How To Make A Rokkaku Kite

Step-by-Step - Page 2 of 3 

The MBK Dowel Rokkaku





How To Make A Rokkaku Kite
Spars

For this Rokkaku, you need long lengths of 5mm (3/16") wooden dowel. Enough for the 3 spars of 1.0DL (120cm, 48") each. They are easily cut to the lengths required with a small cheap hack-saw.

The Dowel Rokkaku - bowedspars.
  • Lay down a dowel over the center crease of the sail plastic, mark it at the exact height of the sail, and cut off at the mark. Round off the tips with a wood file. This is the vertical spar.
  • Cut off 2 very short 0.01DL (1.2cm, 1/2") lengths of dowel. Round off the tips with a wood file. These will be used as the bow-line toggles. You can use thinner dowel for these if you have some lying around. I use 4mm dowel for toggles.
  • Lay down some more dowel across the width of the sail, mark it at the exact width, and cut off at the mark.
  • Round off the tips with a wood file, then add a bow-line so the depth of the bow is 0.06DL (7.2cm, 3"). With the kite flat on the ground, that's how far the tips should be from the grass. This is the upper horizontal spar.
  • While the glue is drying on the knots, do those previous 2 steps again to create a 3rd spar. However, the depth of the bow this time should be 0.1DL (12cm, 4 3/4"). Now you have made the lower horizontal spar. The photo shows both spars with bow-lines attached. See how the upper horizontal spar has less bow.




How To Make A Rokkaku Kite
Spar Caps

Prepare 10 lengths of electrical insulation tape, each one about four 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 Dowel Rokkaku - close-up of tip cap tape
  • Spread out the sail, with the edge tape facing upwards.
  • Lay down the upper horizontal spar over the sail, so it would bow away from the sail if you attached the toggle. With the toggle unattached, line up the tips of the spar with the upper corners of the sail.
  • Cap one tip of the spar with tape, by sticking tape down over the dowel and plastic then folding it around and under the plastic to stick on the other side - a bit tricky, take your time!
  • For added strength, put another piece of tape around the leading edge. The part of the first tape that was sticking out is now folded back under the leading edge by the second piece of tape. See the completed cap in the photo.
  • Now do the other tip of the spar similarly, using two more pieces of tape.
  • Similarly, attach the lower horizontal spar to the sail, using another four pieces of tape.
  • Finally, slip the vertical spar between the horizontal spars and the sail plastic. Cap the top and bottom tips of the dowel with the remaining two pieces of tape, attaching them to the sail.




How To Make A Rokkaku Kite
Lashing The Spars

The Dowel Rokkaku - shoe-lace tie on vetical spar.

At both crossing points, lash and glue the spars together, using a short length of flying line. Fix each knot with a drop of glue so it can never come undone.



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This printable e-book takes you step-by-step through making a 119cm (4 ft) wide Parachute kite. It's not quite that wide in the air since the canopy takes on a distinct curved shape when inflated. This 14-cell kite performs best in moderate to fresh wind speeds. That's 20 to 38kph or 13 to 24mph. In gentle winds, this kite will hang in the air at fairly low line angles. In fresh winds, it pulls firmly for it's size, so small kids should only fly it while supervised!

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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