How To Make A Roller Kite

Step-by-Step - Page 3 of 4

The MBK Dowel Roller

How To Make A Roller Kite

Try this Stake Line Winder from Amazon, if you are not sure where to get suitable flying line. The 50 pound strength is ideal for these Dowel Series kites.
The Dowel Roller - making the keel.
  • Mark out the keel shape on some spare plastic, as per the dimensions on the template.
  • Cut out the keel and tape down 2 lengths of flying line onto one side. One goes from the bridle attachment point to the upper attachment point, and the other goes from the bridle attachment point to the lower attachment point. Use sticky tape, not electrical tape. The pieces of line hanging free should be at least as long as your finger.
  • Now flip the plastic over and tape down another 2 lengths of flying line, directly over the first 2.
  • Where 2 pieces of line come together, tie a Multi-Strand Simple Knot close to the plastic. These 2 knots will sit against the vertical spar. See the top, left photo.
  • Where the 4 pieces of line come together, tie them into another Multi-Strand Simple Knot close to the plastic, then tie another one further out, as in the top, right photo. The bottom photo shows the complete keel.
  • Reinforce the keel with short lengths of sticky tape, where indicated by the yellow rectangles.

The Dowel Roller - attaching the keel
  • Cut a slit in the plastic sail, between the 2 long vertical pieces of tape. The slit should go all the way from the edge of the insulation tape spar cap, up to the lower horizontal spar.
  • Pass the lower keel lines through the slit in the lower sail. Now tightly tie them around the vertical spar, using a Granny Knot. Get the knot as close to the tip of the dowel as you can.
  • Using the keel itself to find the exact spot, tightly tie the upper lines around the dowel also. This will be quite close to where lower horizontal spar crosses the vertical spar.
  • Fold the 4 dowel-width tab over the dowel and tape it down all along its length with a piece of clear sticky tape.
  • Put a drop of wood glue all over the 2 knots and all around the dowel where the keel lines touch the wood.
  • Tape a small coin to the rear of the keel, as you can see in the photo. I almost never recommend adding weight to a kite, but my original Roller actually needed it to be stable!

How To Make A Roller Kite
Tying The Bridle

The Dowel Roller - bridle detail
  • Cut off some 50 pound flying line to a length of 1.0DL (120cm, 48"), and tie a very small Loop Knot into each end.
  • Poke holes in the plastic, on either side of the upper horizontal spar. Four holes altogether, 0.24DL (28.8cm, 11 1/2") from the vertical spar, as indicated by the 4 yellow dots in the photo.
  • Tie each end of the line to the spar, through the holes. Use a Double Wrap Slip Knot, and pull tight against the knot of the small loop. This is the bridle loop.
  • Cut off some flying line to a length of 3.0DL (360cm, 144"), and attach one end to the bridle loop. Use a shiftable knot such as the Prusik Knot, and adjust it to center. Let's just call this the bridle line.
  • Tie a Double Loop Knot into the other end of the bridle line.

Finally, take a length of flying line about 0.2DL (240mm, 9 1/2") 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. See the photo down below, in the next section.

At this point, you've pretty much finished making the Dowel Roller! However, there is a short Setup procedure to go through before it will fly...

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Continue to page 4

E-book special of the month...

Barn Door is a traditional American design, and this MBK version has delighted many of this site's visitors over the years.

If you have made Diamonds before, this kite is only a small step up in difficulty.

Get the e-book for making the MBK Barn Door kite. Down to a mere $2.95 for this month.

The MBK Barn Door is a reliable flyer over the Light to Moderate wind range. Tail(s) are entirely optional, if the kite is made according to the instructions.

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. Flight Report:
    Parachute Bridle Sweet Spot

    Oct 21, 16 11:51 PM

    It was too windy yesterday, but today the breeze was ideal down at a beach...

    As a final attempt to optimize the bride, the lines were swept just slightly forward of the kite's leading edge and shorten…

    Read More


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Kite-making e-book: Simplest Dowel Kites

This one's FREE
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More E-books...


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Kite-making e-book: Simplest Dowel Kites

This one's FREE
Download it now!

More E-books...

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