This set of instructions on how to make a Dopero 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 Dowel Dopero is a large tail-less kite loosely based on the original double-roller design. Like the original, this kite is a great light to moderate wind flier.
These instructions might look quite
detailed. However, your reward is a large, very cheap kite that has a distinctive aircraft-like look in the air. Thanks to its 4-point bridle, this kite can cope with rather more wind speed than its cousin the Roller. Without losing its ability in very light breezes too.
that should fit in most vehicles. Of course it helps if you undo the
bow-line toggles. Then, the kite can lie flat in the trunk (boot) or
even rest on edge in the rear passenger section.
Setting up on
the flying field
is just a matter of attaching the bow-line toggles. Or perhaps not, if
you were able to leave them done up. Then, you just attach the flying
line and launch into the wild blue yonder!
The "Making Dowel Kites" e-book
has this design and many others in hardwood dowel and plastic. Plus some giant 2.4m (8ft) bonus 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.
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 Dopero, if you haven't already. For this kite, you will also need some cheap thin shoe-laces.
The template shown above represents one side of the kite sail. You will now transfer these measurements to the sail plastic as follows...
When doing the following, most of the width of the tape should be inside
the kite's outline.
Use a single length 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 Dopero, you need long lengths of 5mm (3/16") wooden dowel. Enough for the 4 spars of 1.0DL (120cm, 48") each. They are easily cut to the lengths required with a small cheap hack-saw.
The upper and lower sails now need to be joined where the vertical spars cross.
Prepare ten lengths of electrical insulation tape, each one about 4 times longer than it is wide. Stick them by a corner onto something handy like a table edge. You can remove them one at a time as needed.
The two horizontal spars will now be lashed to the vertical spars. Firstly, just make sure that everything 'looks right', with no bunched up plastic anywhere.
After putting several turns of flying line around each crossing point, fix the joins with a generous drop of glue each. This will also prevent any shifting along the vertical spars.
Have a good look at the photo down there, which shows one of the keels in place. Follow the instructions to do that one, then do it all again on the other side for the second keel.
Before the first flight, the 2 loop knots of the lower bridle loop will get attached to the free tip of each keel, using a Lark's Head Knot.
Finally, take a length of flying line about 0.2DL (24cm, 10") long, and tie one end to the bridle line with a Prusik Knot. Tie a small Double Loop Knot into the other end, just to get a large knot. There's a photo of this further down, in the section titled PrepareTo Fly.
this point, you've pretty much finished making the Dowel Dopero!
The bridle is a bit long to check on the ground, so fly the kite on a very short line to see where the towing point is. Shift the Prusik Knot along the bridle line until the towing point appears to be level with the upper horizontal spar or a little below it. To lock the Prusik in place, take the 2 bridle lines in one hand, the flying line in the other, and pull tight. To unlock it, you just pull the bridle line straight, with the knot in the middle.
Check the bridle slip knots on the upper
horizontal spar. Re-tighten if necessary, and smear a little wood glue
around where the line contacts the spar, and into the knot. This way the
knots can never come loose or shift along the spar. You won't have to
wait the full drying time for this glue to dry, since the amounts are
Firstly, if it's very windy outside, stay home! Although this design has some tolerance for moderate to fresh winds, it won't like being launched in a gale. If the wind is too strong, it might get damaged.
My collection of real-life Dopero kite stories is worth checking out!
Illustrated with photos and videos, of course.
The Prusik knot on the bridle line can loosen off a little over time. If necessary, pull on all the lines to tighten the knot up before a flying session.
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 a big gust hits the kite, the line could burn you! For any kite this big or bigger, it's a good idea to wear a glove of some sort, unless the wind is very light.
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 Dopero kite!
The e-book instructions for this kite include even more handy hints which will ensure you get the most success possible when flying this particular design. They show you how to make the kite more transportable too, so you can remove a couple of spars and roll the kite up into a slim bundle.
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...
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