Workbench Creations is the place for conversation and discussion about do-it-yourself (DIY) projects. This DIY blog will feature projects completed by its owner as well as projects completed by other do-it-yourselfers. Workbench Creations is the place where DIYers can discuss ideas, learn about what others have done, and share their expertise.
Many of the things I build are because I need a tool, or want to start a hobby and decide to build the necessary equipment. This do-it-yourself (DIY) project was different. Stunt and traction-kite flying has been a hobby of mine for many years. It all started during a visit to Kitty Hawk, North Carolina, the place where Orville and Wilbur Wright made their historic flight. Since then, my hobby has grown into flying stunt kites that can do all sorts of tricks.
Kite jumping is one of my favorite past times. It's done while flying a traction kite. The basic idea is this: at certain angles of flight, a traction kite can lift you off the ground. If you jump at this moment, you can go very high or very far. On occasion, I have jumped to heights of 20 feet and traveled 30 feet in a single bound.
Aside from lifting you into the air, traction kites are very good (and perhaps better) at pulling or dragging you along. With some skill, you can speed across a field on your sneakers as if you were water skiing. Without any skill, you can get dragged on your face or elbows for hundreds of feet. I've been told that this is painful. There are also variations of traction kiting that use carts, buggies, a knee board or water skis.
One day, I decided that my traction kites weren't powerful enough. I wanted something bigger. As is my way, I looked into building one vs. buying one and decided to build my own. The design I choose is called the Eliminator. For the record, it's not my own design; I found it online. This traction kite was designed to provide lots of pulling power for riding a buggy, and can be made in a number of different sizes. I chose to build the 4-meter size.
To build this kite, I needed to download some software called Foilmaker which allowed me to print out the pattern. (Unfortunately, the web page for this software was down at the time of this writing.) My next step was to buy some fabric. I chose a material from Hang-em-High called Icarex . This ripstop polyester fabric was on-sale at the time and is ideal for kites. Cutting out the fabric was a long process. Sewing it together took even longer.
There are some special considerations when assembling a traction kite. The basic design is like a wing which gets filled with air from the wind. This air is contained in many compartments, each of which is sewn together. To have the seams on the inside of the compartments, the kite is put together inside-out. With so many compartments connected to one other, assembling the kite and turning it inside out is not a trivial task. Once the wing is assembled, the next hardest part is making the bridal - the many strings that connect to the kite so that you can control it from four lines. Luckily, the Foilmaker software calculates all of these lengths for you.
After the kite was assembled, the only thing left to do was to test it. My first flight was not that great because the kite tended to collapse on itself. I made some adjustments to the bridal, however, and this helped some. I have flown this kite a few times since then, but it needs a good, steady wind to fly correctly.
Unfortunately, the place where I now live rarely has such perfect wind. It's even rarer that I have time to fly my kite when this wind is blowing. Luckily for me, some of my other traction kites have supports which allow them to fly in more temperamental conditions.
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