A modern material delta kite - the Morpheo

by Tony Sangster
(Adelaide, SA, Australia)

Frog colour Morpheo

Frog colour Morpheo

This kite is for no-wind or little wind (usually) - lovingly made in Florida. In the photo the kite is handling 15 knots winds without need of a tail or other stabilizer. Whilst this is probably the upper wind-speed limit for this type of kite it shows how well made it is.

Yes, it is made of expensive materials and it would be wise to try other materials first until you have built up sufficient skill and confidence or better still order one like the owner of this kite did from Windfire Designs.

But it shows what you can achieve with a transparent material and paints - or whatever you wish to try!

The clear material here is called cuben fibre, nothing to do with tobacco by the way! A look at the internet indicates that cuben fibre is made from incredibly strong plastic. Heavier grades of it are used for making tents and rucksacks and the ultimate use is for making full size yacht sails. The favoured method for joining cuben fibre involves use of strong double-sided tape. And whilst stitching the material is possible the thinnest grades can be weakened by stitches made too close together.

A member of our kite club tried cutting a purchased piece of thin cuben fibre with his usual kite-making scissors and could not cut it. It appears that titanium tipped scissors are best used for cutting it.

The spars of the kite are thin carbon fibre rods and the spar fittings are from specially made coils of stainless steel wire.

The colours have been beautifully painted in oil paints, a painstaking, highly skilled process. Choice of colours is made by the prospective owner of the kite and in this case the inspiration was a photo of a green frog with an orange belly.

Perhaps you could start with a smaller kite than this 7 feet across one using thin clear plastic, thin dowels and tape as per Tim's excellent instructions and go to town with textas and similar colouring agents to obtain a see-through effect.

At some time wherever you are your kite flying may challenged by there being no wind or very little. This is where the light wind kites can save the day!

Comments for A modern material delta kite - the Morpheo

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Jun 01, 2016
Morpho Grande
by: corgimas

I have a 14' Morpho Grande... It is one of my favorite kites. Tim and Ruth have designed it so well from the packing size to the materials and weight to the hand bent stainless steel wire fittings.

There are now 3 or 4 sizes of the kite available and you can ask Ruth to paint a little or a lot of the skin to your liking.

There is a bow from the middle of the spine to the nose that makes it super efficient and a phenomenal glider...

Douglas Stout in NJ is also using cuben for his glider kites.....and he makes them from 12" across to 9' as well....

May 31, 2016
by: Tim Parish

Have heard you comment on this kite before - but thanks for sharing so many technical details! An interesting read for keen kite builders. Painting on clear sails is a relatively rare approach these days - but an artist can certainly make it work...

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

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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.

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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