Kite Plans

• • • • Diamonds Sleds Indian Fighting Kites Further Investigations

It is important that when you are making kites you are as accurate and as careful as possible. The plans in this section are all simple to follow, and the kites are simple to fly. If you heed help, the accompanying video will give you additional tips on making these kites. I encourage you to try out your ideas about ways of improving the designs, but I would suggest that you make at least one kite made exactly as specified in the plan. This will give you something to compare any other variations with while flying your creations. If you are planning on making a large number of the same kite it is a good idea to make a template. A cardboard template, cut to the dimensions on the plan, will allow you to trace as many kites of this style as you like, without having to measure each of them. This means that each kite should be of exactly the same dimensions, giving you greater accuracy in experiments regarding length of tail, diameter of spars, and so on. Fibreglass is a potentially dangerous material to work with, and should be handled carefully. Fibreglass spars are quite flexible, and students could easily poke someone in the eye if care is not taken when carrying the spars around the workroom. Tyvek can be drawn on with pens, textas, crayons and pastels. It can also be painted with water based acrylic paints. Thin plastic, such as garbage bags could be used for the sled or the diamond, but I recommend tyvek if you can get it. Materials and advice may be obtained from a number of sources in Melbourne. For more information, contact: Handcrafted Kites. (0418) 351 431. 150 Elm Street, Northcote. Victoria. 3070. More plans are available in the AKA website. There are a number of books available on kites and kite making. Many of these will be available in your local or school library. The Dewey numbers for books about kites are 629.13332, 796.15, and 745.592. For more information, look in the bibliography.

1. Do not use fishing line. To fly this kite use a line with a breaking strain of 15 kilograms or higher. . Two 6mm dowel spars. A pair of scissors A hole puncher A large.To make this kite you will need. Push one end of the long piece of dowel through both holes. Two pieces of plastic or tyvek. to use as a tail. Punch holes in one end of both pieces of the material you are using for the tail of the kite. A fishing hand caster makes an excellent reel for winding the flying line on to. A piece of string at least 30 cm long. A tyvek kite skin cut to the dimensions on the diagram above. Bookbinding tape. four metres long and 5 cm wide. One 90 cm long and one 80 cm long. Thin lines are better than thick lines because they have less drag. as it can cut into skin very easily when under tension. flat table to work on.

and do the same at the bottom of the kite. . Lay the long dowel with the tail attached to it along the kite from top to bottom. Lay out the kite skin on the table. Cut a piece of tape ten centimeters long. and put it half under the top corner of the kite. If you have decorated the kite. 3. making sure that the ends of the stick are exactly in the top and bottom corners of the kite. put the decorated side face down. Cut another piece of tape ten centimeters long and put it half under one of the wingtips. Fold the tape over at the top corner so that is sticks to the dowel and to the back of the kite. Do the same at the bottom of the kite.2. Lay the other dowel across the kite from wingtip to wingtip. Cut another piece of tape ten centimeters long. and fold the tape over at each wingtip so that it sticks to the wood and the back of the kite. 4. Cut another piece of tape the same length and do the same at the other wingtip.

Tie a loop in the end of the line. Have someone hold the kite for you while you walk back into the wind. Push the other end of the string through the hole in the kite skin. Turn the kite over and pull the string through as far as it will go. Loop one end of the string around the two sticks and tie the two sticks together.5. even after you have stopped running. using four knots. Your kite is now ready to fly. If there is enough wind the kite will keep on flying. Make sure that they are not standing on the tail of the kite. letting out fifteen to twenty metres of string. run a few metres into the wind. 6. When you are ready. Make sure that the tail is pulled down to the bottom of the kite. To fly your kite attach a flying line to the loop in the string on the front of the kite. Then use the scissors to poke a hole through the kite skin at the point where the two dowels cross over each other. pulling the kite out of the hands of the person holding it up for you. .

and describe the differences. 2. Compare how they fly with how the standard kite flies. The kite in the plan has a cross-spar that crosses over the spine at a point 27% from the top of the kite. How important is the point where the cross-spar crosses the spine? The distance from the top of the kite to the point where these two spars cross over can be expressed as a percentage of the length of the spine. What effect would moving this point? Make some diamond shaped kites that have cross over points which vary from 20% from the top to 40% from the top. After you have made and flown the diamond kite shown in the plans. or closer to the ground? Compare them with the standard design. you might like to investigate some of the problems listed below. Which point seems the best? Describe the flying characteristics of the various kites. Describe the differences in how they fly.Suggestions for further investigations. 1. but with differing widths. . Do wider or narrower kites need longer or shorter tails? Do they fly further towards vertical. Compare their flight to the standard kite. What are the best proportions for a diamond-shaped kite? Is there any special relationship between the length of the spine and the length of the cross-spar? Make a number of kites using spines of the same lengths. 3.

A piece of string 170 cm long. Cut four pieces of tape ten centimeters long. Place another piece of tape half underneath the other top corner of the kite. Lay the kite skin out on the table. A fishing hand caster makes an excellent reel for winding the flying line on to. flat table to work on. To fly this kite use a line with a breaking strain of 15 kilograms or higher. Bookbinding tape (if you are using wooden spars) or 12 mm filament tape. 1. Do not use fishing line. Put a piece of tape half underneath one of the corners at the top of the kite. A plastic kite skin cut to the dimensions on the diagram above. Thin lines are better than thick lines because they have less drag. as it can cut into skin very easily when under tension. Do the same for the two corners at the bottom of the kite.5 mm fibreglass or 6mm dowel. Two spars 75 cm long. A hole punch A large. of either 3.To make this kite you will need. .

3.2. Cut two pieces of tape five centimeters long and place them half under the wingtips of the kite. Do the same with the other end of the bridle through the hole in the other wingtip. . Do the same with the other spar on the opposite side of the kite. Tie one end of the bridle through the hole in one of the wingtips. Fold the other half of the tape over onto the front of the kite. Fold the tape over at the corners so that the tape sticks to the spar and to the surface of the kite. using four knots. Use a hole punch to make a hole in the wingtips where the tape is reinforcing the plastic. 4. Lay one of the spars along the kite from one the top corners of the kite to the bottom corner on the same side of the kite.

Run a few metres into the wind. Have someone hold the kite up for you. so care needs to be taken when flying this kite. pulling the kite out of the hands of the person holding it for you. so don't try running forward. Fold the kite exactly in half and pull the bridle tight in order to find its centre. making sure that the kite is held so that the holes in the kite are at the bottom. . This kite acts like a parachute. Walk backwards into the wind. and pull very hard in strong winds. or letting out lots of line quickly. Your kite is now ready to fly. Sleds develop a lot of lift. Tie a loop in the line at this point.5.. The spars of this kite should be on the side of the kite that you will be able to see when the kite is flying. To fly your kite attach a flying line to the loop in the bridle. or the kite will collapse and start falling. letting out fifteen to twenty metres of line. and relies on the wind to hold the kite open.

What is the best angle to travel downwind at the fastest speed? Can you work out a way of steering a sled in the sky? If the kite can be made to turn to one side or the other. A large version will be able to pull you along on a skate board or a billy cart quite easily. As the size of the kite increases it will be necessary to use stronger materials. Try cutting the vents in different locations. After you have made and flown the sled shown in the plans. and in this location? Try different sizes and shapes for the vents. Why do you think this might be so? Try steering yourself at a variety of angles and record the speeds you reach. but this will also increase the weight of the kite. you might like to investigate the purpose of the vents at the bottom of the kite. Are there any differences in flight characteristics? Do they pull harder or lighter? Do they need more or less wind to fly? Write a report on your findings. Can you work out how fast you are able to travel? What is the maximum speed you reach? You might find that you will move faster if you don't point directly downwind. What do the vents cut in the skin of the kites actually do? Do they have to be this size. Try building a kite three times the size of the one in the plans and using it to tow you across your school's oval. it should be possible to make your .Suggestions for further investigations. Sleds are very strong pulling kites. Fly these experimental versions while also flying the standard sled.

but the stronger the thread the better. This kite is traditionally flown with button thread as the flying line. flat table to work on. Any cotton thread will do. It is suggested that this kite is made with the assistance of another person. This way the fibreglass can be held in the right shape while the other person is taping it in place. To make this kite you will need. 3cm wide and 150 cm long. as accuracy is extremely important in the construction of . It is recommended that at least one of the other kites is made before this one is attempted.5 cm. One piece of tyvek. cut to the dimensions on the diagram above. A piece of string 80 cm long. one 82. A fishing hand caster works well as a kite reel. and two 10 cm long. A large. and you should be able to steer yourself at right angles to the wind at least. Four 2 mm fibreglass spars. A Tyvek kite skin. 12 mm filament tape.kite and cart behave very much like a sailboat. to use as a tail. one 56 cm.

in between the kite skin and the spine. Cut a piece of tape five centimeters long and put it half under the top corner of the kite. . Fold the tape over at the top of the kite so that it sticks to the spar and the back of the kite. This spar is called the spine. 2. Lay the 56 cm long piece of fibreglass on the kite. put the decorated side face down. 3. and the skills needed for making the Indian Fighter can be gained by making one of the simpler kites in this kit first. Cut another piece of tape and stick it over the middle of the spar and onto the kite to prevent the spar moving.5 cm piece of fibreglass and slide it across the kite. The spar should lie directly over the top of the two holes cut in the kite skin.this kite. with the tips of the spar in the top and bottom corners of the kite. both five centimeters long. This spar is called the cross-spar. Cut another piece of tape five centimeters long and put it half under the bottom corner of the kite. 1. and put them half under the kite at the wing tips. Cut two pieces of tape. Do the same to the bottom of the kite. If you have decorated the kite. Lay the kite skin on the table. Take the 82.

Cut two pieces of tape ten centimeters long and tape the two remaining pieces of fibreglass onto the tail fin of the kite. Pull the bridle through the two holes as far as it will come. 7. . Do the same at the other wingtip. Turn the kite over so that the spars are in contact with the table. Find the point on the bridle where the top and the bottom of the kite lift away from the table at the same time when you lift the kite up by its bridle. 6. 5. Your Indian Fighter is now ready to fly.4. Do the same on the other leading edge. Bend the cross-spar into the wingtip and fold the tape over so that it sticks to the fibreglass as well as the back of the kite. and it and the spine should directly over the top hole cut in the kite. Cut one piece of tape five centimeters long and use it to tape the tail onto the kite at the bottom of the spine. Loop this end of the bridle around the spine and the cross-spar and tie the two spars together using four knots. Poke the other end of the bridle through the hole near the bottom of the kite and then bring it back in through the hole near the top of the kite. Loop one end of the bridle around the lower section of the spine and tie four knots in it. Put one of them half under the leading edge of the kite fifteen centimeters toward the top of the kite from the wingtip. both five centimeters long. Allow the cross-spar to bend into an arc. Cut two more pieces of tape. Fold the tape over so that it sticks to the fibreglass and the back of the kite. Tie a loop in the line at this point.

If you let out line quickly you will notice that this kite will start to tumble. or is it better? 3. When you are ready run back a few metres. Have someone hold the kite for you while you walk back into the wind. Suggestions for further investigations. but increasing the diameter of the cross-spar. The traditional Indian fighter is made using bamboo and tissue paper. pulling the kite out of the hands of the person holding it up for you. They are very responsive and can be made to move all over the sky. Try making a wider version of the Indian fighter. When it is pointing in the direction you want it to go start pulling in line and the kite will start moving rapidly in the direction it is pointing. 1. Does it turn faster. using the same plans.Indian fighters are great fun to fly. Try making a fighter using tyvek and bamboo. How does this affect the flying characteristics of the kite? 2. or more slowly? Does it need more wind. or less? Does it need a tail? Does the bridling point need to be located differently? . letting out ten metres of line. Try making another Indian fighter. Is the bamboo as good as fibreglass.

3. 2. and his interests. Include information about where he was born. List and describe the inventions that Hargrave experimented with and wrote about during his life. rec. Who was he? Why is he honoured in this way? What impact has he had on history? 1. his career. Make a display of different fighting kites. See if you can find plans for some of them. If you are connected to the Internet while you are reading this you should be able to follow this link to the rec. There is an amazing amount of information about kiting available on the Internet. . Another way of finding out about what is happening in the kiting world is to subscribe to the kiting newsgroup on the Internet. and try making them from fibreglass and tyvek. There are many websites which contain plans and information about kiting in different countries. Visit the AKA website and read about Lawrence Hargrave. decorated in their traditional designs.4. A starting point for finding these websites is the AKA list of web based kiting resources. Write a short biography on Lawrence Hargrave.kites. Topics for Further Investigation: Using the Internet to find out about kites. There are lots of other designs of fighting kites from countries all over the world.kites newsgroup. Lawrence Hargrave. A portrait of Lawrence Hargrave can be seen on one side of Australia's old twenty dollar note.

The Victorian championships are held at Ballarat over the second weekend in October. Many modern kites are decorated with appliqué designs. Make a kite using sailcloth for the kite skin. while Japanese kites are painted. Include a sheet on each kite. You might like to enter your kite in one of the kite competitions which are regularly held. 1. Write a report about the sorts of kite flying lines that have been used throughout history. Back to the Index 2. Report on the benefits and problems associated with each of the that lines you tested. 2. What is it called. Kites have been flown on lines made from a variety of materials. Plans for this kite can be found in The Penguin book of kites. Flying lines. Use appliqué techniques to decorate it. by David Pelham. Decorations. 3. or a model of one. and some lines are regarded as the only line suitable for certain types of kite flying. Display all of your kites somewhere in your school. Some lines are said to be better than others. Decorate them in the styles traditionally used in these countries. 1. Do not use anything which contains metal. based on Hargrave's plan. giving information about the kite design and the decoration style used. Make a number of kites from different countries. and how is it made? Describe how the line is used during a kite fight. Kites have been decorated in numerous ways. .4. Information about the championships may be obtained by phoning Handcrafted Kites. using broad brush strokes. Find out what sort of line is used when flying Indian fighting kites. What makes a good flying line for normal kite flying? Test a number of different materials as a flying line for the same kite. Try making a box kite. Perhaps the library or the art room would be good locations. Malaysian kites are commonly decorated with layers of cut paper stencils. on (0418) 351 431.

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