Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Spring Breeze

Spring means kites. Kites, yay! Everybody go get your kites... or make them, as you please.

This pattern is the best one I’ve found so far for a small, quick build that flies well. It’s a great choice for a fast project with kids. Unfortunately, the original gif file by Jeremy Carson (1987) is older than most of the net itself, low-res, and badly deteriorating.

A friend of mine from down the road in Towa village, showing off a couple of kites we made from pages of a calendar.

Using Carson’s original measurements, I’ve rebuilt the file in Illustrator, giving the kite a blank face so that you can decorate it on your own. (Click for full sized file.)

OR, here’s one I already decorated with part of the coat of arms of the Czech Republic, for no reason better than that I really like that lion.

Heraldry symbols are COOL.

Build Notes:
The file prints on letter size paper. Please note that you don’t need special lightweight paper to get this model to fly well – regular weight printer paper works best. I suggest bamboo skewers, available in most grocery stores wherever the toothpicks are, for the spars. Use regular cotton or polyester sewing thread for the line (NOT serious kite line, because it’s too heavy), and don’t skimp on the length of the tails. This kite needs heavy rear drag to stabilize.

Flight Notes:
Once you’ve built it, you might think your kite’s sail area looks pretty small compared to the weight of the paper, the spars, the glue, and the huge twin tails you’ve rigged it with... BUT, don’t worry! She flies very well... provided you have steady wind. This kite will dance for gusts, but like most small kites, it doesn’t launch easily in on-off winds. Still, it doesn’t take much to get her airborne. Launch in steady winds, minimum 8 mph. If you have steady winds above 12 mph, you should be able to launch without any running. (Serious kite flyers hate running starts, did you know that?) Optimum wind speed is 12-15mph, maximum is 18 or thereabouts.

I’ve never had to add wing tassels or mini tails to my builds, but Jeremy suggested it in the original instructions, so it’s likely worth a shot if you have a balance issue. If your kite takes some altitude and then suddenly starts spinning around in a tight circle, it’s because the winds are simply too strong for the sail to cope with at that altitude, and the balance can’t be fixed. You just need a bigger kite.


bunbun said...

I have had a hard time leaving comments on your page for some reason today.
What a kawaii pic! She looks so happy and thrilled with her kites! It looks like a very fun day. It is really cool how you like kites a lot.
Those are great detailed instructions. It cracked me up how you wrote that one symbol was cool. It is cool!
That village looks so beautiful! Is that a rice farm? I want to go!

I am a far, far cry from organic chem. But I aspire to take it someday!

What are you doing for shigoto now that you are done with college?

Oh and yes i did shoot lasers, not as cool as it sounds! I do sort of miss my job though..
Talk to you soon! Ja mata
Anata no tomodatchi- Holly

Unknown said...

i like this!!!!

bunbun said...

I checked out your deviantart page. Sugoi desu ne!
I esp. loved your nihon photos! So interesting and not typical photos from Japan.
I love the download stuff you offer. You are bursting with talent! When I get some ink ( i am running low) I would love to print some stuff out, if you don't mind.
I have been doing a lot of cooking and cleaning since my workload is far less intense as it once was. I like it, do you?
How nice to help your .... damn, i know onesan is big brother... my book isnt near me so i will have to say little sister for now.
Thank goodness my old sensei doesn't see this. It would be embarrasing! She drilled that word in my head and it is already gone!

Ku said...

NYAAA! I accidentally deleted my own comment. >,< I'mma put it back up for posterity's sake, since it has the link to the original sun kite:

やほう!Konbanha! Genki'ska? XD

Hehe, that little girl was a hoot. She only lives sixty seconds walk from my front door, so she'd show up all the time -- even when I was in the shower. >,o We got along well, though.

The instructions are thanks to the original designer; I just cleaned up his file... the original is here, if you'd like to see it.

The village in the picture is the tiny "ahyou" hill section of the not-much-bigger Towa village, where I lived and worked in Japan. That rice field was managed by an old grandma and grandpa couple who planted and watered it by hand. They also grew green squash, dill, and apples, just in the tiny little space surrounded by houses. Rural Japan is so peaceful~

Watashi no shigoto ha ima "housework" desu. I came home to try and improve my sister's studies. Once she finishes high school, I hope to return to Japan. In the meantime, I've been playing around the St. Louis art scene, interviewing for jobs and working tiny freelance stuff. But mostly cooking and cleaning. -_-;

YAY LASERS. <3 I miss my job too. ;_; I should really write and see how my successor is doing... I've been very bad at that.

Jya mata! Ganbarimashou!

Ku said...

AND, thanks for going to the DA page. ^^; It's really old stuff... most of it is gonna have to come down someday, so possible employers don't see my crappy kiddie illustrations.

I kinda like cooking and cleaning myself, except I'm so terrible at it. ;_; I only know how to make a few things. My family isn't picky, nor are they adventurous, so if I just make something with enough cheese and/or pasta, they'll eat it. -_-;

You bake art, though. I wanna do a cookie swap with you someday! Onegaaaai!

It turns out I'm not helping my sister as much as I'd like... we just got a notice from her chemistry teacher that she didn't turn in a big project that was due almost two weeks ago. She knew she'd missed the due date, and she didn't tell us or even try to turn it in late. We never even knew she had a project in the first place. The kid drives me nuts!! >,<*

otouto = little brother
imouto = little sister
oniisan = elder brother
oneesan = elder sister

I forget the others! >w<

Anonymous said...

Dear Ku
Well, I was looking for something completely different when I chanced across your blog and was charmed by the picture of the little girl holding two kites. I was flattered to see that the kites were based on my sun kite design. Over 20 years ago we had fun with this kite and it's good to see that it is still giving pleasure. Thanks for updating the design! Jeremy

Ku said...

O.O Mr. Carson?!

Wow, thank you so much! In addition to the little girl in the photograph, there is a class of 15 kindergarten students who would like to thank you for inventing this design and sharing it online... they enjoyed an outdoor English lesson with your kites, learning words for the weather and things in the sky. I think it was the best lesson we had all year. :D

It's really an honor to hear from you! Thank you again for sharing your work and talents! m(^_^)m