Sled Kite - Reducing size of Dowel design

by Leslie
(Fairbanks, AK, U.S.A.)

Q:

Can I make the 48 inch Dowel Sled kite with 36 inch dowels instead?

I would be reducing the overall design by 1/4.

Will this work? Will its flying ability be affected?

How?

A:

The down-size should work fine, since you will end up with something similar in dimensions to the MBK Simple Sled. However, the cut-outs of the Dowel design do add to its looks!

Just be careful to check and double-check that every measurement is multiplied by 0.75 to reduce the whole thing by a quarter. The size of the cut-outs don't have to be super-accurate, but the distance down to the towing point does need to be reasonably accurate. Taking the dowel width down to 1/8" would be a little thinner than a strict 25% reduction, but should still work fine.

Try to find plastic that is a bit thicker than the cheapest garbage bag or garden bags available. This helps prevent the leading edge from folding under and collapsing the kite. Even at 3/4 size, your Sled should easily make it to 300 feet or so after you get it out of the rougher air down low!

As for flying ability, those 1/8" spars should make it a little more lightly-loaded than the full size Dowel Sled, so its light-wind performance might be even better!

Just to get you enthused, here's a flight report of the Simple Sled, which is also 36" tall and made from 2-ply orange garden bag plastic. The slightly more expensive bags, compared to the ultra-thin cheapies.

Hope to hear of some good flights!

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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.

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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