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Bug-Buddies


Ed's original Lady Bug design

Bug Buddies
Plans By Ed Hummel

 

A Low Aspect Ratio Kite


Overview:


This is a low aspect ratio kite. This means that it is very tall and narrow. Seems backwards to me also! It is rectangular in shape with a 10 point bridle. The good part about this is that tall kites tend to be more stable than wide ones. So, if like me, you have too many kites that enjoy their freedom and move all over the place, you might want to try this one. I think that it is a great kite but then I always think that the last kite that I build is great.

    Materials:


    • 31" X 138" ( 11½’) rip-stop spinnaker nylon if you want a one colour kite (the only person whom I know who built an all black kite is Daryl Erwin of Wind Climbers and he took a lot of flack so make yours at least 2 colours)
    • 5 32.5" A20 fiberglass tubes
    • 3 54" FL370 fiberglass tubes
    • 4’ X 3" dacron for reinforcement & pockets
    • 7 line tensioners
    • 12 D-rings (10 plus 2 for the top & bottom)
    • thread (unless you are into glue and then you
      won’t need a kite to get high)
    • dacron line for bridle & bow line
    • 5" clear tubing inside dia. 3/8"
    • split ring
    • 10 end caps


 

Notes:


  • There is nothing magic about the size of this kite. You can add a bit
    to it’s height or subtract 2 bits from it’s width. I picked this size
    with several thoughts in mind
  • If it is too small Michael Graves will think that I like small kites.
  • If it’s too large it will hurt me.
  • If it’s too wide it will cost too much for materials.
  • If it’s too long it will be harder to launch.

Steps:


  1. Look at non-kite books for a graphic idea.(If you look only at kite books you will just make a kite that someone else has already made.) I do this too but try to be original. I think that several of you just went on to the next web site.
  2. You are on your own now to make the skin of your kite. Come back to visit and finish reading my directions on how to actually build the kite after the skin is 31" X 11½ ’ in size (plus ½" each side for the hem).
  3. You have probably just finished half of the work. Time for a break. Go fly one of your favorite kites. If this is your first kite STOP. You might not even like kite flying. Go out and buy and fly a store bought to see if you really like kite flying. Now that you are hooked, continue building. If you hate kiting you can use the skin that cost you hours & hours of your life working on, as a wall hanging.
  4. Hot cut 10 dacron pocket 1" X 2 ½" for pockets. Fold them so that one side is ½" longer that the other. See diagram of pockets.
  5. Hot cut 4 pieces that are ¼ circles with a 3" radius. Hot cut 6 pieces that are ½ circles with a 3" radius.
  6. Hem the edges around the entire kite placing the reinforcement patches in the 4 corners and evenly spread out (34 ½" apart) the ½ circles along the long edges where the horizontals will go.
  7. Sew the 10 pockets to the kite. If you have store bought rings, triangles or D-rings that are not split, then they should be placed between the dacron pocket material before you sew them to the kite. If the bow line connectors that you use are split, then you can put them in place after they are sewn to the kite.
  8. The top & bottom spreaders will work a lot better if you make sleeves or tubes for them to fit into. With no sleeves the material of the kite and the spar separate company. A leading edge that is flapping is trouble. With 4 pieces of material about 2" X 12" , attach them to the back of the sail so that the center spine can still fit up the middle and that the spreaders will slide into. This means 2 for the top spreader and 2 for the bottom spreader. You can hem them so that your kite will last as long as the pyramids.
  9. If the bow line rings are not yet attached, do it. I have made my rings or triangles out of coat hangers. Yes that is what I said, the wire hooked triangles in your closet. I have never told anyone this before but I am coming out of the closet today!! With a wire cutter, I cut the coat hanger into 3" lengths, file the sharp edges and bend them into a rhombus shape with one corner open. Then you can pinch them into the already sewed pocket end with a pliers. They are not strong enough for some applications but OK for this one. When you add the triangle after the pocket is sewed to the kite, the sewing is better.
  10. Cut the 5 spreaders to length, put end caps on them and bend them into place.
  11. Mark the 10 bridle attachment points. They should be half way between the spine & the side edge. For a 30" kite that is 7 ½" in from the sides. Also mark the centre point of each spreader position on the sail.
  12. Remove the spreaders and sew dacron diamond shaped pieces where each bridle will be attached and a square where each spreader crosses the spine so a shoelace can be attached. It will be used to bind together the spreader and the spine to the sail. If you need all your shoe laces for shoes, use any line but shoe laces "kick butt" when compared to substitutes.
  13. Cut 10 8" lengths of line, fold in half & tie an overhand knot (that’s any old knot) to form a loop.
  14. Melt 2 holes through the sail and the diamond dacron patch where the bridle will attach to the kite. This is painful because you spent so much time on the sail and now you are putting holes in it. They are placed so that the loop can be pulled through one hole moved around the spreader and down through the second hole. The knot then goes through the loop so that a larks head is formed with the knot on the front of the kite. The bridle is then larks headed to this knot later.
  15. Sew 5 shoe laces to the centre points. If you sew them at a 45 degree tilt things work better.
  16. Punch holes in 2 pieces of 2" long tubing so that split rings or home made triangles (from your closet) can be attached to them. These have an inside diameter large enough to fit over the ends of the spine.
  17. Attach 5 bow lines with tensioners.
  18. Attach line to the top 2 spreader triangles with it passing through the new spine connector ring. If you use a tensioner like the bow lines, the sail will be taut, top to bottom.
  19. Cut the spin so that it is about 24" longer than the kite is tall.
  20. Form 5 lengths of line that are 106" long to form the "V" parts of the bridle. With a loop on each end, larks head one to the left loop and the other to the right loop of each spreader.
  21. Attach 5 lines to the "V" bridles. The other end goes to a ring. If you have a personal favorite way to do this , feel free.
  22. The following is the total length from tow point to kite surface.

        1st spreader (leading edge)     162"
        2nd spreader                    164"
        3rd spreader                    177"
        4th spreader                    194"
        5th spreader                    218"

Bug Buddies in action!Click on the photo to enlarge

    Comments:


  • When you assemble the kite, the spine goes between the spreader and the sail. There should be a small ring of plastic tubing around the spine where it crosses the top & bottom spreader. It should be positioned so that it keeps the centre of the sail tight. (see interections sketch)
  • This kite does not need a very strong frame. The 10 bridle lines give support to the kite. There is quite a bit of flexibility to the kite. The only time that this is a problem is when you are launching or retrieving it. Your assistant should be told that holding the kite by the centre area may cause the kite to bend and break.
  • Launching this kite on your own is difficult because it is so tall. I have found that leaning it up against a bush or small tree works. A "from your hand launch" is possible but timing is critical. You must set it on the ground then let the wind stand it up until you can back up to tighten the bridle lines.
  • It flies in a light to medium wind. (I don’t have a wind meter so that’s the best I can do.)
  • The longest part of the bagged kite is the spine. If you use shorter spine spars, then you will have a 30+" bag. Mine is 54". My other kites are long so it is not a problem for me.
  • Enjoy this kite. Don’t let it bug you.
  • If you have any questions please email me.


 
 

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