How to Make a Roller Kite

Step-by-StepPage 3 of 4

The MBK Dowel Roller

How to Make a Roller Kite

Dacron line in 50-pound strength is ideal for these Dowel Series kites.

The Dowel Roller - making the keel.
  • Mark out the keel shape on some spare plastic, as per the dimensions on the template.
  • Cut out the keel and tape down two lengths of flying line onto one side. 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. Use sticky tape, not electrical tape. The pieces of line hanging free should be at least as long as your finger.
  • Now flip the plastic over and tape down another two lengths of flying line, directly over the first two.
  • Where two pieces of line come together, tie a Multi-Strand Simple knot close to the plastic. These two knots will sit against the vertical spar. See the top-left photo.
  • Where the four pieces of line come together, tie them into another Multi-Strand Simple knot close to the plastic, then tie another one further out, as in the top right photo. The bottom photo shows the complete keel.
  • Reinforce the keel with short lengths of sticky tape, where indicated by the yellow rectangles.

The Dowel Roller - attaching the keel
  • Cut a slit in the plastic sail, between the two long vertical pieces of tape. The slit should go all the way from the edge of the insulation tape spar cap, up to the lower horizontal spar.
  • Pass the lower keel lines through the slit in the lower sail. Now tightly tie them around the vertical spar, using a Granny knot. Get the knot as close to the tip of the dowel as you can.
  • Using the keel itself to find the exact spot, tightly tie the upper lines around the dowel also. This will be quite close to where lower horizontal spar crosses the vertical spar.
  • Fold the 4-dowel-width tab over the dowel and tape it down all along its length with a piece of clear sticky tape.
  • Put a drop of wood glue all over the two knots and all around the dowel where the keel lines touch the wood.
  • Tape a small coin to the rear of the keel, as you can see in the photo. I almost never recommend adding weight to a kite, but my original roller actually needed it to be stable!

How to Make a Roller Kite
Tying the Bridle

The Dowel Roller - bridle detail
  • Cut off some 50-pound flying line to a length of 1.0 DL (120 cm, 48 in.), and tie a very small Loop knot into each end.
  • Poke holes in the plastic, on either side of the upper horizontal spar. Four holes altogether, 0.24 DL (28.8 cm, 11 1/2 in.) from the vertical spar, as indicated by the four yellow dots in the photo.
  • Tie each end of the line to the spar, through the holes. Use a Double Wrap Slip knot, and pull tight against the knot of the small loop. This is the bridle loop.
  • Cut off some flying line to a length of 3.0 DL (360 cm, 144 in.), and attach one end to the bridle loop. Use a shiftable knot such as the Prusik knot, and adjust it to center. Let's just call this the bridle line.
  • Tie a Double Loop knot into the other end of the bridle line.

Finally, take a length of flying line about 0.2 DL (240 mm, 9 1/2 in.) long, and tie one end to the bridle line with a Prusik knot. Tie a small Double Loop knot into the other end, just to get a large knot. See the photo down below, in the next section.

At this point, you've pretty much finished making the Dowel Roller! However, there is a short setup procedure to go through before it will fly.



As mentioned earlier, there's more kite making on this site than you can poke a stick at :-)

Want to know the most convenient way of using it all?

The Big MBK E-book Bundle is a collection of downloads — printable PDF files which provide step-by-step instructions for many kites large and small.

Every kite in every MBK series.

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