These 2 photos show absolutely all the kite making tools and materials needed, except for child-size shoe-laces which are used as spar-ties.
A black permanent marker. These pens are for drawing corner points and sail outlines on light-colored plastic. Also handy for marking dowel before cutting it to length, or marking where bridle legs are to be attached.
A ruler. Any length or type will do. All MBK kites use straight lines to make things easier and quicker. What if the ruler is too short for a long sail edge? It's simple to stretch out a length of flying line, weighted at each end, to mark several intermediate dots. These dots can then be connected using the small ruler. Voila! A long straight line.
A pair of scissors. These simple kite making tools are mainly for cutting around the outline of the sail. Also handy for cutting flying line to length for constructing bridles, trimming excess line, and snipping off lengths of electrical tape.
A small cheap hack-saw for cutting wooden dowel to length.
A cheap medium-grade wood file for rounding spar ends and cutting notches for securing bow-lines. Not everyone has kite making tools like saws and files just lying around the house, but these are very widely available in shops.
A calculator. Yes, a calculator of some sort, like on your mobile phone (cell) or the Windows one or whatever. But there's no heavy calculating to be done, it's just handy for those using Dowel Length units to create a kite on a different scale to my originals.
A smooth flat area to work on. It only needs to be 2 meters (7 feet) square or so. Even if you are living in a tiny apartment, it's possible to use these kite making tools to get something impressive into the air!
50 pound or more flying line, for bridles and other lines attached to the frame. I'm using 50 pound braided Dacron for flying line and bridling. This has ample strength for flying the MBK Dowel kites in light to moderate winds.
If you want something slightly cheaper, you
might use Nylon line instead.
Another option, if you can get it cheap enough, would be the heaviest grades of polyester thread.
Electrical insulation tape, available from hardware stores. This stuff stretches and therefore is perfect for capping spar ends while attaching sail plastic at the same time. Although a bit heavy, only small lengths are required so it doesn't add much weight overall.
Lightweight, clear sticky tape. Scotch tape, Sello-tape, sticking tape, whatever you like to call it. Just make sure it is about the width of your finger. The tape I use is 12mm (1/2 inch) in width. This is used to reinforce the edge of the sail, since it doesn't stretch and doesn't add much weight.
Large, translucent (see-through), colored plastic bags for making sails. Here in Australia, large orange garden bags are available from supermarkets. These bags are ideal, and also make the finished kite easy to see in the air! Use the lightest single-ply bags you can find for these Light-Wind kites. Color-wise, you must be able to see a black marker pen line through the plastic. The MBK construction method relies on this. Heavier plastic will sacrifice a little light-wind performance in return for a more durable kite. Your choice!
Wood dowels. The one pictured is 5mm (3/16") in diameter, which
needs to be cut to length for the Dowel kites. MBK Dowel designs use
just a few dollars worth of dowel for each kite. After making and
testing the Sled, Diamond and Barn Door, I figured out that the ideal
dowel was 5mm hardwood such as the Tasmanian Oak available here. Elsewhere, red or white oak should be OK.
In North America, Chinese Poplar is commonly available as dowel. This is softer than oak and other hard-woods so 1/4" diameter would be a more appropriate size.
Wood glue, such as the Aquadhere in the photo. For most of the Dowel kites, this is only used for securing knots. Hence only very small amounts are needed, and it dries much quicker than expected. Even the other uses, such as box kite cross pieces, use relatively small amounts. A 100 ml container will last a long time when just used for making MBK kites. If you are in a hurry, you will need to spend considerably more per 100ml on a tube of fast-setting general-purpose glue.
Shoe-laces are used for securing spars to each other. We found that cheap polyester laces designed for a child's shoes were ideal, since they were adequately strong yet not too bulky or heavy.
As long as you have access to supermarkets and hardware stores you should be able to get these kite making tools and materials together! Many of the items are probably lying around your house somewhere already.
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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!
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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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