This set of instructions on how to build a Sode 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 Sode
Kite is a medium-sized Sode 58cm (23") across and 87 cm (35") tall,
with a single tail. Some 'dihedral' gives extra stability and shortens
the amount of tail required.
The 2-Skewer Sode is a very nice light-to-moderate wind flier. Watch it go straight overhead when a thermal comes through! However, avoid fresh or strong wind.
The video further down this page shows the Sode flying on a very short line, in gusty air. It's more sedate up high.
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 Sode kite.
For this Sode, you need to glue skewers together to form the 3 spars. First, let's look at the 2 horizontal spars.
Next comes the long vertical spar.
The template shown above represents one side of the kite sail. You will now transfer these measurements to the sail plastic as follows...
The following sequence which uses a skewer as a measuring stick might seem a bit odd. However, it's quicker than measuring everything with a ruler, and possibly more fool-proof as well! The sequence is long, but hang in there, it works. Of course, if you prefer, just use a ruler to measure everything up according to the template. You can place the dots that way, ignoring the list below. It's up to you.
Note: Make each length of tape about a finger-width or 2 longer than the line it covers. No need for great precision here.
The pieces of electrical tape mentioned below should all be about 3 times as long as they are wide. Bear in mind you can only see about half this length in the photo, since they are folded around the sail.
The white tape in the photo above is just holding the spars while the glue dries! Also, I later slipped a roll of tape under the right hand tip of the bottom horizontal spar, to keep it aligned with the 2 main horizontal spars while the glue dried.
If this kite is flown in windy weather, it's possible for the spar cap
tape on the upper horizontal spar to pull away. To prevent this, add
clear sticky tape over the spar caps, folding it around in the same direction as the pieces of yellow tape.
Have you read the page on making kite tails? Assuming you have...
At this point, you've pretty much finished making the 2-Skewer Sode!
a final check, lay the kite on a table or the floor, with the bridle on
top. Holding the end of the bridle, pull it straight up until both
lines become taut and the kite's nose starts to rise up from the table.
Where is the Prusik knot? It should be almost directly over the upper
horizontal spar, or back just a bit towards the tail from there. If not,
slide the Prusik knot along until it is in approximately the right
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!
If the kite flies at a disappointingly low line angle despite a reasonable breeze, try shifting the Prusik knot back towards the tail - just a tiny bit at a time, until the kite starts to fly noticeably better.
Another way to launch 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.
The picture up there shows the MBK 2-Skewer Sode Kite, going up in a light breeze at a local reserve.
Have fun flying, and I hope you've enjoyed learning how to build a Sode 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!
Never made a kite?
Child wants one?
Check out the...
MBK Beginner E-course
Watch it fly!
A closer view
Make all the Dowel kites, including the one above...
The ultimate kite-making resource, and naturally
much better value...
Are the e-books good?
Find out by trying...
'Simplest Dowel Kites'
(wait for cover page to appear)