This set of instructions on how to make a Delta 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!
These instructions on how to make a Delta kite might look quite detailed. However, your reward is an impressive but quite cheap kite that is quick to set up and break down.
This Delta is designed to fold down a slim cylindrical package like a Sled, thanks to the removable spreader. Setting up on the flying field takes just a couple of minutes.
Of course, if you have enough room in your car, you can always leave this kite ready-to-fly.
The MBK Dowel Delta is a tail-less
design that is 0.8DL (96cm, 38 1/2") tall and has a wingspan of 2.0DL
(240cm, 96"). Like traditional Deltas, this kite has a floating spreader
which keeps the leading edge spars apart. This Delta is a very light to
gentle wind flier.
If it's not convenient to use these instructions straight off the screen, have a look at the e-book up there on the right. That's the way to get nicely formatted print-outs.
I have chosen to make '1 Dowel Length' equal to 120cm for every kite in the Dowel series. If you are in North America, 48" of 3/16" dowel is close enough to 120cm of 5mm dowel. This will result in a kite with similar flying characteristics to my original.
Now's the time to read up on the kite making tools and materials required for making a Dowel Delta, if you haven't already.
The template shown above represents one side of the kite sail. You will now transfer these measurements to the sail plastic as follows...
Note: Although it's based on 120cm meter dowels, the Delta design means the total wingspan is a lot more than that. Hence, two garden bags are required, one for the left side of the sail and one for the right.
Hint: To mark long lines with a short ruler, try the following...
When doing the following, most of the width of the tape should be inside the kite's outline. Use just 1 or 2 lengths of tape for each line. Hold it out straight, touch it down to the plastic at one end, then at the other end, dab it down in the middle, then press down all along its length.
For this Delta, you need long lengths of 5mm (3/16") wooden dowel. Enough for the 2 leading edge spars of 1.0DL (120cm, 48") and the vertical spar of 0.8DL (96cm, 38 1/2"). Plus the spreader which is less than 0.9DL (108cm, 43"). They are easily cut to the lengths required with a small cheap hack-saw. But don't do any cutting just yet...
TIP: Do your best to ensure the 2 leading edge spars are about the same stiffness. You can weigh them, or just flex them in your hands, to compare.
Now for the spreader, which holds the leading edges apart during flight.
Each leading edge spar will have a shoe-lace tie which attaches it to one end of the spreader.
For the following, you will need to use pieces of electrical insulation tape. Unless otherwise noted, make each one about 4 times longer than it is wide...
Also see the bottom photo, where the whole sail has been flipped over. The keel can be seen through the sail plastic, and also visible are the upper 2 knots tied off against the vertical spar.
this point, you've pretty much finished making the Dowel Delta!
However, there is a short setup procedure to go through before it will
Note: You might be tempted to wind the shoe-lace around both
dowels. That is, where the leading edge and the spreader cross. Don't
do this, as the knot will loosen much more easily in flight!
I don't mean breaking down in grief because your flying session has come to an end - I mean getting the kite packed up ready for transport or storage!
Check the keel knots on the vertical spar. Re-tighten if necessary. Also put a generous drop of wood glue on each so they can never come loose, nor slide along the vertical spar.
You won't have to wait the full drying time for this glue to dry, since the amounts are small.
Firstly, if it's very windy outside, stay home! This is a light-wind kite and won't like being launched in a gale or even a fairly fresh breeze. If the wind is way too strong, this Delta will become unstable, and you could even snap one of the dowels.
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. Be cautious about letting line slip through your fingers. If you let it slip too quickly, say in a moderate breeze, the line could burn you!
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 of line. This way, the kite soon gets high enough to make it easy to let more line out.
Have fun flying, and I hope you've enjoyed learning how to make a Delta kite!
The "Making Dowel Kites" e-book has this design and many others in hardwood dowel 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 Skewer 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!
Click below to read about various kite-flying adventures, contributed by other visitors to this page...
A Dowel-Delta-Kite Success Story!
After several years of searching for a kite that is capable of flying on even the lightest of breezes, I have finally found it! The MBK Dowel Delta was …
Scaled Down Dowel Delta Experiment
Since the local hardware barn had 6mm and 4mm hardwood dowels, but not 5mm, I decided to adopt a two-pronged approach. The plan is to build two delta kites …
MBK Delta Kite Returns
The March 11 earthquake was a very stressful experience. I work on the 14th floor of a tall building right next to Tokyo station, and at some point I was …
MBK Delta Kite - The Last Flight
Following up on my first MBK Delta Kite story with the last flight of this valiant kite. Unable to find sufficiently long 5mm dowels, I resorted to …
My First MBK Delta experience
I just wanted to let you know about my experience flying my very own and first MBK Delta (earlier today, February 13, 2011). I constructed mine using 4mm …
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