How To Make A Roller Kite

Step-by-Step - Page 2 of 4

The MBK 1-Skewer Roller 





How To Make A Roller Kite
Spars 

For this Roller, you also need two 30cm (12") bamboo BBQ skewers for the horizontal spars. The photo shows all the spars laid over the sail, before being snipped to length with scissors.

The 1-Skewer Roller - skewers laid over sail.
  • Lay down the glued vertical spar over the center crease of the plastic, with the tip of the longer skewer over the top corner of the plastic as in the photo. Snip the bottom end of the spar to length, so it lines up with the bottom corner of the lower sail.
  • Lay down another skewer across the left and right corners of the upper sail, and 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.
  • Do those last 2 steps again, over the widest part of the lower sail, to create the lower horizontal spar.





How To Make A Roller Kite
Attaching Sail

The 1-Skewer Roller - close-up of spar tip secured with sticky tape
The 1-Skewer Roller - attaching the leading edge of the lower sail
The 1-Skewer Roller - almost complete
  • Lay down the vertical spar over the sail, and wrap a short length of clear sticky tape around each tip, securing them to the top corner of the upper sail and the bottom corner of the lower sail. The top photo shows the top tip in close-up.
  • Lay down the upper horizontal spar skewer and attach its tips to the upper left and right corners of the sail, in the same way.
  • Lay down the lower horizontal spar skewer and attach its tips to the left and right corners of the lower sail.
  • Fold down the flaps over the lower horizontal spar, and secure with 3 short strips of tape on each side. In the middle photo, I have drawn yellow rectangles to show where the tape goes.
  • Bend the upper horizontal spar in the middle, until it starts to crack at the indent! Carefully increase the bend until each wing-tip stays at 0.06SL (1.7cm, 3/4") off the table top.
  • Do the same for the lower horizontal spar. This time, the tips should be about 0.10SL (2.9cm, 1 1/8") off the table top.
  • Dribble some wood glue all around where the skewers cross each other, for both horizontal spars. See the bottom photo up there. Use enough glue to make the bent part of the bamboo strong.

Be careful that the horizontal spars don't slip up or down the vertical spar while the glue is still wet.





How To Make A Roller Kite
Sail Tethers

The 1-Skewer Roller - sail corner tethers
  • Cut off a piece of flying line of length 0.75SL (22cm, 8"). Tape one end to a corner of the upper sail, as in the photo. See how the tape points to the tip of the lower horizontal spar. Excess tape can be trimmed with scissors or folded back on itself.
  • Pass the other end of the line around the tip of the lower horizontal spar. Pull most of the slack out and tie off with a couple of Half Hitch knots. Using the Half Hitch makes them easy to unpick and re-tie later, if any adjustment is needed to make the kite fly straight.
  • Repeat the previous steps on the other side of the kite.
  • Snip off some of the excess line if you want to, but leave enough for adjustment purposes.

The kite should now look like the photo.


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E-book special of the month (25% off)...

This printable 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.



What's New!

  1. Sky Dancers

    May 24, 17 06:00 AM

    Or Tube Men or Sky Dance Puppets or a raft of other names. Everyone's seen one flailing away somewhere. Find out a bit more about these hilarious air-driven things at this previously published page!

    Read More





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Wind Speeds


Light air
1-5 km/h
1-3 mph
1-3 knots
Beaufort 1

Light breeze
6–11 km/h
4–7 mph
4–6 knots
Beaufort 2    

Gentle breeze
12–19 km/h
8–12 mph
7–10 knots
Beaufort 3    

Moderate breeze
20–28 km/h
13–18 mph
11–16 knots
Beaufort 4    

Fresh breeze
29–38 km/h
19–24 mph
17–21 knots
Beaufort 5    

Strong breeze
39–49 km/h
25–31 mph
22–27 knots
Beaufort 6

High Wind
50-61 km/h
32-38 mph
28-33 knots
Beaufort 7