Fresh Winds Dowel Box Kite

by Jim Millisky
(Philadelphia, PA, USA )

Box kite heading up

Box kite heading up

I finished making your fresh wind Dowel Box kite. I used 1/4" dowels for a little extra strength.

The kite was flying in 16-20 mph winds. Gusts were about 25 mph. The kite flew perfectly, but it sure did pull! I thought the string might break when the wind would gust!

Like your flight report, it flew at about a 75 degree angle, and was very exciting to fly. I could only take the kite to 100' or so, because I was in a small city park in Philadelphia. Looking forward to taking it to the beach!

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Spars
by: Jim

Hi Tim,
I was wondering if the wood spars here in the states are of a lighter wood than in Australia? The 3/16 seemed flimsy to me, but maybe I just had a few lighter than normal spars. Your idea of thicker cross pieces is a good one! I am planning to use the 3/16 on the traditional box kite, as per your plan. 45 mph winds- WOW, that kite must have pulled like a truck!!
Take Care,
Jim

(T.P. - Most dowels over here are of Tasmanian Oak, also we get dowels from Indonesia - unsure what type that is, having not made any inquiries. Hardness seems similar, and these are supposed to be 'hardwood' dowels. Eeerm ... 45KPH not mph ;-) = around 25 - 30 mph)

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Spars
by: Tim Parish

Sounds like you had a good first outing with this kite! The 3/16" dowels do look a little spindly, but I have had this design in the air while winds gusted to 45kph. Enough to knock the wind meter over on its little tripod!

Under those conditions, 3/16" cross pieces might snap - as mine did that day, but the main spars can take it. The bonus of course, is that the kite will fly at lower wind speeds than otherwise.

These days I always use or design cross-pieces that are thicker than the main spars. The horizontal cross-pieces for the new 2.4 meter (8 feet) long Multi-Dowel Box kite are 12.5mm compared to 9.5mm for the main spars.

A short bridle loop also helps to reduce stresses on a Box kite. So the towing point is not far below the kite in flight.

PS - I think I recognize your name as being one of my e-book customers. Well of course you are - this kite design doesn't appear on this website!

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E-book: Making The MBK Parachute Kite

This printable e-book takes you step-by-step through making a 119cm (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 38kph or 13 to 24mph. 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!

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  • Materials are plastic sheet, tape and line – and nothing more!
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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.

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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