 32
1-Skewer Diamond Kite - Bridle............................................................................................................ 33
1-Skewer Diamond Kite - Tail................................................................................................................ 33
1-Skewer Diamond Kite - Flying!.......................................................................................................... 34

1-Skewer Diamond Kite Selected Flight Report......................................................................35

The 1-Skewer Barn Door Kite..............................................................................................37


1-Skewer Barn Door Kite Plans......................................................................................................... 38

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1-Skewer Barn Door Kite Tips............................................................................................................ 39
1-Skewer Barn Door Kite Plan View Photos......................................................................................39

1-Skewer Barn Door Kite Step By Step Instructions...............................................................40


1-Skewer Barn Door Kite - Sail............................................................................................................. 40
1-Skewer Barn Door Kite - Spars.......................................................................................................... 42
1-Skewer Barn Door Kite - Attaching Sail.............................................................................................42
1-Skewer Barn Door Kite - Bridle.......................................................................................................... 43
1-Skewer Barn Door Kite - Tail.............................................................................................................. 43
1-Skewer Barn Door Kite - Flying!........................................................................................................ 44

1-Skewer Barn Door Kite Selected Flight Report....................................................................45

The 1-Skewer Rokkaku Kite................................................................................................47


1-Skewer Rokkaku Kite Plans.................................................................................................48
1-Skewer Rokkaku Kite - Tips............................................................................................................... 49
1-Skewer Rokkaku Kite Plan View Photos......................................................................................... 49

1-Skewer Rokkaku Kite Step By Step Instructions..................................................................50


1-Skewer Rokkaku Kite Sail............................................................................................................... 50
1-Skewer Rokkaku Kite - Vertical Spar................................................................................................. 52
1-Skewer Rokkaku Kite - Spars............................................................................................................ 52
1-Skewer Rokkaku Kite - Attaching Sail................................................................................................53
1-Skewer Rokkaku Kite - Bridle............................................................................................................ 53
1-Skewer Rokkaku Kite - Tail................................................................................................................ 54
1-Skewer Rokkaku Kite - Flying!........................................................................................................... 55

1-Skewer Rokkaku Kite Selected Flight Report.......................................................................56

The 1-Skewer Sode Kite......................................................................................................58


1-Skewer Sode Kite Plans................................................................................................................. 59
1-Skewer Sode Kite Tips................................................................................................................... 60
1-Skewer Sode Kite Plan View Photos..............................................................................................60

1-Skewer Sode Kite Step By Step Instructions.......................................................................61


1-Skewer Sode Kite Sail.................................................................................................................... 61
1-Skewer Sode Kite - Vertical Spar....................................................................................................... 63
1-Skewer Sode Kite - Spars................................................................................................................. 63
1-Skewer Sode Kite - Attaching Sail..................................................................................................... 64
1-Skewer Sode Kite - Bridle.................................................................................................................. 66
1-Skewer Sode Kite - Tail...................................................................................................................... 66
1-Skewer Sode Kite - Flying!................................................................................................................ 67

1-Skewer Sode Kite Selected Flight Report............................................................................68

The 1-Skewer Delta Kite......................................................................................................70


1-Skewer Delta Kite - Plans.......................................................................................................71

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1-Skewer Delta Kite Tips................................................................................................................... 72
1-Skewer Delta Kite Plan View Photos..............................................................................................72

1-Skewer Delta Kite Step By Step Instructions.......................................................................73


1-Skewer Delta Kite - Sail..................................................................................................................... 73
1-Skewer Delta Kite - Frame................................................................................................................ 75
1-Skewer Delta Kite - Keel.................................................................................................................... 75
1-Skewer Delta Kite - Attaching The Tail............................................................................................... 76
1-Skewer Delta Kite - Finishing Off....................................................................................................... 76
1-Skewer Delta Kite - Flying Tips.......................................................................................................... 77

1-Skewer Delta Kite Selected Flight Report............................................................................78

The 1-Skewer Roller Kite.....................................................................................................80


1-Skewer Roller Kite- Plans.......................................................................................................81
1-Skewer Roller Kite Tips.................................................................................................................. 82
1-Skewer Roller Kite Plan View Photos............................................................................................. 82

1-Skewer Roller Kite Step By Step Instructions......................................................................83


1-Skewer Roller Kite - Sail.................................................................................................................... 83
1-Skewer Roller Kite - Vertical Spar...................................................................................................... 85
1-Skewer Roller Kite - Spars................................................................................................................ 85
1-Skewer Roller Kite - Attaching Sail.................................................................................................... 86
1-Skewer Roller Kite - Sail Tethers....................................................................................................... 87
How To Make A Roller Kite - Keel......................................................................................................... 88
How To Make A Roller Kite - Attach The Keel.......................................................................................89
1-Skewer Roller Kite - Attach The Bridle...............................................................................................89
1-Skewer Roller Kite - Tail..................................................................................................................... 90
How To Make A Roller Kite - Flying!...................................................................................................... 91

1-Skewer Roller Kite Selected Flight Report...........................................................................92

The 1-Skewer Dopero Kite...................................................................................................94


1-Skewer Dopero Kite Plans...................................................................................................95
1-Skewer Dopero Kite- Tips.................................................................................................................. 96
1-Skewer Dopero Kite- Plan View Photos............................................................................................. 96

1-Skewer Dopero Kite Step By Step Instructions....................................................................97


1-Skewer Dopero Kite - Sail................................................................................................................. 97
1-Skewer Dopero Kite - Spars.............................................................................................................. 99
1-Skewer Dopero Kite - Attaching Sail.................................................................................................. 99
1-Skewer Dopero Kite - Sail Tethers................................................................................................... 100
1-Skewer Dopero Kite - Keels............................................................................................................. 101
1-Skewer Dopero Kite - Attach The Keels...........................................................................................102
1-Skewer Dopero Kite - Attach The Bridle..........................................................................................103
1-Skewer Dopero Kite - Tail................................................................................................................ 104
1-Skewer Dopero Kite - Flying!........................................................................................................... 105

1-Skewer Dopero Kite Selected Flight Report.......................................................................106

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The 1-Skewer Box Kite......................................................................................................108
1-Skewer Box Kite Plans......................................................................................................109
1-Skewer Box Kite Tips.................................................................................................................... 110

1-Skewer Box Kite Step By Step Instructions........................................................................111


1-Skewer Box Kite - Frame................................................................................................................. 111
1-Skewer Box Kite - Sail..................................................................................................................... 112
1-Skewer Box Kite - Cross-Pieces...................................................................................................... 114
1-Skewer Box Kite - Final Bits............................................................................................................. 115
1-Skewer Box Kite - Attaching The Tail............................................................................................... 115
1-Skewer Box Kite - Flying!................................................................................................................. 116

1-Skewer Box Kite Selected Flight Report............................................................................117

The Skewer Tetrahedral Kite..............................................................................................119


Skewer Tetrahedral Kite Step By Step Instructions...............................................................120
Skewer Tetrahedral Kite Selected Flight Report....................................................................124

The 2-Skewer Sled Kite.....................................................................................................126


2-Skewer Sled Kite Plans.....................................................................................................127
2-Skewer Sled Kite- Tips.................................................................................................................... 128
2-Skewer Sled Kite- Plan View Photos............................................................................................... 128

2-Skewer Sled Kite Step By Step Instructions.......................................................................129


2-Skewer Sled Kite - Frame................................................................................................................ 129
2-Skewer Sled Kite - Sail.................................................................................................................... 130
2-Skewer Sled Kite - Bridle................................................................................................................. 134
2-Skewer Sled Kite - Attaching Tails................................................................................................... 135
2-Skewer Sled Kite - Prepare To Fly................................................................................................... 136
2-Skewer Sled Kite - Flying!............................................................................................................... 137

2-Skewer Sled Kite Selected Flight Report...........................................................................138

The 2-Skewer Diamond Kite..............................................................................................139


2-Skewer Diamond Kite Plans..............................................................................................140
2-Skewer Diamond Kite Tips............................................................................................................ 141
2-Skewer Diamond Kite Plan View Photos......................................................................................141

2-Skewer Diamond Kite Step By Step Instructions...............................................................142


2-Skewer Diamond Kite Making Spars............................................................................................145
2-Skewer Diamond Kite Attaching Spars.........................................................................................145
2-Skewer Diamond Kite Bridle......................................................................................................... 146

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2-Skewer Diamond Kite Tail............................................................................................................. 148
2-Skewer Diamond Kite Flying!........................................................................................................ 149

2-Skewer Diamond Kite Selected Flight Report....................................................................150

The 2-Skewer Barn Door Kite............................................................................................152


2-Skewer Barn Door Kite Plans............................................................................................153
2-Skewer Barn Door Kite Tips.......................................................................................................... 154
2-Skewer Barn Door Kite Plan View Photos....................................................................................154

2-Skewer Barn Door Kite Step By Step Instructions.............................................................155


2-Skewer Barn Door Kite - Frame....................................................................................................... 155
2-Skewer Barn Door Kite - Sail........................................................................................................... 156
2-Skewer Barn Door Kite - Bridle........................................................................................................ 161
2-Skewer Barn Door Kite - Attaching The Tail.....................................................................................162
2-Skewer Barn Door Kite - Preparing To Fly.......................................................................................162
2-Skewer Barn Door Kite - Flying!...................................................................................................... 163

2-Skewer Barn Door Kite Selected Flight Report..................................................................164

The 2-Skewer Rokkaku Kite..............................................................................................166


2-Skewer Rokkaku Kite Plans...............................................................................................167
2-Skewer Rokkaku Kite Tips............................................................................................................ 168
2-Skewer Rokkaku Kite Plan View Photos.......................................................................................168

2-Skewer Rokkaku Kite Step By Step Instructions................................................................169


2-Skewer Rokkaku Kite - Frame......................................................................................................... 169
2-Skewer Rokkaku Kite - Sail............................................................................................................. 170
2-Skewer Rokkaku Kite - Bridle.......................................................................................................... 175
2-Skewer Rokkaku Kite - Bow The Lower Spar..................................................................................176
2-Skewer Rokkaku Kite - Preparing To Fly......................................................................................... 177
2-Skewer Rokkaku Kite - Flying!......................................................................................................... 177

2-Skewer Rokkaku Kite Selected Flight Report.....................................................................178

The 2-Skewer Sode Kite....................................................................................................180


2-Skewer Sode Kite Plans....................................................................................................181
2-Skewer Sode Kite- Tips................................................................................................................... 182
2-Skewer Sode Kite Plan View Photos............................................................................................182

2-Skewer Sode Kite Step By Step Instructions.....................................................................183


2-Skewer Sode Kite - Frame.............................................................................................................. 183
2-Skewer Sode Kite - Sail................................................................................................................... 184
2-Skewer Sode Kite - Bridle................................................................................................................ 190
2-Skewer Sode Kite - The Tail............................................................................................................ 191
2-Skewer Sode Kite - Preparing To Fly...............................................................................................192

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2-Skewer Sode Kite - Flying!.............................................................................................................. 192

2-Skewer Sode Kite Selected Flight Report..........................................................................193

The 2-Skewer Delta Kite....................................................................................................195


2-Skewer Delta Plans........................................................................................................... 196
2-Skewer Delta Kite Tips................................................................................................................. 197
2-Skewer Delta Kite Plan View Photos............................................................................................197

2-Skewer Delta Kite Step By Step Instructions.....................................................................198


2-Skewer Delta Kite - Frame.............................................................................................................. 198
2-Skewer Delta Kite - Sail................................................................................................................... 199
2-Skewer Delta Kite - The Keel........................................................................................................... 203
2-Skewer Delta Kite - Attaching The Tail............................................................................................. 205
2-Skewer Delta Kite - Bow The Spreader........................................................................................... 206
2-Skewer Delta Kite - Preparing To Fly...............................................................................................207
2-Skewer Delta Kite - Flying!.............................................................................................................. 207

2-Skewer Delta Kite Selected Flight Report..........................................................................208

The 2-Skewer Roller Kite...................................................................................................209


2-Skewer Roller Kite Plans...................................................................................................210
2-Skewer Roller Kite Hints............................................................................................................... 211
2-Skewer Roller Kite Plan View Photos........................................................................................... 211

2-Skewer Roller Kite Step By Step Instructions....................................................................212


2-Skewer Roller Kite - Frame.............................................................................................................. 212
2-Skewer Roller Kite - Sail.................................................................................................................. 213
2-Skewer Roller Kite - Keel................................................................................................................. 218
2-Skewer Roller Kite - Sail Tethering.................................................................................................. 219
2-Skewer Roller Kite - Bridle............................................................................................................... 220
2-Skewer Roller Kite - Preparing To Fly..............................................................................................222
2-Skewer Roller Kite - Flying!............................................................................................................. 222

2-Skewer Roller Kite Selected Flight Report.........................................................................223

The 2-Skewer Dopero Kite.................................................................................................225


2-Skewer Dopero Kite Plans.................................................................................................226
2-Skewer Dopero Kite Hints............................................................................................................. 227
2-Skewer Dopero Kite Plan View Photos......................................................................................... 227

2-Skewer Dopero Kite Step By Step Instructions..................................................................228


2-Skewer Dopero Kite - Frame........................................................................................................... 228
2-Skewer Dopero Kite - Sail............................................................................................................... 229
2-Skewer Dopero Kite - Keel.............................................................................................................. 233
2-Skewer Dopero Kite - Sail Tethering................................................................................................ 234

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2-Skewer Dopero Kite - Bridle............................................................................................................ 235
2-Skewer Dopero Kite - Preparing To Fly............................................................................................ 237
2-Skewer Dopero Kite - Flying!........................................................................................................... 238

2-Skewer Dopero Kite Selected Flight Report.......................................................................239

The 2-Skewer Box Kite......................................................................................................241


2-Skewer Box Kite Plans......................................................................................................242
2-Skewer Box Kite Tips.................................................................................................................... 243

2-Skewer Box Kite Step By Step Instructions........................................................................244


2-Skewer Box Kite - Main Spars......................................................................................................... 244
2-Skewer Box Kite - Cross-Pieces...................................................................................................... 245
2-Skewer Box Kite - Sail..................................................................................................................... 246
2-Skewer Box Kite - Rigging............................................................................................................... 248
2-Skewer Box Kite - Bridle.................................................................................................................. 249
2-Skewer Box Kite - Flying!................................................................................................................ 250

2-Skewer Box Kite Selected Flight Report............................................................................251

Appendix 1 Requirements...............................................................................................253
Appendix 2 Making Tails.................................................................................................255
Appendix 3 Flying Line And Winder................................................................................257
MBK150 Kite Winder Plan.................................................................................................................. 258
Making The Quick Kite Winder........................................................................................................... 259
Making The NICE Kite Winder!........................................................................................................... 260
The Flying Line................................................................................................................................... 261

Appendix 4 Knots............................................................................................................262
The Simple Knot................................................................................................................................. 262
The Multi-Strand Simple Knot............................................................................................................. 263
The Multi Strand Double Knot............................................................................................................. 264
The Granny Knot................................................................................................................................ 265
The Loop Knot.................................................................................................................................... 266
The Lark's Head Knot......................................................................................................................... 267
The Half Hitch Knot............................................................................................................................. 268
The Prusik Knot.................................................................................................................................. 269
The Slip Knot...................................................................................................................................... 270
The Double Loop Knot........................................................................................................................ 271
The Figure Eight Knot......................................................................................................................... 272

Update History...................................................................................................................273

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Introduction
This eBook provides very detailed step-by-step construction information for all the kites
made of skewers and plastic which are featured on the My Best Kite website. Plus knottying examples and all the other useful website info relevant to making these kites for
yourself. Hence you have all the information conveniently in the one spot.
Required tools, if you can call them that, are very minimal just a pair of scissors and a
ruler! There's a few other items too, which are quite likely to be found around the house
somewhere.

Format...
Here's a summary of the information and images provided for each Skewer kite...

A large in-flight photo, introduced with a short description.

Detailed step-by-step instructions, including many close-up photos.

A selected Flight Report, in which I share some of our flying experiences with the
original kite.

Being quite small already, none of these kites need to be packed down or taken apart in
any way for transport. Just gather the tail, if it has one, and find a resting spot on top of
anything else that happens to be in the car.
Most of the single-surface kites have a set of 3-view Plans plus a list of hints and 2 planview photos. For more experienced builders who just need the basic specs!
The Appendices at the end of this eBook provide extra information which will be useful for
the first-time builder of an MBK Skewer kite. I'd definitely recommend a quick read of
Appendix 1 through to Appendix 4 before you start building.

Using Printouts...
You might like to print out this entire eBook and bind it in a simple cover or folder.
Magazine shops usually have binders and covers of various kinds. Another approach is to
just print out the Appendices, plus instructions for a kite or 2 as and when required. The
Table of Contents makes this easy, since you can just look up the page-range needed for
printing.
To save on ink costs, find GrayScale in your printer's Properties settings, and set it so
color ink isn't used. For color, you can always refer back to this PDF on the screen. Also,
look for Draft or Fast in the Properties. This will ensure the printer uses much less black
ink too. If you are a Mac user, you should be able to find similar settings for your printer.

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The Tiny Tots Diamond Kite


This is a very simple kite for kids. It involves no gluing. Just cutting with scissors, sticking
with tape and one knot. It's so quick that if any damage occurs while you are out flying it,
you can come home and have another one ready in minutes!

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Tiny Tots Diamond Kite - Step By Step Instructions


Absolutely everything needed to make this kite for kids is in the following list:

plenty of thin colored plastic, in sheets or bags

2 bamboo BBQ skewers, 30cm or 12 inch (possibly the only thing you might need to
buy)

clear sticking tape, as used in offices

light string, or strong sewing thread (such as bobbin thread)

a ruler

a black marking pen, for example a felt-tipped laundry marker

scissors, big enough to snip the skewers

somewhere flat to work

The following 10 steps are designed for maximum speed, at the expense of some
accuracy. However, the human eye is good at lining things up and dividing lengths in 2 - so
the end result should fly fine! It looks a lot, scrolling through, but each step is very short
and easy. There's nothing hard about kite making for children.
Step 1. Snip the points off both bamboo skewers.

Step 2. By eye, mark the center points on both skewers. Then, on one of the skewers,
make another mark exactly half-way between the first mark and one end of the skewer. No
fiddly measuring involved in this kite for kids project!

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Step 3. Open out some colored plastic, lay it flat on your work space or table top, and
arrange the skewers as shown.

Step 4. Mark the positions of the skewer ends with the marker pen, making dots. Then
remove the bamboo skewers and join the dots, using the pen and ruler.

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Step 5. Cut out the diamond shape with the scissors, then lay down the vertical skewer,
then lay down the horizontal skewer.

Step 6. Use 4 short rectangles of tape to wrap around the ends of the skewers. First do
the vertical skewer, sticking tape down as indicated by the red rectangles in the photo.

Wrap the tape over and under, onto the other side of the plastic. Then do the ends of the
horizontal skewer. This is probably the trickiest part of this 'kite for kids' project.

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Step 7. Cut out a ribbon of plastic, about as wide as 2 adult fingers, and at least 10 times
as long as one skewer. Attach sections together with tape if you can't get the length out of
one bag or sheet. Ragged or wavy edges don't matter at all, in fact it will work even better!

Step 8. Thread one end of the plastic ribbon between the bamboo and the plastic, near the
bottom end of the kite, and tie it off. Cut off the excess plastic, so it looks neater than the
one in the photo!

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Step 9. Where the skewers cross, poke a small hole in the plastic, using the point of
another skewer. Now cut off 15 meters or 50 feet of your string or strong thread. Poke one
end of the string through the hole and securely tie the crossed skewers together. Do the
knot whichever way you find easiest. You're nearly ready to fly this kite for kids!

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Step 10. Wind the remaining string or thread onto a small block of wood or stiff card,
starting from the free end. There's no need for a fancy shop-bought reel when making a
kite for kids!

You are now ready to fly the kite! Weather permitting, of course.
If there is no wind, with this kite kids can still have fun. Just encourage the child to run
around towing the kite. It's a good idea to get the Diamond in the air yourself first, with the
child holding the winder. Then the child can just start running. Hope you've enjoyed this
experience of making kites for kids!

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The 1-Skewer Sled Kite


At 29cm (11 1/2") tall, the MBK1-Skewer Sled Kite is a rather small Sled, with the classic
2-stick configuration. A shallow V is cut into the leading edge. 2 simple ribbon tails keep
this reliable little performer stable in light to moderate winds. Due to it's size, it won't stay
up in very light winds though.

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1-Skewer Sled Kite Plans

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1-Skewer Sled Kite - Tips


1. Secure the sail to the spar ends and spar centers using short lengths of clear
sticking tape.
2. At the towing points, add clear sticking tape to both sides of the plastic, extending
out a short distance away from the plastic.
3. Take a length of bridle line about 6 times as long as the kite is high, and tie each
end tightly around the towing point tape, crushing it.
4. Put a simple loop knot into the exact center of the bridle line. The flying line can
then be attached using a Lark's Head knot.
5. Each tail can simply be threaded between the bottom end of the vertical spar and
the sail, then looped through itself and tightened.
6. Adjust the length of one tail to trim out any tendency to hang left or right in flight.

1-Skewer Sled Kite - Plan View Photos


The photo on the left is of the front surface. That is, the surface of the flying kite which
faces the flier. The other photo is of the back surface, which exposes the spars.

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1-Skewer Sled Kite - Step By Step Instructions


Now's the time to read up in Appendix 1 about kite materials and other things needed to
build an MBK Skewer kite, if you haven't already.

1-Skewer Sled Kite - Sail

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The template shown above represents one side
of the kite sail. You will now transfer these
measurements to the sail plastic as follows...

Firstly, take a light plastic bag that will fit


the entire Template shape within one side,
and lay it flat on the floor.

Mark dots on the plastic, corresponding to


the corners of the Template. There is no
need to use a T-square, since any small
error will be duplicated on the other side of
the sail.

Using the marking pen, rule lines between


the dots, as in the photo.

Flip the plastic bag over, and trace over all


the black lines using your marker pen and
ruler.

Cut out a rectangular section of the bag


containing the kite sail, open it out and lay
it flat on the floor - you can now see the
complete sail outline, as in the photo.

Cut along the black lines with scissors, to


create the sail.

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1-Skewer Sled Kite - Spars

For this Sled, you need two 30cm (12")


bamboo BBQ skewers.

Lay down and line up the skewers over the


plastic as shown. Mark each skewer where
it crosses the bottom edge of the sail.

Snip off the pointed ends with scissors, at


the marks. These are the vertical spars.

Lay down the vertical spar skewers again,


over the sail.

Wrap a short length of clear sticky tape


around each of the 4 tips, securing them to
the sail plastic. See the close-up photo,
which shows the top tip.

Next, lay a short length of clear tape


across each skewer and onto the plastic,
at the center. See the photo over there.

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1-Skewer Sled Kite - Towing Points


Here's how to reinforce the towing points...

Firstly, stick down a length of tape that


goes left to right and sticks out some
distance from the towing point, as in the
photo

Turn the sail over and stick down another


piece of tape exactly the same way, so
both pieces stick to the plastic at one end
and to each other at the other end.

Finally, stick down another piece of tape at


right angles to the first 2. Fold the corners
around the edge of the plastic sail, so it
looks like the photo.

Now go over to the right side of the sail


and do exactly the same thing with another
3 pieces of tape. The pieces of tape that
stick out are where you will attach the bridle line. This method is surprisingly strong
and can take a lot of punishment in rough air, due to the kite's light pulling force.

1-Skewer Sled Kite - Bridle

Cut off some flying line to a 6SL (175cm, 70")


length, and put a small Loop knot (Appendix
4) into each end.

Using Double Wrap Slip knots, tie one end of


the line to one towing point tape, and the other
end to the other towing point tape. Try to get
the knots tight enough to crush the towing
point tape. See the photo.

Take the bridle line and suspend the kite from


it, so that the 2 sides line up exactly. The 2
spars should be right next to each other. Tie a
small Loop knot into the bridle, taking care
that the kite sides still align.

TIP: It's best to fold and twist the towing point tape before forming the knot. Otherwise, it's
too easy to shear off the tape when attempting to tighten the knot!

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1-Skewer Sled Kite - Tails

Cut out 2 long thin rectangles of colored


plastic for the tails. Mine are black, to
contrast with the orange sail. Make each
tail 4.0SL (1160mm, 46") long and 0.15SL
(44mm, 1 3/4") wide.

Tie one end of each tail around a vertical


spar, as close as possible to the bottom tip.
See the photo. A single Half Hitch will do,
since there are very low forces on the tails
in flight.

At this point, you've finished making the 1-Skewer


Sled!
To attach the flying line, just Lark's Head the
flying line to the kite's bridle as in the photo.

1-Skewer Sled Kite - Flying!


Firstly, if it's very windy outside, stay home! This is a light-tomoderate wind kite and won't like being launched in a gale.
Assuming there is some breeze outside, just dangle the kite
at arm's length until the wind catches it. As long as you feel
the kite pulling, let out line slowly by taking loop after loop off
the winder.
Another approach is to get a helper to hold the kite up and
let it go, on the end of maybe 10 or 20 meters (around 50
feet) of line. This way, the kite soon gets high enough to
make it easy to let more line out.
The picture and video show the 1-Skewer Sled on it's
second outing, on a Spring day with a moderate breeze.
After this photo was taken, the little Sled went on to reach
almost 200 feet above ground.
Have fun flying, and I hope you've enjoyed learning how to
make a Sled kite!
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1-Skewer Sled Kite Selected Flight Report


First Time Out, And Loving The Moderate Breeze!
While the orange 1-Skewer Sled kite flew today, the sun was gamely trying to peek
through. It never quite succeeded. But never mind, it was a great first outing for the
spanking new little Sled. I went up to the nearby vacant block, which afforded plenty of
room to test fly a 1-Skewer design.
The forecast had predicted 10-15 knot winds, moderating to 5-10 knots later in the day.
Around 2pm, the winds were still decidedly in the moderate range, and even gusting to
rather fresh speeds just before I came home.
On arriving at the grassy block of land, I removed
the winder of 20 pound line and the rolled-up Sled
from the inner pockets of my jacket. It would be
easy to smuggle this kite into any venue! Not
much point though, since its in-door performance
would not be great.
Despite being in a somewhat sheltered position
near a tall fence, the 1 Skewer Sled kite was
soon aloft. Initial impressions were that the kite
was very stable and collapse-resistant. Letting 10
or 15 meters (40 feet) of line out, I took a few
photos. Then, after letting out another 10 meters
(35 feet) of line, I zoomed in close and shot off
some video.
The moderate gusty breeze was not a problem at
all, although the kite had a slight lean to the right.
Annoyingly, the ribbon tails quickly wound up,
leaving only a short section flat, right at the end.
So the tails looked like a couple of paddles! They
still seemed to be doing the job though. See the
photo down there...
The Sled seemed to be holding around a 45
degree angle most of the time, with a decent pull
for so small a kite! After a while I took it down and
pinched off a centimeter (1/2") of plastic from the
right tail. This didn't have much effect, so brought
the kite down again and pinched off another couple of centimeters. Eventually, the kite
ended up with the right tail some 6 or 7 cm (3") shorter than the left tail, to correct its
tendency to fly to the right. It's not often that a kite this size will fly perfectly true without
adjustments. For one thing, no 2 BBQ skewers are the same!
I eventually flew on 60 meters (200 feet) of line for a while. This required carefully
monitoring of the kite's distance from surrounding trees and power-lines running beside
the main road, just in case. Most flying was done on around 40 meters (140 feet) of line.
Even on that much, the kite was starting to look pretty small!
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The winds seemed to strengthen a little during the last flight. The highest wind speeds
blew the game little Sled kite down to 30 degrees or so. But it hung in there, and never
looped out of control.
At other times, rising air came through, causing a lowering of the line tension while the kite
floated face-down. So a few nice thermal climbs resulted, when I let the kite float vertically
upwards with line slipping slowly through my fingers.
There was an exhilarating moment on 60 meters (200 feet) of line when the tiny 1 Skewer
Sled kite reached a 60 degree flying angle. A short time later, it got punished with a blast of
fresh wind and I had to pull in line very quickly to avoid a close call with some tall trees!
There's never a dull moment when flying tiny kites.
I must say that I'm very happy with the performance of this small Sled. It is definitely a
better and more reliable flier overall than the original clear-plastic, tape-edged 1-Skewer
Sled kite.

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The 1-Skewer Diamond Kite


At 29cm (11 1/2") tall, the MBK 1-Skewer Diamond Kite is a rather small Diamond, with
dihedral and simple 1-leg bridle.
As a bonus, these instructions also show you how to string several of these kites together
in a kite train!

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1-Skewer Diamond Kite- Plans

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1-Skewer Diamond Kite - Tips


1. 30 cm (12") bamboo BBQ skewers work well as spars. I work with 1SL = 29cm (11
1/2").
2. Secure the sail to the spar ends using short lengths of clear sticky tape.
3. After cracking the bamboo to get the dihedral angle, use a generous drop of wood
glue to join the spars where they cross and hold the dihedral angle firmly.
4. Try a length of bridle line about the length of one skewer. Let half hang out the front
of the sail, and the other half out the back. Secure with a small drop of glue. The
kite can now be easily included in a kite train.
5. For a start, try making a tail about 8 times as long as the length of the kite itself, and
3 adult finger-widths wide.

1-Skewer Diamond Kite Plan View Photos


The photo on the left is of the front surface. That is, the surface of the flying kite which
faces the flier. The other photo is of the back surface, which exposes the spars.

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1-Skewer Diamond Kite Step By Step Instructions


Now's the time to read up in Appendix 1 about kite materials and other things needed to
build an MBK Skewer kite, if you haven't already.

1-Skewer Diamond Kite - Sail

The template shown above represents one side of the kite sail. You will now transfer these
measurements to the sail plastic as follows...
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Firstly, take a light plastic bag that will fit


the entire Template shape within one side,
and lay it flat on the floor.

Mark dots on the plastic, corresponding to


the corners of the Template. There is no
need to use a T-square, since any small
error will be duplicated on the other side of
the sail.

Using the marking pen, rule lines between


the dots, as in the photo.

Flip the plastic bag over, and trace over all


the black lines using your marker pen and
ruler.

Cut out a rectangular section of the bag


containing the kite sail, open it out and lay
it flat on the floor - you can now see the
complete sail outline, as in the photo.

Cut along the black lines with scissors, to


create the sail.

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1-Skewer Diamond Kite - Spars


For this Diamond, you need two 30cm (12") bamboo BBQ skewers. The photo shows them
laid over the sail, before being snipped to length with scissors.

Lay down a skewer over the center


crease of the plastic, lining up the nonpointy end with the top corner of the
plastic. Snip off the pointed end so the
skewer lines up with the bottom corner of
the plastic as well. This is the vertical
spar.

Lay down another skewer across the left


and right corners of the sail, and again
snip to length, removing the point. Also
make an easily-seen mark on the skewer
at the exact center-point. This is the
horizontal spar.

Using a sharp corner, perhaps a blade of


the scissors, make an indent in the
bamboo, at the center-point you marked.

1-Skewer Diamond Kite - Attaching Sail

Lay down the vertical spar skewer over the sail,


and wrap a short length of clear sticky tape around
each tip, securing them to the top and bottom
corners of the sail. The top photo shows the top tip
in close-up.

Lay down the horizontal spar skewer and attach


its tips to the left and right corners of the sail, in
the same way.

Bend the horizontal spar in the middle, until it


starts to crack at the indent! Carefully increase the
bend until you can get the kite looking like the one
in the middle photo. If you want to be precise,
each wing-tip is 0.13SL (3.7cm, 1 1/2") off the
table top.

Dribble some wood glue all around where the


skewers cross each other. See the bottom photo
over there.

Wait for the glue to dry. Maybe start another one of these
kites, so you can fly them together in a train later on!
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1-Skewer Diamond Kite - Bridle

Cut off some 20 pound bridle line to a


length of 1.0SL (29cm, 11 1/2"), and tie a
very small Loop knot (Appendix 4) into
each end. See the photo over there.

Poke a hole in the plastic sail, 0.22SL


(6.4cm, 2 1/2") from the top tip of the
vertical spar.

Tie the middle of the line to the vertical


spar with a simple Granny knot. Poke one
end through the hole in the sail, and leave
the other end hanging. See the photo.

Secure the knot onto the bamboo of the


vertical spar with a tiny blob of wood glue,
so it can't shift up or down the spar.

1-Skewer Diamond Kite - Tail

Cut out a long thin rectangle of colored


plastic for the tail. Mine is black, to contrast
with the orange sail. Make it 8.0SL (230cm,
90") long and 0.2SL (5.8cm, 2 1/4") wide.
Knot pieces together if necessary, to get
the full length. Avoid taping, because it
adds weight!

Tie one end around the vertical spar, as


close as possible to the bottom tip. See the
photo. A single Half Hitch will do, since
there are very low forces on the tail in
flight.

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At this point, you've finished making the 1-Skewer
Diamond!
Now, make up a flying line (Appendix 3) and
attach it to the bridle with a Lark's Head knot as
shown in the photo.
Now for the cool bit... If you have made 2 or more
kites, each attached to their own flying line, you
can hitch them together in a train. Just put a fairsized Loop knot into both ends of each flying line,
and then it's easy to attach and un-attach the
kites. My first 2 Diamonds flew great with a 10
meter (35 feet) line between them.

1-Skewer Diamond Kite - Flying!


Firstly, if it's very windy outside, stay home! This is a light-to-moderate wind kite and won't
like being launched in a gale.
Assuming there is some breeze outside, just
dangle the kite at arm's length until the wind
catches it. As long as you feel the kite pulling, let
out line slowly by taking loop after loop off the
winder.
Another approach is to get a helper to hold the
kite up and let it go, on the end of maybe 10 or 20
meters (around 50 feet) of line. This way, the kite
soon gets high enough to make it easy to let
more line out.
The picture shows this latest version of the 1Skewer Diamond on its second outing. Coping
well in a very gusty moderate breeze.
Have fun flying, and I hope you've enjoyed
learning how to make a Diamond kite!

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1-Skewer Diamond Kite Selected Flight Report


2 Orange Diamonds Flash In A Blue-Gray Setting
Several very rainy days are approaching, so the new 1 Skewer Diamond kite was pulled
out while the sun shone. KiteS actually, since I had made 2 of them. 'Made to be trained'
they are - one bridle leg out the front and one out the back, for convenient hitching
together with short flying lines.
The weather conditions were quite unusual today. Thin hazy mid-level cloud reduced the
intensity of the sun, blocking it to what could be called 1/2-strength. Objects such as trees
and poles still cast easily-seen shadows.
A wide halo had formed in the cloud cover around the sun. Not a rainbow, but some other
effect for which meteorologists have a name. I'd mention it if I could remember it...
Winds this afternoon were very variable. You
could describe them as light gusting to fresh, with
frequent shifts in direction. Hence the new 1
Skewer Diamond kite was either struggling to
stay up, or being battered by too much wind
speed for much of the time!
Gee, I've taken a while to get to the actual kite
flying...
Ok, the first Diamond I made went up first. Let's
call it Number 1. Moderate gusts were blowing
through constantly as I attached the flying line, so
the little Diamond soared up almost immediately.
It was too easy to let out about 20 meters of line,
before stepping on the line and fishing out the
digital camera from a coat pocket.
I took some photos and video, then wasted no
time letting out over 60 meters (200 feet) of line.
These little kites have correspondingly low line
pull. Hence, even in these conditions, my wooden
winder could just lie on the grass without shifting downwind. This enabled me to take some
video footage from directly underneath the 1 Skewer Diamond kite. Coincidentally, some
soaring birds got themselves in the picture too. They were checking out the kite from a
much higher altitude!
The 1 Skewer Diamond kite coped well in the very gusty air, although the freshest gusts
would force it down close to the ground from time to time. It was good seeing it up high for
a change. Now, it was straight back to the car to pull out the Number 2 kite and attach it to
the back of Number 1 with a 10 meter (35 feet) length of line! Just 2 Lark's Head knots, a
piece of cake.
It was fascinating to watch the interplay between the 2 kites as they swept around the sky.

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Both Diamonds responded immediately to shifts in wind direction. Somehow, the wind
shifts were a lot more obvious when more than one kite was on the line! Imagine all 8 1Skewer designs flying in a train stretching up to 400 feet... It might happen one day.
Lulls would lead to both kites sinking low sometimes. At other times, very fresh gusts
would put Number 1 into a dive towards the ground, dragging Number 2 with it. And then
Number 2 started to twirl around in loops, completely overpowered, while Number 1 hung
on maintaining its composure. And so on and so forth.
Maybe 20% of the time, wind strengths would be near the ideal for these kites. It was then
very gratifyingly to watch them soar up to a 45 degree line angle in tandem, swaying and
rocking just a little as the long tails kept the noses pointed upwind.
With such small kites on nearly 90 meters (300 feet) of line, there was bound to be a little
excitement from time to time. I'm talking about those trees lurking in wait around the
reserve perimeter! Number 2 had a near miss with one such tree. However, 1 Skewer
Diamond kite Number 1 helped me to pull it free through some small twigs! Phew.
It's definitely more fun flying 2 kites on the one line like this. We'll have to do more of it! I
can see most of the 1-Skewer kites lending themselves to this 'ready-to-train' approach ,
as I re-design them one by one.

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The 1-Skewer Barn Door Kite


At 29cm (11 1/2") from tip to tip, the MBK 1-Skewer Barn Door Kite is a rather small Barn
Door, with dihedral and a simple 1-leg bridle.
It's a fine little light to moderate wind flier.
As a bonus, these instructions also show you how to string several of these kites together
in a kite train!

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1-Skewer Barn Door Kite Plans

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1-Skewer Barn Door Kite Tips


1. 30 cm (12") bamboo BBQ skewers work well as spars. I work with 1SL = 29cm (11
1/2")
2. Secure the sail to the spar ends using short lengths of clear sticky tape.
3. After cracking the bamboo to get the dihedral angle, use a generous drop of wood
glue to hold the dihedral angle firmly.
4. Use drops of wood glue to secure the skewers where they cross each other.
5. Try a length of bridle line about the length of one skewer, tied to the middle of the
horizontal spar. Let half hang out the front of the sail, and the other half out the
back. Secure with a small drop of glue. The kite can now be easily included in a kite
train.
6. For a start, try making a single tail about 6 times as long as a skewer, with each end
tied to the bottom end of a diagonal spar, forming a loop
7. Add a couple of strips of clear sticky tape all along the trailing edge of the sail. The
extra weight here makes the kite more stable.

1-Skewer Barn Door Kite Plan View Photos


The photo on the left is of the front surface. That is, the surface of the flying kite which
faces the flier. The other photo is of the back surface, which exposes the spars.

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1-Skewer Barn Door Kite Step By Step Instructions


Now's the time to read up in Appendix 1 about kite materials and other things needed to
build an MBK Skewer kite, if you haven't already.

1-Skewer Barn Door Kite - Sail

The template shown above represents one side of the kite sail. You will now transfer these
measurements to the sail plastic as follows...

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NOTE: Don't worry if your sail dimensions don't
look exactly like the photos below. Just stick to
the Template measurements, which were used for
my most recently tested kite!

Firstly, take a light plastic bag that will fit


the entire Template shape within one side,
and lay it flat on the floor.

Mark dots on the plastic, corresponding to


the corners of the Template. There is no
need to use a T-square, since any small
error will be duplicated on the other side of
the sail.

Using the marking pen, rule lines between


the dots, as in the photo.

Flip the plastic bag over, and trace over all


the black lines using your marker pen and
ruler.

Cut out a rectangular section of the bag


containing the kite sail, open it out and lay
it flat on the floor - you can now see the
complete sail outline, as in the photo.

Cut along the black lines with scissors, to


create the sail.

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1-Skewer Barn Door Kite - Spars


For this Barn Door, you need three 30cm (12") bamboo BBQ skewers. The photo shows
them laid over the sail, before being snipped to length with scissors.

Lay down 2 skewers over the sail, lining up


the non-pointy ends with the top corners of
the plastic. Snip off the pointed ends so the
skewers line up with the bottom corners of
the plastic as well. These are the diagonal
spars.

Lay down another skewer across the left


and right corners of the sail, and again snip
to length, removing the point. Then make
an easily-seen mark on the skewer at the
exact center-point. This is the horizontal
spar.

Using a sharp corner, perhaps a blade of


the scissors, make an indent in the bamboo, at the center-point you marked.

1-Skewer Barn Door Kite - Attaching Sail

Lay down one diagonal spar skewer over the sail,


and wrap a short length of clear sticky tape
around each tip, securing the skewer to the top
and bottom corners of the sail. The top photo
shows the top left tip in close-up.

Lay down and secure the other diagonal spar, in


the same way.

Lay down the horizontal spar skewer and attach


its tips to the left and right corners of the sail, in
the same way.

Bend the horizontal spar in the middle, until it


starts to crack at the indent! Carefully increase
the bend until you can get the kite looking like the
one in the middle photo. If you want to be
precise, each wing-tip is 0.15SL (4.4cm, 1 3/4")
off the table top.

Dribble some wood glue on the spot where the


horizontal spar has cracked. Also glue the places
where the 3 skewers cross each other. See the
bottom photo over there.

Wait for the glue to dry. Maybe start another one of


these kites, so you can fly them together in a train later!
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1-Skewer Barn Door Kite - Bridle

Cut off some 20 pound bridle line to a


length of 1.0SL (29cm, 11 1/2"), and tie a
very small Loop knot (Appendix 4) into
each end. See the photo.

Poke a hole in the plastic sail, right over


the bend in the horizontal spar.

Tie the middle of the line to the horizontal


spar with a simple Granny knot. See the
photo.

Poke one end of the line through the hole


in the sail, just above the skewer. This end
may be used to attach a short flying line to
another kite.

Secure the the Granny knot with a small dob of glue, or it will come loose!

1-Skewer Barn Door Kite - Tail

Cut out a long thin rectangle of colored


plastic for the tail. Mine is black, to contrast
with the orange sail. Make it 6.0SL (170cm,
70") long and 0.15SL (4.4cm, 1 3/4") wide.

Tie one end around one diagonal spar, and


the other end to the other diagonal spar, as
close as possible to the bottom tips. Make
sure there are no twists in the tail. See the
photo. A single Half Hitch will do for each
knot, since there are very low forces on the tail in flight.

At this point, you've finished making the 1-Skewer Barn Door!

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This design seems to need a little tail-weight for stability, so stick a couple of strips of
sticky tape along the whole length of the trailing edge. That is, the edge of the sail
between the lower tips of the 2 diagonal spars.
Now, make up a flying line (Appendix 3) and attach it
to the bridle with a Lark's Head knot as shown in the
photo.
Now for the cool bit... If you have made 2 or more
kites, each attached to their own flying line, you can
hitch them together in a train. Just put a fair-sized
Loop knot into both ends of each flying line, and then
it's easy to attach and unattach the kites.

1-Skewer Barn Door Kite - Flying!


Firstly, if it's very windy outside, stay home! This is
a light-to-moderate wind kite and won't like being
launched in a gale.
Assuming there is some breeze outside, just
dangle the kite at arm's length until the wind
catches it. As long as you feel the kite pulling, let
out line slowly by taking loop after loop off the
winder.
Another approach is to get a helper to hold the kite
up and let it go, on the end of maybe 10 or 20
meters (around 50 feet) of line. This way, the kite
soon gets high enough to make it easy to let more
line out.
The picture shows this latest version of the 1Skewer Barn Door kite flying in a fairly light breeze.
The video below was taken on the same day, after
letting out a little more line.
Have fun flying, and I hope you've enjoyed learning
how to make a Barn Door kite!

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1-Skewer Barn Door Kite Selected Flight Report


Short But Successful Flights In Meagre Breezes
The new 1 Skewer Barn Door kite needed a small tweak to get the towing point just right.
Today's outing proved the design is finally good!
Down at the reserve, there was almost no breeze. Mainly blue sky overhead, although a
lot of thermal-marking Cumulus clouds were visible in the far distance.
The UV danger was predicted to be at the Extreme level today, so Aren and I both wore
our Cancer Council hats with their great ear, neck and nose protection. Those bits being
the most likely to burn!
At least the ample sunlight today would be good for the image quality from our rather
cheap digital camera.
The only significant wind coming through was
associated with the occasional thermal lifting off.
Hence, there were huge variations in wind
direction. About 270 degrees actually, if I
remember all the directions in which I towed the
kite up or let out some line.
To begin with, it was only possible to loft the little
1 Skewer Barn Door kite for a few minutes at a
time. If it didn't find rising air immediately, it would
just drift down again, the wind speed insufficient
to support it plus the weight of the line.
Although there was quite frequent thermal
activity, the lift didn't seem particularly strong
today.
Still, it was nice seeing the refined kite design
basically behaving itself up there. With the light
wind strength, the loop tail formed a fairly stable
shape, the shape changing in subtle ways from
second to second.
Occasionally, when the kite was floating down on
its face, the tail would cross over into a rough
figure-eight shape, but that was about it. In
contrast, moderate-to-fresh winds tend to coil
light plastic tails up and reduce their
effectiveness!
After a while I did manage to get some fairly high
flying out of the little orange Barn Door. However, if the wind speed dropped suddenly
while the kite was at its highest point, it tended to tuck the leading edge under and dive all
the way to the ground! Also, it once rolled onto its back and descended slowly, parachutelike. Somehow stable for many seconds at a time, despite the dihedral pointing down
instead of up!
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Hey, expect the unexpected with tiny kites, it's a different kind of fun to flying much larger
ultra-predictable designs.
Of course, there were times when the line would tension up nicely as the wind strength
picked up by a few knots, causing the 1 Skewer Barn Door kite to lean back and climb
steadily up for a hundred feet or so. Like any single-surface kite on a simple bridle.
With more than 30 meters (100 feet) of 20 pound line out, there was considerable sag,
with the kite flying at well under 45 degrees. Unless pushed up with a little rising air!
Talking about rising and descending air...
Since the 1 Skewer Barn Door kite was nearly always in the vicinity of a thermal, it was
hard to tell exactly what line angles the kite would achieve in cold smooth air. I suspect 4045 degrees. But no more than 50, even on a short line. So, the small Barn Door is a
modest performer with its tail limiting its flying angle. But it's something different to an
ordinary old Diamond isn't it! It's sure to get a few curious looks from people passing by.
The 1 Skewer Barn Door kite kept me so busy trying to keep it in the air, that I didn't take
much notice of the birds that flew through today. I do recall a lone white cockatoo flapping
its way across the field, and several flocks of birds in the distance. Unidentified Feathered
Objects.
This Barn Door is a nice little kite, although somewhat more fickle in flight than the 1Skewer Diamond. As with the Diamond, a reasonably smooth, light wind would allow you
to train 8 or more of these together on a 30 pound line. That would make quite a spectacle!
Another idea - train both types of kites, perhaps alternating between Barn Door and
Diamond. For this many kites, a 5 meter line between each one might be about right. You
have to give those tails some room!

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The 1-Skewer Rokkaku Kite


At 29cm (11 1/2") across, the MBK 1-Skewer Rokkaku is a rather small Rok. This kite has
dihedral, a 2-leg bridle and a long streamer tail. As such, it doesn't look or fly much like a
traditional Rok. But it's certainly fun to fly in a moderate breeze, darting around like a
typical kid's kite! You can try altering the length of tail to alter the kites flying
characteristics, or perhaps to keep it stable in a stiffer breeze.

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1-Skewer Rokkaku Kite Plans

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1-Skewer Rokkaku Kite - Tips


1. Reinforce the vertical skewer join with 2 lengths of skewer, glued to both sides of
the join as in the plan.
2. Secure the sail to the spar ends using short lengths of clear sticking tape.
3. A 2-leg bridle works well, 2 skewer-lengths long and attached where indicated on
the plan.
4. For a start, try using a simple streamer tail about 8 times as long as the kite is high.
Add more to let the kite fly in stronger winds.

1-Skewer Rokkaku Kite Plan View Photos


The photo on the left is of the front surface. That is, the surface of the flying kite which
faces the flier. The other photo is of the back surface, which exposes the spars.

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1-Skewer Rokkaku Kite Step By Step Instructions


Now's the time to read up in Appendix 1 about kite materials and other things needed to
build an MBK Skewer kite, if you haven't already.

1-Skewer Rokkaku Kite Sail

The template shown above represents one side of the kite sail. You will now transfer these
measurements to the sail plastic as follows...

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Firstly, take a light plastic bag that will fit


the entire Template shape within one side,
and lay it flat on the floor.

Mark dots on the plastic, corresponding to


the corners of the Template. There is no
need to use a T-square, since any small
error will be duplicated on the other side of
the sail.

Using the marking pen, rule lines between


the dots, as in the photo.

Flip the plastic bag over, and trace over all


the black lines using your marker pen and
ruler.

Cut out a rectangular section of the bag


containing the kite sail, open it out and lay
it flat on the floor - you can now see the
complete sail outline, as in the photo.

Cut along the black lines with scissors, to


create the sail.

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1-Skewer Rokkaku Kite - Vertical Spar

The vertical spar is 1.4SL (40.6cm, 16") long, so two 30cm (12") bamboo BBQ skewers
need to be glued together.

Snip the point off 1 skewer.

Lay down another skewer, butting together 2 flat skewer ends.

From yet another skewer, cut off 2 lengths of 0.15SL (4.4cm, 1 3/4") each. Place
these beside the join, as in the photo.

Lay down a line of wood glue on each side, and leave to dry.

Get down low and look along the skewers to ensure they make a straight line,
before the glue sets!

1-Skewer Rokkaku Kite - Spars


Now you need another two bamboo skewers. The photo shows them laid over the sail,
after being snipped to length with scissors.

Lay down the glued skewers over the center


crease of the plastic, lining up the non-pointy
end with the top corner of the plastic. Snip off
the other end so the skewer lines up with the
bottom edge of the plastic as well. As already
mentioned, this is the vertical spar.

Lay down another skewer across the top left


and right corners of the sail, and again snip to
length, removing the point. Also make an
easily-seen mark on the skewer at the exact
center-point. This is the upper horizontal spar.

Using a sharp corner, perhaps a blade of the


scissors, make an indent in the bamboo, at the
center-point you marked.

Lay down another skewer across the lower left


and right corners of the sail. Snip, mark and
indent just as you did for the upper spar. This is the lower horizontal spar.
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1-Skewer Rokkaku Kite - Attaching Sail

Lay down the vertical spar skewer over the sail,


and wrap a short length of clear sticky tape
around each tip, securing them to the top and
bottom corners of the sail. The photo shows the
top tip in close-up.

Lay down the upper horizontal spar skewer and


attach its tips to the left and right corners of the
sail, in the same way.

Now do the same for the lower horizontal spar


skewer.

Bend each horizontal spar in the middle, until it


starts to crack at the indent! Carefully increase
the bends until you can get the kite looking like
the one in the middle photo. Note that the lower
spar has a little more dihedral (angle) than the
upper one. Don't worry if the bent part feels
weak, since glue will make it strong enough...

Dribble some wood glue all around where the


skewers cross each other. See the bottom
photo over there.

Wait for the glue to dry.

1-Skewer Rokkaku Kite - Bridle

Cut off some 20 pound bridle line to a


length of 2.0SL (58cm, 23"), and tie a very
small Loop knot (Appendix 4) into each
end. See the photo.

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Poke a hole in the plastic sail, just above


where the upper horizontal spar crosses
the vertical spar.

Poke another hole in the plastic sail, just


below where the lower horizontal spar
crosses the vertical spar.

Poke the Loop Knots through the holes


and tie off around the vertical spar with a
Double Wrap Slip knot.

Now take a length of flying line about half a


skewer long, and tie one end to the bridle
line with a Prusik knot. Tie a small Loop
Knot into the other end. There's the whole
bridle, in the bottom photo.

Secure each knot on the vertical spar with


a tiny blob of wood glue.

1-Skewer Rokkaku Kite - Tail

Cut out a long thin rectangle of colored


plastic for the tail. Mine is black, to contrast
with the orange sail. Make it 8.0SL (230cm,
90") long and 0.2SL (5.8cm, 2 1/4") wide.
Knot pieces together if necessary, to get
the full length. Avoid taping, because it
adds weight!

Tie one end around the vertical spar, as


close as possible to the bottom tip. See the
photo. A single Half Hitch will do, since
there are very low forces on the tail in
flight. Snip off the excess plastic so the
knot is neat and tidy.

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At this point, you've finished making the 1-Skewer
Rokkaku!
Now, make up a flying line (Appendix 3) and
attach it to the bridle with a Lark's Head knot as
shown in the photo.

1-Skewer Rokkaku Kite - Flying!


Firstly, if it's very windy outside, stay home! This is a light-tomoderate wind kite and won't like being launched in a gale.
Assuming there is some breeze outside, just dangle the kite
at arm's length until the wind catches it. As long as you feel
the kite pulling, let out line slowly by taking loop after loop off
the winder.
Another approach is to get a helper to hold the kite up and
let it go, on the end of maybe 10 or 20 meters (around 50
feet) of line. This way, the kite soon gets high enough to
make it easy to let more line out.
The picture shows this latest version of the 1-Skewer
Rokkaku.
Have fun flying, and I hope you've enjoyed learning how to
make a Rokkaku kite!

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1-Skewer Rokkaku Kite Selected Flight Report


Winds A Bit Light, But Thermals Helped Out!
With a 2-leg bridle fitted, the 1 Skewer Rokkaku kite had some great flying today, in winds
gusting to over 10 kph. I brought my favorite toy from Christmas Day with me ;-) It was a
wind speed measuring device, the Windtronic 2 from Kaindl Electronic, a German
company.
The wind meter was soon set up on a mini camera tripod, in fact the one that came with
our digital camera. The tiny wind turbine whirred silently while I went about attaching the
flying line and putting the kite up.
This oval was not infested with tall weeds like
some others around this area! Hence no chance
of the flying line or tail snagging all the time.
Somewhat annoying!
Today, the weather was very pleasant for flying.
Sunny, few clouds and a light breeze.
The winds seemed so light that I ventured to
remove the last section of tail plastic from the 1
Skewer Rokkaku kite. Perhaps it wouldn't mind,
and it would be a tiny bit less drag on the kite.
Indeed, during the lulls there was not quite
enough breeze to even keep the little Rok in the
air. However, I persisted, and eventually
managed to get some photos and video. About 15
meters (50 feet) of flying line was out.
The kite seemed to be pulling a bit too hard, and
looping, so I shifted the towing point forward a
few millimeters.
With photos out of the way, 60 meters (200 feet)
of line went out after much line-working and a
couple of landings!
The tiny Rok settled out at around a 30 degree
angle much of the time, sometimes lower when
the wind was even lighter. To the point of nearly
half the line draping onto the grass, while the kite gamely hung on. Just hovering there,
suspended several meters above the ground! Once or twice the 1 Skewer Rokkaku kite
went to 60 degrees or more in some moderately strong thermal lift.
It feels like this kite will fly at around 45 degrees in ideal wind strengths, on 60 meters (200
feet) of line. Albeit with quite a bit of sag!
Sag or no sag, there was room at this fairly large school oval to let out more line... With 90
meters (300 feet) out, I threw the winder around the trunk of a handy tree.

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The 1 Skewer Rokkaku kite evidently has a slight right-turn built in, which caused looping
during stronger gusts, and generally limited the height achieved. So I brought the kite
down and added back the tail section which had been removed earlier. I also shifted the
towing point back just a fraction.
Walking back to the tree, I noticed the kite's shadow creeping upwind as the little Rok
soared higher and higher directly above. Watching the kite for several minutes, it was
surprising how much difference the extra length of tail was making! The Rok flew
straighter, smoother and higher than before. It was a pleasure to watch the long, gently
weaving climbs as the wind strength freshened from time to time.
For tech-heads: regarding the maximum height, the reduced tendency to loop outweighed
the effect of the increase in drag of the extra tail. By far!
According to the wind meter, the breeze had averaged 3.3 kph most of the time, rising to
3.4 kph for a while. Max wind speed at ground level was 10.2 kph. But I'm sure it was
more like 15 kph higher up.
With 5 minutes to go before wife and child would expect to be picked up from the close-by
supermarket, I brought the Rok down. Nice flight!

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The 1-Skewer Sode Kite


At 29cm (11 1/2") across, the MBK 1-Skewer Sode Kite is a rather small Sode, with
dihedral on the horizontal spars, a simple 2-leg bridle and a looped tail. For its size, it flies
quite efficiently, with a constant weaving motion in moderate winds.

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1-Skewer Sode Kite Plans

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1-Skewer Sode Kite Tips


1. Reinforce the vertical skewer join with 2 lengths of skewer, glued to both sides of
the join as in the plan
2. Secure the sail to the spar ends using short lengths of clear sticking tape
3. Try a 2 skewer-length bridle line, tied between the upper and lower attachment
points
4. For a start, try making a looped tail about 8 times as long as the kite is high. Add
more to let the kite fly in stronger winds.

1-Skewer Sode Kite Plan View Photos


The photo on the left is of the front surface. That is, the surface of the flying kite which
faces the flier. The other photo is of the back surface, which exposes the spars.

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1-Skewer Sode Kite Step By Step Instructions


Now's the time to read up in Appendix 1 about kite materials and other things needed to
build an MBK Skewer kite, if you haven't already.

1-Skewer Sode Kite Sail

The template shown above represents one side of the kite sail. You will now transfer these
measurements to the sail plastic as follows...
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Firstly, take a light plastic bag that will fit the entire
Template shape within one side, and lay it flat on the
floor.

Mark dots on the plastic, corresponding to the corners


of the Template. There is no need to use a T-square,
since any small error will be duplicated on the other
side of the sail.

Using the marking pen, rule lines between the dots,


as in the photo. Note: the camera has distorted the
image slightly, making some of the straight lines curve
a little.

Flip the plastic bag over, and trace over all


the black lines using your marker pen and
ruler.

Cut out a rectangular section of the bag


containing the kite sail, open it out and lay it
flat on the floor - you can now see the
complete sail outline, as in the photo.

Cut along the black lines with scissors, to


create the sail.

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1-Skewer Sode Kite - Vertical Spar


The vertical spar is 1.5SL (43.5cm, 17 1/4") long, so two 30cm (12") bamboo BBQ skewers
need to be glued together.

Snip the point off 1 skewer.

Lay down another skewer, butting together 2 flat skewer ends.

From yet another skewer, cut off 2 lengths of 0.3SL (8.7cm, 3 1/2") each. Place
these beside the join, as in the photo.

Lay down a line of wood glue on each side, and leave to dry. The joint also serves
to bring the balance point back towards the tail for more stability.

Get down low and look along the skewers to ensure they make a straight line,
before the glue sets! The photo shows the join after the glue has set.

1-Skewer Sode Kite - Spars


Now you need another three bamboo skewers. The photo
shows them laid over the sail, before being snipped to
length with scissors.

Lay down the glued skewers over the center crease


of the plastic, lining up the non-pointy end with the
top corner of the plastic. Snip off the other end so the
skewer lines up with the bottom edge of the plastic as
well. As already mentioned, this is the vertical spar.

Lay down another skewer across the top left and right
corners of the sail, and again snip to length, removing
the point. Also make an easily-seen mark on the
skewer at the exact center-point. This is the upper
horizontal spar.

Using a sharp corner, perhaps a blade of the


scissors, make an indent in the bamboo, at the
center-point you marked.

Do those last 3 steps again, to make another spar. This will be the lower horizontal
spar.
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Finally, lay another skewer across the bottom edge of the sail, and snip to length.
This is the bottom horizontal spar. Note that the camera has caused a little
curvature in the picture - to your eye, everything should look square.

Those indents will help ensure the bamboo bends at the right spot when you later create
the dihedrals!

1-Skewer Sode Kite - Attaching Sail

Lay down the vertical spar skewer over the sail, and
wrap a short length of clear sticky tape around the top
tip, securing it to the top corner of the sail. The photo
shows the top tip in close-up.

Stick a short length of sticky tape over the vertical


spar, near the lower end of the sail. See the photo.

Lay down the upper and lower horizontal spar


skewers and attach their tips to the corresponding
corners of the sail. Use the tape sparingly.

Attach the bottom horizontal spar to the plastic by


wrapping tape around the tips, like all the other spars.

Fold the tabs over the skewers and stick down with
several small squares of tape. The kite should now
look like the photo over there.

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Bend the upper and lower horizontal spars in


the middle (one at a time), until they start to
crack at the indent! Carefully increase the bend
until you can get the kite looking like the one in
the photo. Around 20 degrees of angle from the
floor on both sides.

Dribble some wood glue all around where the


bamboo has cracked. See the photo over there.

Wait for the glue to dry. It should still be flexible enough


to allow more adjustment of the dihedrals if necessary,
and yet stiff enough to hold firm in flight. If not, just add
some more glue!

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1-Skewer Sode Kite - Bridle

Cut off some 20 pound bridle line to a


length of 1.5SL (44cm, 17"), and tie a very
small Loop knot (Appendix 4) into each
end. See the photo over there.

Poke a hole in the plastic sail, just above


where the upper horizontal spar crosses
the vertical spar.

Poke another hole in the plastic sail, just


below where the lower horizontal spar
crosses the vertical spar.

Poke the Loop Knots through the holes


and tie off around the vertical spar with a
Double Wrap Slip knot.

Now take a length of flying line about half a


skewer long, and tie one end to the bridle
line with a Prusik knot. Tie a small Loop
knot into the other end. There's the whole
bridle, in the bottom photo.

Secure each knot on the vertical spar with


a tiny blob of wood glue.

1-Skewer Sode Kite - Tail

Cut out a long thin rectangle of colored plastic for the tail. Mine is black, to contrast
with the orange sail. Make it 12.0SL (350cm, 140") long and 0.15SL (4.4cm, 1 3/4")
wide. Knot pieces together if necessary, to get the full length. Avoid taping, because
it adds weight!

Slit the plastic sail near each tip of the bottom horizontal spar, just enough to slip the
ends of the tail through. Tie off each end of the tail with a single Half Hitch. Pull until
firm, then snip off any excess plastic poking out of the knot. See the photo for the
end result.
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At this point, you've finished making the 1-Skewer
Sode!
Now, make up a flying line (Appendix 3) and
attach it to the bridle with a Lark's Head knot as
shown in the photo.
Coincidentally, the position of the Prusik knot in
the photo shows you how to set the bridle for
moderate winds. In lighter winds, you could try
shifting the Prusik lower, by just a few millimeters
(a small fraction of an inch)

1-Skewer Sode Kite - Flying!


Firstly, if it's very windy outside, stay home! This is a light-to-moderate wind kite and won't
like being launched in a gale.
Assuming there is some breeze outside, just
dangle the kite at arm's length until the wind
catches it. As long as you feel the kite pulling, let
out line slowly by taking loop after loop off the
winder.
Another approach is to get a helper to hold the
kite up and let it go, on the end of maybe 10 or 20
meters (around 50 feet) of line. This way, the kite
soon gets high enough to make it easy to let
more line out.
The picture shows this latest version of the 1Skewer Sode soon after launch, in a light gusty
breeze.
If the kite persists in looping around and not going
high, just keep adding tail until it settles down.
Have fun flying, and I hope you've enjoyed
learning how to make a Sode kite!

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1-Skewer Sode Kite Selected Flight Report


High And Stable In A Moderate Breeze
At last the much-tweaked 1 Skewer Sode kite has had some great flying. Today it went
high up in a light breeze that tended towards moderate at times. It had the attention of
birds in the air and people on the ground!
We arrived at our favorite flying field to find a gusty light breeze disturbing the leaves of the
surrounding trees. Promising! Very soon, the little Sode was up, and doing ... reasonably
well, but I knew it could do better. There was still the tendency to tip-stall occasionally. This
had the effect of killing any climb before the flying line achieved a respectable angle.
Below 30 degrees, the kite flew fine fine, but above that, a sudden flick or turn to one side
or the other would quickly bring it down again. Sometimes it would even float down
inverted, before righting itself close to the ground and climbing back up.
The photo and video below are of the 1 Skewer
Sode kite in this semi-stable state.
The next step was to bend the upper horizontal
spar to give it the same dihedral angle as the
lower spar. After re-launching the Sode from
where it lay on the weed-infested grass, it was
immediately clear that the tip-stalling problem had
largely gone away. Yahoo! However... as gusts hit
the kite from time to time, it would still loop tightly
to one side. The classic symptom of 'not enough
tail'.
Indeed, adding a couple of loops of plastic to the
end of the looped tail really did do the trick! Even
when the breeze above tree-top height went
moderate in strength, the little 1-Skewer Sode
just went higher, weaving slightly as this design
has always done.
The original kite was done in clear plastic, and
had a single, rather long tail.
So, the little Sode was now utterly reliable, rising
and falling slowly in response to changes in wind
strength. Long tail streaming behind, snaking
gently in the breeze. My small son and I just left it for a while, tied up to a small tree-trunk
on the opposite side of the reserve. At this point we had 60 meters (200 feet) of 20 pound
line out. Hence, the kite was at around 150 feet altitude.
A man stopped to watch, craning his neck to spot the tiny, high-flying craft. He must have
stood there for at least 10 minutes. A Sode has 'wings' you know! At another time, a
number of fast small birds flew around the kite, checking it out. One or 2 of the braver birds
took passes at the kite, rocketing past it very close.

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Eventually we had the line out to 90 meters, which is starting to be a bit heavy for this
small-area kite. But it coped well, straining away in the moderate breeze.
When it was time to bring the kite down, I let my 4 year old Aren fly it on a short line while
we walked back to the car. The tiny orange kite continued to fly reliably in the gustier air
down low, so I managed to get a few photos of Aren and the 1-Skewer Sode in the same
frame.

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The 1-Skewer Delta Kite


The MBK 1-Skewer Delta kite is quite small at 1.0SL (29cm, 11 1/2") in length, but copies
the full-size Deltas with a floating spreader and triangular keel. This little kite flies best with
several skewer-lengths of tail.

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1-Skewer Delta Kite - Plans

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1-Skewer Delta Kite Tips


1. When cutting out the sail, include a long narrow flap to fold over each leading edge
spar, to completely enclose it in a pocket.
2. Glue the spreader to the leading edge spars, but not to the vertical spar.
3. Cap the spar ends with clear sticky tape.
4. Seal the leading edge spar pockets with long lengths of clear sticky tape.
5. After cutting out the keel from sail plastic, use clear sticky tape to run a length of
flying line down each edge that leads to the towing point - on each side of the keel,
so that's 4 pieces of line altogether.
6. Knot the keel lines together, close to the plastic, and add a another knot to the 4
lines coming out at the towing point - tie the keel to the vertical spar and also use
sticky tape to attach the keel's edge to the sail.
7. For a start, try making a single tail about 5 times as long as the kite itself, looping it
around the bamboo and tying it off near the tail of the kite.

1-Skewer Delta Kite Plan View Photos


The photo on the left is of the front surface. That is, the surface of the flying kite which
faces the flier. The other photo is of the back surface.

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1-Skewer Delta Kite Step By Step Instructions


Now's the time to read up in Appendix 1 about kite materials and other things needed to
build an MBK Skewer kite, if you haven't already.

1-Skewer Delta Kite - Sail

The template shown above represents one side of the kite sail. You will now transfer these
measurements to the sail plastic as follows...

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Firstly, take a bag that you want to use for the sail,
and lay it flat on the floor.

Mark dots on the plastic which correspond to the


corners of the Template. Any small errors in
position don't matter since the sail will be
symmetrical.

Using the marking pen, rule lines between the


dots.

Flip the plastic bag over, and trace over all the black lines using your marker pen
and ruler.

Cut out a rectangular section of the bag containing the kite sail, open it out and lay it
flat on the floor - you can now see the complete sail outline, as in the photo up
there.

Lay down clear sticky tape along all edges


of the sail except the long edges of the 2
tabs. The yellow marks on the photo over
there represent the tape. To save weight,
try to put only of the tape's width inside
the sail outline.

Cut along all the black lines, with scissors.

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1-Skewer Delta Kite - Frame

Select the straightest skewer you can find,


and lay it down the center-line of the sail.
Snip the skewer to length, removing the
point, so it lines up with the plastic at each
end. This is the vertical spar.

Select 2 more skewers, that have very


similar stiffness. Judge this by bending
them one at a time, or perhaps use your
creativity to judge this some other way!

Place these 2 skewers along the fold-lines of the tabs. Snip both skewers to length,
removing the points, so they are as long as the tabs. These are the leading-edge
spars.

Measure 0.42SL (12.2cm, 4 3/4") from the top end of the vertical spar, and make a
mark on it there. Select another skewer, snip the point off, and place it over this
mark, so each end sits over a leading edge spar as in the photo. This is the
spreader.

Apply glue where the spars cross each other, but not onto the vertical spar. While
this is drying, you can get on with the keel. Hey, it's starting to look like a Delta!

1-Skewer Delta Kite - Keel

Mark out a triangle on some spare plastic,


as per the dimensions in the Template, and
cut it out.

Tape down 2 lengths of flying line onto it,


running along both edges that meet at the
towing point. The length is not too
important, just take the photo as a guide.

Flip the plastic over and tape down


another 2 lengths of flying line, directly
over the first 2.

Reinforce the keel corners by sticking


down and wrapping around short lengths
of tape.

Where the 4 pieces of line come together, tie a Multi-Strand Simple knot (Appendix
4) close to the plastic, then tie a second one further out, as per the photo.

Also knot the lines at the other 2 corners, using the same kind of knot. Adjust them
so they are flush with the plastic.

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At this point you need to make sure the glue is dry on the bamboo frame. If it is...

Fold over and tape down the sail tabs over


the leading edge spars, using 2 lengths of
sticky tape on each side.

Fold tape over the ends of the vertical and


leading edge spars, securing them to the
plastic.

Poke a hole in the plastic sail, just above


where the spreader crosses the vertical
spar. Thread the upper keel lines through
and tie off tightly with a Granny knot.

Using the keel to find the exact spot, poke another hole in the sail near the trailing
edge. Thread the lines through and tie off tightly, again using a Granny knot.

With the keel flush against the plastic sail, add sticky tape along the full length of
the keel, attaching it to the sail plastic. Flip the keel over and do the other side too.

Put a small drop of wood glue on the knots which attach the keel to the vertical
spar. In the photo, you can see the keel through the main sail plastic.

1-Skewer Delta Kite - Attaching The Tail


Make a tail at least 5 times the length of the kite
itself, and about the width of 2 fingers (Appendix
2). To attach the tail to the kite, just push one end
between the vertical spar and the sail, at the
bottom end of the kite. Then thread the other end
of the tail through the loop you just pushed
through. Simple! If you don't tighten it too much,
the tail will always be easy to remove later, even
after flying.
At this point, you've pretty much finished learning
how to make a Delta kite!

1-Skewer Delta Kite - Finishing Off


Put a little bow in the spreader, away from the sail. Do this by gently bending the bamboo
with both hands, with your thumbs in the middle of the bend. You might have to try a few
times before the bamboo deforms a little.
The purpose of this is to put a little slack in the sail, which will make the kite more stable. If
you over-do it and the bamboo cracks, just rub some wood glue into the bend!

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Finally, make up a flying line (Appendix 3) and
attach it to the bridle with a Lark's Head knot as
shown in the photo.
With this kite, I'm confident that if you build it and
attach the keel with reasonable accuracy
according to the plan, it should need no further
adjustment. Just like the bought ones!
You might need to experiment with using a bit
more tail if the kite loops around too much.

1-Skewer Delta Kite - Flying Tips


Down below there is a picture of the completed MBK 1-Skewer Delta kite, being brought
down after a long flight.
Before flying, just check the kite's balance...
Hang the kite by the keel and see if one side
seems to hang lower than the other. If so, double
check by placing the vertical spar on the tips of
your fingers, at the nose and tail ends of the kite.
Does the same wing go down? If so, keep adding
short pieces of tape to the sail near the wing tip
until the balance improves.
Now hold the kite under its nose and tail, with the
keel hanging down, and suddenly take both
hands away. Does the kite nose down and fly
forward?
If so, keep adding tape across the trailing edge of
the sail, near but not touching the tail, until the
kite shows less tendency to dive.
Assuming there is some breeze, just dangle the
kite at arm's length until the wind catches it. As
long as you feel the kite pulling, let out line slowly by letting it slip through your fingers.
Another approach is to get a helper to hold the kite up and let it go, with maybe 10 or 20
meters (50 feet) of line let out. This way, the kite soon gets high enough to make it easy to
let more line out.
Have fun flying, and I hope you've enjoyed learning how to make a Delta kite!

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1-Skewer Delta Kite Selected Flight Report


Almost Zero-Wind, But Still Some Interesting Flying!
The leaves outside were barely moving. Perhaps a day to try the latest 1 Skewer Delta kite
again. The low end of the wind range for this particular kite hadn't been tested yet!
Despite the forecast for a hot maximum temperature, my son Aren and I got in the car and
headed out for a nearby reserve. It was a day for full-on UV protection, with wide-brimmed
hats and sunscreen.
There was a fair amount of smooth high-level cloud,
plus a slight dust haze. Being just before mid-day,
the temperature didn't seem too bad.
Even the breeze wasn't warm, perhaps because it
had crossed the Gulf from the West.
A very light breeze was gusting to 'light' as weak
thermals came through. The kite's fresh-wind
stability, or rather, lack of it, was not going to be a
problem today! Hence it was decided to remove part
of the tail, leaving just 2/3 of its original length in
place.
As we often do, some low flying was done first, to
get a few still photos. The kite ended up on the
ground several times due to lack of wind. Because
of this, it was necessary to let out about 20 meters of
line to get video, using 4x zoom. For a few minutes
when the wind strength just happened to be ideal,
the tiny tailed Delta flew like a much larger version.
Stable and very smooth. Even the tail hardly shifted.
When necessary, my 4 year old kiting assistant, Aren, did a good job of running out and
flipping the kite over so I could re-launch it from the grass!
Recently I came across a rather descriptive kiting term for something I like to do from time
to time - the float launch. I did one of these, using several gusts to float the Delta out to
about 60 meters or so, just 2 or 4 meters off the ground. Then, there was enough breeze
to maintain a 40 degree angle, letting line slip slowly through my fingers.
With about 90 meters out, the 1 Skewer Delta kite went up nice and high for a while. Then,
it encountered sinking air, and a rapid keel-first descent followed!
Like other Deltas, this one gets up a wing-waggle when trying to fly in insufficient wind.
The outing turned into one of those marginal days when constant work was necessary to
keep the kite in the air.
Most of the time, the Delta was flying at low line angles purely due to the low wind speed.
A lot of pulling-in during lulls and letting out during gentle gusts made the most of the
available wind.

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The line draped across the grass at one point, with the little 1 Skewer Delta kite in a wing
waggling slow free-fall towards the grass.
At its highest points, the kite often got quite close to the position of the sun. In fact, an
interesting thing happened when the kite got between the sun and a small flock of galahs
sitting in a tree... They took off suddenly, perhaps believing they were being eyed off by a
hawk!
Might as well mention now a coincidence that happens very occasionally. The shadow of
the kite moved around just meters from Aren and I for a few moments, despite the long
distance between the kite and us. Couldn't help calling the attention of my 4 year old to
this of course. He seemed surprised. Never-the-less, he was now bugging me to take him
across to the nearby play equipment...
Summing up. There was a lot of climbing and descending, with the size of the 1 Skewer
Delta kite limiting how high it could go on its 20 pound line in such a light breeze. Still, it
was a lot better experience than yesterday, when we went out in extremely gusty fresh
wind conditions! Although the flying wasn't pretty, at least I managed to fine-tune the length
of that little tail-let on one tip, to correct a turning tendency. You can see it in the photo up
there. My favorite trimming trick for little kites on simple bridles!

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The 1-Skewer Roller Kite


At 29cm (11 1/2") wide, the MBK 1-Skewer Roller Kite is tiny compared to the original
concept for this kind of kite. It has dihedral and a simple 2-leg bridle. This design requires
a fair amount of tail for acceptable stability, but the reward is fine little moderate wind flier!

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1-Skewer Roller Kite- Plans

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1-Skewer Roller Kite Tips


1. Secure the sail to the spar ends using short lengths of clear sticky tape.
2. Include tabs along the leading edges of the lower sail. On each side, fold the tab
over the spar and stick down using 3 squares of clear sticky tape.
3. Try a bridle line about 3 times longer than the kite itself, tied between the uppermost
attachment point and the keel.
4. The 1-Skewer Roller requires a tail. Start with a tail about 6 times as long as the kite
itself

1-Skewer Roller Kite Plan View Photos


The photo on the left is of the front surface. That is, the surface of the flying kite which
faces the flier. The other photo is of the back surface, which exposes the spars.

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1-Skewer Roller Kite Step By Step Instructions


Now's the time to read up in Appendix 1 about kite materials and other things needed to
build an MBK Skewer kite, if you haven't already.

1-Skewer Roller Kite - Sail

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The template shown above represents one side of the kite sail. You will now transfer these
measurements to the sail plastic as follows...

Firstly, take a light plastic bag that will fit the entire
Template shape within one side, and lay it flat on
the floor.

Mark dots on the plastic, corresponding to the


corners of the Template. There is no need to use a
T-square, since any small error will be duplicated
on the other side of the sail.

Using the marking pen, rule lines between the dots,


as in the photo.

Flip the plastic bag over, and trace over all


the black lines using your marker pen and
ruler.

Cut out a rectangular section of the bag


containing the kite sail, open it out and lay
it flat on the floor - you can now see the
complete sail outline, as in the photo.

Cut along the black lines with scissors, to


create the sail.

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1-Skewer Roller Kite - Vertical Spar


The vertical spar is 1.25SL (36.3cm, 14 3/8")
long, so two 30cm (12") bamboo BBQ skewers
need to be glued together.

Snip the point off 1 skewer.

From another skewer, cut off 2 lengths of


0.06SL (1.7cm, 3/4") each.

Butt the 2 skewers end-to-end, laying the 2


short lengths beside the join as in the
photo.

Lay down a line of wood glue on each side of the join, and leave to dry. You can be
generous with the glue here, since the joint also serves to bring the balance point
back towards the tail for more stability.

Get down low and look along the skewers to ensure they make a straight line,
before the glue sets! The photo shows the join after the glue has set.

1-Skewer Roller Kite - Spars


For this Roller, you also need two 30cm (12") bamboo BBQ skewers for the horizontal
spars. The photo shows all the spars laid over the sail, before being snipped to length with
scissors.

Lay down the glued vertical spar over the


center crease of the plastic, with the tip of
the longer skewer over the top corner of
the plastic as in the photo. Snip the bottom
end of the spar to length, so it lines up with
the bottom corner of the lower sail.

Lay down another skewer across the left


and right corners of the upper sail, and
snip to length, removing the point. Also
make an easily-seen mark on the skewer
at the exact center-point. This is the upper
horizontal spar.

Using a sharp corner, perhaps a blade of


the scissors, make an indent in the
bamboo, at the center-point you marked.

Do those last 2 steps again, over the


widest part of the lower sail, to create the
lower horizontal spar.

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1-Skewer Roller Kite - Attaching Sail

Lay down the vertical spar over the sail,


and wrap a short length of clear sticky tape
around each tip, securing them to the top
corner of the upper sail and the bottom
corner of the lower sail. The top photo
shows the top tip in close-up.

Lay down the upper horizontal spar skewer


and attach its tips to the upper left and
right corners of the sail, in the same way.

Lay down the lower horizontal spar skewer


and attach its tips to the left and right
corners of the lower sail.

Fold down the flaps over the lower


horizontal spar, and secure with 3 short
strips of tape on each side. In the middle
photo, I have drawn yellow rectangles to
show where the tape goes.

Bend the upper horizontal spar in the


middle, until it starts to crack at the indent!
Carefully increase the bend until each
wing-tip stays at 0.06SL (1.7cm, 3/4") off
the table top.

Do the same for the lower horizontal spar.


This time, the tips should be about 0.10SL
(2.9cm, 1 1/8") off the table top.

Dribble some wood glue all around where


the skewers cross each other, for both
horizontal spars. See the bottom photo
over there. Use enough glue to make the
bent part of the bamboo strong.

Be careful that the horizontal spars don't slip up


or down the vertical spar while the glue is still
wet.

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1-Skewer Roller Kite - Sail Tethers

Cut off a piece of flying line of length 0.75SL (22cm, 8"). Tape one end to a corner of
the upper sail, as in the photo. See how the tape points to the tip of the lower
horizontal spar. Excess tape can be trimmed with scissors or folded back on itself.

Pass the other end of the line around the tip of the lower horizontal spar. Pull most
of the slack out and tie off with a couple of Half Hitch knots (Appendix 4) Using the
Half Hitch makes them easy to un-pick and re-tie later, if any adjustment is needed
to make the kite fly straight.

Repeat the previous steps on the other side of the kite.

Snip off some of the excess line if you want to, but leave enough for adjustment
purposes.

The kite should now look like the photo.

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How To Make A Roller Kite - Keel

Mark out the keel shape on some spare plastic,


as per the dimensions on the template. A keel in
black garbage bag plastic looks good with a
lighter colored sail!

Cut out the keel and tape down 2 lengths of flying


line onto one side, using clear sticky tape. One
goes from the bridle attachment point to the
upper attachment point, and the other goes from
the bridle attachment point to the lower
attachment point. The pieces of line hanging free
should be at least as long as your finger. See the
top photo

Now flip the plastic over and tape down another 2


lengths of flying line, directly over the first 2.

Where 2 pieces of line come together, tie a MultiStrand Simple knot close to the plastic. These 2
knots will sit against the vertical spar.

Where the 4 pieces of line come together, tie


them into another Multi-Strand Simple knot close
to the plastic, then tie another one further out.
The photo on the right shows some of these
knots.
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How To Make A Roller Kite - Attach The Keel

Poke a hole in the lower sail, just below


where the lower horizontal spar crosses
the vertical spar.

Take the keel, poke the upper 2 lines


through the hole and pull tight against the
knot, then tie them off with a Granny knot
around the bamboo.

Use the keel itself to find the exact spot to


poke the lower 2 lines through, near the
bottom tip of the vertical spar. Poke a hole
in the plastic there, thread the lines
through and tie them off. See the photo.

Flip the kite over, lay the keel down flat,


and lay a length of sticky tape all along the
base of the keel. Half the width on the keel,
the other half on the lower sail plastic. See
the photo over there.

Now flip the keel over, so it lies flat again.


Stick down the base with sticky tape. Now
the keel is attached along its full length, on
both sides.

1-Skewer Roller Kite - Attach The Bridle

Lay the kite down with the keel on top,


then cut off a length of flying line about 3SL
(90cm, 35") long.
Tie a small Loop knot into one end, and a
larger one into the other end. See the
photo.

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Poke a hole in the upper sail, just above


where the upper horizontal spar and the
vertical spar cross.

Using the small loop knot end, attach the


line to the vertical spar with a Double Wrap
Slip knot.

Attach the other end to the keel using a


Lark's Head knot.

Now take a length of flying line about half


a skewer long, and tie one end to the
bridle line with a Prusik knot. Tie a small
Loop knot into the other end. There's the
whole bridle, in the photo over there.

Secure each knot on the vertical spar with


a tiny blob of wood glue.

1-Skewer Roller Kite - Tail

Cut out a long thin rectangle of colored


plastic for the tail. Mine is black, to contrast
with the orange sail. Make it 8.0SL (230cm,
90") long and 0.2SL (5.8cm, 2 1/4") wide.
Knot pieces together if necessary, to get
the full length. Avoid taping, because it
adds weight!

Tie one end around the vertical spar,


between the keel knots but as close as
possible to the lower knot. A single Half
Hitch will do, since there are very low
forces on the tail in flight. Pull it fairly tight
and trim off any excess plastic. See the
photo for the final result.

At this point, you've finished making the 1-Skewer Roller!


To attach the flying line (Appendix 3), just Lark's Head the flying line to the short bridle line.

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How To Make A Roller Kite - Flying!


Firstly, if it's very windy outside, stay home! This is a light-to-moderate wind kite and won't
like being launched in a gale.
Assuming there is some breeze outside, just
dangle the kite at arm's length until the wind
catches it. As long as you feel the kite pulling, let
out line slowly by taking loop after loop off the
winder.
Another approach is to get a helper to hold the
kite up and let it go, on the end of maybe 10 or 20
meters (around 50 feet) of line. This way, the kite
soon gets high enough to make it easy to let
more line out.
The picture shows this latest version of the 1Skewer Roller on its first outing. Just for a bit
more drag, I put a loop of plastic as the last
section of tail.
Have fun flying, and I hope you've enjoyed
learning how to make a Roller kite!

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1-Skewer Roller Kite Selected Flight Report


Getting A Real Workout In Fresh Gusts!
Overcast skies had given way to at least some periods of bright sunshine, so out we went
with the re-made 1 Skewer Roller kite. The breeze seemed somewhat fresh. So, a couple
of extra loops of black garbage bag plastic were taken along, to lengthen the tail if
necessary.
The expected forest of prickly weeds had magically disappeared from the grassed area
near the school where we were about to fly. That was welcome! No more line snags and
breaks.
Within minutes of leaving the car, the little Roller was willingly flitting about on about 10
meters (35 feet) of line.
Despite being pushed to its limits by the fresh turbulent air, the kite stayed up long enough
for a few photos to be taken. There's one, over there on the left...
Several unplanned landings had occurred by this
stage!
Hence, it really seemed a good idea to add some
more tail, so out came an extra loop of black
plastic. After Lark's Heading it to the loop already
there, the 1 Skewer Roller kite once again took to
the air. Like a rocket!
More line was let out, to give the kite a better
chance of flying for the camera.
On about 15 meters (50 feet) of line, the Roller
managed to clear the worst of the turbulence
rolling across the reserve from the line of trees
upwind. And of course, the extra tail was also
helping to smooth out the antics of the small Roller
kite.
Now it was time to try a bit more line. Walking
backwards towards the center of the reserve, I
had to be careful to keep the kite clear of some
rather tall gum trees downwind. The Roller happily
flew on just over 30 meters (100 feet) of line for a
while.
If you're wondering, the line has little tape flags attached to it at 30 meter intervals! In fact,
the flags are marked '30', '60', '90', '120' and '150'. Due to their small size, the 1-Skewer
kites are rarely flown on more than 60 meters though.
Talking about 60 meters (200 feet) of line, that's what I tried next. At this stage, some very
fresh gusts were coming through. The 1 Skewer Roller kite leaned to the left a lot, clearly
needing a small tweak to one of the sail tethers. However, time was limited so I didn't
bother.
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With the trim slightly off, and lifting 60 meters of 20-pound Dacron line, the tiny Roller
never got much above a 30 degree flying angle. Still, it was fun watching it doing its best!
Being forced down occasionally, but gamely climbing right back up again each time.
Thinking about going home, I wound in line so that 30 meters (100 feet) remained in the
air. The Roller responded by immediately popping up to a flying angle of 45 degrees! So,
this seems like a good line length on which to fly this kite, if you're thinking of making one.
Just a few minutes later, it was time to bring the kite down and leave for home.
The 1 Skewer Roller is a fine little moderate wind kite. It will also handle fresh breezes
well, if you add enough tail!
Today, the wind meter recorded an average strength of 7 kph and a maximum gust of 24
kph, close to the ground. Wind speeds would have been considerably stronger up where
the kite was though.

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The 1-Skewer Dopero Kite


At 29cm (11 1/2") wide, the MBK 1-Skewer Dopero Kite is a rather small kite, with tip
dihedral and a 4-leg bridle. A tail is necessary to keep it stable.
Apart from its size and the looped tail fluttering out behind, this Dopero looks very much
like the huge expensive ones! At a distance anyway.

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1-Skewer Dopero Kite Plans

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1-Skewer Dopero Kite- Tips


1. Secure the sail to the spar ends using short lengths of clear sticky tape.
2. Include tabs along the leading edges of the lower sail. On each side, fold the tab
over the spar and stick down using short lengths of clear sticky tape.
3. A 4-leg bridle works well, with the upper 2 legs attached between the upper leading
edge and the upper horizontal spar.
4. The 1-Skewer Dopero requires a tail. Start with a tail about 8 times as long as the
kite itself, looped between the vertical spars.

1-Skewer Dopero Kite- Plan View Photos


The photo on the left is of the front surface. That is, the surface of the flying kite which
faces the flier. The other photo is of the back surface, which exposes the spars.

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1-Skewer Dopero Kite Step By Step Instructions


Now's the time to read up in Appendix 1 about kite materials and other things needed to
build an MBK Skewer kite, if you haven't already.

1-Skewer Dopero Kite - Sail

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The template shown above represents one side
of the kite sail. You will now transfer these
measurements to the sail plastic as follows...

Firstly, take a light plastic bag that will fit


the entire Template shape within one side,
and lay it flat on the floor.

Mark dots on the plastic, corresponding to


the corners of the Template. There is no
need to use a T-square, since any small
error will be duplicated on the other side of
the sail.

Using the marking pen, rule lines between


the dots, as in the photo.

Flip the plastic bag over, and trace over all


the black lines using your marker pen and
ruler.

Cut out a rectangular section of the bag


containing the kite sail, open it out and lay
it flat on the floor - you can now see the
complete sail outline, as in the photo.

Cut along the black lines with scissors, to


create the sail.

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1-Skewer Dopero Kite - Spars


For this Dopero, you need four 30cm (12") bamboo BBQ skewers for the spars. The photo
shows all the spars laid over the sail, before being snipped to length with scissors.

Lay down 2 skewers vertically over the


plastic, lined up as in the photo. Snip the
bottom end of each skewer to length, so
they line up with the bottom edge of the
lower sail. These are the vertical spars.

Lay down another skewer across the left


and right corners of the upper sail, and
snip to length, removing the point. Also
make an easily-seen mark on the skewer,
at each point where it crosses a vertical
spar. This is the upper horizontal spar.

Using a sharp corner, perhaps a blade of


the scissors, make an indent in the
bamboo, at the crossing-points you
marked.

Do those last 2 steps again, over the widest part of the lower sail, to create the
lower horizontal spar.

1-Skewer Dopero Kite - Attaching Sail

Lay down the vertical spars over the sail,


and wrap a short length of clear sticky tape
around each tip, securing them to the top
corners of the upper sail and the bottom
corners of the lower sail. The photo over
there shows the top tip in close-up.

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Lay down the upper horizontal spar skewer


and attach its tips to the upper left and
right corners of the sail, in the same way.

Lay down the lower horizontal spar skewer


and attach its tips to the left and right
corners of the lower sail.

Fold down the flaps over the lower


horizontal spar, and secure with short strips of tape on each side. In the photo, I
have drawn yellow rectangles to show where the tape goes.

Bend the upper horizontal spar at an indent,


until it starts to crack! Carefully increase the
bend until the wing-tip stays at 0.08SL (2.3cm,
1") off the table top. Do the same for the other
indent as well.

Do exactly the same for the lower horizontal


spar, cracking the bamboo at both indents.

Dribble some wood glue all around where the


skewers cross each other, for both horizontal
spars. See the photo. Use enough glue to
make the bent part of the bamboo strong.

Be careful that the horizontal spars don't slip up or down the vertical spar while the glue is
still wet.

1-Skewer Dopero Kite - Sail Tethers

Cut off a piece of flying line of length


0.75SL (22cm, 8"). Tape one end to a
corner of the upper sail, as in the photo.
See how the tape points to the tip of the
lower horizontal spar. Excess tape can be
trimmed with scissors or folded back on
itself.

Pass the other end of the line around the


tip of the lower horizontal spar. Pull most of
the slack out and tie off with a couple of
Half Hitch knots (Appendix 4). Using the Half Hitch makes them easy to unpick and
re-tie later, if any adjustment is needed to make the kite fly straight.

Repeat the previous steps on the other side of the kite.

Snip off some of the excess line if you want to, but leave enough for adjustment
purposes.

The kite should now look like the photo up there.


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1-Skewer Dopero Kite - Keels

Mark out a keel shape on some spare


plastic, as per the dimensions on the
template. For all the steps below, refer to
the above photo if anything is unclear. A
keel in black garbage bag plastic looks
good with a lighter colored sail! If you lay
black plastic against a window on a sunny
day, even black marker lines show up
easily, I've found. Rule the lines with the
plastic flat against the window glass. You
can also hold the plastic up to the light
while cutting along the lines with scissors.

Cut out the keel and tape down 2 lengths


of flying line onto one side, using clear
sticky tape. One goes from the bridle
attachment point to the upper attachment point, and the other goes from the bridle
attachment point to the lower attachment point. The pieces of line hanging free
should be at least as long as your finger.

Now flip the plastic over and tape down another 2 lengths of flying line, directly over
the first 2.

Where 2 pieces of line come together, tie a


Multi-Strand Simple knot close to the
plastic. These 2 knots will sit against a
vertical spar.

Where the 4 pieces of line come together,


tie them into another Multi-Strand Simple
knot close to the plastic, then tie another
one further out. The photo on the right
shows all the knots.

All done? Now do it all again to make the other


keel!

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1-Skewer Dopero Kite - Attach The Keels

Poke a hole in the lower sail, just below where


the lower horizontal spar crosses one of the
vertical spars.

Take a keel, poke the upper 2 lines through the


hole and pull tight against the knot, then tie them
off around the bamboo.

Use the keel itself to find the exact spot to poke


the lower 2 lines through, near the bottom tip of
the vertical spar. Poke a hole in the plastic there,
thread the lines through and tie them off around
the bamboo. As in the photo over there.

Flip the kite over, lay the keel down flat,


and lay a length of sticky tape all along the
base of the keel. Half the width on the keel,
the other half on the lower sail plastic. See
the bottom photo. Because of the dihedral,
you might need to use something brickshaped to support the kite while you do
this.

Now flip the keel over, so it lies flat again.


Stick down the base with sticky tape. Now
the keel is attached along its full length, on
both sides.

All done? Now do it all again to attach the other


keel!

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1-Skewer Dopero Kite - Attach The Bridle

Lay the kite down with the keels on top,


then cut off a length of flying line about 2
skewers long

Tie a small Loop knot into each end.

Poke holes in the upper sail, and hence


attach the line to the vertical spars as
indicated in the photo over there. Use a
Double Wrap Slip knot in each case. This
is the upper bridle loop.

Now make another bridle loop line. Again,


about 2 skewer lengths long, with a Loop
Knot in each end. Make these Loop Knots
much bigger, because...

Now attach each end of this line to a keel,


using a Lark's Head knot. This is the lower
bridle loop. See the photo on the right.

Take another length of flying line about 2


skewers long, and attach one end to the
middle of the upper bridle loop and the
other end to the middle of the lower bridle
loop, using a Prusik knot at each end. Let's
call this the bridle line.

Now take a length of flying line about 1


skewer long, and tie one end to the bridle
line with a Prusik knot. Tie a small Loop
knot into the other end. There's the whole
bridle, in the photo over there.

Secure every knot on the vertical spars


with a tiny blob of wood glue. 6 in all!

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1-Skewer Dopero Kite - Tail

Cut out a long thin rectangle of colored


plastic for the tail. Mine is black, to contrast
with the orange sail. Make it 10.0SL
(290cm, 115") long and 0.15SL (4.4cm, 1
3/4") wide. Knot pieces together if
necessary, to get the full length. Avoid
taping, because it adds weight!

Tie one end around one vertical spar, and


the other end around the other vertical
spar. Slip the plastic under the bamboo
and between the keel knots, but as close
as possible to the lower knot. A single Half
Hitch will do, since there are very low forces on the tail in flight. Pull it fairly tight and
trim off any excess plastic. See the photo for the final result.

At this point, you've finished making the 1-Skewer Dopero!


To attach the flying line (Appendix 3), just lark's Head the flying line to the short bridle line.

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1-Skewer Dopero Kite - Flying!


Before the first flight, you need to adjust the bridle...
Firstly, make sure the sliding knots on the upper and lower bridle loops are dead-center.
An easy way to check this is to see if the kite hangs level, when you dangle it from the loop
knot at the end of the bridle. Adjust both knots until everything looks square and level.
Secondly, make sure that the sliding knot on
the central bridle line ends up between the
upper horizontal spar and the top edge of the
sail. Check this when the kite is laying on its
back on the floor or table, with equal tension
in all the bridle lines. Shift the knot if
necessary, and hold up the bridle lines again
to check. Repeat until it looks right.
If it's very windy outside, stay home! This is a
light-to-moderate wind kite and won't like
being launched in a gale.
Assuming there is some breeze outside, just
dangle the kite at arm's length until the wind
catches it. As long as you feel the kite
pulling, let out line slowly by taking loop after
loop off the winder.
Another approach is to get a helper to hold
the kite up and let it go, on the end of maybe
10 or 20 meters (around 50 feet) of line. This
way, the kite soon gets high enough to make
it easy to let more line out.
The picture shows this latest version of the 1-Skewer Dopero struggling to climb away, in a
light breeze near the end of the day. The tail is mostly hidden by the lower sail.
Have fun flying, and I hope you've enjoyed learning how to make a Dopero kite!

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1-Skewer Dopero Kite Selected Flight Report


Moderate Winds, And Not Too Gusty - Perfect!
Today's outing combined a number of family-orientated things, but this report will stick
strictly to the flying of the 1 Skewer Dopero kite, of course! Being a tiny kite, is was entirely
practical to launch it right there in the gravel car parking area. The previous half an hour or
so had seen the very light breeze freshen considerably, up into the 'moderate' range. That
suits 1 skewer kites, which have quite a bit of bamboo forming the frame for their tiny
amounts of sail area.
The little Dopero shot up willingly on the end of just a few meters of line, it's long tail loop
of black plastic keeping it pointed upwind most of the time. I had fiddled with the bridle and
sail tethers quite a bit on the previous outing, several months ago, to get the kite to fly well.
So no problems today!
With about 15 meters (50 feet) of 20 pound Dacron
line out, we started taking photos. Some featuring 5
year old Aren holding the line. Plus a couple of
movies.
The second movie was zoomed in quite a lot to try
and fill the camera frame with more kite and less
featureless sky.
By chance, the conditions were very good for getting
imagery of the kite. The Easterly breeze allowed the
kite to get illuminated from behind by the sun, which
was low in the sky to the North-West.
After completing the 2nd video, I decided to move
upwind, taking us out of the gravel patch and on to
the grassy reserve. With the breeze traveling a long
way across flat grassy ground, it was quite smooth,
although still gusting a little in strength.
It was easy to continue letting out line until the 30
meter (100 feet) flag came off the winder. At that
point I stopped, knowing from previous flights that
this kite would fly best on this length. When the wind
strength was just right, the Dopero would sit at
around 50 degrees of angle from the horizontal.
Respectable, considering that 20 pound line is
relatively heavy for such a tiny kite.
Just to illustrate the very light forces involved, this kite will fly happily in a moderate breeze
with the winder, a 28cm (11") slab of wood, just sitting there on the grass! Not secured or
held down in any way.

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Despite the perfect conditions, the 1 Skewer Dopero did misbehave just a little, when
affected by turbulence or extra-strong gusts. A large loop almost to ground level, before
recovering and soaring back up again. Another time, it managed to flip itself inverted and
sat there at about 50 feet off the ground for a few seconds up side down. With the bridle
lines passing over the leading edge! The weirdness of tiny kites...
Time was getting on, so I let my wife May take the line for a while, before starting back to
the car park. Winding on flying line as we went. Finally the little Dopero hovered and
dipped just a meter or 2 off the grass, teasing Aren, who tried to catch it like a cat after a
bird.
All in all, an enjoyable flight with the most complex design of the 1-Skewer series!

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The 1-Skewer Box Kite


The MBK 1-Skewer Box Kite is rather small at just 29cm (11 1/2) long, with cell panels
measuring 14.5cm x 8.7cm (5 3/4 x 3 1/2). This box design will stay airborne in moderate
winds, but does even better in fresh winds.
Like all the other MBK 1-Skewer kites, this design can't be taken apart for transport.
However, that's not much of a problem due to it's small size! Just be sure to treat it with
care when handling or transporting it.

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1-Skewer Box Kite Plans

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1-Skewer Box Kite Tips


1. Use a single long strip of clear sticky tape over each of the leading and trailing
edges of both cells, to reinforce the edge and at the same time attach the spars to
the plastic.
2. Close the box using clear sticky tape along the sail plastic edges. Also fold a short
length of tape around the leading edge and trailing edge of both joins, to reinforce.
3. Insert and secure 2 cross-pieces, one near the upper cell and one near the lower
cell first, both butted onto the same 2 spars.
4. Cut the other 2 cross-pieces slightly over-size, then trim down to fit, before securing
them onto the other 2 spars.
5. Poke 2 holes for the bridle attachment, then add a short strip of clear sticky tape just
forward of the holes, as reinforcement.
6. Try a tail about 6 skewer lengths long, looped around and attached at both ends to
the lower cell where indicated. Experiment with reducing the amount of tail later.
7. This is most definitely a strong wind design!
Note: This is the original 1-Skewer box kite. If you can build it accurately enough, and
hence can get it stable with a minimum of tail length, it should prove a passable performer
in stiff breezes. However, you are more likely to find success with my revised design,
which is described in the step-by-step instructions below...

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1-Skewer Box Kite Step By Step Instructions


Now's the time to read up in Appendix 1 about kite materials and other things needed to
build an MBK Skewer kite, if you haven't already.

1-Skewer Box Kite - Frame

Select 4 bamboo BBQ skewers that seem fairly straight. Check this by rolling them
across a table top, one by one. Or just look down their length.

In addition, try to ensure that 2 of those skewers have very similar flexibility. Either
bend them by hand to try and judge this, or get a little more ingenious by
suspending the ends and putting a weight in the middle... Getting this right will help
the finished kite to fly straight without needing too much tail. Put a mark on these 2
skewers so you know which ones they are. They are the top 2 spars in the photo.

Snip the point off one skewer, then measure it to establish '1 skewer length' (1.0SL)
for your kite. For me, this was 29 c.m.

Snip the points off the other 3 skewers, to exactly the same length as the first one.
These 4 skewers will now be referred to as the 'spars'

Take another 2 skewers, and snip one of them to exactly 0.7SL (20.3cm, 8") in
length. Make the other one just 0.5cm (1/4") longer. These are the 'cross pieces'.
The longer one will be trimmed to fit, later.

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1-Skewer Box Kite - Sail

The template up there represents one cell of the kite, laid out flat. Transfer the
measurements to the sail plastic as follows...

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Firstly, take a light, single-ply plastic bag and lay it flat on the table. I use cheap
orange garden-bags. The more expensive bags are usually 2 or 3-ply plastic, which
is heavier and less see-through.

Near one edge of the bag, measure and mark a rectangular outline according to the
Template. Use a black marking pen and ruler.

Now measure and mark the fold lines. See the photo.

Flip the bag over, and trace over all the black lines. Use the ruler, of course!

Cut the bag down one side and open it out.

Cut around the 2 rectangular outlines with scissors. I don't recommend trying to do
both rectangles at once, since the plastic tends to slip!

Arrange the 4 bamboo spars over the plastic as in the photo, covering up the drawn
fold-lines. Make sure the marked side-spars are positioned as shown in the photo!

Tack down all 8 corners of the sails to the table top with small square pieces of
sticky tape. This stops unintended shifting of the plastic while you are trying to...

Lay down 4 long lengths of clear sticky tape, securing the spars to the plastic. The
tape is just visible in the photo - look for where the plastic is smoother and slightly
darker, near the edges. Each tape goes all the way from left to right, over the 4
spars.

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Remove everything from the table top,


either pulling off or trimming away the
small square bits of tape at the corners.

Fold the sails, bringing the short edges


together and sticking them with tape. The
photo gets close-up on one of the 2 joins.

Now open the box kite out, and carefully


lay down tape along the inside edges as
well, to make the 2 joins even more
secure. A bit tricky, take your time!

1-Skewer Box Kite - Cross-Pieces

Fit the shorter cross-piece as in the photo,


between the unmarked spars. Wrap a
small square piece of electrical insulation
tape around where each tip touches the
spar.

Trim the longer cross-piece a little at a time


until you can slide it completely into
position between the marked spars. It's ok
if the marked spars are pushed apart just a
little. Put a drop or 2 of wood glue at each
end to secure it, as in the bottom photo. At
this point, the 2 cross-pieces should be
holding the kite open, with all the plastic
panels under a little bit of tension.

When the glue is dry, flip the kite over and


add some more glue to strengthen those
joins on the other side.
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1-Skewer Box Kite - Final Bits

Poke 2 holes in the plastic of a cell, 0.2SL


(5.8cm, 2 1/4") from the tip of an unmarked
spar. One hole on each side of the spar.

Cut off a length of 20 pound flying line,


about the length of one skewer, and tie a
small Loop knot (Appendix 4) into both
ends.

Attach one end of this bridle to the kite, by


passing it through one hole and out the
other, and then through a loop. Reinforce
the sail near the towing point, with a short
strip of sticky tape.

Cut off 4 squares of electrical insulation


tape and cap the spar tips nearest the
bridle.

Now tie a loop of flying line around the 2


marked spars, which you can also see in
the photo, labeled 'tensioner'. Try to pull
just enough tension into it to keep the lines
straight, and tie off with a few Half Hitches.

Put a small drop of glue on the tensioner knot.

Also put some glue where the cross-pieces touch each other, to keep everything
stiffer.

1-Skewer Box Kite - Attaching The Tail

Cut off several loops of plastic from a dark


garbage bag, and knot them together to a
length of at least 3SL (90cm, 35"). The
width should be about the same as 2 adult
fingers, or a little more.

With sticky tape, attach one end of the tail


to the lower tip of the spar to which the
bridle is attached. This should be clear
from the flying photo on the next page.

At this point, you've pretty much finished making


the MBK 1-Skewer Box Kite!

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1-Skewer Box Kite - Flying!


Finally, make up a flying line (Appendix 3) and attach it
to the bridle with a Lark's Head knot. See the photo
over there.
Assuming there is plenty of breeze outside, just dangle
the kite at arm's length until the wind catches it. As
long as you feel the kite pulling, let out line slowly by
letting it slip through your fingers.
Another approach is to get a helper to hold the kite up
and let it go, with maybe 10 or 20 meters of line let
out. This way, the kite soon gets high enough to make
it easy to let more line out. That's assuming there is
plenty of wind!
If this kite doesn't fly, there is only one explanation: not enough wind! If it loops around in
one direction, try adding a little tail to one side of the lower cell. Imagine the kite looping
around... The extra tail needs to go on the outside of that loop.
You will need to experiment a little, since adding
too much tail will make the kite loop around in the
opposite direction.
An important part of making a box kite as small
as this one is selecting bamboo skewers that are
as straight and consistent as possible. If you can
do a perfect job, the kite might even fly straight
with no tails at all, over a large wind range. On
something this small, it's just hard to do.
Isn't it nice to not be grounded when it's fairly
windy outside, and it's way too strong for the lightwind MBK designs!
The picture over there shows the MBK 1-Skewer
Box Kite in the air. If you think you have done a
reasonably accurate job of selecting skewers and
constructing the kite, experiment with using less
tail. It will fly higher with less tail to drag it down.
Hope you've enjoyed learning how to make a Box
kite!

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1-Skewer Box Kite Selected Flight Report


Floating And Darting In Gusty Fresh Winds
Arriving at our usual kite-flying reserve, it was clear that the 1 Skewer Box kite would get
into the air without too much trouble. Or so I thought! It turned out to be a bit marginal after
all, with the wind strength dying too soon after each gust lofted the kite a few meters into
the air.
So began a whole number of short flights, not helped by the wind shadow created by the
trees upwind.
So, I tried moving towards the middle of reserve, where the moderate gusts coming
through made things a bit easier. But still, no real success. Grr ... little kites can be a pain
sometimes ...
However, persistence breeds success! Finally, the light orange 1 Skewer Box kite was up
and away. Flying more than a couple of tree-heights up, in stronger and more consistent
airflow. With 30 meters of line out, the time was right to pull out the Samsung digital
camera and crank it up to 5x zoom.
Even just taking pictures of little kites is harder than for larger kites... Not just because of
the size, but because it is harder to keep a small kite off the ground on a short line! You
just get it framed up, and then ... darn.
When the freshest gusts hit the kite it was clear
that it was pulling to the right under stress. So I
added a little more plastic to the tail-let on the
left side. You can see the original tail-let in the
photo over there.
A brief flight showed that still more was needed,
so I added a complete extra loop to the tail-let.
This turned out better, but at some wind speeds
the kite would suddenly pull left! Perhaps just
more length on the main tail would help. But the
kite was flying OK most of the time and getting
more altitude.
Eventually, with the average wind speed
creeping up, the full potential of the tiny box kite
was on show. Frustration started to give way to
relaxation and good old kite-flying pleasure! A
tight line, sun on your face, wind on your back,
you know what I mean...
Much of the time the kite sat at around 30
degrees but occasionally it was pushed higher
by rising air. At other times, tail down, the kite
hung lower and pulled hard. Or it tried to - at this
size, no kite pulls 'hard'!

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By now the sun was shining brightly, the sky mainly blue with most of the morning cloud
cover gone.
A small bird circled briefly below the kite to take a look, before flying off.
Speaking of birds, a lone magpie shot past below me, keeping close to the grass, some
time earlier. A couple of white cockatoos flew silently by, several hundred feet up. They
only seem to make a huge noise when moving in large groups!
Feeling some extra tension in the line, I was able to let it out to 60 meters (200 feet). The 1
Skewer Box kite seemed so small at this distance, and started flying higher than it has
ever gone before. It shuddered in thermal turbulence for just a moment, before soaring up
in the rising air that was nearby. The boundary between rising and sinking air often
contains a small region of rough air, and you can actually spot it happening sometimes,
with a kite in the air.
The box kite was covering a lot of ground, sometimes being forced into slow loops to the
right under strong wind pressure, and just scooting left or right at other times. When sitting
on top of a plume of rising air, the line drooped vertically down underneath the kite, before
arcing back to where I was standing on a grassy mound.
Several times the 1 Skewer Box kite ended up very low over the grass, but willingly
climbed back up. Sometimes with a little help from me, tugging it back up into faster air when it happened to be pointing in the right direction!
The wind strength was definitely increasing. Looking around, dozens of tree tops were all
showing some small branch movement. The closest ones were generating a fair amount of
leaf noise in each long fresh gust.
And then a magic moment. A large thermal came through, and I let the line out to about 80
meters as the little orange kite climbed rapidly. Just a speck way up there, the 1 Skewer
Box kite floated on its face, the 20 pound Dacron line describing an enormous S bend as
various wind gusts tugged at it from different directions. At an angle of about 50 degrees,
the kite was about 170 feet above the ground.
Soon after this, the kite sank nearly all the way to the grass, clearing the trees downwind
by only a few meters. Some time later, after bringing in some line, the kite come to ground
in the middle of the reserve.
I moved off to the side to collect the wind meter and equipment bag. Also, to pick up the
winder and start putting line back on. Imagine my surprise when, halfway through winding,
I looked up to see the 1 Skewer Box kite flying once again! The line had caught on a
thistle, after a gust must have rolled the kite around and bounced it back into the air.
To get a better idea of the real wind strength, I put the wind meter on the grassy mound for
a few minutes. It came up with an average of 7.1kph, gusting to over 15kph. I'll bet it was
closer to 25kph at times, up where the kite was!
Anyway, it was a good outing. The best actually, with this particular 1-Skewer kite!

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The Skewer Tetrahedral Kite


This kite is relatively quick to construct, for a tetra. By using bamboo BBQ skewers, it is
also unusually adept at staying up in light winds, compared to most other tetrahedral
designs. The Skewer Tetra is a 4-cell design, which is the simplest possible arrangement
for a practical kite of this type. No tail is necessary, although you could try adding one if the
kite shows signs of instability in fresh winds.
You'll have a lot of fun with this kite in 'moderate winds and thermals' conditions! It will
wander all around the sky and occasionally float up to high line angles.

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Skewer Tetrahedral Kite Step By Step Instructions


Compared to most methods for making tetrahedral kites, the following method is relatively
quick and easy...

Take a 30 cm (12") bamboo BBQ skewer, and attach a length of clear sticky tape to one
end as in the photo above. The tape should be about as long as an average adult middle
finger. The skewer is sitting on half the length of the tape.

Carefully roll the skewer in your fingers, attaching the width of the tape to it as you go.
Then, keep rolling the skewer while drawing your fingers away from the tip, so the free
length of tape spins itself into a tight cord. It should be pretty clear in the photo above.
Attach tape to the other end of the skewer in the same
way. Then do both ends of another 5 skewers!
Arrange all 6 skewers as in the photo over there, and
note how the little cords of rolled-up tape overlap each
other at the 3 corners of the large triangle of skewers.

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Here's a close-up of one of those corners. The 3
little cords have been twisted together, then
another short length of tape has been wrapped
around the 3 cords several times. The 3 skewers
are now joined securely at the tips.
Do the other 2 corners too!

Finally, draw those 3 free skewers up away from


the floor, and secure the 3 tips together in the
same way as all the others.
(Cue trumpet flourish...) Tada! A tetrahedron.

Take your tetrahedron and lay it on a sheet of


plastic that you would like to use as sail material.
Trace around the inside of the triangle that is in
contact with the plastic. Use a black permanent
marker pen.
Flip the tetrahedron over, along one side, without
letting that side slip or change position. Now trace
around the inside of the new triangle which is in
contact with the plastic.
Finally, draw tabs in, next to 4 of the sides of the
diamond shape you have drawn. See the photo. I
was in a a hurry, so just eye-balled it apart from
ruling the longest straight lines in with a ruler! Just allow plenty of width to fold each tab
over a skewer.

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Next, cut all around the tabbed diamond shape
with scissors.
The photo also shows a couple of the tabs folded
over and stuck down with sticky tape. The
tetrahedron has been flipped back to its original
position.

Look at that! A complete cell, where the remaining


2 tabs have been folded over and stuck down.

Now make another 3 complete cells. Whew. I'll


wait here while you create them all...
... finished?
OK, now arrange them as in the photo. All the
sails should be facing the same way. At every
corner point where the tetrahedrons touch, there
should be 2 short sticks of tape. One coming from
each tetrahedron.

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Here's a close-up of one join between
tetrahedrons. See how the sticky tape sticks point
in opposite directions. Lay them side by side and
wrap more sticky tape around the whole lot, using
several wraps to make it strong.

Take a length of 20 pound flying line, about 2SL


(58cm, 23") long, and attach it to the kite as
shown in the photo. I just used Half-Hitches
(Appendix 4) around the sticky tape at both
points. Small tetrahedral kites such as this one do
not require more than 20 pound line.

Also tie a small Loop knot into the bridle, so the line angles are approximately as shown.
The exact position is not as critical as for other types of kites. It should fly fine!
A Lark's Head knot can now be used to attach a flying line just behind the Loop knot of the
bridle.

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Skewer Tetrahedral Kite Selected Flight Report


Floated Way Up In Almost Perfect Winds
A few days ago we attempted to fly the Skewer Tetrahedral kite but were thwarted by
almost dead-calm conditions. Just the occasional puff from a nearby thermal would disturb
the leaves of the trees, allowing a quick tow up to 50 feet or so. Followed by a slow
descent all the way to the grass!
Today was different though. A cool moderate
breeze blew around the house, ruffling the
treetops and bushes. Aren and I took off in the
car, and soon arrived at a nearby reserve. Aren,
5, headed straight for the 'flying fox' in the play
equipment area, while I walked some meters over
the grass to launch the Tetra. The cool breeze
was Southerly, powering up over the slight slope
of the field. Even the grass blades were quivering
in the airflow, so the breeze would surely be
enough for the kite.
The pale orange Tetra floated up easily, and soon
I had walked upwind further and let out 30 meters
(100 feet) of line. On this length, and with very
little sag in the line, it was clear the optimum
flying angle of this kite was roughly 45 degrees.
Respectable enough for a small cellular design!
Then it was out with the camera, and soon there
were a few stills and short movies 'in the can'.
While processing the photos for this report, I
noticed something intriguing...
Check out the lower cell of the tetra, in the close-up shot down there on the right. See how
the downwash from the upper 3 cells has pushed the plastic out rather than in! It seems
the upper 3 cells are doing the weight-bearing, like the wing on an aircraft, while the lower
cell is acting like a stabilizer. It's the same in the other photos taken today, so it wasn't just
a chance fluttering of the sail material.
Oh, sorry - if you're not a techie ... wake up ;-)
After a while, I let out the line to 60 meters (200 feet) and
enjoyed seeing the Skewer Tetrahdral kite do its thing in
the late afternoon sun.
Just to see what would happen, I put the wooden winder
on the ground. Most of the time, the little Tetra was
unable to budge it. However, the stronger gusts did shift
the winder over the ground a bit, so it was soon time to
hang on to it again.

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The wind seemed to freshen a little more, and the kite started to loop to the right from time
to time. It seems that the wind range of this 4-cell Tetra is somewhat limited. However,
there are 2 solutions, both involving tails.
1. A little tail-let added to the left corner of the lower cell would fix the looping. Of
course, some trial and error would be necessary, to get the length just right.
2. A simple tail, several skewer-lengths long, could be added to the lower tip of the
lower cell. This would certainly extend the wind range, at the expense of holding the
kite down to slightly lower line angles.
One day, we'll get out there again, and fiddle around with some tails! Check out the video
down there to see how the Skewer Tetrahedral kite behaves in ideal (moderate) wind
strengths. Unfortunately, I have forgotten the exact wind meter readings. By the time we
left, the breeze would have been 'moderate, gusting to fresh'.

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The 2-Skewer Sled Kite


The MBK 2-Skewer Sled Kite is a medium-sized Sled 58 cm (2 feet) tall, with twin tails and
a shallow V cut into the leading edge. If you imagine a kite taking off from the ground, the
leading edge is the top edge of the sail.
The 2-Skewer Sled is a nice light-to-moderate wind flier.

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2-Skewer Sled Kite Plans

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2-Skewer Sled Kite- Tips


1. Reinforce the sail edges by adding clear sticking tape over the outlines, then
trimming back to the outlines.
2. Secure the sail to the spar ends and spar centers using short lengths of electrical
insulation tape.
3. At the towing points, add electrical insulation tape to both sides of the plastic,
extending out a short distance away from the plastic.
4. Take a length of bridle line about 6 times as long as the kite is high, and tie each
end tightly around the towing point tape, crushing it.
5. Each tail can simply be threaded between the bottom end of the vertical spar and
the sail, then looped through itself and tightened.
6. Attach flying line to the bridle with a shiftable knot, to get it exactly center.
7. Adjust the length of one tail to trim out any tendency to hang left or right in flight.

2-Skewer Sled Kite- Plan View Photos


The photo on the left is of the front surface. That is, the surface of the flying kite which
faces the flier. The other photo is of the back surface, which exposes the spars.

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2-Skewer Sled Kite Step By Step Instructions


Now's the time to read up in Appendix 1 about kite materials and other things needed to
build an MBK 2-Skewer kite, if you haven't already.

2-Skewer Sled Kite - Frame

For this sled, you need to glue skewers together to form the 2 vertical spars.

Snip the points off 4 skewers, then check to see that they are all exactly the same
length.

From another skewer, snip off 2 lengths of bamboo, each 0.3SL (8.7cm, 3 1/2") long
- and mark the center-points with the marking pen if you want to be extra-precise!

Arrange all the bamboo as in the photo, with some paper underneath to catch
excess glue - the bottom half of the photo is a close-up of the top spar.

Get down to table top height and look along the spars, and make sure they are as
straight as possible.

Lay down a thick line of glue all the way down each join, as in the photo - actually,
the glue is half-dry in the photo.

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2-Skewer Sled Kite - Sail

The template shown above represents one side of the kite sail. You will now transfer these
measurements to the sail plastic as follows...

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Firstly, take the large bag that you will be using for the sail, and lay it flat on the
table.

Mark the corners of the template shape with dots, as shown in the previous photo notice that marks are also made on the side edge of the bag, which is the centerline of the kite sail.

Using the marking pen, rule lines between the dots.

Note: Did you find your ruler was not long enough to rule all the lines? Just mark a dot
about mid-way between the 2 corner dots, using whatever straight edge you can find maybe a piece of wood. Then, connect the 3 dots with your ruler. Problem solved, and no
need to rush out and buy a 1 meter (1 yard) ruler!

Flip the plastic bag over, and trace over all the black lines using your marker pen
and ruler.
Cut out a rectangular section of the bag containing the kite sail, open it out and lay it
flat on the table - you can now see the complete sail outline, as in the photo.

Lay clear sticking tape along all the lines with each line showing through the center
of the tape - that's 7 pieces of tape in all, if you do the trailing edge with a single
piece of tape.
With scissors, cut along the black lines - this will leave half the width of the sticking
tape inside the sail outline.

Note: Don't worry about overlapping lengths of tape at the corners, it will all look tidier after
the cutting is done.
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Are the spars dry yet? If so, continue...

Place the left spar over the plastic, with the edge tape facing up.

Cap the ends of the spar with electrical tape, as in the photo, by sticking it down
over the bamboo and plastic then folding it under the plastic to stick on the other
side - a bit tricky, take your time!

Next, lay a short length of electrical tape across the bamboo and onto the plastic, at
the center - as in the photo.

If you want to, trim the bits of tape that stick out at the top and bottom of the spar,
with scissors.

Now, tape the right hand spar in exactly the same way.

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Here's how to reinforce the towing points...

Firstly, stick down a length of tape that goes left to right and sticks out some
distance from the towing point, as in the photo.

Turn the sail over and stick down another piece of tape exactly the same way, so
both pieces stick to the plastic at one end and to each other at the other end.

Wrap another piece of tape around the towing point, in a vertical direction, as in the
photo.

Now go over to the left side of the sail and do exactly the same thing with another 3 pieces
of tape. The pieces of tape that stick out are where you will attach the bridle line. This
method is surprisingly strong and can take a lot of punishment in rough air.

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2-Skewer Sled Kite - Bridle

Cut off some flying line to a length of 12SL (348cm, 138"). Tie one end to one towing point
tape, and the other end to the other towing point tape. The trick is to use Double Wrap Slip
knots, working them down really tight onto the tape.
With the knots nice and tight, the line should crush the tape and make a secure
connection. If you do it right, it will never slip off when the kite is flying.
Finally, take a length of flying line about 0.5SL (15cm, 6") long, and tie one end to the
bridle line with a Prusik knot. Tie a small simple loop knot into the other end. The black
camera case in the photo is just to make the loop and Prusik knot easier to see.

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2-Skewer Sled Kite - Attaching Tails

Have you read Appendix 2 on making kite tails? Assuming you have...

Make up a tail from a black garbage bag, making sure it is at least 6SL (174cm, 69")
long.

Attach the tail by poking one end between the bottom of a spar and the sail.

Pull the rest of the tail through the loop, but don't over-tighten.

In the same way, make up and attach another tail to the other spar.

See the photo, where I have left both tails a bit loose to make it clear.
At this point, you've pretty much finished making the 2-Skewer Sled!

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2-Skewer Sled Kite - Prepare To Fly

Finally, make up a flying line (Appendix 3) and attach it to the bridle with a Lark's Head
knot. See the photo above.
As a final check, suspend the kite from the flying line. Shift the Prusik knot along the bridle
line until it's exactly in the middle. The sides of the sail should match, and the spars should
be sitting right next to each other.

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2-Skewer Sled Kite - Flying!


Assuming there is some breeze outside, just dangle the kite at arm's length until the wind
catches it. As long as you feel the kite pulling, let out line slowly by letting it slip through
your fingers.
Another approach is to get a helper to hold the kite up and let it go, with maybe 10 or 20
meters of line let out. This way, the kite soon gets high enough to make it easy to let more
line out.

Here's a picture of me and a small kiting assistant launching the MBK 2-Skewer Sled Kite,
down at a local reserve.
Have fun flying, and I hope you've enjoyed learning how to build a Sled kite!

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2-Skewer Sled Kite Selected Flight Report


2-Skewer Sled Kite Tests 20 Pound Line
We went down to Christies Beach for a New Year's Day lunch on the sand with our trusty
ermm... tent thingy, shelter, whatever it is. It uses built-in sand anchor bags, which was just
as well today. The sea breeze was pumping, powering up the rocky slopes and giving a
free ride to dozens of slope-soaring sea-gulls.
Eventually, after some family time with wife and 3 year old boy, out came the 2-Skewer
Sled Kite. Wasn't game to try the Dowel Sled, I think it would attempt to rip my arm off in
the stiff wind. It's meant to be a light-wind kite after all. Soon, after the usual tantrums my
Sled kites are prone to when low down, the 2-Skewer kite was high and stable. Only just
stable mind you, while exploring the extreme limits of its flight envelope! Line angles were
around 60-65 degrees. The only reason it ever went lower was when wind strength
increased still further, forcing the kite back down or to one side or the other as it struggled
to point upwind.
The flying line, despite being as taut as a banjo string, did not make a huge amount of
noise. Putting my ear next to it, it was whistling though. Perhaps the noise of the surf, and
wind flowing past my ears drowned out the noises from the line. I tried an experiment. I
held the winder tightly but let my arm dangle loosely by my side. In the strongest gusts,
this very modestly-sized Sled managed to pull my arm up past 45 degrees, maybe 50,
from my body! You'd be surprised how much weight there is in a human arm.
Well, the 20 pound twisted Dacron held, I'm glad to say. I don't think it's ever been loaded
so far for so long as during today's flight. My wife May grasped the line at one stage,
intending to fly the kite for a few moments. She made a face after barely moving the line at
all! To bring the kite down, winding straight on just wasn't an option. I pulled the line down
onto the sand, a meter at a time, and finally got the kite down.
The 2-Skewer Sled has a decent wind range for something made out of bamboo and
plastic. Oh yes, a bit further down the beach, a kid was having trouble keeping a small
shop-bought Delta in the air. I could see the leading edge spars flexing massively, as it got
forced to the sand time after time...

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The 2-Skewer Diamond Kite


At 58cm (23") across, the MBK 2-Skewer Diamond Kite is small enough for kids and yet
provides great flying performance for adults to enjoy as well. This Diamond has dihedral
(the horizontal spar has a shallow V shape) and flies on a 2-leg bridle. Only a short tail is
required, although long and colorful ones can be used for more spectacle in the air!
The 2-Skewer Diamond is a very nice light-to-moderate wind flier.

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2-Skewer Diamond Kite Plans

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2-Skewer Diamond Kite Tips


1. 30 cm (12 inch) bamboo BBQ skewers work well as spar material.
2. Reinforce the join in the middle of each spar with 2 lengths of skewer, each 0.15SL
(4.4cm, 1 3/4") long, one on each side as in the plan. The reinforcers stay flat on the
table, and glue is applied along their lengths, from above, to join the 4 pieces of
bamboo together.
3. Reinforce the sail edges by adding clear sticking tape over the outlines. Trim back
to the outline, leaving at least 3/4 of the width of the tape on the sail.
4. Secure the sail to each spar end using a short length of electrical insulation tape.
Fold it over the tip.
5. Secure the horizontal spar to the vertical spar with glue, or any other method you
prefer.
6. Try a length of bridle line about 4.0SL (116cm, 46") long.
7. At the bridle attachment points, a Double-Wrap Slip Knot works well. Add a spot of
glue if you want to.
8. For a start, try making a simple ribbon tail about 8.0SL (230cm, 90") long and the
width of 3 adult fingers.
9. The tail can be attached to the vertical spar with a single Half Hitch. Trim off excess
tail plastic above the knot.

2-Skewer Diamond Kite Plan View Photos


The photo on the left is of the front surface. That is, the surface of the flying kite which
faces the flier. The other photo is of the back surface, which exposes the spars.

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2-Skewer Diamond Kite Step By Step Instructions


Now's the time to read up in Appendix 1 about kite materials and other things needed to
build an MBK Skewer kite, if you haven't already.

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The template shown on the previous page represents one side of the kite sail. You will now
transfer these measurements to the sail plastic as follows...

Take a light plastic bag that will fit the entire Template shape within one side, and
lay it flat on the floor.
Mark dots on the plastic, corresponding to the corners of the Template. There is no
need to use a T-square, since any small error will be duplicated on the other side of
the sail. And it will make hardly any difference to how the kite flies.
Using the marking pen, rule lines between the dots to create the Template shape.

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Flip the plastic bag over, and trace over all the black lines
using your marker pen and ruler.
Cut out a rectangular section of the bag containing the kite
sail, open it out and lay it flat on the floor - you can now see
the complete sail outline, as in the photo.
Run clear sticky tape along every straight line, leaving most of
the tape on the inside of the sail edges.
Cut along the black lines with scissors, to create the sail. See
the close-up photo on the right.

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2-Skewer Diamond Kite Making Spars

For this Diamond, you need four 30cm (12") bamboo BBQ skewers. Also, you need to cut
off 4 short 0.15SL (4.4cm, 1 3/4") lengths of skewer. The photos show how these are all
glued together.
One pair of skewers has the pointed ends raised up off the table, forming the horizontal
spar.
The other pair are just lined up straight, flat against the table top, with a point at each end.
This is the vertical spar. To make sure there is no kink at the join, get your head down low
and look along the skewers. Shift one a little, if necessary, before the glue dries!

2-Skewer Diamond Kite Attaching Spars

Snip off one point from the straight pair of


skewers.
Line this end up with the top corner of the
kite sail, with the skewers resting along the
fold line of the plastic.
Attach the bamboo to the plastic with
insulation tape, as in the photo over there.

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At the bottom corner of the sail, snip the


skewer to length and attach the tip to the
plastic in the same way. This is the vertical
spar.
Now lay down the other pair of skewers
across the left and right corners of the sail,
so the middle join sits on the vertical spar
skewer.
Snip off the points of the skewers so the
tips line up with the left and right corners of
the sail. Take your time - you don't want to
snip off too much bamboo...
Tape the tips to the sail corners. This is the
horizontal spar.
Finally, put a drop of glue above and below
the crossing point of the spars, to attach
them together. The photo shows the kite at this point.

2-Skewer Diamond Kite Bridle


All the construction details for the bridle are contained in the large photo below. Look and
read carefully, and you can't go wrong on this rather important bit! Just use 20 or 30 pound
flying line for the bridle pieces.

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TIP: Secure the slip knots onto the bamboo of the vertical spar with a tiny blob of wood
glue, so they can't loosen.
ADJUSTMENT:
Once your kite + bridle looks like the photo on the previous page...
Hold the short bridle line up so all the bridle lines are straight, with the kite laying flat on
the table or floor.
Referring to the diagram below, shift the Prusik knot to the shown position. It's not
necessarily the perfect position for your individual kite, but it should at least fly on the first
attempt! Later, you can experiment with shifting the position away from the nose a little at a
time to improve how high your kite flies.

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2-Skewer Diamond Kite Tail


Cut out a long rectangular piece of dark plastic for
the tail. Black garbage bag plastic works well.
Make it about 0.3SL (8.7cm, 3 1/2") wide and 8SL
(230cm, 90") long.
Tie one end around the vertical spar, as close as
possible to the bottom tip. See the photo on the
right. A single Half Hitch will do, since there are
very low forces on the tail in flight.
You can see the full length of the tail in the 'Flying'
photo further down...

At this point, you've finished making the 2-Skewer


Diamond!
To attach the flying line, just Lark's Head the
flying line to the short bridle line as in the photo.

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2-Skewer Diamond Kite Flying!


Firstly, if it's very windy outside, stay home! This
is a light-to-moderate wind kite and won't like
being launched in a gale.
Assuming there is some breeze outside, just
dangle the kite at arm's length until the wind
catches it. As long as you feel the kite pulling, let
out line slowly by taking loop after loop off the
winder.
Another approach is to get a helper to hold the
kite up and let it go, on the end of maybe 10 or 20
meters (around 50 feet) of line. This way, the kite
soon gets high enough to make it easy to let
more line out.
The picture shows this latest version of the 2Skewer Diamond on its very first flight. Winds
were light but gusting into the moderate range,
causing the Diamond to loop occasionally.
Have fun flying, and I hope you've enjoyed
learning how to build a Diamond kite!

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2-Skewer Diamond Kite Selected Flight Report


When Is A Hole In The Sail A Good Thing?
When it causes the kite to fly straight, over a good wind range and return wonderful high
flights! On its first test flight, it was clear that the 2 Skewer Diamond kite MkII had a
problem in the upper end of its wind range.
Shaving the stiffer horizontal spar skewer didn't make a whole lot of difference, so there
had to be something wrong with the sail. As an experiment I cut a small 1 x 1.5cm hole in
the pristine new sail. Halfway out to the tip and just below the horizontal spar. It's not
visible in the photo, and certainly wasn't visible to me while observing the kite.
Soon after turning up at a local oval, the light
breeze gusting through seemed very ideal for
flying the light-weight Diamond. Hopefully, the
slightly fresher gusts would prove whether or not
the 'trimming hole' was doing its thing!
The kite was soon out on about 20 meters (70
feet) of line. With winder underfoot, a few photos
were snapped off. Out of curiosity, I took my foot
off the winder, which then proceeded to drag
slowly across the grass. So, this kite has quite a
low pulling force!
Around 60 meters (200 feet) I stopped again and
took several videos. The climb continued,
effortlessly, until 90 meters (300 feet) of line was
out.
It seemed I had fluked the size of the hole fairly
close to the proper size, since the kite was
behaving very well. Hardly any hint of the
previous turning tendency, with stronger gusts
just sending it straight up higher.
For a while I just let the 2 Skewer Diamond kite do its thing, now on 140 meters (450 feet)
of line. Some observations...
The kite appeared to wing-waggle slowly and gently while on the verge of floating facedown in lulls. At the other end of its wind range, it would wing-waggle more rapidly.
However, at wind speeds in-between these extremes, it would fly smoothly with hardly any
waggle at all - despite flying on a simple 2-point bridle.
The simple ribbon tail stayed dead straight most of the time, with ripples travelling down its
length continuously. Thin black garbage bags make great tail material! Ultra-lightweight yet
highly visible against a blue or light-gray sky. Talking about visibility, the bright orange sail
lit up nicely despite the sun being off to one side by quite a big angle. Orange and black
works so well against a clear blue sky.

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A bird flying through got quite a surprise. I don't think it actually hit the flying line, but it took
some extreme evasive action for just a split second when it suddenly caught sight of it very
close!
Most of this time the kite was anchored to a handy pole. However, I had to intervene when
the kite started slowly floating down on its face for half a minute or so. Eventually, it was in
danger of descending right onto a busy road which ran past the oval. After just a few quick
hand-over-hand pulls on the line, the little Diamond obediently soared up a few meters and
then caught just enough breeze to continue the climb on its own. Seconds later, it was up
around 400 feet altitude again.
Most of the time, the 2 Skewer Diamond kite was flying at an angle of between 45 and 50
degrees, with considerable sag in the 20 pound Dacron line. However, for a few delicious
moments, a large thermal pushed the kite right up to 80 degrees where it spun around in a
few tight circles before starting to descend once again. I never saw the original 2-Skewer
Diamond do that!
While the kite was in the air, at least 3 passenger jets flew over.
One jet was overflying the city at high altitude, while 2 others, just minutes apart, were
climbing out from Adelaide airport. Which, by the way, is a safe distance to the north of our
local area. No chance of snagging any kite strings - although the 2 Skewer Diamond kite
was a bit wayward today in nearly reaching 450 feet above ground... 400 is the legal limit.
The 2-Skewer Diamond kite returned a very pleasing flight! If you haven't made any 2Skewer designs yet, the Diamond would be a great place to start.

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The 2-Skewer Barn Door Kite


The MBK 2-Skewer Barn Door is medium-sized at 58 cm (23 inches) across and 53 cm
(21) tall, with a single looped tail. Some 'dihedral' gives extra stability and shortens the
amount of tail required.
The 2-Skewer Barn Door is a very nice light-to-moderate wind flier. As we found out on its
first time out, it can cope with a rather fresh breeze too! However, it could not be called a
strong wind kite, as it bends a lot under those conditions.

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2-Skewer Barn Door Kite Plans

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2-Skewer Barn Door Kite Tips


1. Reinforce the join in the middle of each diagonal spar with a length of skewer, 0.3SL
(8.7cm, 3 1/2") long, glued to one side of the join as in the plan.
2. Reinforce the join in the middle of the horizontal spar with 2 lengths of skewer,
0.2SL (5.8cm, 2 1/4") long, glued to each side of the join as in the plan. The short
pieces of bamboo stay flat on the table.
3. Reinforce the sail edges by adding clear sticking tape over the outlines, then
trimming back to the outlines.
4. Secure the sail to the spar ends using short lengths of electrical insulation tape.
5. Try a length of bridle line about 4.0SL (115cm, 45") long, to tie between the 2 upper
attachment points - in each case use a single-wrap slip knot, secured with a spot of
glue.
6. Try a length of bridle line about 6.0SL (175cm, 70") long, to tie between the upper
bridle loop and the lower attachment point.
7. For a start, try making a single tail about 12SL (350cm, 140") long, with each end
tied to the bottom end of a diagonal spar, forming a loop.

2-Skewer Barn Door Kite Plan View Photos


The photo on the left is of the front surface. That is, the surface of the flying kite which
faces the flier. The other photo is of the back surface, which exposes the spars.

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2-Skewer Barn Door Kite Step By Step Instructions


Now's the time to read up in Appendix 1 about kite materials and other things needed to
build an MBK Skewer kite, if you haven't already.

2-Skewer Barn Door Kite - Frame

For this barn door, you need to glue skewers together to form the 3 spars.

Snip the points off 6 skewers, then check to see that they are all exactly the same
length.

From another skewer, snip off 2 lengths of bamboo, each 0.2SL (5.8cm, 2 1/4")
long. Mark the center-points with the marking pen if you want to be extra-precise!

From the same skewer, snip off another 2 lengths of bamboo, each 0.3SL (8.7cm, 3
1/2") long.

Arrange all the bamboo as in the photo, with some paper underneath to catch
excess glue.

Prop up each end of the double-reinforced spar to about 0.1SL (2.9cm, 1 1/8")
above the table, to give it 'dihedral'.

Get down to table top height and look along the spars, and make sure they are as
straight as possible.

Lay down a thick line of glue all the way down each join, as in the photo.

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2-Skewer Barn Door Kite - Sail

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The template shown above represents one side of the kite sail. You will now transfer these
measurements to the sail plastic as follows...

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Firstly, take the large bag that you will be using for the sail, and lay it flat on the
table.

Measure and mark the corners of the template shape with dots, as shown in the
photo. Notice that marks are also made on the side edge of the bag, which is the
center-line of the kite sail.

Using the marking pen, rule lines between the dots.

Note: When marking the corners, I have found that just judging the 90 degrees from the
center-line by eye is sufficiently accurate. Any small error will be exactly the same on both
sides, and the spars will still fit the sail reasonably well. Of course, if you have a proper Tsquare, use it!

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Flip the plastic bag over, and trace over all the black lines using your marker pen
and ruler.

Cut out a rectangular section of the bag containing the kite sail, open it out and lay it
flat on the table. You can now see the complete sail outline, as in the photo.

Lay clear sticking tape along all the lines with each line showing through the center
of the tape. That's 6 pieces of tape in all.

With scissors, cut along the black lines. This will leave half the width of the sticking
tape inside the sail outline.

Note: Don't worry about overlapping lengths of tape at the corners, it will all look tidier after
the cutting is done.
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Place one straight diagonal spar over the plastic, with the edge tape facing up.

Cap the ends of the spar with electrical tape, as in the photo, by sticking it down
over the bamboo and plastic then folding it under the plastic to stick on the other
side - a bit tricky, take your time!

Do the same for the other diagonal spar, crossing it over the first one.

Next, lay down the horizontal spar and cap each end with electrical tape - pull the
slack out of the plastic, but don't pull it really tight.

Don't secure the spars to each other at this point - the bridle knots will do that later!

If you want to, trim the bits of tape that stick out at the ends of the spars, with
scissors.

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2-Skewer Barn Door Kite - Bridle

Cut off some flying line to a length of 4.0SL (116cm, 46"), and tie a very small Loop
knot (Appendix 4) into each end.

Poke 4 holes in the plastic sail, where the horizontal spar crosses the diagonal
spars. I've marked the holes with black dots in the photo.

Tie each end of the line to the bamboo, through the holes. Use a Double Wrap Slip
knot, and pull tight, securing the crossed spars together.

Tie a Loop knot into the bridle line, exactly in the middle. To check before you
tighten the knot, lift the kite up off the table by the bridle, making sure both sides
come up at the same time.

Now cut off some flying line to a length of 6.0SL (174cm, 69"), and tie a very small
Loop knot into one end.

Poke 2 holes in the plastic sail where the diagonal spars cross - one hole on either
side, as in the photo.

Use a Double Wrap Slip knot as before, to secure the diagonal spars together,
pulling tight.

Tie the other end to the loop in the upper bridle line, using 2 or 3 Half Hitches.

IMPORTANT: Put a drop of glue over each knot that is holding spars together - the
very first test flight proved the need for this, since the spars tend to flex and loosen
the knots.

Tip: Use the blunt end of a skewer to help get those little loops through the holes!
Now take a length of flying line about 0.5SL (15cm, 6") long, and tie one end to the bridle
line with a Prusik knot. Tie a small Loop knot into the other end.

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2-Skewer Barn Door Kite - Attaching The Tail

Have you read Appendix 2 on making kite tails? Assuming you have...

Make up a tail from a black garbage bag, making sure it is at least 12SL (350cm,
140") long.

Attach each end of the tail to the bottom of a diagonal spar, by poking the end
between the bamboo and the sail plastic, then tie off.

It looks nice if you don't pull too much plastic through, and tie the knots as mirror
images of each other - see the photo!

At this point, you've pretty much finished making the 2-Skewer Barn Door!

2-Skewer Barn Door Kite - Preparing To Fly


Finally, see Appendix 3 to make up a flying
line. Attach it to the bridle with a Lark's Head
knot. See the photo over there.
As a final check, lay the kite on its back on
the ground, and lift the bridle. Shift the Prusik
knot along the bridle line until it is positioned
directly over the horizontal spar, with all 3
legs of the bridle pulled straight. This should
ensure that the kite flies, after which you can
experiment further with the exact position of
the knot.

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2-Skewer Barn Door Kite - Flying!


Assuming there is some breeze outside, just dangle the kite at arm's length until the wind
catches it. As long as you feel the kite pulling, let out line slowly by letting it slip through
your fingers. If it refuses to climb despite pulling on your hand, shift the Prusik knot
towards the nose a bit, and try again. Keep going until the kite behaves itself!
Another approach is to get a helper to hold the kite up and let it go, with maybe 10 or 20
meters of line let out. This way, the kite soon gets high enough to make it easy to let more
line out.
Here's a picture of the MBK 2-Skewer Barn Door Kite being launched, down at the
Morphett Vale High School oval...

Have fun flying, and I hope you've enjoyed learning how to build a Barn Door kite.

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2-Skewer Barn Door Kite Selected Flight Report


Gentle Flying Near Its Wind Range Lower Limit
Today the 2 Skewer Barn Door kite enjoyed a high flight in unusually smooth and light
inland winds. Another unusual aspect was the 100% cloud cover. It was like 'pea soup' fog
at 4000 feet or so, with the occasional smoothly rounded strata-type formation visible here
and there.
However, the air was warm, with no threat of rain.
From a photography point of view, light levels
were reasonable too. All that cloud could not have
been very thick.
Aren and I got the photo session out of the way
first. With 3 1/2 year-old Aren obligingly holding
the line, I snapped away with the digital camera.
He was doing so well, I even got him to move
upwind with the line to climb the kite while I took
video.
The first attempt was rather too enthusiastic! Aren
caused the orange Barn Door to shoot up, then
bounce around while he stopped walking and
started hauling the line in hand over hand. The
next attempt was perfect, with the little fellow
backing up slowly.
This time the 2 Skewer Barn Door kite gently
climbed out above tree level.
After all the imagery was 'in the can', we
gradually climbed the kite up, slowly releasing
line.
We had to follow a careful path though, which
1. avoided the elderly golfer practicing his swing,
2. took the kite over the corner of the field to avoid trees and give maximum room to
fly, and
3. also kept some distance from the 2 teenagers using the practice nets for cricket
training!
It was becoming a more enjoyable flight by the minute. The 2 Skewer Barn Door kite
responded to quite gradual changes in wind speed. Even above the wind gradient, winds
were variable, and sometimes so light that the kite barely hung in the air. It was sometimes
necessary to just stand there and wait for some more tension to come on the line.

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The flying line angle varied from roughly 30 to 50 degrees, depending on wind speed. The
Barn Door was once boosted right up to 70 degrees in a weak patch of rising air, before
floating back down on its face. It's not my best thermal-catching kite, but it was still a
welcome departure from its usual Diamond-style performance!
By this time we were getting closer to the 2 teenagers. They soon left, as they do when
their space is invaded by someone more than 20 years older :-)
Finally, a long lull took the kite right down to 20 degrees or so, with line about to droop
onto the grass. This was followed by a long smooth climb, slowly accelerating as the 2
Skewer Barn Door kite passed through 200 feet or so.
Aren and I ended up on the far side of the reserve, sitting on a grassy embankment. All
150 meters of line was out, bar 4 winds so we didn't lose the kite. The kite settled out at
close to 400 feet at around 50 degrees of line angle.
During another lull, I had to wind on quite a few meters of line, but was able to slowly climb
the kite up again. I took the chance to practice climbing the kite at a constant line angle of
somewhere around 40 degrees. With all the line out once again, the kite slowly made its
way up even higher, as line angle increased.
Eventually it was time to go. In these light conditions, it was an easy matter to simply wind
line on to bring the kite down. It was hard to keep the kite in the air once it got below 100
feet. By walking slowly upwind, we kept the kite off the grass.
By this stage, some blue patches had appeared in the East although unusual smooth
cloud formations remained in other parts of the sky. All in all, a nice relaxing outing with the
2 Skewer Barn Door kite, even with the 3 year old in tow!

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The 2-Skewer Rokkaku Kite


The MBK 2-Skewer Rokkaku Kite is a medium-sized rokkaku 58cm (23") across and 73cm
(29") tall, with no tail necessary in light winds. Some 'dihedral' on the upper spar gives
stability and an adjustable amount of bow on the lower spar allows for just enough extra
stability to fly without a tail.
This 2-Skewer Rokkaku is a very efficient light wind flier. Take it out when it seems there's
barely enough wind to fly any kite!

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2-Skewer Rokkaku Kite Plans

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2-Skewer Rokkaku Kite Tips


1. Reinforce all the skewer joins with 2 lengths of skewer, 0.1SL (2.9cm, 1 1/8") long,
glued to both sides of the join as in the plan. While gluing the upper and lower spars
with the tips 0.1SL (2.9cm, 1 1/8") off the table, the short reinforcers stay flat on the
table.
2. The bow string is used to pull some bow into the dihedral of the lower spar, so the
tips are 0.2SL (5.8cm, 2 1/4") off the table.
3. Reinforce the sail edges by adding clear sticking tape over the outlines, then
trimming back to the outlines as you cut out the sail.
4. Secure the sail to the spar ends using short lengths of electrical insulation tape,
wrapped over the tips.
5. Try an upper bridle loop about as long as the kite is wide, and the lower bridle line
about twice as long as the kite is high.
6. No tail is required for this version.

2-Skewer Rokkaku Kite Plan View Photos


The photo on the left is of the front surface. That is, the surface of the flying kite which
faces the flier. The other photo is of the back surface, which exposes the spars.

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2-Skewer Rokkaku Kite Step By Step Instructions


Now's the time to read up in Appendix 1 about kite materials and other things needed to
build an MBK 2-Skewer kite, if you haven't already.

2-Skewer Rokkaku Kite - Frame

For this Rokkaku, you need to glue skewers together to form the 3 spars. Since this kite
has plenty of sail area for its width, there is no need to worry about selecting the lightest
skewers! In fact, stiffer and heavier skewers would be good for the vertical spar. As for any
kite, it's best to try and match the left and right horizontal spars as well. Having said all
that, just using any old skewers at random should not present any real problems. Careful
bridle adjustment and enough tail will cure just about anything...

Snip one skewer to exactly 0.5SL (14.5cm, 5 3/4") in length - keep the other end
(with point) for poking holes in plastic later!

Snip the points off 6 more skewers, then check to see that they are all exactly the
same length.

From another skewer, snip off 4 lengths of bamboo, each 0.15SL (4.4cm, 1 3/4")
long - and mark the center-points with the marking pen if you want to be extraprecise!

Arrange all the bamboo as in the photo, with some paper underneath to catch
excess glue.

Prop up each end of the 2-skewer spars to about a 0.1SL (3cm, 1") length above
the table, to give them 'dihedral'.

Get down to table top height and look along the spars, and make sure they are as
straight as possible.

Lay down a thick line of glue all the way down each join, as in the photo.

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2-Skewer Rokkaku Kite - Sail

The template shown above represents one side of the kite sail. You will now transfer these
measurements to the sail plastic as follows...

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Firstly, take the large bag that you will be using for the sail, and lay it flat on the
table.

Make sure the spars are dry, then lay them down on the plastic to show where the
sail corners are - see the photo on the left.

Mark the corners of the template shape with dots, at each spar end - notice that
marks are also made on the side edge of the bag, which is the center-line of the kite
sail.

Remove the spars then use the marking pen to rule lines between the dots - I have
made the dots big so they show up, see the photo on the right.

Note: Arranging the spars on the plastic by eye is quite accurate enough, as long as you
take some care. Since both sides of the sail will be identical, any small error in judging the
90 degree angle has almost no effect. The exact place where the lower horizontal spar
crosses the vertical spar doesn't matter either. If it looks similar to the photo, it'll fly just
fine!

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Flip the plastic bag over, and trace over all the black lines using your marker pen
and ruler.

Cut out a rectangular section of the bag containing the kite sail, open it out and lay it
flat on the table - you can now see the complete six-sided sail outline, as in the
photo.

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Lay clear sticking tape along all the lines with each line showing through the center
of the tape - that's 6 pieces of tape in all.

With scissors, cut along the black lines - this will leave half the width of the sticking
tape inside the sail outline.

Note 1: I pull off the length of tape required, plus a bit extra on each end, then lay it down
in one motion, pressing to the plastic at both ends at once - then I smooth along the tape
with a finger, making sure it is stuck down firmly along its entire length.
Note 2: Don't worry about overlapping lengths of tape at the corners, it will all look tidier
after the cutting is done.

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Place the long vertical spar over the plastic, with the edge tape facing up.

Cap the ends of the spar with electrical tape, as in the photo, by sticking it down
over the bamboo and plastic then folding it under the plastic to stick on the other
side - a bit tricky, take your time!

Next, lay down the 2 horizontal spars and cap each end with electrical tape - pull
the slack out of the plastic, but don't pull it really tight.

Secure the upper horizontal spar to the vertical spar by running lines of glue above
and below where the spars cross, as in the photo.

Secure the lower horizontal spar to the vertical spar with a drop of glue above and
below where the spars cross, as in the photo - the white piece of tape is just
temporary, holding the spar in place

Note: The camera has made the kite look out of shape - it's actually quite square, as you
can see in the flight photo at the bottom of this page!

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2-Skewer Rokkaku Kite - Bridle

The bigger a Rok kite, the fancier the bridle needs to be. For this one, a 3-leg bridle is
about right. The bottom leg is positioned so that the vertical spar doesn't flex too much in
strong wind. Is all the glue dry? If so...

Cut off some flying line to a 2.0SL (58cm, 23") length, and tie a very small Loop knot
(Appendix 4) into each end.

Poke holes in the plastic, on either side of the upper horizontal spar. So 4 holes
altogether, 0.4SL from the vertical spar, as indicated by the black dots in the photo.

Tie each end of the line to the bamboo, through the holes. Use a Double Wrap Slip
knot, and pull tight.

Cut off some flying line to a 3.0SL (87cm, 35") length, and tie a very small Loop
Knot into one end.

Poke holes in the plastic, on either side of the vertical spar. So 2 holes altogether,
as indicated by the black dots in the photo.

Tie the looped end of the line to the bamboo, through the holes. Use a Double Wrap
Slip knot, and pull tight.

Tie the other end of the line to the mid-point of the upper bridle line you did first. Use
a shiftable knot such as the Prusik.

Now take a length of flying line about 0.5SL (15cm, 6") long, and tie one end to the longer
bridle line with a Prusik knot. Tie a small Loop knot into the other end.
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2-Skewer Rokkaku Kite - Bow The Lower Spar

Cut off a short piece of flying line about 1 skewer length long, and another longer
one about 3 skewer lengths long.

Tie the lines to the spar and pass the longer line through the 2 loops - see the photo
below.

Pull some extra bow into the spar before securing the truckie's knot with a couple of
Half Hitches.

Put a drop of glue on both the knots that have been tied against the bamboo - they
must never come loose!

At this point, you've pretty much finished making the 2-Skewer Rokkaku!

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2-Skewer Rokkaku Kite - Preparing To Fly


Finally, make up a flying line (Appendix 3)
and attach it to the bridle with a Lark's Head
knot. See the photo over there.
As a final check, lay the kite flat and lift the
bridle until all 3 lines are tight. Shift the Prusik
knot along the longer bridle line until it is over
or just below the upper horizontal spar.
Also lift the kite with a finger under the nose
and a finger under the tail, balancing it on the
vertical spar. Try this a few times, and if it's
clear that one side of the kite is heavier, add
small bits of electrical tape to the spar caps
on the lighter side, to balance it up.

2-Skewer Rokkaku Kite - Flying!


Assuming there is some breeze outside, just dangle the kite at arm's length until the wind
catches it. As long as you feel the kite pulling, let out line slowly by letting it slip through
your fingers. If it refuses to climb despite pulling on your hand, shift the Prusik knot
towards the nose a bit, and try again. Keep going until the kite behaves itself!
Another approach is to get a helper to hold the kite up
and let it go, with maybe 10 or 20 meters of line let
out. This way, the kite soon gets high enough to make
it easy to let more line out.
Finally, if the kite doesn't seem stable enough, looping
around even in light wind, just put some more bow in
the lower spar. Take the tension off the bow line,
unpick the Half Hitches and re-tie with some extra bow
in the spar.
Here's a picture of the MBK 2-Skewer Rokkaku Kite in
flight, at the local flying field.
Have fun flying, and I hope you've enjoyed learning
how to how to build a Rokkaku kite!

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2-Skewer Rokkaku Kite Selected Flight Report


Rok Rockets Up, Aided By Thermals And Light Wind
An opportunity came up to pop out with our 2 Skewer Rokkaku kite for 30 or 40 minutes.
The breeze outside was light and warm, and didn't seem too strong for the smallish Rok.
This kite loves light winds, but goes downhill quickly as the wind strength approaches
'moderate'!
On arrival at the reserve, the wind still seemed OK. Cumulus clouds billowed in the
distance, and a few other higher-altitude clouds covered some of the sky as well.
I attached the kite to its 20 pound line and we
donned our Cancer Council hats and sunglasses.
Oh yes, the Parish father and son team are Serious
Kite Fliers ;-)
The smallish Rokkaku kite popped up quickly. Soon
it became clear that the Rok was straining away in
the top half of its wind range most of the time. We
got the photos and video out of the way quickly. After
all, it takes time to climb a kite to 400 feet and then
get it back down again.
Aren, my 4 year old son, had a turn flying the kite,
although he did complain a couple of times about
how hard it was pulling...
With the imagery in the camera, I let out line slowly,
while kite stayed between 60 - 70 degrees of line
angle. By a fluke, I think we caught a thermal right
then and there.
The orange Rok pulled hard the whole time, despite the steepness of the line angle.
Up higher, perhaps on 60 meters of line, the 2 Skewer Rokkaku kite was still pulling hard.
However, it was a struggle to maintain those high line angles. As gusts surged through, the
Rok looped to the left a few times in protest. It didn't feel right at all, so I brought the kite
down and shifted the towing point forward by 1 or 2 cm. Then we tried again.
This time, I had a bit of fun floating the kite out across the field at an altitude of only 3
meters or so.
However, after a while, it wasn't easy to keep releasing line quickly enough in the same
controlled way. Hence the kite started to climb slowly. We were just using a simple winder.
After this, I let the Rok climb out at a 40 degree angle for a while. Finally, I did some quickreleasing, just letting the line fly off the winder by itself. The Rok floated off downwind at
around 200 feet. Oops, there goes the last loop of line! I hastily wound a couple of turns
back onto the empty winder.

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The 2 Skewer Rokkaku kite behaved well, although its sail sides curved in for several
seconds at a time as thermal gusts put extra pressure on. The Rok climbed fairly high, but
never went overhead due to the average wind strength being just a few knots too high.
Actually, this was just as well, or the kite would have been around 100 feet over the legal
limit.
We only had a few minutes to enjoy the high flying before it was time to bring the kite
down. A golfer had arrived, and was preparing to hit off a few balls. He was keeping an eye
on us and the kite.
Due to plenty of tension in the line, it took some time. I alternated between winding on
under tension, and pulling long lengths of line onto the grass so it could be wound on
under no tension. The winder coped since it's pretty sturdy.
It was quite a short outing but never-the-less enjoyable. Good to see the 2 Skewer
Rokkaku kite strut its stuff once more, carving arcs in the sky at 400 feet!

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The 2-Skewer Sode Kite


The MBK 2-Skewer Sode Kite is a medium-sized Sode 58cm (23) across and 87 cm (35)
tall, with a single tail. Some 'dihedral' gives extra stability and shortens the amount of tail
required.
The 2-Skewer Sode is a very nice light-to-moderate wind flier. Watch it go straight
overhead when a thermal comes through! However, it's too lightly built to cope well with
strong wind.

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2-Skewer Sode Kite Plans

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2-Skewer Sode Kite- Tips


1. Reinforce all the skewer joins with 2 lengths of skewer, 0.15SL (4.4cm, 1 3/4") long,
glued to both sides of the join as in the plan. While gluing the spars with dihedral,
the short reinforcers stay flat on the table.
2. Reinforce the sail edges by adding clear sticking tape over the outlines, then
trimming back to the outlines as you cut out the sail.
3. Secure the sail to the spar ends using short lengths of electrical insulation tape.
4. Try a 5.0SL (145cm, 58") bridle line, tied between the upper and lower attachment
points.
5. For a start, try making a single tail about 4 times as long as the kite is high.

2-Skewer Sode Kite Plan View Photos


The photo on the left is of the front surface. That is, the surface of the flying kite which
faces the flier. The other photo is of the back surface, which exposes the spars.

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2-Skewer Sode Kite Step By Step Instructions


Now's the time to read up in Appendix 1 about kite materials and other things needed to
build an MBK Skewer kite, if you haven't already.

2-Skewer Sode Kite - Frame

For this Sode, you need to glue skewers together to form the 3 spars. First, let's look at the
2 horizontal spars.

Snip the points off 8 bamboo skewers, then check to see that they are all exactly
the same length. Trim some if necessary.

From another skewer, snip off 4 lengths of bamboo, each 0.15SL (4.4cm, 1 3/4")
long. Mark the center-points with the marking pen if you want to be extra-precise!

Arrange 4 of the skewers as in the photo, with some paper underneath to catch
excess glue.

For 1 spar, prop up each end to about 0.1SL (3cm, 1") above the table, to give it
'dihedral'.

For the other spar, prop up each end to about 0.15SL (4.4cm, 1 3/4") above the
table, for even more dihedral.

Get down to table top height and look along the spars, and make sure they are as
straight as possible.

Lay down a thick line of glue all the way down each join, as in the photo.

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Next comes the long vertical spar.
From a spare un-cut skewer, snip off 4 lengths of bamboo, each 0.15SL (4.4cm, 1 3/4")
long - and mark the center-points with the marking pen if you want to be extra-precise!

Arrange 3 skewers as in the photo, with some paper underneath to catch excess
glue - taping the paper down as before.

Get down to table top height and look along the spars, and make sure they are as
straight as possible.

Lay down a thick line of glue all the way down each join, as in the photo.

2-Skewer Sode Kite - Sail

The template shown above represents one side of the kite sail. You will now transfer these
measurements to the sail plastic as follows...

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The following sequence which uses a skewer as a measuring stick might seem a bit odd.
However, it's quicker than measuring everything with a ruler, and possibly more fool-proof
as well! The sequence is long, but hang in there, it works. Of course, if you prefer, just use
a ruler to measure everything up according to the template. You can place the dots that
way, ignoring the list below. It's up to you.

Firstly, take the large bag that you will be using for the sail, and lay it flat on the
table

There should be only one cut skewer left - measure and mark its center point, and
also mark a 1/4 length point - this is your handy measuring stick for the next few
steps! (shown in the photo)

Make sure the glue on the long vertical spar is dry, then lay it down beside the edge
of the garden bag - mark the plastic at both ends of the spar, thus pin-pointing the
nose and tail ends of the kite

Make another mark on the bag's edge, 1/4 of a skewer length below the top mark use your measuring stick!

Again, mark the bag's edge, a full skewer length below the previous mark - just use
the measuring stick

The last mark to make on the bag's edge is 1/4 of a skewer length above the bottom
mark - using your measuring stick again - at this stage you should have 5 marks on
the edge of the plastic bag

Place one end of your measuring stick at the 2nd from top mark, make sure the
skewer is 90 degrees to the bag edge - by eye - then mark the plastic at the 1/4 and
full skewer-length distances from the edge

Now move down to the 3rd from top mark on the bag's edge, and do the same
again - except make it a 1/2 skewer length mark instead of a 1/4

Lay the center of your measuring stick over the 2nd from bottom dot, make sure it is
90 degrees to the bag edge, and mark the plastic at the skewer end - this skewer
will become the bottom horizontal spar, surprise surprise!

Finally, rule lines between the marks - to make things clear, I have done all the
marks on the plastic as large dots, which you can see in the photo

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Flip the plastic bag over, and trace over all the black lines using your marker pen
and ruler

Cut out a rectangular section of the bag containing the kite sail, open it out and lay it
flat on the table - you can now see the complete sail outline, as in the photo

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Lay clear sticking tape along all the lines with each line showing through the center
of the tape - that's 12 pieces of tape in all

With scissors, cut along the black lines - this will leave half the width of the sticking
tape inside the sail outline

Note: Make each length of tape about a finger-width or 2 longer than the line it covers. No
need for great precision here.

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The pieces of electrical tape mentioned below should all be about 3 times as long as they
are wide. Bear in mind you can only see about half this length in the photo, since they are
folded around the sail.
The white tape in the photo above is just holding the spars while the glue dries! Also, I later
slipped a roll of tape under the right hand tip of the bottom horizontal spar, to keep it
aligned with the 2 main horizontal spars while the glue dried.

Place the long vertical spar on the plastic, with the edge tape facing up.

Cap the ends of the vertical spar with electrical tape, by sticking it down over the
bamboo and plastic then folding it under the plastic to stick on the other side - a bit
tricky, take your time!

Next, lay down the 2 main horizontal spars and cap each end with electrical tape,
like the black tape in the photo - pull the slack out of the plastic, but don't pull it
really tight.
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Next, lay down the bottom horizontal spar and cap each end with electrical tape, as
you did for the main spars.

Finally, add more tape like the yellow pieces in the photo.

Secure the horizontal spars to the vertical spar, using drops of glue where they
cross.

If you want to, trim any bits of tape that stick out, with scissors.

Update: If this kite is flown in windy weather, it's possible for the spar cap tape on the
upper horizontal spar to pull away. To prevent this, add clear sticky tape over the spar
caps, folding it around in the same direction as the pieces of yellow tape.

2-Skewer Sode Kite - Bridle

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Cut off some flying line to a 5.0SL (145cm, 57 1/2") length, and tie a very small
Loop knot (Appendix 4) into each end.

Using a spare skewer, poke 2 holes in the plastic sail at each bridle attachment
point. One hole on either side of the vertical spar, as indicated by the small black
circles added to the photo.

Tie each end of the line to the bamboo, through the holes. Use a Double Wrap Slip
knot, and pull tight.

Now take a length of flying line about 0.5SL (15cm, 6") long, and tie one end to the bridle
line with a Prusik knot. Tie a small Loop knot into the other end.

2-Skewer Sode Kite - The Tail

Have you read Appendix 2 on making kite tails? Assuming you have...

Make up a tail from a black garbage bag, making sure it is at least 4 times as long
as the Sode kite itself.

Attach the tail by poking one end between the bottom of the vertical spar and the
sail plastic.

Pull the rest of the tail through the loop, but don't over-tighten - see the photo.

At this point, you've pretty much finished making the 2-Skewer Sode!

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2-Skewer Sode Kite - Preparing To Fly


Finally, make up a flying line (Appendix 3) and
attach it to the bridle with a Lark's Head knot.
See the photo.
As a final check, lay the kite on a table or the
floor, with the bridle on top. Holding the end of
the bridle, pull it straight up until both lines
become taut and the kite's nose starts to rise up
from the table. Where is the Prusik knot? It
should be almost directly over the upper
horizontal spar, or back just a bit towards the tail
from there. If not, slide the Prusik knot along
until it is in approximately the right position.

2-Skewer Sode Kite - Flying!


Assuming there is some breeze outside, just dangle the kite at arm's length until the wind
catches it. As long as you feel the kite pulling, let out line slowly by letting it slip through
your fingers. If it refuses to climb despite pulling on your hand, shift the Prusik knot
towards the nose a bit, and try again. Keep going until the kite behaves itself!
If the kite flies at a disappointingly low
line angle despite a reasonable breeze,
try shifting the Prusik knot back towards
the tail - just a tiny bit at a time, until the
kite starts to fly noticeably better.
Another way to launch is to get a helper
to hold the kite up and let it go, with
maybe 10 or 20 meters of line let out.
This way, the kite soon gets high enough
to make it easy to let more line out.
Here's a picture of the MBK 2-Skewer
Sode Kite, going up in a light breeze at a
local reserve.
Have fun flying, and I hope you've
enjoyed learning how to build a Sode
kite!

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2-Skewer Sode Kite Selected Flight Report


Gusty Moderate Winds And One Heck Of A Thermal
Winds were gusty around the house this afternoon, but things looker calmer towards the
West. The 2 Skewer Sode kite and the 2 Skewer Dopero went in the boot (trunk) of the
car. There are a number of tree tops in the distance that I like to monitor, to give some idea
of conditions. It was clear that today it was not going to be a 'light wind' outing! I hoped that
at least one of the kites would be up to it though.
After arriving at the near-by local school reserve,
and having a quick assessment of the wind, the
Sode was picked. It's been quite a while since
this kite has been flown, so I was looking forward
to seeing it in action once again. A few pieces of
insulation tape needed to be replaced, but you
have to expect that after the kite has spent
months sitting on the wall...
Nowadays, the routine starts with screwing the
tripod into the wind meter, place it down on the
ground and turning it on. With the flying line
attached to the 2-leg bridle of the Sode, the kite
was soon swooping around on about 20 meters
of line.
Due to the Southerly direction of the breeze I
ended up some distance from the edge of the
reserve.
The 2 Skewer Sode kite seemed barely stable,
and it seemed to have a very modest amount of
tail attached. Then the memory came - a loop or
2 of tail had been borrowed for another kite, a
long time ago! However, the kite behaved itself
sufficiently for some photos and video to be
taken.
It was around this time i noticed a short strip of
builder's plastic sticking out of the ground. Pulling
it out of the ground, it turned out to be the right
width for some extra tail. With the dirt brushed off,
it was an easy matter to tie it to the end of the
existing tail. The tough black plastic was a bit
weighty, but draggy too since it kept its flat shape
in the air.
The 2-Skewer Sode kite now flew much smoother and was soon straining away at high
line angles, eager to fly higher and higher.

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The kite's shadow seemed to be buzzing my own shadow, as the sun and kite were in the
same region of sky. The sun blazed down from a completely blue sky. Not a cloud in sight
anywhere. From time to time just a few tell-tale bits of dry grass and flying seeds floated
by, indicating a strong thermal above.
Talking about strong thermals, the kite was now straining away at a very high angle, forced
into loops by vertical gusts of wind! When things had settled down a bit, I went to the
opposite side of reserve and flew for a while on 60 meters of line. Just enjoying the sight of
the 2 Skewer Sode kite high up, looping just occasionally in the fresh gusts coming
through.
With the winder passed around the base of a sapling a few times, it was time to sit down in
the welcome shade for a while. Meanwhile, the Sode danced with the sun.
The bright orange kite seemed happy up there so I went back across the reserve to pick
up the $100 wind meter and its case. Before someone else or a dog decided to do the
same! The Windtronic 2 indicated that the wind over there had averaged 5.4 kph and had
gusted to 13 kph.
Back near the saplings, I planted the tripod in a good spot to catch uninterrupted wind.
Switching the unit off and back on again reset the figures. The meter was soon reading an
average of 9 kph with a max gust of 20! Surely that would have been closer to 30 kph up
at 250 feet where the Sode was cavorting about.
I decided to let line out to 90 meters, which seemed enough considering the rather fresh
gusts and available space downwind. The Sode was still coping, putting on a real display!
Sinking tail-first in lulls and snaking upwards in gusts, looping once in a while. As the gusts
grew fresher, the looping increased, but the 2 Skewer Sode kite would always recover
before it got below 100 feet or so.
Finally, the wind started to get ridiculous, and I noticed the Sode had a problem near the
tail end. One or both of the bottom spar caps had come adrift, but the kite was gamely
hanging on. Quite stable most of the time. However, the trim had changed, and the kite
was now dragging at the wind at a higher angle of attack than usual. The horizontal spars
were bending a lot under the extra strain. Going down in some trees was a possibility now,
so I leapt to my feet and grabbed the line, which was still anchored to the sapling. I guided
the stricken 2 Skewer Sode kite towards the corner of the reserve, where it would have
just enough room to land safely on the grass.
After much taking in of line, the Sode was down to slower air and seemed totally stable
despite the loose plastic near the tail. It was now clear that just one spar cap had come
adrift on the bottom horizontal spar. The short horizontal spar had just rotated on the
vertical spar, allowing the sail plastic on both sides to behave much the same in the air.
Hence there was no real tendency for the kite to loop one way or the other.
Finally the Sode was down, and I walked back to the saplings to collect the winder and
start packing up. Also, I was curious about the maximum gust strength, which turned out to
be 27 kph! That was just centimeters off the grass. Perhaps it was 35 kph or more up
where the kite was. All the same, it was a very enjoyable flight by the bright orange 2
Skewer Sode kite today!

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The 2-Skewer Delta Kite


The MBK 2-Skewer Delta Kite is a medium-sized Delta 96cm (38) across and 58cm (23)
tall, with a single fairly short tail. The spreader is bowed to give extra stability and shorten
the amount of tail required. Hence it's a bit different to a store-bought Delta!
The 2-Skewer Delta is a very nice light-to-moderate wind flier. Watch it go straight
overhead when a thermal comes through! However, like other Deltas it's not too stable in
fresh winds.

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2-Skewer Delta Plans

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2-Skewer Delta Kite Tips


1. Each spar, including the spreader, is 2 bamboo skewers butted together and
reinforced with 0.1SL (3cm, 1") lengths of skewer.
2. When cutting out the sail, include a long narrow flap to fold over each leading edge
spar, to completely enclose it in a pocket.
3. Reinforce the nose edge and the trailing edges of the sail by adding clear sticking
tape over the outlines, then trimming back to the outlines.
4. The spreader should be snipped to length, then glued in place at the tips, then
bowed with flying line when dry - a Truckie's Knot works well.
5. Cap the spar ends with short lengths of electrical insulation tape.
6. Seal the leading edge spar pockets with long lengths of clear sticky tape.
7. After cutting out the keel from sail plastic, use clear sticky tape to run a length of
flying line down each edge that leads to the towing point - on each side of the keel,
so that's 4 pieces of line altogether.
8. Knot the keel lines together, close to the plastic, and add another knot to the 4 lines
coming out at the towing point. Tie the keel to the vertical spar and also use sticky
tape to attach the keel's edge to the sail.
9. For a start, try making a single tail about 4 times as long as the kite is high, looping
it around the bamboo and tying off near the tail of the kite.

2-Skewer Delta Kite Plan View Photos


The photo on the left is of the front surface. That is, the surface of the flying kite which
faces the flier. The other photo is of the back surface, which exposes the spars.

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2-Skewer Delta Kite Step By Step Instructions


Now's the time to read up in Appendix 1 about kite materials and other things needed to
build an MBK 2-Skewer kite, if you haven't already.

2-Skewer Delta Kite - Frame

For this delta, you need to glue skewers together to form the 3 spars plus spreader.

Snip the points off 6 bamboo skewers, then check to see that they are all exactly
the same length. Trim some if necessary.

Put aside another 2 skewers, leaving the points on for now.

From another skewer, snip off 6 lengths of bamboo, each 0.1SL (3cm, 1") long.

Arrange all 8 skewers together with the short lengths as in the photo, with some
paper underneath to catch excess glue. Tape that paper down to the table.

Get down to table top height and look along the spars, and make sure they are as
straight as possible.

Lay down a thick line of glue all the way down each join, as in the photo.

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2-Skewer Delta Kite - Sail

The template shown above represents one side of the kite sail. You will now transfer these
measurements to the sail plastic as follows...

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Note: I've made the dots much bigger than they need to be, just so they show up easily in
the photo. By the way, there should be a dot on the center-line, right near the bottom - but
the photo cuts it off.

Firstly, mark the the top dot on the center line, then lay the vertical spar down
beside the plastic and mark the bottom dot.

Measure 1.25SL (36.3cm, 14 3/8") down from the top dot and mark the middle dot.

Next, mark each end of the fold-line plus the mark which is part-way along the
trailing edge, as in the photo - judging the 90 degree angle by eye is quite OK since
any small error will be exactly the same on the other side.

Lay a leading-edge spar over the fold-line, and shift the lower dot a little if
necessary, so the fold line is exactly the same length as the bamboo spar.

Next, mark the 2 corners of the long narrow flap along the leading edge - after
seeing what 0.05SL (1.5cm, 5/8") looks like, just put these dots in by eye.

Finally, rule lines between the marks, as in the photo.

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Flip the plastic bag over, and trace over all the black lines using your marker pen
and ruler.

Cut out a roughly rectangular section of the bag containing the kite sail, open it out
and lay it flat on the table - you can now see the complete sail outline, as in the
photo.

Lay a piece of clear sticking tape along the short nose section with the line showing
through the center of the tape - but avoid getting any tape on the fold-line.

Lay 4 pieces of clear sticking tape along the trailing edge, with each line showing
through the center of the tape - again, avoiding the fold-line.

With scissors, cut all around the sail outline.

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Is the glue on all the bamboo spars dry? If so ...

Place the leading edge spars, the ones with just one short reinforcer, over the fold
lines - with the reinforcers facing the center-line.

Lay one of the remaining spars over the 2 leading edge spars, so it crosses them at
the top end of the 2 reinforcers - this will be the spreader.

Making sure the spreader is centered over the sail center-line, make marks where it
crosses the leading edge spars.

Next, snip off the ends of the spreader, at those marks

Re-check the fit, since you will probably have to snip a few more times to get it just
right - the tips tuck neatly in, with the spreader lying flat against the table.

When it all looks good, drip on some wood glue, as in the photo.

Now wait for this to dry!

The black pieces of electrical tape mentioned below should all be roughly 3 times longer
than they are wide. You can't see the full length in the photo since they are folded under.
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Place the remaining spar over the center line of the sail, and underneath the
spreader. This is the vertical spar.

Secure the upper end of the vertical spar to the sail with a piece of electrical tape,
wrapping it under to the other side of the sail.

Secure the lower end of the vertical spar to the sail with a similar piece of electrical
tape, wrapping it under to the other side of the sail as before. Gently pull any
slackness out of the sail as you do this.

Next, fold the sail over the leading edge spars and cap the tips with black tape, as in
the photo. The tape should be folded around the tip of the spar so it can't slip
through the plastic.

Add more tape like the yellow pieces in the photo - right over top of the short
reinforcers.

Add 4 long pieces of clear sticky tape to complete the taping down of the sail near
the leading edges of the kite.

Secure the spreader to the vertical spar, using drops of glue where they cross.

If you want to, trim any bits of tape that stick out, with scissors.

2-Skewer Delta Kite - The Keel

Mark out a triangle on some spare plastic, as per the dimensions on the template.

Cut out the triangle and tape down 2 lengths of flying line onto one side, as visible in
the photo. Use sticky tape, not electrical tape.

Now flip the plastic over and tape down another 2 lengths of flying line, directly over
the first 2.

Also lay down tape along the remaining edge of the keel, on both sides of the
plastic.

Reinforce the keel by sticking down and wrapping extra bits of tape where the
pieces of line come out, making sure the plastic remains flat.

Where 2 pieces of line come together, tie a Multi-Strand Simple knot (Appendix 4)
right next to the edge of the plastic.
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Where the 4 pieces of line come together, tie a Multi-Strand Simple knot close to the
plastic, then tie another one further out, as in the photo.

Using a spare skewer, poke 2 holes in the plastic sail 0.55SL (16cm, 6 3/8") from
the nose of the kite. One hole on either side of the vertical spar.

Thread the upper keel lines through and tie off tightly, using a Granny knot.

Poke the bottom 2 holes in the plastic, using the keel itself to find the exact spot.
Thread the lower lines through and again tie off tightly.

With the keel flat against the plastic sail, add sticky tape between the knots,
attaching the keel to the sail plastic. Then flip the keel over and do the other side.

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2-Skewer Delta Kite - Attaching The Tail

Have you read Appendix 2 on making kite tails? Assuming you have...

Make up a tail from a black garbage bag, making sure it is at least 4 times as long
as the Delta kite itself.

Attach the tail by poking one end between the bottom of the vertical spar and the
sail plastic.

Pull the rest of the tail through the loop, but don't over-tighten. See the photo.

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2-Skewer Delta Kite - Bow The Spreader

Cut off a piece of flying line about 1.0SL (29cm, 11 1/2") long, and another one
about 2.0SL (58cm, 23") long.

Tie the lines to the spar and pass the longer line through the 2 loops. See the photo
below.

Put a bow into the spreader, securing the truckie's knot with a couple of Half
Hitches. Each tip of the spreader should be at least 0.1SL (3cm, 1") above the table
top.

Put a drop of glue on both the knots that have been tied against the bamboo. They
must never come loose!

Hint: To stop the knots slipping along the bamboo, it helps to prop up one end of the
spreader to 0.2SL (6cm, 2 1/4") and weigh down the middle of the spreader with a heavy
object, before gently tightening the line. As in the photo above! Leave until the glue is dry.

At this point, you've pretty much finished making the 2-Skewer Delta!

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2-Skewer Delta Kite - Preparing To Fly

Finally, see Appendix 3 to make up a flying line and attach it to the bridle with a Lark's
Head knot. See the photo above, which shows the knot before it has been pulled tight.
That's one of our older winders in the photo.

2-Skewer Delta Kite - Flying!


Assuming there is some breeze outside, just dangle the kite at arm's length until the wind
catches it. As long as you feel the kite pulling, let out line slowly by letting it slip through
your fingers.
Another way to launch is to get a helper to hold
the kite up and let it go, with maybe 10 or 20
meters of line let out. This way, the kite soon gets
high enough to make it easy to let more line out.
You could also try pulling the kite along the grass,
with the keel on the bottom of course, until it pops
into the air and climbs away.
Here's a picture of the MBK 2-Skewer Delta Kite,
being brought down after its first test flight. The
kite touched 50 meters (160 feet) altitude on a 50
meter line. Yes, it soars nicely on small patches of
rising air!
Have fun flying, and I hope you've enjoyed
learning how to build a Delta kite.

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2-Skewer Delta Kite Selected Flight Report


2-Skewer Delta Breaks Altitude Record
Well, it's own altitude record that is, and that wasn't hard since it's previous flight was the
first test flight! Anyway, it was great to see the orange 2-Skewer Delta soaring around high
up in gusty air with the occasional thermal boost. On arriving, we made our way to near
the center of the Wilfred Taylor Reserve, since I wasn't clear on the wind direction. It
seemed to be mainly from the West. The hand launch was super-easy, with the delta going
up steadily like a lift. Line flew off the 150 meter winder, as I regulated it between finger
and thumb. No need for a glove since this kite doesn't have a lot of sail area.
Once the kite was well above tree height, we started slowly moving backwards upwind,
letting more line out. Soon there came this freakishly strong series of gusts, and the poor
delta just couldn't cope. It ended up on the ground after narrowly missing some trees. In
fact it disappeared altogether, since it was on the other side of a hump near the edge of
the reserve. Just before it landed, I noticed the entire line of trees just behind it were being
battered with very fresh wind. Where we were standing, less than 100 meters away, there
really wasn't much happening at all! The kite must have copped the edge of the biggest
thermal of the hour.
Pulling the line taut, I dragged the kite into view and stood it on its nose, waiting for a
break in the wind. When the break came, it was fairly easy to flop the kite forward on its
face, swivel it into wind with another pull on the line, and then pop it off the grass and into
a long, fast climb back up to 50 meters or so.
After this, we continued moving upwind until finally we were right at one edge of the
reserve. It became clear that the wind direction up high was more from the south, which
was a bit inconvenient since it gave the kite less room. I was flying basically across the
width of the reserve rather than down its considerable length. For this reason I wasn't able
to safely let out all 150 meters of line. I guess about 120 meters were out.
The kite was still encountering wind that was a bit strong for it from time to time, so it
covered a lot of sky. Several times it went into a vertical dive until slower moving air gave it
a breather and let it recover. Most of the time however, the delta flew smoothly, between
50 and 60 degrees of line angle. Remember, this is probably the smallest 2-skewer kite,
flying on more than 100 meters of line which had a fair amount of sag in it.
A bit of thermal assistance did pump the kite up to around 75 degrees at one point. Cool! It
meandered around lazily, gliding like a paper plane for a while, before drifting back
downwind. Eventually it was time to leave so I brought the kite down in stages, winding
onto the winder in periods where the line tension was low.
An enjoyable flight! Makes me keen to start on a bigger Delta sometime...

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The 2-Skewer Roller Kite


The MBK 2-Skewer Roller Kite is a medium-sized roller 58cm (23) across and 58 cm tall.
Some 'dihedral' on the upper spar gives extra stability. Somewhat more dihedral on the
lower spar plus a rear keel enable the Roller to fly without a tail.
This 2-Skewer Roller is an efficient light wind flier. Take it out when it's not very windy, and
you won't be disappointed.

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2-Skewer Roller Kite Plans

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2-Skewer Roller Kite Hints


1. Reinforce the skewer joins with short lengths of skewer, 0.1SL long, glued to one or
both sides of the join as in the plan. While gluing the spars with dihedral, the short
reinforcers stay flat on the table.
2. Reinforce the sail edges by adding clear sticking tape over the outlines, then
trimming back to the outlines as you cut out the sail. To save weight, don't reinforce
the trailing edge of the upper sail or the leading edge of the lower sail.
3. Secure the sail to the spar ends using short lengths of electrical insulation tape.
4. Use 4 more small pieces of tape to secure the leading edge of the lower sail to the
lower horizontal spar.
5. Try a bridle line about 3 times longer than the kite itself, tied between the uppermost
attachment point and the keel.

2-Skewer Roller Kite Plan View Photos


The photo on the left is of the front surface. That is, the surface of the flying kite which
faces the flier. The other photo is of the back surface, which exposes the spars.

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2-Skewer Roller Kite Step By Step Instructions


Now's the time to read up in Appendix 1 about kite materials and other things needed to
build an MBK 2-Skewer kite, if you haven't already.

2-Skewer Roller Kite - Frame

For this Roller, you need to glue skewers together to form the 3 spars. Since this kite has
plenty of sail area for its width, there is no need to worry about selecting the lightest
skewers! In fact, stiffer and heavier skewers would be good for the vertical spar. As for any
kite, it's best to try and match the left and right horizontal spars as well. Having said all
that, just using any old skewers at random should not present any real problems. The wind
range of the kite might not be as good as it could be, that's all.

Snip the points off 6 skewers, then check to see that they are all exactly the same
length - either 29cm or 11 1/2 if you want to match up exactly with my numbers.
This is '1 skewer length'.

From another skewer, snip off 5 lengths of bamboo, each 0.1SL (3cm, 1") long.
These are the short reinforcers you can see in the photo.

Arrange the 3 pairs of skewers as in the photo, with some paper underneath to
catch excess glue.

Prop up each end of the second pair of skewers to 0.1SL (3cm, 1") above the table,
to give them 'dihedral'.

Prop up each end of the third pair of skewers to 0.2SL (6cm, 2") above the table, to
give them even more 'dihedral'.

Get down to table top height and look along the spars, and make sure they are as
straight as possible.

Lay down a thick line of glue all the way down each join, as in the photo.

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2-Skewer Roller Kite - Sail

The template shown above represents one side of the kite sail. You will now transfer these
measurements to the sail plastic as follows...

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Firstly, take the large bag that you will be using for the sail, and lay it flat on the
table.

Make sure the spars are dry, then lay the vertical spar on the edge of the bag and
mark the position of the nose and tail of the kite.

With a ruler, measure and mark all the other points as in the photo on the left. Do
the sail 'wing-tips' last, laying down the horizontal spars to mark a dot at each spar
end.

Remove the spars then use the marking pen to rule lines between the dots. See the
photo on the right.

Note: Arranging the spars on the plastic by eye is quite accurate enough, as long as you
take some care. Since both sides of the sail will be identical, any small error in judging the
90 degree angle has almost no effect. I have made the dots big just so they show up easily
in the photo.

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Flip the plastic bag over, and trace over all the black lines using your marker pen
and ruler.

Cut out a rectangular section of the bag containing the kite sail, open it out and lay it
flat on the table. You can now see the complete sail outline, as in the photo.

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Lay clear sticking tape along all the lines except the trailing edge of the upper sail
and the leading edge of the lower sail. Each taped line should show through the
center of the tape.

With scissors, cut along the all the black lines. This will leave half the width of the
sticking tape inside the sail outline.

Note 1: I pull off the length of tape required, plus a bit extra on each end, then lay it down
in one motion, pressing to the plastic at both ends at once - then I smooth along the tape
with a finger, making sure it is stuck down firmly along its entire length.
Note 2: Don't worry about overlapping lengths of tape at the corners, it will all look tidier
after the cutting is done.

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Place the long vertical spar over the plastic, with the edge tape facing up.

Cap the ends of the spar with electrical tape, as in the photo, by sticking it down
over the bamboo and plastic then folding it under the plastic to stick on the other
side. It's a bit tricky, take your time!

Next, lay down the 2 horizontal spars and cap each end with electrical tape. Pull the
slack out of the plastic, but don't pull it really tight.

Finally, add extra pieces of tape. See the 5 pieces of yellow tape in the photo.

Secure the upper horizontal spar to the vertical spar by running lines of glue above
and below where the spars cross, as in the photo

Secure the lower horizontal spar to the vertical spar with a drop of glue above and
below where the spars cross, as in the photo.

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2-Skewer Roller Kite - Keel

In this photo, pieces of clear sticky tape are indicated by yellow rectangles.

Mark out a triangle on some spare sail plastic, as per the dimensions on the
template.

Cut off 4 pieces of flying line, each about 1.25SL (36cm, 14") long.

Cut out the triangle and tape down 2 lengths of flying line onto one side, as visible in
the photo.

Now flip the plastic over and tape down another 2 lengths of flying line, directly over
the first 2.

Also lay down tape along the remaining edge of the keel, on both sides of the
plastic.

Reinforce the keel by sticking down and wrapping extra bits of tape where the
pieces of line come out, making sure the plastic remains flat.

Where 2 pieces of line come together, tie a Multi-Strand Simple knot (Appendix 4)
right next to the plastic.

Where the 4 pieces of line come together, tie a Multi-Strand Simple knot next to the
plastic, then tie another one further out, as in the photo.

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2-Skewer Roller Kite - Sail Tethering

At this point you need to make sure the glue is dry on the frame. If it is...

Lay down the kite with the bamboo on top, and cut 2 short lengths of flying line.
About 0.75SL (22cm, 9") each.

First, tape the lines to the lower sail near the tips - over the bamboo, around the sail
edge and then back towards the bamboo. As shown by the yellow rectangle in the
photo.

Lay the lines across the upper sail and tape them down with just a small piece of
tape near the sail corner.

Carefully pull each line through the tape until there is no slack - as in the photo.

During test flying, it might be necessary to slacken off one of these lines to get the kite to
fly straight. Once you are happy with the trim, you should add more tape to make sure the
line never slips during flight. It should still be possible to pull a little line through by hand
though.

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2-Skewer Roller Kite - Bridle

Firstly, attach the keel...

Poke 2 holes in the lower sail, near the lower horizontal spar, where indicated by the
black dots near the top of the photo.

Take the keel and poke the upper 2 lines through the holes near the horizontal spar.
Then pull tight against the knot, and tie them off around the bamboo, using a
Granny knot.

Now poke the bottom 2 holes in the plastic, using the keel to find the exact spots for
the holes.

Thread the lines, pull tight against the knot, and tie them off tightly around the
bamboo.

These knots must never come loose, so use drops of glue to keep them secure. The glue
should contact the wood as well, so the knot doesn't slip along the dowel.

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Next, attach the bridle...

Lay the kite down with the keel on top, then cut a length of flying line, about 5.0SL
(145cm, 58") long.

Tie a small Loop knot into each end of the line.

Poke 2 holes in the upper sail where indicated by black dots in the photo.

Attach one end to the vertical spar through the 2 holes in the upper sail. Use a
Double Wrap Slip knot and pull tight. Secure with a tiny dob of glue.

Attach the other end to the keel using a Larks Head knot, and pull tight against the
keel's big knot.

Finally, take a length of flying line about 0.5SL (15cm, 6") long, and tie one end to the
bridle line with a shiftable knot such as the Prusik. Tie a small Loop knot into the other end.
At this point, you've pretty much finished making the 2-Skewer Roller!

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2-Skewer Roller Kite - Preparing To Fly


Finally, see Appendix 3 to make up a flying line and
attach it to the bridle with a Lark's Head knot. See
the photo.
As a final check, lay the kite on its back and lift up
the bridle by the Loop knot. Shift the Prusik knot
along the bridle line until it is right over, or slightly
below the upper horizontal spar.
Also lift the kite with a finger under the nose and a
finger under the tail, balancing it on the vertical spar.
Try this a few times, and if it's clear that one side of
the kite is heavier, add small bits of electrical tape to the spar caps on the lighter side, to
balance it up.

2-Skewer Roller Kite - Flying!


Assuming there is some breeze outside, just dangle the kite at arm's length until the wind
catches it. As long as you feel the kite pulling, let out line slowly by letting it slip through
your fingers. If it refuses to climb despite pulling on your hand, shift the Prusik knot
towards the nose a bit, and try again. Keep going until the kite behaves itself!
Another approach is to get a helper to hold the
kite up and let it go, with maybe 10 or 20 meters
of line let out. This way, the kite soon gets high
enough to make it easy to let more line out.
Finally, if the kite doesn't seem stable enough,
looping around in both directions even in light
wind, just add a simple short tail and try again.
However, if you have put the correct dihedral in
both spars, this should not be necessary!
If the kite flies ok, but tends to hang to the left or
right, try pulling some tether line through, on the
opposite side of the main sail. For example, if
the kite always seems to want to loop to the left
when gusts hit it, pull some line through on the
right side, as viewed from the flier. Make very
small adjustments until the kite flies noticeably
better.
Here's a picture of the MBK 2-Skewer Roller
Kite being launched, down at a local flying field.
Have fun flying, and I hope you've enjoyed
learning how to build a Roller kite!
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2-Skewer Roller Kite Selected Flight Report


Long High Flight In Perfect Weather
The 2 Skewer Roller kite seemed a good choice, since it was a classic 'light wind and
thermals' day.
Once we arrived at the reserve, it didn't take long to float the Roller out to a line length of
about 15 meters. From there, a bit of line-pulling got it up a little higher where there was
just enough breeze to keep it air-borne.
At this stage I pulled out the camera and took a few photos and a couple of videos.
When the Roller touched the ground a few times during lulls, 4 year old Aren helped to relaunch the kite. He now knows how to hold it by the bridle and let it go when the wind
catches it.
Now it was time to fly much higher!
It was straight-forward to slowly let out line for a
while. The 2 Skewer Roller climbed smoothly,
maintaining a 40 degree flying angle. Soon it was
passing through 100 feet, and we started walking
back towards the perimeter fence, upwind.
Having forgotten our wide-brimmed hats, it was
good to notice a large shady tree quite close to
where we were headed! Maybe we could fly a bit
longer after all, without getting fried by the UV ...
Meanwhile, the kite was still maintaining 40
degrees, although the line was going out quicker
now.
We reached the low log fence and sat on it, while
the kite parked itself at a 45 degree angle. Mind
you, there was a lot of sag in the line due to the
very light winds. Even then, I decided to let out
the remaining few meters until nearly all 150
meters of line was out.
The line tension was quite low most of the time, but slowly went up and down in response
to wind speed and thermal activity. Accordingly, the 2 Skewer Roller kite slowly rose and
fell, flying at between 30 and 55 degrees. The amount of sag in the 20 pound line varied a
lot too. In these conditions, a 10 pound line would probably have been safe enough. The
average wind speed was probably somewhat less than the ideal for this kite.
Eventually, there were some of the usual clues that a stronger patch of rising air was in the
vicinity. After all, the time was heading towards 12 mid-day. A fluffy seed passed by at
shoulder height. The 2 Skewer Roller kite seemed to encounter choppy air: sinking one
minute, soaring up the next.
Another fluffy seed made an appearance - at 100 feet altitude, and it wasn't going down!
Maybe now...
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Sure enough, after a while the line really tightened and the little Roller climbed like a
home-sick angel, with a hint of trailing edge flutter. The kite peaked at about 55 degrees,
its highest level of the entire flight. Just over 400 feet up. Perhaps the middle of the
thermal was way off to one side, since the kite dropped back down to 45 degrees after less
than half a minute.
Perhaps it was a skinny thermal, since winter is not far away. As an ex-sailplane pilot, I
remember climbing in some rather narrow and turbulent thermals near Alice Springs in the
N.T.
A while later, having seen the 2 Skewer Roller kite have a good long high flight, I decided
to bring it down. Walking slowly back to where the car was parked, I wound on line
whenever the line tension dropped a little. Down came the kite, right into my hand without
touching the grass.
If you're new to this site, have a guess which country I'm in. Here's a clue - these other
flying objects kept the kite company at various times...

20 galahs
9 magpies
a passenger jet heading East after taking off from Adelaide airport

Don't worry, the jet was at several thousand feet!

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The 2-Skewer Dopero Kite


The MBK 2-Skewer Dopero Kite is small compared to shop-bought Doperos, at 58cm (23)
across and 58cm tall. Some 'dihedral' on the outer panels of both the upper and lower sails
give good all-round stability without the need for a tail.
This 2-Skewer Dopero is an efficient light wind flier. Take it out when it's not very windy,
and you won't be disappointed. Also, the 4 leg bridle keeps the frame rigid, letting this kite
cope with stronger winds as well.

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2-Skewer Dopero Kite Plans

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2-Skewer Dopero Kite Hints


1. To glue the short bamboo reinforcers, just lay glue down the join, on one side. For
the horizontal spars, the short reinforcers stay flat on the table while the glue is
drying.
2. Reinforce the sail edges by adding clear sticking tape over the outlines, then
trimming back to the outlines as you cut out the sail. To save weight, don't reinforce
the trailing edge of the upper sail or the leading edge of the lower sail.
3. Secure the sail corners to the spar ends using short lengths of electrical insulation
tape.
4. Use 5 small pieces of clear sticky tape to secure the leading edge of the lower sail
to the lower horizontal spar.
5. Tie a 2.0SL (58cm, 23") bridle loop between the 2 attachment points near the upper
spar, and tie another slightly shorter bridle loop between the tips of the 2 keels.
6. Try a 3.0SL (87cm, 35") central bridle line, tied between the 2 bridle loops.

2-Skewer Dopero Kite Plan View Photos


The photo on the left is of the front surface. That is, the surface of the flying kite which
faces the flier. The other photo is of the back surface, which exposes the spars.

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2-Skewer Dopero Kite Step By Step Instructions


Now's the time to read up in Appendix 1 about kite materials and other things needed to
build an MBK 2-Skewer kite, if you haven't already.

2-Skewer Dopero Kite - Frame

For this Dopero, you need to glue skewers together to form the 4 spars. Since this kite has
plenty of sail area for its width, there is no need to worry about selecting the lightest
skewers! In fact, stiffer and heavier skewers would be good for the vertical spars. As for
any kite, it's best to try and match the left and right ends of the horizontal spars as well.
Having said all that, just using any old skewers at random should not present any real
problems. The wind range of the kite might not be as good as it could be, that's all. You
can always add a bit of tail!

Snip the points off 4 skewers, then check to see that they are all exactly the same
length - either 29cm or 11 1/2 if you want to match up exactly with my numbers.
This is '1 skewer length'.

Snip another 4 skewers to a length of 0.65SL (18.9cm, 7 1/2") each.

Snip another 2 skewers to a length of 0.7SL (20.3cm, 8") each.

From the scraps of bamboo left over, snip off 6 lengths of bamboo, each 0.06SL
(1.7cm, 3/4") long. These are the short reinforcers for the 3-part horizontal spars.

Similarly, snip off 4 more lengths of bamboo, each 0.1SL long. These are for the 2part vertical spars.

Arrange all the skewers as in the photo, with some paper underneath to later catch
excess glue. Tape the paper to the table top to prevent it shifting.

You should have 2 short reinforcers left over. On one of the 3-part spars, add these
reinforcers so there are 2 beside each join, one on each side. (The photo is wrong,
this mod was done after test flying!)

Prop up each end of the 3-part horizontal spars to 0.15SL (4.4cm, 1 3/4") above the
table, to give them 'dihedral'.

Get down to table top height and look along the spars, and make sure everything
lines up nicely.

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Lay down a thick line of glue all the way down each join, as in the photo.

2-Skewer Dopero Kite - Sail

The template shown above represents one side of the kite sail. You will now transfer these
measurements to the sail plastic as follows...

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Firstly, take the large bag that you will be using for the sail, and lay it flat on the
table.

Make sure all the glue is dry, then lay one of the vertical spars on the edge of the
bag and mark the position of the nose and tail of the kite.

With a ruler, measure and mark all the other points except the 'wing-tips' of the
upper and lower sails.

Mark the 'wing-tips', laying down a vertical spar to find the upper and lower wing tip
positions. You can't use one of the horizontal spars since they're not straight!

Use the marking pen to rule lines between the dots. See the photo.

Note: Arranging the spars on the plastic by eye is quite accurate enough, as long as you
take some care. Since both sides of the sail will be identical, any small error in judging the
90 degree angle has almost no effect. I have made the dots big just so they show up easily
in the photo.
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Flip the plastic bag over, and trace over all the black lines using your marker pen
and ruler.

Cut out a rectangular section of the bag containing the kite sail, open it out and lay it
flat on the table. You can now see the complete sail outline, as in the photo above.

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Lay clear sticking tape along all the lines except the trailing edge of the upper sail
and the leading edge of the lower sail. Each taped line should show through the
center of the tape.

With scissors, cut along the all the black lines. This will leave half the width of the
sticking tape inside the sail outline.

Note 1: I pull off the length of tape required, plus a bit extra on each end, then lay it down
in one motion, pressing to the plastic at both ends at once. Then I smooth along the tape
with a finger, making sure it is stuck down firmly along its entire length.
Note 2: Don't worry about overlapping lengths of tape at the corners, it will all look tidier
after the cutting is done.

Place one long vertical spar over the plastic, with the edge tape facing up.

Cap the ends of the spar with electrical tape, as in the photo, by sticking it down
over the bamboo and plastic then folding it under the plastic to stick on the other
side - a bit tricky, take your time!

Do the other vertical spar in the same way.

Next, lay down the upper horizontal spar and secure it with longer strips of tape as
in the photo - the white tape, which is temporary.

Cap each end of the spar with electrical tape. Pull the slack out of the plastic, but
don't pull it really tight.

Do the same for the lower horizontal spar.

Finally, add pieces of clear sticky tape where indicated by the yellow rectangles.
Stick them down to the plastic and bamboo then fold around to the other side

Remove the temporary strips of tape where the spars cross. Also, it might be handy
to support the spar tips, as in the photo.

Secure the upper and lower horizontal spars to the vertical spars with drops of glue
- above and below where the spars cross.
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2-Skewer Dopero Kite - Keel

In this photo, pieces of clear sticky tape are indicated by yellow rectangles.

Mark out a triangle on some spare sail plastic, as per the dimensions on the
template.

Cut off 4 pieces of flying line, each about 1.25SL (36cm, 14") long.

Cut out the triangle and tape down 2 lengths of flying line onto one side, as visible in
the photo.

Now flip the plastic over and tape down another 2 lengths of flying line, directly over
the first 2.

Also lay down tape along the remaining edge of the keel, on both sides of the
plastic.

Reinforce the keel corners by sticking down and wrapping extra bits of tape where
the pieces of line come out, making sure the plastic remains flat.

Where the 4 pieces of line come together, tie a Multi-Strand Simple knot (Appendix
4) right next to the plastic, then tie another one further out, as in the photo.

Also tie knots right next to the plastic at the other 2 corners.

After all the knots are tied, trim off the line ends to an even length.

You have one finished keel. Now do it all again to make the other one!

It's a bit fiddly, but you'll be proud of this kite when you finish it!
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2-Skewer Dopero Kite - Sail Tethering

At this point you need to make sure the glue is dry on the frame. If it is...

Lay down the kite with the bamboo on top, and cut off 2 lengths of flying line of
0.6SL (17cm, 7") each.

First, sticky tape the lines to the lower sail near the tips. Lay line over the bamboo,
around the sail edge and then back towards the bamboo on the underside - as
shown by the yellow rectangles in the photo.

Lay the lines across the upper sail and tape them down with just a small square
piece of tape near the sail corner.

Carefully pull each line through the tape until there is no slack - as in the photo.

Add sticky tape to cover the full length of each line on the upper sail.

Note: During test flying in gusty thermal conditions, these lines had a tendency to pull out
from the lower sail! Feel free to tie them to the lower horizontal spar instead, using 2 or 3
Half Hitches.

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2-Skewer Dopero Kite - Bridle

Firstly, attach a keel to one side...

Poke 2 holes in the lower sail, near the lower horizontal spar, where indicated by the
black dots near the top of the photo.

Take the keel and poke the upper 2 lines through the holes near the horizontal spar.
Pull tight against the knot, then tie them off around the bamboo, with a Granny knot.

Now poke the bottom 2 holes in the plastic, using the keel to find the exact spots for
the holes.

Thread the lines, pull tight against the knot, and tie them off tightly around the
bamboo.

With the keel flat against the kite, lay clear sticky tape along its base, sticking it to
the lower sail plastic. Flip the keel over, and do its other side too - see the yellow
rectangle in the photo.

All done? Now do the other keel on the other side!

These knots must never come loose, so use drops of glue to keep them secure. Use
enough glue so the knots cannot slip along the dowel either.

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In the original photo, parts of the bridle were very hard to see, so I have colored them pure
white. Attach the upper bridle loop...

Lay the kite down with the keel on top, then cut a length of flying line, about 3.0SL
(87cm, 35") long

Tie a small Loop knot into each end of the line.

Poke 4 holes in the upper sail where indicated by black dots in the photo.

Attach each end to a vertical spar through the holes in the upper sail. Use a Double
Wrap Slip knot and pull tight, then secure with a tiny dob of glue.

Now attach the lower bridle loop...

Cut off a length of flying line, about 2.0SL (58cm, 23") long.

Tie a Loop knot into each end of the line. Don't make them too small, since...

Attach each end to a keel using a Larks Head knot, and pull tight against the keel's
big knot.

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Next, attach the central bridle line...

Cut off some flying line, about 2.0SL (58cm, 23") long.

Attach one end to the upper bridle loop with a shiftable knot, such as the Prusik.

Attach the other end to the lower bridle loop, also with a shiftable knot.

Shift each knot to the middle of its loop. Check by suspending the kite from the
central line, then tighten both the knots. Don't worry, the knots are still shiftable.

Finally, take a length of flying line about 0.5SL (15cm, 6") long, and tie one end to the
central bridle line with another Prusik knot. Tie a small Double Loop knot into the other
end.
At this point, you've pretty much finished making the 2-Skewer Dopero. Whew... But hey,
I'm looking at it now, and it's the best skewer kite of the lot!

2-Skewer Dopero Kite - Preparing To Fly


Finally, see Appendix 3 to make up a flying line
and attach it to the bridle with a Lark's Head knot.
See the photo.
Check those shiftable knots on the loops again.
Suspend the kite from its upper bridle loop Prusik
knot, checking that both tips of the upper
horizontal spar come off the table at the same
time. Shift the knot until this happens. Now do the
same for the lower bridle loop Prussik knot, this
time observing the tips of the lower horizontal
spar. All square now?
Finally, lay the kite on its back and lift the bridle by the Loop knot. Shift the Prusik knot
along the central bridle line until it is positioned right over the upper horizontal spar, or just
a little below.
Also lift the kite with a finger under the nose and a finger under the tail, balancing it on the
central crease line in the plastic. Try this a few times, and if it's clear that one side of the
kite is heavier, add small bits of electrical tape to the spar caps on the lighter side, to
balance it up.

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2-Skewer Dopero Kite - Flying!


Assuming there is some breeze outside, just dangle the kite at arm's length until the wind
catches it. As long as you feel the kite pulling, let out line slowly by letting it slip through
your fingers. If it refuses to climb despite pulling on your hand, shift the Prusik knot
towards the nose a bit, and try again. Keep going until the kite behaves itself!
Another approach is to get a
helper to hold the kite up and
let it go, with maybe 10 or 20
meters of line let out. This way,
the kite soon gets high enough
to make it easy to let more line
out.
Finally, if the kite doesn't seem
stable enough, looping around
in both directions even in light
wind, just add a simple short
tail to each vertical spar and try
again. However, if you have put
the correct dihedral in both
spars, this should not be
necessary!
If the kite flies OK, but tends to
hang to the left or right, try
shifting the Prusik knot on the
upper bridle loop. Make very
small adjustments until the kite
flies noticeably better.
Note: If you have seen the plans page for this kite, you will see there are 2 extra
reinforcers on the joints of the upper horizontal spar. If the glue you are using can't hold
the correct dihedral angle, it's easy to add the 2 extra small pieces of bamboo later, after a
bit of test flying.
Up there is a picture of the MBK 2-Skewer Dopero kite being launched, down at a local
flying field. The pint-sized support crew is ready to swing into action at a moment's notice...
If I don't catch him first!
Have fun flying, and I hope you've enjoyed learning how to how to build a Dopero kite.

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2-Skewer Dopero Kite Selected Flight Report


Gusty Fresh Winds Spring Up From Nowhere
Winds around the house were moderate and gusty in the morning, but nothing that the
trusty 2 Skewer Dopero kite couldn't handle. Besides, there was a chance the breezes
would die down further towards the mid afternoon when we planned to fly.
Sure enough, the weather seemed very calm as we pulled up at the only decent sized
local reserve that wasn't weed-infested.
The prickly kinds of weeds we have around here have a habit of catching the flying line,
not to mention parts of the kite and its bridle.
After placing the Windtronic 2 anemometer on
the grass, some seconds passed before the little
cups even started to spin!
No problem, The 2 Skewer Dopero kite has a
track record of doing very well in light winds.
Even no winds at all, if some thermals are
about!
A few meters of line were let out to get the kite
up for some photos. The small Dopero hovered
and climbed slowly in the soft puffs coming
through, while I worked the line a bit as well.
Perhaps 10 minutes later, fresh gusts started
rolling across the reserve. Very sudden, most
unexpected and somewhat unwelcome! This
wind was possibly associated with the Adelaide
Hills only a few kilometers to the East. Gusty
gully winds.
All of a sudden, the Dopero was straining at the
leash, zipping around left right and almost
overhead. While still on 20 meters (70 feet) of
line, some photos were taken. It's hard to get a
sharp in-flight picture when the kite is hundreds
of feet up.
Flying could be called uncomfortable, with the kite being forced into large loops from time
to time, and generally being battered by the wind.
A few times, I brought the kite down and tweaked the upper bridle loop knot left or right.
This kite is quite sensitive to the knot position, so I overshot once or twice!
There were some problems with old tape giving way as well. Most of the spar caps were
originals from the day the 2 Skewer Dopero kite was made in November 2008! They do a
good job generally, but don't last forever.

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As usual, I had come prepared with a roll of yellow insulation tape in a shorts pocket. Over
the next half an hour or so I ended up replacing or reinforcing most of the spar caps, trying
not to add too much unnecessary weight of course.
My young son Aren got sent over to the wind meter on an errand - to push the reset
button! Otherwise the average might be a bit low due to the earlier calm conditions.
Quickly, the kite line went out to 30, then 60 meters. Even so, it was still necessary to bring
the Dopero down for another bridle adjustment. It was still hanging to the right in the
smoother but rather fresh breeze up there.
Although the 2 Skewer Dopero kite was pulling very firmly, I thought Aren might like to test
his muscles on it, so I gave him the line. Nearly 5 years old, he's getting stronger all the
time. Aren boasted that the kite wasn't pulling very hard at all...
After edging back towards the Eastern boundary of the reserve, there was room to let out
all 120 meters of line. At this length, and due to wind strength being higher than optimum
probably, the 2 Skewer Dopero kite refused to go much higher than a 50 degree line angle.
Never mind, at least it's having a good high fly! Also, I hadn't thought to shift the towing
point forward at all. So the kite was still on its light-wind setting!
After taking down the kite one last time, we had the trim pretty close to perfect. But, time
was running out and it was decided not to loft it up on the maximum line length again.
Plus, both upper sail tethers were starting to pull through due to the unrelenting wind
strength. In fact, in the photo up there you can see that the left panel has gone a bit loose.
That wouldn't have helped the trimming problems!
Most reports on the 2 Skewer Dopero kite have focused on its great light-wind
performance.
However, today was a day for exploring the upper end of this kite's wind range. If you have
made a 2 Skewer Dopero, be persistent with making tiny adjustments to the upper bridle
loop knot. The kite will fly straight as a die when you get it right, even in a fresh breeze.
During packing things up, I noticed the wind speed had averaged 7.4 kph at ground level,
gusting to 23 kph. Perhaps that was closer to 35 kph up high, judging by the bent-over
upper branches of the trees during the strongest gusts! Plus there was heaps of leaf noise.

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The 2-Skewer Box Kite


If made from 30cm (12") skewers, the MBK 2-Skewer Box Kite is not huge at 58 cm (23")
long, with cell panels measuring about 17cm x 20cm (7 x 8). This box design is a
moderate to fresh wind flier, and requires no tail. Unless you are flying in a storm which is
not recommended anyway! If accurately made, this kite can cope with quite strong wind.
As the wind strength creeps up, the tension in the line can feel surprisingly solid for such a
small-looking kite!

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2-Skewer Box Kite Plans

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2-Skewer Box Kite Tips


1. Use a single long strip of clear sticky tape over each of the leading and trailing
edges of both cells, to reinforce the edge and at the same time attach the spars to
the plastic. Each main spar is 2 skewers with points removed, butted end to end
and reinforced with 2 short lengths of skewer.
2. Close the box using clear sticky tape along the sail plastic edges. Also fold a short
length of tape around the leading edge and trailing edge of both joins, to reinforce.
3. Reinforce the sail at each tip of each main spar, with small squares of insulation
tape. These caps, folded onto both sides of the sail, will prevent the spars from
slipping through the edging tape.
4. Insert and secure 2 cross-pieces, one near the upper cell and one near the lower
cell first, both butted onto the same 2 spars. Hold in place with insulation tape
folded over the main spar and onto the cross-pieces.
5. Cut the other 2 cross-pieces slightly over-size, then trim down to fit, before securing
them onto the other 2 spars in the same way.
6. Poke 2 holes for the upper bridle attachment, then add a short strip of clear sticky
tape just forward of the holes, as reinforcement. Secure the lower bridle attachment
knot with a small dob of glue.
7. This design is for moderate to fresh wind.
8. No tail should be necessary, except perhaps for very strong wind.

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2-Skewer Box Kite Step By Step Instructions


Now's the time to read up in Appendix 1 about kite materials and other things needed to
build an MBK Skewer kite, if you haven't already.

2-Skewer Box Kite - Main Spars

Snip the point off a skewer. To 29cm for a 30cm skewer, or 11 1/2" for a 12" skewer.
This will be '1 skewer length' (1.0SL) for your kite.

Snip the points off 7 more skewers, to exactly the same length as the first one.
These 8 skewers will form 4 main 'spars'.

From a spare skewer, snip off 8 lengths, each just 0.1SL (2.9cm, 1 1/8") long. These
are the reinforcers which will connect the spar skewers together.

Lay down the 8 spar skewers, together with the 8 reinforcers, and lay wood glue
down the joins. See the photo.

Get down low and look along each spar in turn. Carefully move them as necessary
to get each spar as straight as possible, before the glue dries.

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2-Skewer Box Kite - Cross-Pieces

Take 2 more skewers, and trim each one to a length of 0.98SL (28.4cm, 11 1/4").
These are 2 of the 'cross-pieces' - 2 more will be needed later, but don't make them
now.

From a spare skewer, snip off 8 lengths, each just 0.05SL (1.5cm, 5/8") long. These
will secure the cross-pieces to the main spars.

Arrange these to make 2 cross-pieces, as in the photo above. Lay down wood glue
over every join.

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2-Skewer Box Kite - Sail


The template down there represents one cell of the
kite, laid out flat. Now transfer the measurements to
the sail plastic as follows...

Firstly, take a light, single-ply plastic bag and


lay it flat on the table. I use cheap orange
garden-bag plastic. The more expensive
bags are usually 2 or 3-ply plastic, which is
heavier and less see-through.

Measure and mark the rectangle outline first,


with a black marking pen and ruler. Do this
near the side crease of the bag, as in the
photo.

Now measure and mark the fold lines.

Flip the bag over and trace over all the lines.

Cut out the plastic containing the 2


rectangles and open it out, as in the photo.

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Cut around the 2 rectangular outlines with


scissors, one at a time. You'll be sorry if
you attempt to cut both thicknesses of
plastic at once, since the bottom one will
tend to slip out of position!

Arrange the 4 bamboo spars over the


plastic as in the photo, covering up the
drawn fold-lines.

Tack down all 8 corners of the sails to the


floor or table top with small pieces of sticky
tape. This stops unintended shifting of the
plastic while you are trying to...

Lay down 4 long lengths of clear sticky


tape, securing the spars to the plastic. The
tape is visible in the photo - look for where
the plastic is smoother and slightly darker,
near the edges.

Remove everything from the table top,


either pulling off or trimming away the
small square bits of tape at the
corners.

Fold the sails, bringing the short


edges together and sticking them with
tape as shown in the photo.

Now open the box kite out, and


carefully lay down tape along the
inside edges as well, to make the 2
joins even more secure. A bit tricky,
take your time!

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2-Skewer Box Kite - Rigging


Firstly, take a good look at the top photo over
there. The cross pieces both go under one middle
spar and over the other one. Hence the kite can
be opened out into a box shape.
Another 2 cross pieces need to be fitted now, to
make the kite rigid. However, due to the inexact
nature of working with bamboo skewers and
plastic, you need to fit each one individually.
Here's how...

Take a bamboo skewer, and snip it to a


length just a little longer than one of the
cross-pieces already in place.

By trial and error, trim the bamboo down


until you can just squeeze it into place next
to an existing cross-piece, but diagonal to
it.

Mark the cross-piece and the 2 main spars


it touches so you can put it back in the
same spot later. Remove the cross-piece
and glue small pieces of bamboo to it, just
like the 2 already done. While the glue is
drying...

Just one more cross-piece to do. Fit the last cross-piece in place in the same way,
at the other end of the kite. Make more marks so you know where this one goes too.
When its length is just right, glue the small pieces on and wait for the glue to dry.

The bottom photo up there is a close-up, with my markings visible on a main spar and one
of the cross-pieces. The other cross-piece had single marks instead of double, to tell them
apart. Hope you get the idea!

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2-Skewer Box Kite - Bridle

Measure 0.3SL (8.7cm, 3 1/2") in from one


end of a spar (half the width of the sail),
and use a spare skewer to poke a small
hole through the plastic, on either side of
the spar.

Cut off a 3.0SL (87cm, 34 1/2") length of


20 pound flying line, and tie a small Loop
knot (Appendix 4) into one end.

Attach the looped end to the kite, by


passing it in one hole and out the other.
Feed the other end of the line through the
loop and pull tight around the bamboo. See the photo.

Add a small length of clear sticky tape onto the sail plastic, to prevent the bridle
shifting forward and stretching the plastic. The yellow rectangle on the photo shows
where the tape is.

Attach the other end of the line to the same spar, just behind the join of the 2
skewers, using a couple of Half Hitches. Smear a drop of wood glue all around the
bamboo and into the knot, to hold it secure.

Now take a length of flying line about 1.0SL (29cm, 11 1/2") long, and tie one end to the
bridle line with a Prusik knot, or any other shiftable knot. Tie a small Double Loop knot into
the other end.
All this is visible in the above photo. At this point, you've pretty much finished making the
MBK 2-Skewer Box Kite!
Now, I had some trouble with the cross-pieces falling out while the kite flew in rough air.
Hence you might like to glue the cross-pieces in place! The kite is a convenient size to put
in the car, fully rigged, and won't take up much space in a shed.

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2-Skewer Box Kite - Flying!


Finally, make up a flying line (Appendix 3) and
attach it to the bridle with a Lark's Head knot. See
the photo over there.
Assuming there is plenty of breeze outside, just
dangle the kite at arm's length until the wind
catches it. As long as you feel the kite pulling, let
out line slowly by letting it slip through your
fingers.
Another approach is to get a helper to hold the
kite up and let it go, with maybe 10 or 20 meters
of line let out. This way, the kite soon gets high
enough to build it easy to let more line out. That's
assuming there is plenty of wind!
If the kite doesn't fly, there is only one explanation
- not enough wind! If it loops around in both
directions, try shifting the towing point forward a
little. That is, move the Prusik knot along the
bridle line towards the nose of the kite. As a last
resort, you could add a small tail.
Isn't it nice to not be grounded when it's windy
outside, and it's way too strong for most other
MBK kites! By the way, if the kite stays quite low
despite a good wind, you could try moving the
towing point back a bit, towards the tail end of the
kite.
Here's a picture of the MBK 2-Skewer Box Kite in
the air. Air pressure on the sails is causing the
main spars to bow out a little. Hope you've
enjoyed learning how to build a Box kite!

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2-Skewer Box Kite Selected Flight Report


Sitting Pretty Above The Wind Gradient
'Sitting Pretty' is just a saying, and it's probably a stretch to call our 2 Skewer Box Kite
'pretty'. Never mind, at least it flies great!
Rain was forecast for this morning, but as usual here in Adelaide, it hardly rained a drop
despite promising gray clouds.
Nice stiff winds were also forecast with a cold front edging closer overnight.
As weather conditions started to clear, we
decided to get out and fly just before lunch,
down at the Wilfred Taylor reserve. Pulling up
at the reserve, I was disappointed to see
barely any movement in the nearby trees.
However, fresh gusts were coming through
from time to time.
I rigged the 2 Skewer Box Kite in just over 2
minutes, including attaching the flying line.
Soon the kite was in the air, with my wife May
snapping off photos and taking some video
too, for this web page.
With all the cloud around, it wasn't hard to
check the wind speed higher up. The clouds,
which were much higher now, were scudding
across from the West fairly slowly. Even so, I
guessed there was at least 15 knots up there. All we had to do was to get the kite up high
enough to contact that air. I mentioned Wind Gradient in the title up there. That just refers
to how the wind speed increases as you go from ground level up to several hundred feet in
the air.
On a day like today, there was sure to be a moderate wind gradient.
It was clear that hand launching would be an exercise in frustration, since the box kite
dropped like a stone during every lull. So, I just walked out about 30 or 40 meters with the
kite in hand, pulling line off the winder which was just lying on the grass. Back at the
winder end again, it was a simple matter to wait for a gust, then climb the kite up above 50
feet or so.
The 2 Skewer Box Kite launches from the ground quite easily. Although it lifts off sideways,
the lower cell soon swings back downwind and the kite is ready to climb out. From 50 feet,
the wind really started to bite, and I almost got line-burn a couple of times while I let the
line fly off the winder!
In no time at all, I had let almost all 150 meters (500 feet) of line out as the kite cavorted
around, close in position to the bright morning sun. Our 3-year-old held on for dear life for
a while - see the photo up there! The kite seemed to sit around 40 to 50 degrees from the
horizontal most of the time.

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Despite the cool air temperature, patches of
sinking and rising air affected the box kite from
time to time. Sinking air would keep it down
around 30 degrees or so, pulling like a horse.
The lifting air, on one occasion, boosted the 2
Skewer Box Kite right up to around 60 degrees.
Amazing!
The kite seemed comfortable and stable, so I
didn't worry about it floating high up over a
section of the reserve which was covered with
trees. However, after nearly an hour in the air,
something did go wrong!
The kite started to fly low, but still seemed
stable. After winding it in a lot closer, it was clear
that something was wrong with the lower cell.
The vertical cross-piece had slipped out, I have
no idea how. That wasn't supposed to happen,
since I had glued little lengths of bamboo to the
main spars to hold the cross pieces securely in
place.
Perhaps a spar had rotated a little, letting the cross-piece slip past. Maybe the loads on
the kite had pulled the 2 main spars apart far enough to let the cross-piece drop out.
Whatever happened, once one cross-piece goes, it's only a matter of time until they all
drop out! Hence, by the time I got the kite back on the ground, only 1 cross-piece was still
on the kite - and it was about to drop out too. Incredibly, the kite was still flyable, although
with much reduced performance!
Bottom line is this - the 2 Skewer Box Kite is a fantastic traditional-style box kite in terms of
flying performance, but still needs some refinement to keep those pesky cross-pieces in
place! It's looking more and more like I might just tape or glue them in place, like every
other 2-skewer kite in the MBK series. The kite will still be portable enough to provide a lot
of fun.

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Appendix 1 Requirements
The photo shows absolutely all the kite materials needed, plus all the extras such as ruler,
marker and scissors. Including the table top!
NOTE: No electrical tape is used for the 1-Skewer kites

Electrical tape, available from hardware stores. This stuff stretches and therefore is
perfect for capping spar ends while attaching sail plastic at the same time. Although a bit
heavy as far as kite materials go, only small lengths are required so it doesn't add much
weight overall.
Lightweight, clear sticky tape. Scotch tape, Sello-tape, sticking tape, whatever you like to
call it. Just make sure it is about the width of your finger. The tape I use is 12mm (1/2 inch)
in width. This is used to reinforce the edge of the sail, since it doesn't stretch and doesn't
add much weight.
Large, translucent (see-through), colored plastic bags for making sails. Here in Australia,
large orange garden bags are available from supermarkets. These bags are ideal, and
also make the finished kite easy to see in the air! Similar bags should be available
elsewhere too, perhaps in the form of garbage bags. However, you must be able to see a
black marker pen line through the plastic. The MBK construction method relies on this.
I've decided to standardize on dark garbage bags, for tails. Despite their size, they are
rather light and contrast well with the orange garden bag sails! With a bit of imagination,
there are many ways to make kite tails from plastic. Just remember, the lighter the better.

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Bamboo BBQ skewers. The ones pictured are 30 cm (12 inches) in length, costing just a
few dollars for a packet of 100. If yours are a different length, don't worry. These
instructions don't rely on absolute measurements for the spars or sail material. You will still
end up with a flyable kite.
8 kg (20 pound) or more flying line, for bridles and other lines attached to the frame.
These days I'm using 20 pound Dacron for flying line and bridling. You might use Nylon,
Polyester or good old cotton.
Wood glue, such as the Aquadhere in the photo. Good for tacking kite materials such as
bamboo together, although it takes hours to dry. A 100 ml container will last a long time
when just used for making MBK kites. If you prefer, and don't mind paying more, there are
various quick-drying wood or general-purpose glues on the market that can also be used.
The tubes for these are usually much smaller than 100 ml.
Now for a few extras you need to help with making an MBK skewer kite...
A ruler. Any length or type will do, although a meter (yard) rule is more convenient. The
shorter ones often come up short when ruling lines for the 2-skewer kite sails! All MBK
kites use straight lines to make things easier.
A black marking pen. For drawing corner points and sail outlines on light-colored plastic.
The marks need to be easily visible through 2 layers of the plastic.
A pair of scissors. These are mainly for cutting around the outline of the sail. They are
also handy for snipping bamboo skewers to length.
A calculator. Yes, a calculator of some sort, like on your mobile phone or the Windows
one or whatever. But there's no heavy calculating to be done! It's just handy for figuring out
how long 0.3 x (one skewer length) is, for example. In fact, right now, snip off the point
from one of your skewers and measure the skewer. This is 'one skewer length'. Write this
measurement down somewhere.
A smooth flat space to work on. If you are cutting kite materials with a knife rather than
scissors, you will need a smooth flat surface that can be sliced into without upsetting
anyone else! So forget the 2-ton 17th Century polished oak table at your rich uncle's
house...
As long as you have access to a supermarket you should be able to get these kite
materials and other bits and pieces together! Half the items are probably lying around your
house somewhere already.

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Appendix 2 Making Tails


Here's a handy way to make kite tails for all the MBK kites. A few photos and some
comments showing you how to make plastic rings and then loop them together. Also, I
show you a little trick to make the tails more 'draggy' and hence even better at stabilizing.
As described in some of the kite-making instructions, simple streamer tails are quicker to
make. However, the following technique using plastic loops certainly works great and looks
great...
By varying the width of the loops, and choosing different sized bags, you can come up with
tails to suit just about any size of kite. Specifically:

1-Skewer kites - 2 average adult finger widths

2-Skewer kites - 3 average adult finger widths

Dowel kites - 1 average adult palm width

Often essential for smaller kites, a tail improves the directional stability. This just means
that the kite now has a strong tendency to point its nose into the wind when aloft.

Once you have got the knack of making kite


tails this way, you can just use any kind of
clear or colored plastic bags or garbage
bags. Like the small blue plastic shopping
bag in the photo.

Firstly, if the bag has handles, cut straight


across to remove them. Then, keep cutting
straight across to create rings as shown.
Accuracy is not important here. In fact,
ragged edges might work better!

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Throw away the handles, if any, and also the


closed bottom of the bag. Now take 2 rings
and loop them together, as in the photo.
Gently pull the 2 rings fairly tight, then attach
more rings in the same way.

Keep going until you have the required length


of tail, according to the instructions for the
kite. Usually it's in terms of the kite's height.
For example, 'at least 6 times as long as the
kite itself'.
If a kite's tail is a bit longer than specified,
that doesn't matter at all!

Now, here's a way to make the tails more efficient...


That yellow rectangle shows where I put a
strip of clear (invisible!) sticky tape across the
loop. This helps to hold the loop open so it
drags at the airflow when the kite is flying.
Another benefit is that the tail resists 'winding
up' and hence losing some of its
effectiveness. Use tape on every loop in the
tail.
Bear in mind that very long tails will make your kite fly lower. Making tails just long enough
to keep the kite stable is the best idea!
That's all there is to making kite tails for the MBK designs. Of course, feel free to
experiment with other ideas too. Combining simple streamers and loops, for example.

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Appendix 3 Flying Line And Winder


For some time we've been using simple 30 cm (12
inch) long kite winders for most of our flying. That
size has proved just right for storing 150 meters (500
feet) of Dacron 20 pound flying line.
The legal altitude limit in Europe is 150 meters, 80 in
the U.K. (poor beggars). In the U.S. it's 500 feet,
while in Australia it's 400 feet above the ground.
Here's a refinement of our current 150 meter winder,
in 2 versions. Can I be a bit pompous and call it the
MBK150 Kite Winder... It will just make things easier
later on if we have a number of these things lying
around.
Firstly, for those in a real hurry, I will describe how to
bang out a crudely finished winder that holds the
same amount of line and has a similar ability to let
out line continuously. To give it a name, let's call it
the Quick Winder.
Secondly, I go on to describe extra steps to turn the
quick winder into something much nicer to handle
and use. It looks a darn sight better too! This one
can be called the Nice Winder.
There's a picture of it up there on the left. Now, I'm not an experienced wood-worker, so
feel free to do the finishing work your own way if you can do a better job!
Rather than bore you with a bunch of long paragraphs, here's 3 lists that describe this kite
string winder.
Features

designed for 150 meters of 20 to 50 pound line with room to spare


saw cut angle is designed to help line stay in place for storage, yet slip off easily
when letting out line quickly in fresh wind
cut-out takes some of the weight out of it, for extra comfort
cut-out doubles as a finger-grip when most of the line is out
sturdy to tolerate a fair amount of line stored under tension
most of the work is done with saw-cuts, leaving a minimum of filing and sanding

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Materials

hardwood or heavy chip-board plank around 1.5 cm (3/4 inch) thick and at least 30
cm (12 inches) long and 9 cm (3 3/8 inches) wide
for the Nice Winder, some dark wood stain (optional) and wood lacquer

Tools Required

pencil or marking pen, and ruler


medium grade work-working file
a wood saw - a full size one is fine
for the Nice Winder, a sheet each of 'very coarse', 'medium' and 'fine' sand paper
(or 'glass paper' as it is now)
also for the Nice Winder, a brush for applying lacquer - although you could use a
piece of rag

MBK150 Kite Winder Plan

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Making The Quick Kite Winder


Referring to the plan, mark dots on the board,
representing all the corners of the winder. Then rule
straight lines between them as in the photo.

Now draw in the outline of the winder. I've used a black


marking pen just so it shows up better in the photo.
Cut along all the lines with the wood saw.
Using the file, round off the 4 edges that will come into
contact with the flying line when it's wound on. Take
plenty of wood off so the line doesn't have to go
around any sharp bends.
That's it for the Quick version, down there on the right.
If that's all you want to do, skip straight down to the
section titled The Flying
Line. Otherwise...

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Making The NICE Kite Winder!


Round all the edges with the file, for handling comfort.
Go over all of the winder with the coarse sheet of
sandpaper, to take out any file marks..
Go over it all again, with the medium sandpaper.

I used a piece of heavy chip-board, which had plastic


veneer bonded to each side - so I skipped the dark wood
stain! If you are using wood, use the wood stain on it now.
After the stain is dry, apply a coat of wood lacquer, and
allow to dry completely. I used a polyurethane gloss
product, which is supposed to be pretty hard-wearing.
Sand all over, lightly, with the light sandpaper.
Apply another coat of lacquer and allow to dry.
That's it, over on the left - the finished article!

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The Flying Line


This line is designed to be
easily taken off the winder if
necessary, and attached to
something else. For example,
another kite, as part of a 'kite
train'.
Put a large Double Loop knot
into one end of 150 meters
(500 feet) of flying line. See the
photo on the left. 20 pound
Dacron line is ideal for the 2Skewer kites, and can also be
used for the 1-Skewer kites.
Loop the line over one horn of
the winder, as in the photo on
the right, and wind on all the
remaining line.
Put a Double Loop or a Figure
Eight knot into the free end of
the line.
Have you ever wondered just how much line has been let out?
Here's a tip! Before winding 150 meters of new 20 pound
Dacron onto its winder, I measured it out in 30 meter
(quite close to 100 feet) lengths on the back lawn.
I then tagged the line every 30 meters with a small
square of colored electrical insulation tape, as shown in
the photo. Placed diagonally, then folded over and
pressed together to form a triangle.
Here's the color sequence, measured from the kite end...

0 meters (0 feet): full kite winder


30 meters (100 feet): white tag
60 meters (200 feet): yellow tag
90 meters (300 feet): blue tag
120 meters (400 feet): black tag
150 meters (500 feet): empty kite winder, leave 3 or 4 turns on!

Of course, the black tag is the first to go on, when making up the line onto the kite winder.
To make the lengths easier to remember, the colors get darker with every 30 meters.
Another approach, which I have switched to using actually, is to make rectangular flags
from white or yellow tape. Using a permanent marker, write the number of meters or feet
on each flag. Just the number, so the numerals can be large and easy to read.
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Appendix 4 Knots
There are knot tying instructions here for any stage during the construction of an MBK kite.
You can make do with just a few simple ones to begin with, but eventually you will discover
the convenience and satisfaction of using all the 'right' kiting knots!
The bigger the kite, the more important it is to use the right knots. Often this relates to
strength, since safety margins can be slimmer with bigger, stronger-pulling kites.
Besides just showing you how to tie the knots, I have also made a few comments about
each knot's application in kiting.

The Simple Knot

OK, so these knot tying instructions are hardly necessary since the Simple Knot is so
simple! The main use I find for this little knot is to prevent fraying near a free end of kite
line, in just about any situation. Of course, for nylon or polyester lines there is also the old
kite-maker's trick of melting the frayed end with a flame. The gas stove lighter can come in
handy for this.
I tried using this knot to prevent Slip Knots from pulling through, but it's not really big
enough. A bigger knot like a small Loop Knot is much better, though it doesn't look quite so
tidy.

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The Multi-Strand Simple Knot

The main use for the Multi-Strand Simple Knot in an MBK kite is tying off the lines that
have been taped to a plastic keel. The nice thing about a double-line simple knot is that
you can adjust it to an exact position along the line, before you tighten it fully. It takes
some practice, but it feels good when mastered!
With a little care, this is a great knot to use along the edge of the keel that touches the
vertical spar of a kite. If the knot is adjusted too far one way, you'll crush the keel edge out
of shape. Too far the other way, and there will be an untidy gap between the keel edge and
the vertical spar when you finally attach the keel to the spar with Granny knots.
This knot is also handy at the Towing Point corner of a keel, defining the spot through
which the flying line tension acts.
Also, this knot is a very quick way to just tie two pieces of line together. However, I've
found this simple knot can pull through under a lot of strain! The solution is simple. Just
wind the lines around twice instead of once, making it a Multi Strand Double Knot. See
below. Not the prettiest of joins, but it's easy to remember and it holds fast!

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The Multi Strand Double Knot

If you ever need to cut and then re-join a piece of bridle line,
the Multi Strand Double Knot is handy. It's so easy to do, and
that extra turn of line makes it slip-proof. Unlike the simple
knot! If used to fix a flying line, it would reduce the breaking
strain somewhat. That's not so much of a problem in a bridle
since the strain is shared between 2 or more lines.
Apart from modifying a bridle, this also comes in handy when
scrapping old sail and re-using the horizontal spar(s).
I actually did this during the trials and tribulations with the very
first build of the Skewer Roller kite! The old bridle lines were
snipped so they could be fed through holes in the new sail.

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The Granny Knot

Chances are you have heard of the humble Granny Knot! It's a
general-purpose knot which is useful for tying two ends of a
line together. I suppose grannies use it for tying up a parcel
with string...
For my kite designs, I mainly use this knot for tying a
completed keel to its vertical spar. The 2 lines already have a
Simple Knot tied in next to the keel's edge, so the Granny
pulls the edge tightly against the vertical spar, but does not
distort the keel edge.
In this situation, fixing the knots with glue is a good idea, so
the keel can't shift along the vertical spar. Of course, you need to use enough glue so it
contacts the spar as well as the knot itself. As a side benefit, the Granny can't come loose
either.
In a keel, the flight load is shared among several lines, so a fancier stronger knot is not
required. Well, I've never had one let go yet! When I say 'stronger' I mean 'less likely to
weaken the line'.

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The Loop Knot

This is the simple Loop Knot that is commonly used for


forming a Lark's Head Knot at the end of a flying line.
Now, the simple loop on the end of a flying line is fine for small
kites, where the line usually has ample strength. However, for
much bigger kites, it's a good idea not to weaken the line
unnecessarily. In particular, there are 2 knots which offer
greater strength than the simple Loop - the Double Loop and
the Figure Eight knots.
Other uses for this knot include...

A handy large knot to stop a Lark's Head from slipping off the bridle line. I put a
short line with a Loop Knot at the end on just about all my kites except the Deltas.

A knot with a very small loop is handy to stop Slip Knots from slipping through. The
loop itself doesn't do anything, but the double-size knot in the line sure holds the
Slip Knot securely.

If you're in the habit of using a Truckie's Knot to pull some bow into a spar, then of course,
that uses the Loop Knot as well. No need for anything fancier there.

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The Lark's Head Knot

The Lark's Head Knot is an amazingly simple yet useful knot!


The great thing about this one is that no matter how tightly it
gets stressed while holding all the tension of a flying line, it is
fairly easy to remove. Regarding getting it loose again, here
are a couple of tricks I have discovered from experience...

Grab the line to which the Lark's Head is attached, on


either side of the knot. Loosen the line, then ping it tight
again by separating your hands, several times. Often,
the Lark's Head will loosen just a little, making it easier
to unpick.
Get a finger-nail in between the 2 strands of the Lark's Head, right where it is sitting
on the other line. Work the 2 loops apart a little. This also can make the knot easier
to unpick.

The lighter the line, the more useful those tips might prove to be! When you need reading
glasses, 20 pound Dacron line is pretty hard to work with. Personally, I use eye exercises
to improve the situation a lot, but that's another story...
Most MBK kites use a short connecting line between the bridle and the flying line. It's part
of the bridle really. The flying line is attached to this connector with a Larks Head Knot,
making it easy to swap the line from kite to kite.
Where else might you use a Lark's Head? Well, I use it to connect the lower bridle lines of
the Roller and Dopero kites to their keels. In those cases the knot stays done up all the
time.

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The Half Hitch Knot

The simple Half Hitch has many uses, but I have just one, for the MBK Skewer Kites. In
particular, the Roller and Dopero kites, where this knot is easily unpicked to adjust the
wing-tip ties where they attach to the lower horizontal spar. However, this is also it's main
disadvantage in that it eventually comes loose!
If multiple hitches are used, the top one will quickly loosen off unless it's secured with glue.
You can use a couple of hitches to attach a bridle line to its spar, as long as that little dob
of glue is added. In this situation the glue can also be used to prevent the knot from
shifting along the spar. These days I prefer to use a Double Wrap Slip Knot here.

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The Prusik Knot

The Prusik Knot. Where would kite-fliers be without this great


shiftable knot... A bit of a pain to tie at first, but it makes
adjusting a bridle so easy! Pulling the bridle straight unlocks
the knot, letting you shift it along the bridle line. Pulling on the
lines as pairs as in the last photo causes the knot to fold,
locking it in place.
I use the Prusik Knot on horizontal bridle loops to shift the knot
left or right across the kite, for trimming purposes. More
commonly, it's also used to slide up and down the bridle line
of, say, a Diamond kite to adjust the Towing Point fore and aft.
On kites with 4 legged bridles, arranged as an upper and lower loop plus a connecting line,
this means 3 shiftable knots. For example, the Skewer Rokkaku and Dopero. At least you
only have to tie the Prusiks once.
There are other ways, some possibly a little simpler, to obtain a shiftable knot. However,
the Prusik has worked so well for me over the years that it's the one I would recommend.
This mountaineering knot was invented in 1931 by Dr. Karl Prusik. With one 's'. At least
this kite nut has finally got it right. Many others still haven't!

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The Slip Knot

A small Loop Knot in the end of the line prevents this Slip Knot from coming undone. At
least in theory! In practice, the loop can still loosen off with handling, allowing even a large
knot to slip through. A tiny dob of glue will make the knot permanent after it is first tied and
tightened. Alternatively, you can simply check all the knots before each flight, re-tightening
where necessary. They are less likely to loosen in-flight.
I have used this knot many times for securing bridle lines to spars. If you keep the Loop
Knot as small as possible, it doesn't look too untidy. It's a good idea to not fix the knots
with glue until after the kite has had it's first test flight or 2. Just in case you decide to make
any changes!
For a double wrap Slip Knot, just wrap the line around the spar twice instead of once,
before slipping the Loop Knot through. Not surprisingly, this version stays tight a lot longer.

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The Double Loop Knot

The Double Loop Knot is


significantly stronger than the
Simple Loop Knot. That is, it
does not weaken the
breaking strain of the line as
much. However, it's almost as
easy to tie as the Simple
version. Just wrap the loop
around twice instead of once.
That's it. Use this knot on the
end of your flying line, so it
can be attached to a kite bridle with a Lark's Head.
This knot is also worth remembering whenever you want to tie a large knot that will not pull
through another knot. For example, near the towing point of a keel. Or perhaps to make
completely sure a Slip Knot doesn't slip undone! In both those cases, the Double Loop
Knot looks neatest when the loop is tied as small as possible. After all, the loop itself is not
being used for anything.
I guess if you are using a tent peg as a ground stake, it would be handy to just slip a loop
over to hold the line. In that case, you would have a loop tied into both ends of the flying
line.
A double-ended flying line would also come in handy for attaching 2 kites together in a
train. If the kite closest to ground had a short line out the back, with a large knot, the line to
the second kite could just be Lark's Headed on. Quick and simple.

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The Figure Eight Knot

The Figure Eight Knot is another loop knot which is


significantly stronger than the Simple Loop. It's a fishing knot,
and just a little trickier to tie.
Many kite people use this knot on the end of their flying lines,
which is then Lark's Headed to a kite's bridle. One day I'm
going to get around to doing some tests to see if it really is
stronger than the Double Loop Knot.
I suppose the Figure Eight could be used as a large
terminating knot like the Double Loop, but the latter is much
quicker and easier to do.
How about a loop tied into both ends of the flying line? Like the Double Loop, the Figure
Eight could then be used for tethering a kite to a ground stake. Just by slipping the loop
over, as long as the stake was shaped or angled to ensure the loop doesn't slip off.
Also, with the right bridles, flying lines with a loop knot on both ends could be used to hitch
together a train of kites.

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Update History
Mar 2012 2-Skewer Diamond kite redesigned and all instructions updated.
Nov 2011 1 and 2 Skewer books combined, extended and revised.

Making Skewer Kites

Fun For Every Generation


Copyright 2009-2012, Tim Parish. All rights reserved worldwide.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ End Of eBook ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
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