Baby Stratospools

Built two new "Baby Stratospools". Stress testing has been completed with no failures. Both are working well. Both have over 50% weight reduction over the lager 10" diameter Stratospools. Two different core designs were used along with two differing kite lines. The pictures below show the difference in size (the Stratospool with the red line is the full size). Taking one of these baby Stratospools to France for a road test....

Enjoy a few photos below and in this flickr album.

WW
Baby Stratospools

Baby Stratospools

Baby Stratospools

Baby Stratospools

Comments

  • edited July 2015
    Jim,
    We enjoy you, with theses spools, the job will be easier to fly kites and to come back with high altitude aerial pictures .
    You are a very good specialist and you always find very good spots for kaping everywhere on the planet .
    You are still ready, and your life of kaping traveller is still going on.............
    Enjoy it
    José
  • SueSue
    edited July 2015
    @ Jim
    I know you like a good strong reel but both my home-made reels are made of 1/4" waterproof ply. The first one lasted me 7 years. Have you ever thought of using thinner plywood?

    Incidentally this second one was only about 2" bigger diameter but weighed quite a lot more. This was partly because of the use of heavier metal spacers round the bolts.

    The finished reel

    Fly High

    Sue
  • @Sue

    If you've done this personally, this I bow my head! The sleeve could be made of aluminum tubing, it would be lighter.

    BKT
  • SueSue
    edited July 2015
    @BlueKiteTeam
    Yes I made this one after the old one broke which I helped Eric make in 2008.
    Click on the photo to see how I made it.
    Yes I know thinner aluminium would be better.The old one had thin aluminium sleeves but there were corroded. (The reel went for a swim in the River Rhine in 2011) I already had the thicker metal ones which were the right length so I used them. 'A la prochain' ' til the next time' as the French say.

    Fly High
    Sue
  • Sue, Your winders look great.

    I have tried thinner plywood....unsuccessfully...The stratospool pulls in the kite line under stress (force) when the kite is pulling hard in a stiff wind. This results over time in warping the plywood. The last 10 or so Stratospools that I have built use a thick slip plate (side facing the brake next to the bar and thinner plywood for the crank plate (side with the handles).

    The baby stratospools use the same idea but on a smaller scale.

    Testing has been successful. The baby stratospools are now in my travel bag.

    I am also preparing additional tests....but on a new tack....small statospools for use on small water craft (kayaks, small sailboats)....fun times ahead.

    Kayak KAPing

    WW
  • The size is convenient to fly in all conditions and help travelling ...........
    It is a royal choice !
  • Yes I understand that you reel in under stress.!!
    Have fun on the water.

    Fly High

    Sue
  • edited July 2015
    Sometimes I wish I had spool:

    image

    I'm not sure you could wind in this thing in Bft 6 but I'm so grateful for the nice fence posts!

    More on my Bft 6 hell here: https://billboyheritagesurvey.wordpress.com/2015/07/20/didak-explorer-16-overblown-at-bft-6/

    B
  • edited December 2015
    Baby Stratospools – Happy Winding Season!


    The following is an update on the baby Stratospools built earlier this year.

    Stratospools, for those not familiar, are a type of kite line winder that are used for winding in kite line while under stress (pull) from the kite in the air. The Stratospools are especially beneficial in tight areas where you can not walk around or do not have a fence or similar objects to tie off the kite line.

    The Stratospools were originally invented and built by Russell Jolly in the early 1980’s. A detailed description and background to the early Stratospool days can be found here and the article that I authored for the 1st Q 2014 AKA Kiting Magazine.

    I have been building my own Stratospools for over 15 years. Each subsequent design contained improvements and lessons learned from frequent kite flying in challenging conditions….along with multiple failures!

    As weaknesses were discovered and corrected (by increasing the thickness of the weak areas) in subsequent designs…. weight became an issue that was exasperated by my frequent travel.

    During this period, I also expanded the overall diameter of the Stratospool main reel to 10 inches. The reason for the expansion was to increase the speed of the kite line retrieval during lulls in the wind…...but at a cost of increased weight.

    The balance between strength and weight is a delicate one.

    Merry Christmas

    The photo above shows 7 Stratospools that I have built over the last few years.

    Numbered left to right are the descriptions and weights of the reels:
    1 – 10 inch, hollow aluminum bar, blue 150 lbs. Dacron: Weight 4,080 grams
    2 – 10 inch, solid wood core, blue 150 lbs. Dacron: Weight 3,744 grams
    3 – 10 inch, hollow wood core, red 150 lbs. Dacron: Weight 4,242 grams
    4 – 10 inch, hollow wood core reel only, blue 150 lbs. Dacron: Weight 2,627 grams
    5 – 8 inch, hollow wood core, blue 0.8mm 150 lbs. Dyneema: Weight 2,035 grams
    6 – 8 inch, hollow wood core, blue 150 lbs. Dacron: Weight 2,534 grams
    7 – 10 inch, hollow wood core, blue 0.8mm 150 lbs. Dyneema: Weight 2,816 grams


    The 8 inch hollow wood core Stratospools are what I call “Baby Stratospools”. The Baby Stratospools also use smaller gauge metal components (main axle bolt, brackets, screws). The new Stratospools also use a stronger attachment design for the “waist belt” that also includes an elastic strap to hold the crank arm in place (anchoring the line). The photos below (and at the top of this post) show the differences between the larger 10 inch and smaller 8 inch (baby) Stratospools.

    Salt water corrosion damage on Stratospool.

    Salt water corrosion damage on Stratospool.

    Baby Stratospools


    The main advantages are weight and strength. The main disadvantages are a bit less line capacity (Dacron) and slower line retrieval speeds.

    The past several years I was on an airplane heading off to work just about every week. I checked one bag with my large 10 inch stratspool and KAP bag (rig) with my clothes packed around them. Tight and heavy! This restricted me to carrying one kite line for all wind conditions.

    Travel going forward will be more balanced with a few kite focused trips (KAPiCA /AKA) where I hope to take along two reels. One for medium to high wind and one dedicated for light wind.

    The reel selection is not final but most likely will look something like the following:
    - 8 inch baby Stratospool with either Dacron or Polyamid line for medium to high wind
    - 10 inch Stratospool with Dyneema line for light wind.

    A future article is planned to discuss different type of kite line…..but a short summary follows.

    I have started to fly a bit more with Dyneema for light wind conditions due to its inherent advantages of light weight and low wind cross section (thin). The main reason for the change in my thinking is gloves! I always had major trouble grasping the slippery Dyneema line (especially under medium to high wind speeds) to attach the KAP rig. I stumbled across simple rubber coated cotton garden gloves that had excellent grip ability with the Dyneema line…. I had stopped using gloves altogether for KAP because the Stratospools provided excellent line control and with Dacron or Polyamid there was no difficulty in grasping the kite line. The new gloves solved this problem nicely. See an example of the rubber coated cotton gloves below.

    Dyneema Kite Line Gloves.

    Future:

    I am always looking for future improvements. The Baby Stratospools are no exception.

    I have been experimenting with small single handed sailing combined with KAP. This is not an easy endeavor as the number of variables for sailing and KAP are high individually. Combining these two hobbies together….well….let’s just say there are many factors to keep under control at one time… each with their own risk profiles….

    Sail KAPing Above Long Island Sound

    Sail KAPing Above Long Island Sound

    Kayak KAPing Marsh Creek State Park

    The Baby Stratospools have performed well at sea. One factor that I need to correct is making the Stratospools sea water safe. The corrosive ocean salt water has not been friendly to my metal components. Stainless steel components …. Is my next area of focus.

    Salt water corrosion damage on Stratospool.

    I also bent the spindle on my drill press…..which has put me out of the Stratospool business till I can find a replacement part (none currently available as the drill press manufacturer is out of business….).

    Enjoy the winding season! Please add your own experiences!

    WW
  • I was fortunate during my television career to hold onto a few video tape reels. These are steel and about 10" in diameter. The hubs are also steel and have a rubber band around them for a cushion. The videotape came either in 1" or 2" width. Neither have been manufactured for many years. I made a simple winder out of a 2" one and it works reasonably well, although the only brake is my gloved hand. The hub cannot be crushed and the flanges don't bow with line packed on. Not sure where you could source these anymore, but since my wood-working skills are minimal, I'm glad I had a couple saved all these years.
    image

    image
  • Jim and Sue, I love both of your reel designs! Are you able to share templates to make my own? Thank you! -Paul
  • edited January 2016
    Paul, I generally just free draw or use prior stratospools as templates. I do not have any "master templates". It is not too hard. You can use the pictures in this post and in this flickr album and the photo below showing the primary parts prior to assembly.

    Additional stratospool photos can be found here.

    Ready for some color!

    WW

  • Like Jim, I made it up as I went along making the odd improvement over the broken one.

    The finished reel

    You can see the buidling of the one in the above photo in this post here

    Drilling the bolt holes

    Go backwards in the series to get an idea of the way I went about making it.
    I decided that I wanted one with a bigger diameter than the previous one, partly for a bigger hand hole.

    I ought to get on making a proper Stratospool without the brake as it will soon be time to fly again. My temporary one isn't very good but showed me that the arm needed to be 4 or 5 inches longer so that there's less strain on my left arm. (i pulled it winding in in strong winds. I've had a scan and now doing exercises and 'aggressive icing' with cold packs which seems to be improving things)

    Fly High

    Sue
  • Hi Sue,
    good programs indeed!
    wish you all the best possible and a good overall result
    SMAC from Italy
  • @SMAC
    I will be making another new reel soon. It will be like Jim's but made lighter with some square aluminium tube. It will have wooden handles and wood inside where the main bolt goes through. It will be the size of my first reel.

    Fly High

    Sue
  • Hi Sue,

    What is the diameter of your reel?

    Thanks,
    Paul
  • SueSue
    edited March 2016
    @Paul
    The new reel is 28cm/11". The old one looks like about 10" diameter. The new one with 300m of line on weighted 1kg

    Out with the old - in with the new

    Click on the photo for more on 'ipernity'

    Fly High

    Sue
  • edited March 2016
    Thanks, Sue. I started building a hand reel like yours, but since I have very basic tools, I was quickly foiled by the cut-out of the middle circle. So I continued on to make my Cave Man Stratospool v1. With only an old hand saw, my theory was that a circle is just a series of straight lines, so my reel is a 10-sided shape. :)

    image

    image

    The bolts have clear nylon tubing over them to protect the kite line. Also, since the taking the photos I have now installed a rollerblade wheel for the reel handle.

    Jim, a couple questions for you:
    1. How do you keep the wobble out of the reel?
    2. I was at the hardware store and saw a couple sections of pipe "connectors". I'm thinking of using one of them for the core, that way none of the line pressure will be on the bolts. What is the core diameter of your 8-inch stratospools? And what is the width between the two sides of the reel? These pipe connectors are around 3 inches in diameter, with varying widths.

    image
  • Hi PWW-KAP
    You can't see very well on my photos but I have a washer at each end of an aluminium tube (all cut and filled to exactly the same length so the pressure is evenly spread) which the bolts go through. The bolts can then tighten up on the aluminium tube which stops any wobble. You won't be able to get the bolts tight enough with your clear nylon tubing. I never found the need for an extra core,
    You'll find the stratospool easier to use than the hand reel because you can hold it firmer against the pull of the kite. Jim has a strap tied to the stratospool and clipped round his waist so that it doesn't escape.
    My first reel lasted from spring 2008 to September 2014. It went for a swim in the river Rhine in 2011 when the wind snatched it it if my hand. I now always clip the line in to a smooth carabiner on a strap round my waist so that doesn't happen again.!

    I've saved the old bolts and aluminium tube and will be able to reuse them when I get round to making my Stratospool.

    By the way. I think it would be worth making your reel nice and round so you can control the line going it by pressing your gloved hand on the rim. You wouldn't be able to do that with your present reel.
    It will look great when it's varnished.

    Fly High

    Sue
  • Hi Sue,

    The reel itself doesn't wobble. It's the action/connection point to the stratospool rod/handle via one bolt. If I tighten it, then it creates drag on the spin.

    Yes, I will have to find a friend with a saw that will allow cutting a nice round wheel. Thanks for the tip!

    Best,
    Paul
  • edited March 2016
    Paul,

    Per your questions on the wobble between the reel and the stratospool bar. I can't tell from your pictures, but I use "brake pads" on both sides of the axle bolt (basically where the reel touches the bar). The original Stratospool design incorporated a brake device that pressed the reel against the pads (original design used leather). I eliminated the brake from my stratospools several years ago. I just use the reel outer diameter and my hand to slow the reel speed. Agree with Sue's comment that a smoother circle will help with this but I think your 10 sided reel can work, just sand down the points.

    I also agree with Sue, no need for core. The kite line is tough and will not be hurt by winding on the bolts.

    Back to the brake pads. I use Teflon furniture sliders that you put on the bottom of furniture to slide them across the floor with out much effort. The pads are fixed with both adhesive and screws to the stratospool bar side that faces the reel. These work great to stabilize the reel against the bar. The reel needs to fit loose to the pads and turn freely but not too loose that the reel wobbles.

    The picture below shows two stratospool bars both with the break pads (Teflon sliders) attached to the bar.

    You can find many more pictures in this flickr album including many of my past failures due to line pressures.

    Enjoy your new Stratospool......it took me about 10 attempts to get it perfect....hope these ideas speed your journey.

    WW

    WW Stratospool Repairs - Tune UP - New String
  • SueSue
    edited March 2016
    I think that some people use nylon bushes plugged in to the wooden holes for the well fitting bolt to go through. I need to find some for mine.


    Fly High

    Sue
  • Thank you! I'll incorporate those points!

    Paul
  • So, my v1 attempt above was a failure. The spool and attachment bolt were too flimsy. It came apart on my first flight.

    I assessed its major weaknesses and made v2. Comparatively, it has been working great!

    image

    image

    image

    I beefed up the spool with 3/4-inch plywood (maybe 1/2" would be sufficient?. It is 7 inches in diameter (Mini Statospool?). It holds 1000 feet of 200-pound Dacron. The core of the spool is hollow, 3-inch PVC pipe cut into a 2.75-inch piece. Given that the 1000 feet still sits more than 1/2" below the edge of the spool, I can probably cut the PVC pipe down to 2.5" or a bit more to make the spool narrower for space-saving purposes. Once I finalise the width of the spool, I will replace the core bolts with shorter ones and put end caps on them.

    The arm is cut down to 23.5 inches in length, which fits my arm length when I want to use the supporting hand to grip the top crossbar.

    I let out +950 feet of line in 8-10 mph breeze with my 9-foot Delta on the other end. Reeling it back in at a moderate, sustainable pace, it took 9 minutes to reel back in. Reeling it in with this was such a breeze! I suppose if I enlarged the core diameter, reeling it back in would go a little faster.

    One issue that I still have is when the line is against the outer side of the spool as it is being reeled in, it will sometimes catch on the handle of the spool. I cut an angle into the top of the hand (see picture below), which does minimise the problem, but it still occurs. I'm thinking maybe if I shift the line guide over further left on the top crossbar, that might help...or use a smaller line guide? Have any of you guys found a way to fix this issue?

    image
  • Stratospool building season has arrived ;-)

    Baby Stratospools

    Starting to pull together a few improvement ideas for my next stratospool builds....
    - lighter
    - saltwater proof
    - Dyeenama

    Recent eye surgery combined with a busy work schedule has slowed down my pace quite a bit....but now slowly improving. Dumping my KAP rig and camera in the Boston Harbor saltwater did not help matters....

    But today is a new day....got a kite up in the air as I type this!

    Need to set up a new drill press and clear out my tool room for some Stratospool building!

    WW
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