How To Make A Roller Kite

Step-by-Step - Page 3 of 4

The MBK 1-Skewer Roller 

How To Make A Roller Kite

The 1-Skewer Roller - making the keel
The 1-Skewer Roller - keel knots.e
  • Mark out the keel shape on some spare plastic, as per the dimensions on the template. A keel in black garbage bag plastic looks good with a lighter colored sail!
  • Cut out the keel and tape down 2 lengths of flying line onto one side, using clear sticky tape. 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. The pieces of line hanging free should be at least as long as your finger. See the top photo
  • 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.
  • 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. The photo on the right shows some of these knots.

How To Make A Roller Kite
Attach The Keel

The 1-Skewer Roller - attaching the keel to the vertical spar.
The 1-Skewer Roller - taping keel to lower sail.
  • Poke a hole in the lower sail, just below where the lower horizontal spar crosses the vertical spar.
  • Take the keel, poke the upper 2 lines through the hole and pull tight against the knot, then tie them off around the bamboo.
  • Use the keel itself to find the exact spot to poke the lower 2 lines through, near the bottom tip of the vertical spar. Poke a hole in the plastic there, thread the lines through and tie them off around the bamboo. As in the top photo.
  • Flip the kite over, lay the keel down flat, and lay a length of sticky tape all along the base of the keel. Half the width on the keel, the other half on the lower sail plastic. See the bottom photo.
  • Now flip the keel over, so it lies flat again. Stick down the base with sticky tape. Now the keel is attached along its full length, on both sides.

How To Make A Roller Kite
Attach The Bridle

The 1-Skewer Roller - attaching the bridle 1
The 1-Skewer Roller - attaching the bridle 2
  • Lay the kite down with the keel on top, then cut off a length of flying line about 3 skewers long
  • Tie a small Loop Knot into one end, and a larger one into the other end. See the top photo.
  • Poke a hole in the upper sail, just above where the upper horizontal spar and the vertical spar cross.
  • Using the small loop knot end, attach the line to the vertical spar with a Double Wrap Slip Knot.
  • Attach the other end to the keel using a Larks Head.
  • Now take a length of flying line about half a skewer long, and tie one end to the bridle line with a Prusik Knot. Tie a small Loop Knot into the other end. There's the whole bridle, in the bottom photo.
  • Secure each knot on the vertical spar with a tiny blob of wood glue.

How To Make A Roller Kite

The 1-Skewer Roller - attaching the tail.
  • Cut out a long thin rectangle of colored plastic for the tail. Mine is black, to contrast with the orange sail. Make it 8.0SL (230cm, 90") long and 0.2SL (5.8cm, 2 1/4") wide. Knot pieces together if necessary, to get the full length. Avoid taping, because it adds weight!
  • Tie one end around the vertical spar, between the keel knots but as close as possible to the lower knot. A single Half Hitch will do, since there are very low forces on the tail in flight. Pull it fairly tight and trim off any excess plastic. See the photo for the final result.

At this point, you've finished making the 1-Skewer Roller!

To attach the flying line, just Lark's Head the flying line to the short bridle line.

The MBK 1-Skewer Roller kite in flight.

Continue to page 4

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P.S. Keep an eye out for books by kite author Glenn Davison, a prominent kite person in the USA.

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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