How To Build A Roller Kite
Step-by-Step - Page 1 of 3
The MBK 2-Skewer Roller
This set of instructions on how to build a Roller 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 Roller Kite is a medium-sized Roller 58cm (23")
across and 58 cm tall. That makes it somewhat smaller than the the original design that was flown in Europe many decades ago.
Some 'dihedral' on the upper spar gives extra
stability. Somewhat more dihedral on the lower spar plus a rear keel
enable the Roller to fly without a tail.
This 2-Skewer Roller is a reliable light wind flier.
Take it out when it's not very windy, and you won't be disappointed.
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How To Build A Roller 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 Roller kite.
For this Roller, you need to glue skewers together to form the 3
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 spar. As for any
kite, it's best to try and match the left and right 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.
- Snip the points
off 6 skewers, then check to see that they are all exactly the same
length - measure it, this is '1 skewer length'.
- From another
skewer, snip off 5 lengths of bamboo, each 0.1SL (3cm, 1") long. These
are the short reinforcers you can see in the photo.
- Arrange the 3 pairs of skewers as in the photo, with some paper underneath to catch excess glue.
- Prop up each end of the second pair of skewers to 0.1SL (3cm, 1") above the table, to give them 'dihedral'.
- Prop up each end of the third pair of skewers to 0.2SL (6cm, 2") above the table, to give them even more 'dihedral'.
- Get down to table top height and look along the spars, and make sure they are as straight as possible.
- Lay down a thick line of glue all the way down each join, as in the photo.
How To Build A Roller 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 the spars are dry, then lay the vertical spar on the edge of the
bag and mark the position of the nose and tail of the kite.
a ruler, measure and mark all the other points as in the photo on the
left. Do the sail 'wing-tips' last, laying down the horizontal spars to
mark a dot at each spar end.
- Remove the spars then use the marking pen to rule lines between the dots. See the photo on the right.
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 the 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. It's a bit tricky, take your time!
lay down the 2 horizontal spars and cap each end with electrical tape.
Pull the slack out of the plastic, but don't pull it really tight.
- Finally, add extra pieces of tape. See the 5 pieces of yellow tape in the photo.
the upper horizontal spar to the vertical spar by running lines of glue
above and below where the spars cross, as in the photo
the lower horizontal spar to the vertical spar with a drop of glue above
and below where the spars cross, as in the photo.
Continue to page 2
E-book special of the month (25% off)...
The Roller is a WW2 vintage design which is quite well known among more experienced kite enthusiasts. With it's upper and lower sails, this design has an attractive aircraft-like appearance in the air. This MBK version excels in light winds.
If you have made Diamonds before, this kite takes a little more time to make. With the help of my instructions, it's still do-able by a beginner.
Get the e-book for making the MBK Dowel Roller 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.
This Roller takes advantage of any rising air that happens to come by. By substituting a slightly wider diameter vertical spar, the kite remains comfortable right to the top of the Moderate wind range. Tail(s) are entirely optional, but may be added for looks.
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.
Feb 23, 17 10:04 PM
This kite always delivers, in gentle to moderate winds...
And that was the expectation today, having seen an online weather report earlier. I thought there was a chance the Dowel Roller might fly, but…
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