Roller Kites

by Tamika
(Australia)

Q:

Hi, my name's Tamika and I need to make a Roller kite out of recycled materials but I don't quite get what I should make it out of. I know that the heavier the materials the less chance it will fly. I was wondering if you could help me with this enquiry and list some materials.

Thanks a million!

A:

The easy part is getting material for the sail. This can be just about any old plastic sheet. As long as it is reasonably light. For a small kite, the cheapest (and hence thinnest!) garbage bags on supermarket shelves are good. But it needs to be recycled doesn't it...

Recycled Sail Materials

There should be plenty of clear plastic bags around the house that have been used for carrying grocery items. Pick a clean one and open it out by cutting down one side with scissors. That takes care of small kite designs - such as anything in my 1-Skewer range, on this website.

Some bags, for example plastic shopping bags, can be somewhat larger when opened out. If you get at least 60cm x 60cm out of one of these, you can make most of the 2-Skewer kites described on this site.

For large kites, you could look around building sites for discarded drop-sheet plastic. Painters use this stuff to keep drips of paint from getting on the floor inside buildings. A used drop-sheet really would look recycled :-)

Old shower curtains are another possibility for large kite sails.

It's a bit hard to use recycled garden bags or rubbish bags, since they tend to disappear down the road in a truck after being used for their intended purpose...

Have you or anyone else had a birthday recently? Id the item was large enough, you might be able to salvage some of the wrap. Printed gift wrap or colored cellophane perhaps.

Lets see - there's always newspaper! Many kites of all kinds of shapes and sizes have been skinned with ordinary, inky newsprint. Of course, these kites will not be very resistant to tears or, even worse, water. But a carefully made and cared-for newspaper kite will certainly fly very well, provided the spars are not too heavy. Which brings us to spars...

Recycled Spar Materials

The spars are the sticks over which the sail is stretched and attached. All my smallest kite designs used bamboo skewers for spars. The ideal size are those 300mm x 3mm ones that come in packs of 100. So next time you are at a BBQ, try to save some of the used skewers. Perhaps dry them out a bit in an oven on very low heat, and then get most of the gunk off with sandpaper. Or, just use fresh skewers and pretend they have been recycled!

Old bamboo blinds can sometimes be found, which are constructed of many thin narrow strips of bamboo. Perfect for small kite spars. You could make 100s of kites after taking apart one of these blinds or roll-up shades.

Finding recycled materials for larger kite spars is a bit more difficult. Lengths of old fishing rods have been used. If the spars don't have to be recycled, then you can just go to a hardware shop and get round dowels of Tasmanian Oak. There are plenty of sizes available.

Roller Kite Plans

I hope this gives you some ideas. Have a quick look at my 3 Roller kite designs in case one of them might suit your purpose.

Comments for Roller Kites

Click here to add your own comments

May 15, 2012
Recycled Material
by: Tony Sangster

One time I found a discarded bamboo and paper umbrella in a recycled depot next to the dump - the bamboo umbrella spokes kept me in bamboo spars (taped ones) for years, similarly old bamboo blinds might be found there and rolls of plastic or other material. I guess there is the usual caution about silver mylar products (often used as gift wrap) as the material might conduct electricity.

May 14, 2012
Good
by: Meakieal Kung

Good question Tamika and great answer Tim. Thank you.

Click here to add your own comments

Join in and write your own page! It's easy to do. How? Simply click here to return to About Kites.




E-book special of the month (25% off)...


The
Sode is a traditional Japanese design, and this MBK version is exciting to watch in rough air!

If you have made Diamonds before, this kite takes a little more time to make. It's still a straight-forward build though, using the same techniques as used for my Dowel Diamond. 

Get the e-book for making the MBK Dowel Sode kite. The cambered sail makes this a very efficient design. Of the Dowel kites, this design is one of my personal favorites!

This Sode flies steep and steady over the Light wind range, and starts to move around quite a bit when the wind picks up to Moderate levels. Tail(s) are entirely optional, but may be added for looks.

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. Parafoil Kites

    Nov 30, 16 06:00 AM

    A previously published page, describing three different kinds of parafoils. Illustrated with some great close-up photos...

    Read More









 


E-books


Kite-making e-book: Simplest Dowel Kites

This one's FREE
Download it now!



More E-books...





Testimonials
(unedited)

"Love the easy to understand step by step instructions, made from next to nothing materials and above all so much fun to fly... cheers Tim for sharing your well thought out pdf kite designs with the whole world.

Very satisfying making your own and watching them get air-born for the first time."

_________________

"I've just bought your super e-book and spent most of last night pouring through all the great stuff in it!

Very detailed and USEFUL information - thanks for such a great book."

_________________

"30+ years ago, I tried making a kite using the 'instructions' in a free kite-safety booklet. What a disappointment for a young boy.

 Your instructions and methods are wonderful. You help the builder to focus on accuracy, without making it hard. Also, you use materials that are durable, yet cheap!"

_________________

"omg i made a kite from this site and i fly it ....... booom i didnt expect this bc in the other sites instuction are trash

thank you"




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