New Guy kite questions

edited January 2013 in Kites
First I would like to say Hi to everyone here as I just joined today...I have been researching kap for about a year now and I am just about ready to give it a try,,,I have a gopro hero 2 camera but I do not have a kite suitable for lifting it yet.. I plan on building my own picavett rig and also building my own kite as well..I would like to start with the kite this week some time if I can get a good plan together. I would like to make a sled kite out of tyvek house wrap. I have the tyvek and I have some 1/4 x 48 inch hw wood dowels and plan to make the first kite aprox 4ft x 6ft size. but I would also like to make a 7ft by 9 ft kite as well and I am wondering if I can use 1/2 inch cpvc pipe for the 7 foot spars..?.. 1/2 in Cpvc pipe is about 2/3 the diameter of 1/2 regular pvc pipe. Has anyone tryed pvc or Cpvc pipe for kite spars on a sled kite ? It is fairly light but it is also very flexiable. any help/ideas would be greatly appreciated....Thanks airhead


  • A 4x6 Sled or Delta style kite will be more then enough kite to lift a Gopro as long as you got winds within there lifting range. once you make the kite and you try it out tie a 1liter plastic bottle and fill it with water to the weight of your rig and try lifting it with your kite. This will be a safe way to gauge if you kite can lift your rig without damaging your camera, good luck.
  • I do plan on some test flights and the water bottle to match weight is a great idea thanks....I would still like to know if anyone has ever used the cpvc pipe for the 7 foot long spars I need for the larger kite?....1/2 in Cpvc is quit a bit smaller od then regular pvc pipe of the same size..I would also like to know if anyone has experience useing tyvek house wrap for the sail..I plan on useing tyvek because of its low cost...A 10x10 foot piece of tyvek is only about 10 bucks...I hope to have a rig built and tested at least one time before this weekends state wide ice fishing durby. I would like to get some kap of the durby...if I am ready and there are some winds this weekend...It has been blowing all week in the north east usa...
  • edited January 2013
    I think PVC is pretty heavy compared to the fiberglass tubes you can get online. And PVC is only a tiny bit cheaper.
    Check these out.

    I know this kind of kills the DIY aspect by ordering things made for kites, and maybe you already have PVC lying around, but I really think you'll find it is too heavy.

    Hardwood dowels are also pretty cheap and light.
  • I think you may be right about it being to heavy unless the wind is howling...It is also super extra flexiable and I worrie it may pop out of the pockets..But where can I get spars 7 foot long?.. can they ship them that long?...
  • You can join spars with a piece called a ferrule, don't put it directly in the middle of the finished spar because that is where the flex is highest and ferrules don't flex...
  • Thanks for the help guys...I just ordered 2... 1/4 x 72in solid fiberglass spars and 500lb x 1000ft dacron line from fun with wind...a local kite shop here in New England...My plan is to build 2 sled kites...One will be 6x8 ft and the other with 48 in wood dowels will be 64x48 inchs....Each will have a one piece spars..I thought about useing ferrules but didnt want to chance it....I am going to make the sails out of some tyvek I have left over from a job...I also ordered some end caps...some small metal o rings for the bridel tie off points..Does anyone have any experience sewing tyvek..what type of thred should I use?..also what abot useing a deep sea fishing pole for a line winder?..I did this before with some smaller kites and a 3 wing triplane kite that would pull pretty hard in strong winds..Im not so sure it will hold a 48 sq ft sled though?..Any other tips you guys can give me would be greatly appreciated...This is my first ever kite build...Thanks again
  • I would suggest before you start building the kite, you get on a kite-building forum such as the one run by Then after you've practiced plenty with the kite in all sorts of wind, come back here for tips on the rig. Don't sell the kite practice short -- that's the most important part of beginning.
  • Making your own kite may well be false economy if you have not built a kite before. I would also suggest that the size of kite you are proposing to make, even if they fly as they should, are ambitious if you are new to kite flying. Get kites that big up in the wrong wind and you will struggle to control them. KAP can be a lot of fun but can so easily become hard work. Buy a ready made kite of a more appropriate size (a search of this forum will get you plenty of recommendations), and you will have a much better initial experience. Have a bad experience and you may well give up before you get to fully explore the potential of KAP.
  • Many years ago (at least 35) I made a large 9' delta using Tyvek (and a pattern from David Pelham's Kite book) and I glued the edges (using a strong glue - can't remember what), rather than sewing them. I did sew the bridle attachment loop though - but back then I'm sure I must have just used normal sewing thread (the kind dressmakers use). The kite lasted pretty well - it got taken on beach holidays on the west coast of France for several years.

    I think you'd find a delta at least as easy to make and perhaps more forgiving than a SLED when the wind comes up.

    I second Broox's idea of looking at the kite projects on - lots of good information there.

    Finally, that 500lb line is WAY OVERKILL - for your purposes 100lb would do just fine. The trouble with line that heavy is that the kite has to lift that too and 1000' of it will weigh a lot more than a GoPro!
  • I have been flying kites my whole life..I have never built my own kite though...I have al small colection of single line kites and I have a parafoil stunt kite as well...I fly them all seasons...In the summer at the beach and in dead of winter 10 deg f while ice fishing on frozen lakes...The wind here can get pretty strong and I am no stranger to long hard battles getting the kites back down to earth so I am not a compleat newbe at kite flying...kite building and kap on the other hand is a different story..I am trying to get started with the lowest start up cost as build the 2 sled kites is only $10 because I all ready have the tyvek and just had to buy a few spars and fittings..I am pretty handy and can fix most anything from cars to carpentry and every thing inbetween so I am fairly confident I can pull this off...But I do have a few questions still.....#1..what would be the best thred to use for sewing tyvek and also what low cost diy for the picavet cross/go pro hero 2 combo?..I plan to start construction this weekend with the kids..I think they will enjoy a build/fly kite project...any tips or tricks would be great...Thanks so much for the help.....AIRHEAD

    Making a kite is great fun. Kite made ​​at home is cheaper and often better quality. :O)

    Have fun,

  • Airhead, the most important part of KAP is to get started: I can feel that you are on the right track :-)

    you can build a simple rig with some aluminum strips: simple and cheap.

    Have fun!

  • OK, good that you have plenty of kiteflying experience. And if you don't want to try, no problem.

    If you know kites, you'll know that while the Sled is easy to fly, the lack of a spreader means it wallows -- changes shape with the wind -- and can easily collapse. Neither characteristic is good for KAP. I'd say try a Fled, Delta, or Delta-Conyne instead -- all are fairly easy to build, though admittedly not as simple as a basic sled, and plans for all are available online. All have spars and spreaders so they hold their shape in wind changes, and a moderate sized one (7 - 8 ft span) should easily lift your rig.

    As to Tyvek, glue is commonly used, but in my experience, the material can delaminate and pull apart, so thread is probably wise. I'd suggest using a fairly heavy dacron thread of the sort used for jeans; it's not so fine that it can cut through the Tyvek, and plenty strong enough.

    Hans has given you suggestions for a very simple rig that should work just fine, but you'll need the GoPro tripod adapter to attach the camera, or some sort of rubber band or Velcro arrangement.

    good luck
    chin UP
  • Here's a simple first pass that I did for a GoPro mount. The angles on the side pieces were a little tricky. The idea of the center piece is to not break the plastic fins. I need to get a knurled nut to clamp it on so I don't get stuck when I forget my jackknife (like last time I went out). My design constraints were:
    1) I could swap the bottom bracket for one for my S95, and
    2) that it would still be balanced so the rotation axes go through the center of mass (so that when tilted or panned, it's well-balanced).
    2013-01-24 20.26.19

    I'm not proud of this design but it works fine. I made it in a hurry for this trip:


    You also may want to look at the recent post by rdbeales since you're into PVC. It's not gopro though. Maybe you could just glue a surfboard mount to it.
    Its here.
  • edited January 2013
    PVA white glue sticks Tyvek fantastically well. The Tyvek tears befor the joint will. I used to use Tvkek rolls and white PVA in kite workshops for kids.

    Why not use one of your current single line kites for KAP with a light rig, you probably have a suitable one which will probably work out fine. Then you can concentrate on the KAP without adding the variable of an untried and tested kite in the mix.
  • Tyvek is pretty good material. I've already made 4 kites out of it (incl. pretty complex box one). I didn't sew it, though - used fabric sticky tape (of the sail repair kind, but even duct tape would do).

    And... as Broox wrote, sleds could collapse when wind gets too weak. So I'd recommend other type of kite. For exampel Rokaku is pretty easy to make (I made two Roks from Tyvek last summer, they fly beautifully, I flown one just last Sunday). Construction is extremely easy -- no pockets at all, just tape reinforcements at all corners and as well as spar crossings and bridle attachment points. Spars are capped with split nocks and attached to the sail by small loops of line put through grommeted holes.

  • Thanks for the tips guys....In responce I understand the sled kites can colapse in vairiable winds but its the simple easy design that makes it a good first kite build choise for me..I wanted to make a 54sqft sail from 9ft x 8ft tyvek but I couldent find spars long enough..I did order some 1/4 solid fiberglass 72in long ....My tyvek roll had been folded in half at some point in its life and had a bunch of crumpled up deformed spots runnig right up the middle of it so I cant make the jumbo sled just yet..But I was able to cut 3 smaller kites out of the sheet. one 16 9sf and there was enough left over for 2 small kites about 4sq each....Then when I go test fly I will have 4 different sizes..a couple diff line sets some tails and a water bottle....Hot glue oh yea..:).thanks Simon
  • Not hot glue just normal PVA craft white glue.
  • Well I built 3 sled kites with typar house wrap..I tok them all out the other day and started with the smallest one in some pretty strong winds...15 to 30 mph and gusty... the kite took right off and fly pretty god untill the wind would gust and then it would go nuts..I crashed it a few times and it auto launched itself several times before I broke the spars..Still waiting for a day off work with some more managable winds for a better tesst flight..
  • edited February 2013
    My first sewing project was the fled. Great KAP kite very stable. I used the plans available at Only 5 pieces to join together, a few spars and an balanced bridle then head outside and enjoy.Tyvec and wood dowels wood work for the prototype. As Broox said just get started. By the way, Welcome to a new addiction. is a good source for spars P200 for the horizontal spar and P300 for the vertical. Order twice what you need, shipping . And don't forget the internal ferrels. The extra spars would be for the second kite. A ROK is another good choice. Plans at fourm kite plans, John
  • @ John E. Corniuk

    Good Luck! Broox is right, it could turn into an incurable disease. Be careful. ;O)

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