GWTW Forum

Kites! Kites! Kites! => Kite Building and Repair => Topic started by: jim-bo on December 10, 2012, 07:54 AM

Title: Kite Making
Post by: jim-bo on December 10, 2012, 07:54 AM
In about six months, I will be retiring from the workforce, and am thinking about building kites for fun.   I need to know what I need to know!  I am running a Linux computer.  I need to know with what programs I should familiarize myself.   Anticipating feedback and help from you all!

I have built and flown R/C airplanes, have done small repairs on production kites, have a lot of hand tools, am married to a lady that sews, and am a all around tinker.

Thanks, jimmy

Title: Re: Kite Making
Post by: tcope on December 10, 2012, 06:17 PM
Way before using a computer for anything you should learn how to sew simple kites. Start with something simple and small, such as a Rok (single line, flat kite). I think you will quickly see that there is a lot of expertise involved in even basic kite building. Most people spend years building kites before designing them.

Title: Re: Kite Making
Post by: inewham on December 11, 2012, 12:54 AM
Sew something simple first get a feel for what your doing but then, if you're interested in stunt kites:

Doug Stout and Cydonia have kindly donated tools to help you with the design, see links above this thread.

I have access to lots of CAD systems in my day job but for kites I still design by feel. A few years back I put a website up with some tips on the effects of various design elements, it may be some help (

Also Mark Cotrell has very kindly agreed to allow anyone to host pdf copies of his book Swept Wing Stunt Kites: (

You'll also want a look at at Andy Wardley's site, particularly the section on bridles (

Before all that though sew something simple like an Orange to get a feel for the kite making process (

Sadly there is no software that you can input a few design paramaters like 'it must be good in a turtle', that outputs a bunch of templates ready for your wife to sew.

Title: Re: Kite Making
Post by: mikenchico on December 11, 2012, 08:02 AM
Not wanting send you away from here but google 'kitebuilder forum', great bunch of guys and good info on tools & techniques. Then google 'kite plan base' to find something simple to start with.

For tools, to start a mid range sewing machine will do, preferably having a triple stitch zig zag. A sheet of masonite/hardboard for a cutting surface. a nice straight edge, I have a 14", 40", 48" and a couple 8' lengths and a 48" square. a 25-35 watt pencil type soldering iron or wood burner. Past that your basic drawing & sewing tools, scissors, seam rippers ect. get you in business.

Title: Re: Kite Making
Post by: jim-bo on December 11, 2012, 10:01 AM
OK, thanks guys. I was thinking that I needed some program to get the plans to my printer, now I see that I only need to download the PDF files and print them.  I have all the rest of the tools and miscellaneous items that you suggest so I will spend the winter and spring trying to decide which kite to build. I appreciate the web site suggestions. ;D

Title: Re: Kite Making
Post by: Will Sturdy on December 11, 2012, 11:51 AM
If you want to work with your own plans, I highly recommend the program draftsight. I have had no issues running it on my linux computer. It works in .dwg and .dxf files, which are pretty standard. It works very much like AutoCAD, although with slightly less functionality.

Title: Re: Kite Making
Post by: sugarbaker on December 12, 2012, 02:57 PM
don't wait for summer!  it's never too soon to start making kites.  If you're interested in a sport kite, I recommend starting with a simple panel design... There are a number of choices that would be about equal difficulty in terms of sewing and general construction.  Look at the Invictus, Sixth Sense and Le Quartz.  There is a great step by step page on how to build Le Quartz (a simplified panel layout from the designer's original layout is available at this site as well).  Try here (

Also be sure to check out the multitude of build threads here on the forum for ideas that might peak your own creative ways of building.  Welcome to the forum, keep us posted on your progress.