How To Build A Dopero Kite
Step-by-Step - Page 1 of 3
The MBK 2-Skewer Dopero
This set of instructions on how to build a Dopero kite assumes you know absolutely nothing about kite making. You might already have some
of the simple tools and materials required.
Anything you don't have is
easily bought. If not exactly what I used, then at least something
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.
NOTE: Video views from this website don't appear to be counted.
How To Build A Dopero Kite
Have you read the page on kite materials? If you haven't already, do it now to see what's needed for building a Dopero kite.
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.
Measure it, 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.
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 2-part vertical spars.
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
- 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
- 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.
- Lay down a thick line of glue all the way down each join, as in the photo.
How To Build A Dopero Kite
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 the large bag that you will be using for the sail, and lay it flat on the table.
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.
- Flip the plastic bag over, and trace over all the black lines using your marker pen and ruler.
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 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Continue to page 2
E-book special of the month (25% off)...
e-book takes you step-by-step through making a 120cm (4 ft) tall
Parafoil kite. This 4-cell kite performs best in gentle to moderate
wind speeds. That's 12 to 28kph or 8 to 18mph. Even in light
winds, this kite will hang in the air, although at 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 Parafoil 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.
May 26, 17 01:32 AM
Having flown nothing for a while and with winds rather light - or so I thought - it was off to a field in Noarlunga to fly the big 2.4m span Rokkaku...
Looking around, the trees weren't doing much so I…
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