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Denny's Sleddy

Here is a nifty flyer that can be made for pennies. It flys great in a fresh breeze. It makes a great Kids and family project that helps inspire the artistic and scientific side of the sport.

The Plan


There are four dimensions to this plan. Dimension "A" determines all the rest. It defines not only the height of the sail but the length of the two spars. For example if you buy a 3/16" x 48" wood dowel and cut it in half then dim. A would equal 24". See material suggestions below. So Dim. B is A x .61. Dim. C = A x .29. Dim D= A x .28. This gives you the main dimensions of the sled kite. To make a 1/2 pattern divide Dim. B by 2. I like to use box card or Bristol board to make the template to trace around (See photo above).


Materials/Instructions

For the sail I have used several kinds of materials over the years. White plastic Kitchen Catcher garbage bags work well for the shorter ones. HD garbage bags work for others. Plastic table cloths are a popular choice. These are available at dollar stores. While there you can also find poly wrapping paper which works for the smaller ones. I have also used Tyvek and ripstop nylon for the sails over the years. The last two are usually sewn with pockets for the spars.

The spars of which there are two, can be sourced a couple ways. Wooden dowels make a fine choice. A 4 footer cut in half to make two spars. I found 30" bamboo bbq skewers at the dollar store which after cutting to 29" to cut off the sharp point also make fine spars. A 12 pack for a buck and a half also makes them cheap. Of course larger sled kites need bigger spars. 3 foot should use 1/4" wood dowels. Four footers can get away with the quarter inch dowels also. Experiment, it's fun!

The bridle is an 8 foot piece of 1/4" plastic ribbon from the dollar store. It works great and has the added bonus of humming in stronger winds.

I use a fiber packing tape which is 3/4" wide. Strong and sticks like crazy to the plastic sails. A piece over the front of the spar and sail and another at the rear end of the spar making the sail taut to the spar. The spars run from the top front corner straight down to the bottom corner. See the photo. For the larger sleds I use a piece of tape half way along the spar to steady the spar. I also add two pieces of tape at the bridle tie on points to reinforce them. It keeps the bridle from pulling through the sail material. To finish off the kite you need to make a tail. A 5 foot piece of 1 1/2" crate paper taped at the bottom of each spar to create a loop works well. You can also cut up some of the garbage bags to do the same thing, this adds drag and makes the kite fly steadier. It also adds some action.


This is a typical sled kite from the front and back.

Decorating

Big bold graphics look great up high in the sky. Distance from your kite really shrinks a graphic the further away you get. For the garbage bag versions a permanent marker works best. You can see it well up in the sky and it adds virtually no weight to the kite. Paint and maybe tissue paper glued to the sail work too but not as well as the markers.


Flying

Also at the dollar store you can find kitchen string on usually 200 foot rolls. Way too much for a small 2 foot sled. I usually cut a roll in half or in threes and tie to a 2x4 cardboard card and then roll it on the card around the length. This makes for a compact reel. I usually fly the kite off the line while the card flips around on the ground as line is let out. Tying the line to the card means as you hit the end of the line it doesn't float away into the wild blue yonder! For the bigger sleds… eg. The 4 footers… there is usually heavier line at the dollar stores. I found fluorescent marker line is great stuff.




Fly Safely

A word on flying kites safely.

The DON'TS- DON'T fly near power lines, trees, roads, people, buildings and other hazards. You should especially NOT fly in storms. Wet kite string conducts electricity amazingly well. Ben Franklin found that out really quick!. When walking over kite lines do NOT step on it. Finally DON'T fly anybody's kite without the flyers permission.

The Do's- Fly in a large unobstructed area (a soccer field is great!). Always beware of your surroundings. Also be polite and informative to other flyers and spectators. The more people you can include in flying kites the better!

FLY SMART, FLY SAFE AND
MOST OF ALL HAVE FUN!!!



This site has been modified on February 15th, 2018
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