Cracking Little Kite!

by Rikki
(Dublin, Ireland)

This is a great tutorial and I just want to share my experience.

This is a fun kite to fly, is very stable even in strong breezes and has not crashed yet!

I would agree with the advice to only fly this kite in light breezes. After all, the bamboo skewers were designed for a BBQ, not a kite project :-)

Having built a large 1.5 meter Rokkaku kite in the past I wanted to build another.

My little daughter is fascinated with kites.

The plans are clear and simple. Maybe a few more pictures would be helpful, along with a feature to click on a picture to enlarge it.

However, I felt the original plans were a little small so doubled the scale.

The whole project took just an evening to make.

Instead of wood adhesive, hot melt glue was used with excellent results.

It sets in just a few moments which is good as I am often impatient to be getting on to the next stage of building!

The bamboo skewers are just able to cope with the strains of flying my double scale kite in a strong breeze.

I would hesitate to build a triple scale kite with skewers. The MBK Dowel Rokkaku is much better on a larger scale.

Notching the horizontal spars then bending and gluing did not seem like a good idea on a double scale kite.

So some ideas were borrowed from the MBK Dowel Rokkaku.

20 pound fishing line was used to induce the correct bend into each horizontal spar.

Hot-melt glue holds all the knots and spar crossings in position.

The bridle was also copied from the MBK Dowel Rokkaku with excellent results. (Tie points are 0.25DL out from vertical spar)

Kite bridle was adjusted to hang at the recommended angle of 30 degrees.

In a strong wind the plastic sail gets pushed back, effectively reducing lift.

This causes the kite to lower towards the ground.

When the breeze drops a bit, the kite sail recovers shape and provides sufficient lift to soar back into the sky.

How long this kite will last in anyone's guess.

But it is great fun and a break from the high tech commercial offerings.

Also there is the immense satisfaction of building a successful kite from household items. It's priceless.

My next idea is to build another Rokkaku kite and stack them...

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2-Skewer Rokkaku Re-invented
by: Tim Parish

Hey, you had the same idea I had after making a few 1-Skewer designs - double up the skewers to make kites with 4 times the area! This hits a real 'sweet spot' of weight versus strength, resulting in very high-performance single line kites of only modest size.

You might find it interesting to check out the '2-Skewer Rokkaku' link (under 'how to make...' over there on the left) and compare the details with your own invention :-)

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This printable e-book takes you step-by-step through making a 119 cm (4 ft) wide Parachute kite. It's not quite that wide in the air since the canopy takes on a distinct curved shape when inflated. This 14-cell kite performs best in moderate to fresh wind speeds. That's 20 to 38 kph or 13 to 24 mph. In gentle winds, this kite will hang in the air at fairly low line angles. In fresh winds, it pulls firmly for it's size, so small kids should only fly it while supervised!

Every kite design in the MBK Soft Series satisfies the following points...

  • Materials are plastic sheet, tape and line – and nothing more!
  • Tools are a ruler, scissors and a marker pen - and nothing more!
  • All cuts are along straight lines.

For the greatest chance of success, I make recommendations regarding the materials. For example, the type/weight of plastic, type/width of tape and line type/strength. Close enough should nearly always be good enough, since the design is well-tested and should be tolerant of small differences from my original.

Get the e-book for making the MBK Parachute kite. After making your first one in plastic and seeing how it performs, you can try soft Tyvek or rip-stop nylon for your next build.

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.



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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