How To Make An Octopus Kite

Step-by-Step - Page 3 of 5

The MBK Octopus


Assembling Octopus Head

Attaching A Middle Rib

The Octopus kite - a middle rib taped to upper surface plastic.A middle rib taped to upper surface plastic
  • Lay down the upper surface plastic with the tape edging facing up.
  • Referring to the first photo, line up the first edge of a middle rib with the second-from-left guide line on the upper surface plastic. Run tape the full length of the join, as indicated by the yellow rectangle. Trim off any excess tape with scissors.
  • Draw the next edge of the rib to the upper surface plastic, as in the second photo.
  • Run tape down the join – again, as indicated by the yellow rectangle. You may find it easier to be accurate if you tack the plastic down with very short lengths of tape first. If it doesn't look right, pull it up and try again. When happy with the join, lay down the full length of tape – over the short bit(s). One more rib edge to go – do this as illustrated in the third photo.
  • In the fourth photo, the rib has been flipped over, so the other side of the join can be taped. Just apply tape section by section, like it is on the other side. No need for short bits this time!


Attaching Remaining Middle Ribs

So far, you've taped in the left-most middle rib, on both sides of the join. In exactly the same way, tape in the remaining 2 middle ribs. There they are, side by side in the photo, attached to the central 3 guide lines on the upper surface...

The Octopus kite - all 3 middle ribs attached to the upper surface plastic.All 3 middle ribs attached to the upper surface plastic

 


Attaching Both Side Ribs

You know the drill by now – so no more yellow rectangles!

The Octopus kite - a side rib taped to upper surface plastic.A side rib taped to upper surface plastic
  • Take a side rib and line it up with the guide line on the left side of the upper surface plastic. As in the first photo. Tape the join.
  • Move on to the other edge, taping it to the guide line. See the second photo.
  • Now flip the side rib over. Flatten out and tape the 2 edges again. As in the third photo.

Finally, repeat the taping process with the remaining side rib – onto the only remaining guide line on the upper surface plastic...

The Octopus kite - all ribs attached to the upper surface plastic.All ribs attached to the upper surface plastic

 


Attaching Lower Surface To A Middle Rib

The ribs on either side of the one already done will now be taped, as indicated by the yellow rectangles...


The Octopus kite - another middle rib taped to the lower surface plastic.Another middle rib taped to the lower surface plastic
  • Fold the right side of the lower surface plastic from right to left. Adjust so the long guide line is near the long edge of the rib, as in the photo on the left.
  • Tack the rib plastic to the guide line with short lengths of sticky tape. Ensure that the attachment point loop is positioned just like the one you have already done - touching the leading edge. See the middle photo.
  • Looking good? You might need to gently pull at the ends of the join to get both the guide line and the rib's edge straight and aligned with each other. Run a long length of tape (or several!) along the join to secure it permanently as in the photo on the right.

No flipping the join this time! The tape is on one side only...




Now go to the left side of the kite and do these steps all over again, for the remaining middle rib. See the photo below, where the lower surface plastic has been stretched out to the left and right...

The Octopus kite - all 3 middle ribs taped in.All 3 middle ribs taped in

 


Attaching Lower Surface To Side Ribs

Here's how to tape a side rib, as indicated by the yellow rectangles...

The Octopus kite - side rib taped in.Side rib taped in
  • Fold the right side of the lower surface plastic from right to left. Adjust so the guide line is near the long edge of the rib, as in the photo on the left.
  • Using a pen, poke holes in the guide line for the loops to go through. Tack the join in place with 3 short pieces of sticky tape. A bit tricky so take your time :-) See the middle photo.
  • Looking good? Run a long length of tape along the join to secure it permanently, as illustrated in the photo on the right.



Now go to the left side of the kite and do these steps all over again, for the remaining side rib. See the photo below, where once again the lower surface plastic has been stretched out, showing the tiny attachment loops poking through...

The Octopus kite - all 5 ribs taped in, with bridle attachment loops visible.All 5 ribs taped in, with bridle attachment loops visible

 


Attaching Upper Surface To Lower Surface

This is achieved by taping the edges of the 2 plastic sheets together. This starts at the corners of the air intake of the Head. Tacking plastic in place using short lengths of sticky tape is useful as in previous steps. Yellow rectangles make the placement of tape clear...

The Octopus kite - edges of upper and lower surface plastic taped together.Edges of upper and lower surface plastic taped together
  • Look carefully at the photo on the left to see where to do the first tack of the lower surface plastic to the upper surface plastic. As in previous steps, the upper surface plastic is against the floor. The yellow rectangle represents the visible portion of the tape. The other half is wrapped and stuck to the other side.
  • Lining up each corner in turn, tack the remaining edges in place down one side of the Head. As shown in the middle photo, the bottom edge stays free of tape – tails go in there later!
  • Gently pull each pair of edges straight before applying a half-width of tape along the entire edge and then wrapping round to the other side. See the photo on the right. I found it easier to apply tape to one side, flip the entire Head and then fold down on the other side.
  • Now do all the above to the left side of the head, to complete the job!



Below, you can see a perspective of the entire Head, taped down both sides...

The Octopus kite - completed Octopus Head, front and back.Completed Octopus Head, front and back

Well, very nearly completed. Reinforcing the corners of the air intake is actually the final step for the Head...



Reinforcing Air Intake - Corners

Three short pieces of tape are used at each corner of the air intake. These prevent separation of the plastic sheet due to fine dust getting under tape or the stresses of flying and occasional rough handling. Yellow lines indicate tape edges...

The Octopus kite - one corner of air intake taped.One corner of air intake taped
  • Flatten one corner of the air intake so you can stick a short piece of tape straight across, onto the inside of the join. See the photo on the left.
  • Wrap 2 pieces of sticky tape - about 4 times longer than they are wide - around the edge of the plastic. As shown in the close-up photo on the right, one piece of tape goes round the lower surface plastic and the other goes round the upper surface plastic.
  • Now do the other side of the air intake in the same way. The photo below shows a perspective of the air intake from the front, with the corners sitting more normally...

The Octopus kite - Whole air intake, upside down on floor.Whole air intake, upside down on floor

 


Reinforcing Air Intake - Ribs

Short pieces of tape – about 4 times longer than wide - are also used at each point where the middle ribs meet the edges of the upper and lower surfaces. For much the same reasons as before! Dust and mechanical stress. Yellow lines indicate tape edges...

The Octopus kite - where to wrap tape around a middle rib.Where to wrap tape around a middle rib
  • The photo on the left shows where to wrap 2 short strips of tape around the exposed edge of a middle rib. Note how some of the tape ends up stuck to the upper surface plastic (dark blue).
  • The middle photo shows where to wrap tape around the edge of the upper surface plastic. A small bit of tape will end up stuck to the orange rib plastic, for 2 of the 3 middle ribs.
  • The photo on the right shows how tape is wrapped around the lower surface plastic at the other end of the rib edge. No tape ends up on the rib plastic here, since the lower surface plastic edge stays straight all the way across the air intake.

The other 2 middle ribs are done similarly, with 6 pieces of tape each.




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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