A Kite Building Challenge...

by Tony Sangster
(Adelaide, SA, Australia)

Nose detail.

Nose detail.

Nose detail.
Complete frame.
Complete kite - no spreader!
Sprung 1 in flight

...A delta-style kite without a horizontal spreader spar.

From playing around with some kite designs in folded A4 paper and use of straws for spars I tried out a design in plastic and dowels, undertaking to Tim that I would provide some photos. However the trials were not successful and I am still trying to get there (hopefully with a serious attempt and success this long weekend)

However you budding designers may wish to come up with your own version in plastic/dowel or similar materials. I am attempting to make a Delta-style kite without a horizontal spreader spar. A spar could however be used in some other fashion or orientation. Originally I was trying to save weight in the construction but have decided to get the design right first.

Have fun and happy flying!

(NOTE - Tony has since posted further comments, plus the photos up there. Check out all the details on this interesting kite design! T.P.)

Comments for A Kite Building Challenge...

Average Rating starstarstarstarstar

Click here to add your own comments

Sprung series
by: Tony Sangster

Sprung 2 was a challenge because the the bendy spreader on the upper side of the kites when positioned upright tends to push down more on the front end of the leading edge spars and affects the airflow over the kite and thus affecting its stability. A long tail was needed in most winds.

Sprung 2
by: Tony Sangster

Over the last weekend I made Sprung 2 as an intermediary step to Sprung 3. Unfortunately 20 knot plus winds on Sunday in Adelaide at the beach prevented me trialling Sprung 2 - but with a suitable tail Sprung 2 after several crashes flew magnificently.

Construction: dowel 6 mm (in cm length)- central 49.5, leading edge 50.5, 5 mm dowel spreader 32 each joined as in Sprung one with the bendy bit of a tooth brush - skin of oven bag plastic.

Overall dimensions: leading edge 72.5, base 102, no keel but two point bridle attached 14 cm from nose, 10 from back. Spreader attached via PVC tubing internal diameter 6 mm situated 37 cm from rear end of LE spars - a classic delta configuration as per Dan Leigh.

The bent spreader was held with elastic and string attached from nose to bendy bit to rear bridle attachment, elastic allows some give but in the gusty conditions the string held the bendy spreader.

Please see photos - fellow kite flier Steve ably assisted me in the gusty conditions and offered helpful insights from his kite and sailing knowledge.

Further comments on Sprung 1
by: Tony Sangster

When I first tried to fly this kite it would rise a little then flattened out and nose-dive. I figured the weight of the nose assembly and lack of a horizontal spar in the middle area of the kite to balance the kite would cause the nose dive. I ended up tensioning the leading edges back with the strings on the upper side in order to move some weight backward and since this didn't work well enough I also added the loop tail which pulls the back of the kite down a bit.

The rest is history. Once I retrieve the flight shots you can believe that it really does fly.
Now for Sprung 2!

The evidence
by: Tony Sangster

Finally I have got photos of a Delta kite without horizontal spreader - called Sprung (version 1)

The skin is from oven-proof plastic which is light and strong but I did reinforce the edges with tape.

  1. 6mm dowel two lengths 50 cm each, one length 36 cm. Take a bendy tooth brush, cut and shave it to give symmetry and glue/wind polyester thread around it; attach sections of 50cm spars each end.

  2. Attach to bendy bit some tubing with hole to accomodate 36cm spar end. (see photo)

  3. Cut out skin, taping as needed, 4 sided figure two adjacent sides 60cm, and two 44cm, symmetrical centre 40cm.

  4. Crease skin in half along shorter symmetrical centre, fold back wings each side zero at 60cm end (nose) and at 22cm along centre a depth of a keel of 10cm crease so that a keel is formed all the way along. Open inside of the keel a little and tape inside at centre crease a bamboo skewer (24cm long) from nose begin about 3.5cm from end of skin.

  5. Tape sections of the keel top edges from nose backward symmetrically, leave a gap at 20cm along on the same plane as the wings.

  6. Three legged spar is held in shape by a string tied near ends of and tensioning the 60cm lengths (see photo) and placed on skin.

  7. Wrap skin evenly over 60cm (leading edge) spars and tape firmly in place so that the skin is taut, similarly tape over the centre spar leading gap at 20cm. Trim excess skin and remove the spar tensioning string carefully as you tape in spar assembly.

  8. Place 2 bamboo skewers (24cm long each - no sharp ends) each side of centre spar at 20cm from nose and tape and tie one set of ends (swivel it to side and ensure enough gap in the skin to then swing the tied ends with extra tape also attached to stick the ends to the bamboo skewer earlier situated inside at the bottom of the keel at 18.5 cm from nose along keel skewer and tilted back to 200cm and taped either side of the centre spar, then together at the top, giving a tilted-back mast. 90 cm of double skewer mast is in keel section.

  9. Attach a line from about 40cm back from nose of each leading edge and run it and secure across mast top mast, a similar line underneath around the bamboo skewer keel. Tensioning of these lines produces and maintains dihedral shape.

  10. Tape from back end of skewer keel to end of centre spar, trim off excess keel.

  11. Keel tow point from nose - 15cm or use bridle line to better adjust the tow point.

  12. Vital point... Attach a looped tail from wing tip to wing tip approx 150cm long, 2cm wide. The kite will not fly properly without it!

    In degrees: nose angle ends up about 97, dihedral 120.

    Go fly !

The Challenge joined and met
by: Tony Sangster

A successful kite fly in ideal weather yesterday (Monday) I am sorting the photos out with details of construction of the delta without horizontal spreader. I have named to version "Sprung 1" - reasons will become clear once you se the photos.

The main leson is that deltas with horizontal spars are a superb design and trying to do without the horizontal spreader does certinly lead to compromises - but also increases interest and can lead to further interesting ideas.

by: Tim Parish

I think the only way around something functioning as a spreader is to make the kite from a rigid material. That is, a flat plate with some shape (compound curves?) bent into it to provide stability. Or else construct a special Sled that looks Delta-like from a distance. Come to think of it, parafoils do exist which have a roughly Delta planform.

But I think a spreader is pretty fundamental to any delta concept. Something has to keep those leading edges from folding together under air loads. The spreader's position can vary a lot, and perhaps it doesn't even have to be rigidly attached at each end (thinking of a spreader that is part of a bridle!). But something somewhere has to function as a spreader. Those are my thoughts :-)

Another thought - could a horizontal ram-air tube function as a spreader? A long shot....

Click here to add your own comments

Join in and write your own page! It's easy to do. How? Simply click here to return to YOUR Pictures Of Kites!.

E-book special of the month...

Barn Door is a traditional American design, and this MBK version has delighted many of this site's visitors over the years.

If you have made Diamonds before, this kite is only a small step up in difficulty.

Get the e-book for making the MBK Barn Door kite. Down to a mere $2.95 for this month.

The MBK Barn Door is a reliable flyer over the Light to Moderate wind range. Tail(s) are entirely optional, if the kite is made according to the instructions.

The e-book is a PDF file - which means printable instructions to refer to while you make the kite. It also means convenient off-line access if that suits you better.

What's New!

  1. Gibson Girl - The Box Kite

    Oct 19, 16 07:00 AM

    A previously published page which gives some historical background to the so-called Gibson Girl box kite. Designed for military use, it's an old but impressive piece of kite technology...

    Read More



Kite-making e-book: Simplest Dowel Kites

This one's FREE
Download it now!

More E-books...


"Love the easy to understand step by step instructions, made from next to nothing materials and above all so much fun to fly... cheers Tim for sharing your well thought out pdf kite designs with the whole world.

Very satisfying making your own and watching them get air-born for the first time."


"I've just bought your super e-book and spent most of last night pouring through all the great stuff in it!

Very detailed and USEFUL information - thanks for such a great book."


"30+ years ago, I tried making a kite using the 'instructions' in a free kite-safety booklet. What a disappointment for a young boy.

 Your instructions and methods are wonderful. You help the builder to focus on accuracy, without making it hard. Also, you use materials that are durable, yet cheap!"


"omg i made a kite from this site and i fly it ....... booom i didnt expect this bc in the other sites instuction are trash

thank you"

Kite-making e-book: Simplest Dowel Kites

This one's FREE
Download it now!

More E-books...

Wind Speeds

Light air
1-5 km/h
1-3 mph
1-3 knots
Beaufort 1

Light breeze
6–11 km/h
4–7 mph
4–6 knots
Beaufort 2    

Gentle breeze
12–19 km/h
8–12 mph
7–10 knots
Beaufort 3    

Moderate breeze
20–28 km/h
13–18 mph
11–16 knots
Beaufort 4    

Fresh breeze
29–38 km/h
19–24 mph
17–21 knots
Beaufort 5    

Strong breeze
39–49 km/h
25–31 mph
22–27 knots
Beaufort 6

High Wind
50-61 km/h
32-38 mph
28-33 knots
Beaufort 7