How To Make A Rokkaku Kite

Step-by-Step - The MBK 1-Skewer Rokkaku

This set of instructions on how to make a Rokkaku kite assumes you know absolutely nothing about kite making.

Learn how to make a Rokkaku kite like this one!

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!

These instructions on how to make a Rokkaku kite might look a bit long, but each step is quite simple to do.

Just steadily work your way through from top to bottom, skimming over any detail that you don't need.

At 29cm (11 1/2") across, the MBK 1-Skewer Rokkaku is a rather small Rok. This kite has dihedral, a 2-leg bridle and a long streamer tail which keeps it stable in moderate winds.

1-Skewer kites are fun, but somewhat toy-like :-)  due to their rather small size. Fancy something much bigger to fly, suitable for teenagers and adults?

The "Making Skewer Kites" e-book has plenty of 58cm (23") designs in bamboo skewers and plastic. Plus all the 1-Skewer designs.

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, tablet or other device.




How To Make A Rokkaku Kite
Sail

Now's the time to read up on the 'tools' and materials required for making a Skewer kite, if you haven't already.

Sail template for the 1-Skewer Rokkaku kite.

The template shown above represents one side of the kite sail. You will now transfer these measurements to the sail plastic as follows...

The 1-Skewer Rokkaku - template shape marked on plastic bag.
  • Firstly, take a light plastic bag that will fit the entire Template shape within one side, and lay it flat on the floor.
  • Mark dots on the plastic, corresponding to the corners of the Template. There is no need to use a T-square, since any small error will be duplicated on the other side of the sail.
  • Using the marking pen, rule lines between the dots, as in the photo.

The 1-Skewer Rokkaku - complete sail outline marked on plastic
  • Flip the plastic bag over, and trace over all the black lines using your marker pen and ruler.
  • Cut out a rectangular section of the bag containing the kite sail, open it out and lay it flat on the floor - you can now see the complete sail outline, as in the photo.
  • Cut along the black lines with scissors, to create the sail.





How To Make A Rokkaku Kite
Vertical Spar

The 1-Skewer Rokkaku - vertical spar join

The vertical spar is 1.4SL (40.6cm, 16") long, so two 30cm (12") bamboo BBQ skewers need to be glued together.

  • Snip the point off 1 skewer.
  • Lay down another skewer, butting together 2 flat skewer ends.
  • From yet another skewer, cut off 2 lengths of 0.15SL (4.4cm, 1 3/4") each. Place these beside the join, as in the photo.
  • Lay down a line of wood glue on each side, and leave to dry.
  • Get down low and look along the skewers to ensure they make a straight line, before the glue sets!





How To Make A Rokkaku Kite
Spars

Now you need another two bamboo skewers. The photo shows them laid over the sail, after being snipped to length with scissors.

The 1-Skewer Rokkaku - spars arranged on sail
  • Lay down the glued skewers over the center crease of the plastic, lining up the non-pointy end with the top corner of the plastic. Snip off the other end so the skewer lines up with the bottom edge of the plastic as well. As already mentioned, this is the vertical spar.
  • Lay down another skewer across the top left and right corners of the sail, and again snip to length, removing the point. Also make an easily-seen mark on the skewer at the exact center-point. This is the upper horizontal spar.
  • Using a sharp corner, perhaps a blade of the scissors, make an indent in the bamboo, at the center-point you marked.
  • Lay down another skewer across the lower left and right corners of the sail. Snip, mark and indent just as you did for the upper spar. This is the lower horizontal spar.




How To Make A Rokkaku Kite
Attaching Sail

The 1-Skewer Rokkaku - attaching spars to sail
  • Lay down the vertical spar skewer over the sail, and wrap a short length of clear sticky tape around each tip, securing them to the top and bottom corners of the sail. The top photo shows the top tip in close-up.
  • Lay down the upper horizontal spar skewer and attach its tips to the left and right corners of the sail, in the same way.
  • Now do the same for the lower horizontal spar skewer.
  • Bend each horizontal spar in the middle, until it starts to crack at the indent! Carefully increase the bends until you can get the kite looking like the one in the middle photo. Note that the lower spar has a little more dihedral (angle) than the upper one. Don't worry if the bent part feels weak, since glue will make it strong enough...
  • Dribble some wood glue all around where the skewers cross each other. See the bottom photo over there.

Wait for the glue to dry.





How To Make A Rokkaku Kite
Bridle

Try this Kite Winder from Amazon, if you are not sure where to get suitable flying line. The 20 pound strength is ample for all the Skewer Series kites.
The 1-Skewer Rokkaku - bridle line
  • Cut off some 20 pound bridle line to a length of 2.0SL (58cm, 23"), and tie a very small Loop Knot into each end. See the photo over there.

The 1-Skewer Rokkaku - bridle
  • Poke a hole in the plastic sail, just above where the upper horizontal spar crosses the vertical spar.
  • Poke another hole in the plastic sail, just below where the lower horizontal spar crosses the vertical spar.
  • Poke the Loop Knots through the holes and tie off around the vertical spar with a Double Wrap Slip Knot.
  • Now take a length of flying line about half a skewer long, and tie one end to the bridle line with a Prusik Knot. Tie a small Loop Knot into the other end. There's the whole bridle, in the photo up there.
  • Secure each knot on the vertical spar with a tiny blob of wood glue.




How To Make A Rokkaku Kite
Tail

The 1-Skewer Rokkaku - attching the tail.
  • Cut out a long thin rectangle of colored plastic for the tail. Mine is black, to contrast with the orange sail. Make it 8.0SL (230cm, 90") long and 0.2SL (5.8cm, 2 1/4") wide. Knot pieces together if necessary, to get the full length. Avoid taping, because it adds weight!
  • Tie one end around the vertical spar, as close as possible to the bottom tip. See the photo. A single Half Hitch will do, since there are very low forces on the tail in flight. Snip off the excess plastic so the knot is neat and tidy.




At this point, you've finished making the 1-Skewer Rokkaku!

Attaching the flying line to the bridle

To attach the flying line, just Lark's Head the flying line to the short kite line as in the photo.






How To Make A Rokkaku Kite
Flying!

The MBK 1-Skewer Rokkaku kite in flight.

Firstly, if it's very windy outside, stay home! This is a light-to-moderate wind kite and won't like being launched in a gale.

Out In The Field

My collection of real-life Rokkaku kite stories is worth checking out!

Illustrated with photos and videos, of course.

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 taking loop after loop off the winder.

Another approach is to get a helper to hold the kite up and let it go, on the end of maybe 10 or 20 meters (around 50 feet) of line. This way, the kite soon gets high enough to make it easy to let more line out.

I've had this kite up to 200 feet altitude, in an ideal breeze. Have fun flying, and I hope you've enjoyed learning how to make a Rokkaku kite!

The video down below shows the little Rok struggling to stay up in a very light gusty breeze. Half a minute later it was on the grass!




Now, just in case you have actually made and flown this kite at least once already...




Ever Made This Kite?

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!

Please Enter A Title

Flight Reports From Other Visitors

Click below to read about various kite-flying adventures, contributed by other visitors to this page...

Cracking Little Kite! 
This is a great tutorial and I just want to share my experience. This is a fun kite to fly, is very stable even in strong breezes and has not crashed …

Click here to write your own.

 

You might have noticed that this site has a monthly newsletter...

For single-line kite fliers and builders, it's always been a good read. But if you are interested in KAP and/or large home-made kites you won't want to miss it!

So sign up today, and download the free 95-page e-book "What Kite Is That?" straight away. Info-packed and fully photo-illustrated.

And there are even more free resources, such as a kite-making e-course, waiting for you in the next issue of this newsletter.

 

What's New!

  1. Flight Report:
    Sea-sick Barn Door Kite

    Jul 28, 14 05:06 AM

    This was an experiment with mounting a camera directly onto the kite. With winds gusting to over 30kph up high, the Fresh Wind Barn Door kite was selected...

    In a word, it was tricky. I mounted the camera as close as possible to the center of gravity of the kite, but it still ended up quite a few cm closer to the trailing edge than I would have liked. It was only practical to mount he camera - on its bendy tripod (!) - near the diagonal spars crossing point. Electrical tape secured 2 short tripod legs to the diagonal spars, holding the camera upright with the kite sitting on its trailing edge.

    It was a struggle to get enough lift to gain much height, and the kite swung dangerously from side to side. Might try the drogues next time! I did my best to urge the kite higher in mid-swing.

    Eventually, for a few seconds, the kite got to around 100 feet on almost 200 feet of 200 pound Dacron.

    A video clip will of course be forthcoming on Facebook. And only seasoned kite fliers will bother watching it all the whole way through, possibly wrestling with sea-sickness all the while. Hence the title of this post. Still, it was an interesting, if slightly nerve-wracking, outing! At shoulder level, the breeze measured around 9kph gusting to 18.5kph. Some low cloud over the hills was absolutely tearing along, perhaps up around 40kph.

    Huge Homemade Kites And Aerial Photography: This is often the topic for posts which appear here. New things are always being tried so sign up for my newsletter to stay right up to date with the latest developments!

    Read More




New! Comments

Plenty of fun kite info, photos and videos - there's definitely too much here for only one visit! Feel free to leave your impressions of this site or just this page, below...



Apologies for this site's current lack of video when viewed on mobile devices...

For now, please view this site on a Desktop or Laptop computer to see the videos. And there's plenty of them!

 

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