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 pretty similar!
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.
Thinking of something a little bigger? Try a similar kite in wooden dowel and plastic. See the e-book up there on the right, which is handy for nicely-formatted printouts. You don't need an Internet connection either, when working from an e-book on your lap-top or other device.
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!
The template shown above represents one side of the kite sail. You will now transfer these measurements to the sail plastic as follows...
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.
Note 1: 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.
In this photo, pieces of clear sticky tape are indicated by yellow rectangles.
It's a bit fiddly, but you'll be proud of this kite when you finish it!
At this point you need to make sure the glue is dry on the frame. If it is...
Note: During test flying in gusty thermal conditions, these lines had a tendency to pull out from the lower sail! Feel free to tie them to the lower horizontal spar instead, using 2 or 3 Half Hitches.
Firstly, attach a keel to one side...
These knots must never come loose, so use tiny drops of glue to keep them secure.
In the original photo, parts of the bridle were very hard to see, so I have colored them pure white.
Attach the upper bridle loop...
Now attach the lower bridle loop...
Next, attach the central bridle line...
Finally, take a length of flying line about 0.5SL (15cm, 6") long, and tie one end to the central bridle line with another Prusik knot. Tie a small Double Loop Knot into the other end.
At this point, you've pretty much finished making the 2-Skewer Dopero. Whew... But hey, I'm looking at it now, and it's the best skewer kite of the lot!
Check those shiftable knots on the loops again. Suspend the kite from its upper bridle loop Prusik knot, checking that both tips of the upper horizontal spar come off the table at the same time. Shift the knot until this happens. Now do the same for the lower bridle loop Prusik knot, this time observing the tips of the lower horizontal spar. All square now?
As a final check, lift the kite by the loop knot right at the end of the bridle. Shift the Prusik knot along the central bridle line until the kite hangs at about a 30 degree angle from the horizontal.
Also lift the kite with a finger under the nose and a finger under the tail, balancing it on the central crease line in the plastic. Try this a few times, and if it's clear that one side of the kite is heavier, add small bits of electrical tape to the spar caps on the lighter side, to balance it up.
The picture up there shows the MBK 2-Skewer Dopero kite being launched, down at a local flying field. The pint-sized support crew is ready to swing into action at a moment's notice... If I don't catch him first!
Assuming there is some breeze outside, just dangle the kite at arm's length until the wind catches it. As long as you feel the kite pulling, let out line slowly by letting it slip through your fingers. If it refuses to climb despite pulling on your hand, shift the Prusik knot towards the nose a bit, and try again. Keep going until the kite behaves itself!
Another approach is to get a helper to hold the kite up and let it go, with maybe 10 or 20 meters of line let out. This way, the kite soon gets high enough to make it easy to let more line out.
Finally, if the kite doesn't seem stable enough, looping around in both directions even in light wind, just add a simple short tail to each vertical spar and try again. However, if you have put the correct dihedral in both spars, this should not be necessary!
If the kite flies OK, but tends to hang to the left or right, try shifting the sliding knot on the upper bridle loop. Make very small adjustments until the kite flies noticeably better.
Note: If you have seen the plans page for this kite, you will see there are 2 extra reinforcers on the joints of the upper horizontal spar. If the glue you are using can't hold the correct dihedral angle, it's easy to add the 2 extra small pieces of bamboo later, after a bit of test flying.
Have fun flying, and I hope you've enjoyed learning how to how to build a Dopero kite.
The "Making Skewer Kites" e-book
has this design and many others in bamboo skewers and plastic. A handy approach is to just print out the pages for the kite you want to make next. The e-book is also handy for working off-line on a laptop or other device.
That's great value already, but "The Big MBK Book Bundle" is even better! This includes the "Making Dowel Kites" compilation e-book, plus several other handy kiting e-books.
Now, just in case you have actually made and flown this kite at least once already...
You've probably read a kite-flying story or 2 of mine, after they appear under the "what's new?" link on this site. I sometimes wonder if anyone else has made and flown this particular design...
If you feel your efforts really paid off when the the kite finally got airborne - please type a few paragraphs in here telling us all about it!
P.S. I can only accept stories of at least 300 words. Just mention a few details like the weather, onlookers, the kite's behavior and so on - 300 words is easy!
Click below to read about various kite-flying adventures, contributed by other visitors to this page...
2-Skewer Dopero Takes To The Sky
There's always a certain feeling of trepidation when you've spent a week or more on a project, and then crunch time comes. Especially when 'crunch' is …
Watch Your Knuckles
Grandson and I had built a few Dopero kites to fly, but the weather was either too bad or no wind. So the other day it was about 20 degrees F. with a fairly …
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