How To Make A Soft Sled Kite

Step-by-Step - Page 2 of 2

The MBK Soft Sled


Taping The Cells

The Soft Sled kite - cell taped on marked side.Marked side taped
  • Lay packing tape along just the top edges of the cell plastic, as in the photo above. Let the tape overlap the black line by about a finger-width above the line.


Cutting The Cells

The Soft Sled kite - cut-out cellsCells cut
  • Take your scissors and cut along every black line, including the one down the middle.
  • When you are finished, you will have the two cells as in the photo - ready to attach to the main sail.


Attaching The Cells

The Soft Sled kite - cell inner seam tacked onto sail.Cell inner seam tacked on
  • Take one piece of cell plastic and lay it over the sail, lining it up so it looks exactly like the photo up there. Or as close as possible, given that you are probably using slightly different plastic and tape.
  • Tack the cell plastic in place with several small bits of sticky tape. Align with the black line showing through the packing tape. The sticky tape ensures the plastic doesn't move while you are doing the next step...

 Like to see a video clip? Just scroll down to near the end...

The Soft Sled kite - cell inner seam taped onto sail.Cell inner seam taped
  • Run packing tape the entire length of the join, keeping it centered over the black line. Go straight over those little bits of sticky tape!
  • Trim the ends of the packing tape with scissors, so it lines up with the edges of the sail and cell plastic. See the photo above.


 

The Soft Sled kite - cell flipped and inner seam taped again.Cell flipped and taped again
  • Flip the cell plastic up and fold it flat against the sail plastic, away from where it was before. Crease the join with your thumbnail so it stays down better.
  • Now run packing tape the entire length of the cell, keeping it centered over the line as before. Cut off and trim at each end, so it looks like the photo up there.


 

The Soft Sled kite - cell outer seam tacked onto sail.Cell outer seam tacked on
  • Line up the other long edge of the cell with the other black line, again tacking it in place with small bits of sticky tape.


 

The Soft Sled kite - cell outer seam taped onto sail.Cell outer seam taped.
  • Run packing tape the entire length of the cell edge, and neaten it up at each end with scissors. As you can see in the photo, it looks like an inflatable cell now!


 

The Soft Sled kite - reinforced cell opening.Reinforced cell opening

Now you will reinforce the inside of cell's larger opening...

This is hard to explain in words, so look very carefully at the close-up photo above. Your task is to pull off about a hand-width of packing tape and stick it down along the inside of the edge you taped in the previous step. Trim with scissors if necessary.

The photo's too good isn't it - it shows every bubble, crease and inaccuracy! See if you can do better.



 

The Soft Sled kite - both cells attached.Cells done
  • Yep, you guessed right... Repeat all the above steps with the other piece of cell plastic. One cell is a mirror-image of the other, as in the photo. It's starting to look like a kite!


How To Make A Soft Sled Kite...
The Bridle

Towing Points

The Soft Sled kite - towing point tape 1.Towing point tape - first
  • Place a 10cm (8") length of packing tape over one towing point corner of the sail as shown in the photo. Halfway between each edge of the sail corner. Also, half on and half off - but try not to let the 'off' bit stick to the floor or table-top!


 

The Soft Sled kite - towing point tape 2.Towing point tape - second, stuck to first
  • Flip the sail over and do your best to stick another similar piece of tape right over the first one. Press them together where they leave the plastic. See the close-up photo.
  • You know what's coming... Go to the corresponding corner on the other side of the kite and do exactly the same thing, using 2 more strips of tape. There's the result below. All that remains is to attach the bridle!
The Soft Sled kite - towing points done.Top half of kite, cells pushed flat

 


Attach The Bridle

The Soft Sled kite - towing point tied.Towing point tape crushed and tied
  • Cut off a 3 meter (10 feet) length of flying line.
  • Tie one end of the line to one towing point tape of the kite, as in the photo. Use any knot you know but make it as tight as possible, to crush the tape *. It helps to fold the tape in half before winding the line around it.
  • Similarly, tie the other end of the line to the other towing point. There they both are, in the photo below. The photo shows the side of the kite which faces the flier, during flight.

( * A very reliable method I prefer is to secure the bridle line to the tape with a Double Wrap Slip knot.)

The Soft Sled kite - towing points tied.Both towing points tied

 


 

The Soft Sled kite - bridle complete.Bridle complete
  • Nearly finished! Lay the kite on the floor, folded in half so the towing points are perfectly lined up with each other. See the photo.
  • Stretch out the bridle lines and tie a Simple Loop knot in, right near the end. The 2 bridle lines should be exactly the same length. I've brought the loop knot back into the photo above, so you can see it.



After Kite Completed

Fold And Roll Up

The Soft Sled kite - folded in half.Fold in half, along the center-line...
The Soft Sled kite - rolled up for transport.Roll up and wind bridle around

All ready to take or stow somewhere!



Flying!

The MBK Soft Sled kite in flight on a 'blue' day.Nothing to it - attach line, catch breeze

After unrolling the kite at a flying field, your flying line can be tied to the bridle loop. That's it, you're ready to fly.

Alternatively, you can Lark's Head the flying line behind the loop knot. This makes it easier to attach the flying line and take it off again.

Remember that the inflatable cells need to be on the outside of the kite when flying. You can see them in that photo up there...

Avoid flying in very windy weather.

Tails are optional with this design. If you want to, tie a simple streamer through a hole near each lower corner of the sail. The packing tape border will prevent any further damage to the kite.

It doesn't take much breeze to keep this Soft Sled design aloft. In some ways, it's actually more fun to fly single-line kites in light wind. By watching, you can learn a lot about what's happening up there...




Consider using my e-book Making Soft Kites to try any of the 5 spar-less designs in there. Hi-res, close-up photos help you through.


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