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single skin power kite


Powermad 26
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I am trying to find some help with plans to build a single skin power kite. I was talking to a forum that was titles "A new year...A new build" from a person called Big E. It was about a wonderful experience building single skin power kites of various sizes. I haven't been able to get in contact with this person. They haven't replied and it has been a while since they had visited. I am really just looking for info on single skin kite building and thought I would start here. If I could get a hold of this person that would be great, but any info on this subject would be great, but I also don't mean to bother this person. He used a program called Single Skin 0.3. Any body use this before? Any info out there? Thanx for any offered and happy holidays.

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Hey @Powermad 26 I have made a lot of single skin kites but mostly NPW's or variations on NPW's.  I have used to Single Skin program to design a few kites, but they were quite simple.   The first kite in this video shows one of those kites along with a number of my other single skin kite experiments.  My first try at that.  It flew well enough but was not outstanding. 

 

I have just built a "gkite" also a single skin which I think flies quite well, and I am working on a second version.  I modified the design to remove the "wrap around" leading edge, which doesn't seem to make hurt much.  This link below provides the plans.  This link also provides software that can be used for either paraglider or single skin kite design, though the Single Skin program seems easier to use.

http://www.laboratoridenvol.com/projects/gkite/gkite.en.html

 

As for BigE123, I haven't heard from him in quite a while.  He is a very talented builder though.

 

 

 

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What I did is to modify the design so that the leading edge ends before it wraps all the way around.   This would be like changing the design of a closed cell (two skin) foil to make it an open cell foil.   If you look at the video closely you can see the front end of the ribs are exposed (and partly cut off).  This eliminates to sew the fabric all the way around the leading edge of the rib, great simplifying the sewing.  I did have to shorten the two primary bridles on the front the kite.  I don't know how substantial the effect on performance, but the wind window and pull of the kite seem pretty good.  It does require a very fine touch on the brakes which makes it a bit hard to fly.  I don't know if that is due to change.  I'm also flying it as 4 line, while the plans seem to show it as a two line.     

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This might help.  I cut away all the profiles so that the angle is about 90 degrees from the line of the lower hem, and cut away the front of the LE skins so that the amount removed is appropriate.  (I measured the cut away distance on each rib using a plastic line.)  If I were to do it again, I think I might leave a bit more of the LE in place, but that is just a guess.  Be sure to add a hem allowance on the front the rib (which is not shown in the picture.)

 

Also to make life a lot easier for yourself - leave extra fabric on the TE (trailing edge) because it is quite possible the hems will not line up perfectly and this allows you to just cut away as needed.

 

 

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I just hold the two panels together (front side to front side on the inside of the two pieces) and sew them, a few CM at a time until the curve is not so pronounced.  Once that's done I sew the rib into place.  The guys that are really good do all 3 pieces at once though.  Normally, I work from the left most panel and go to the right so I don't have a lot of fabric inside the arm of the machine. 

The real work is in making the patterns, cutting out the pieces and sewing the rib hems and reinforcements together.  Ian's blog shows one way to do it.   Once you have all that done, sewing the pieced together is not a big job, if you have some experience sewing (or know someone who does.)

 

 

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Just remeber to use a good fabric, remember taking weeks to print the templates out and glue all the sheets together for any one panel. Then the massive cutting out the nylon with a hot knife, ..., then bugger the kite flew horrible due to poor choice of matrial. Ie don’t the ripstop nylon from SpotLight.

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I used "Prototarp" from Dollar Tree on the first version and surplus 3/4 oz poly from Flymarket on this one.  I don't think the choice of material matters that much, but something that is a little bit stretchy is probably best.  I think if the material was more stretchy the wrinkles would be a lot smaller, though they do give me a guide as to where bridles might need adjustment.  

 

 

 

 

 

The lighter poly does take a lot less wind to fly than the blue Dollar Tree tarp, but I am always reluctant to use expensive material on a design that is unproven such as this.  If it flies then making a second one out of better material easy because I already have the templates and know some of the finer points.

BTW - 3/4 oz is a bit misleading.  It is measured according to a sailmaker's yard which is 27 by 36 so don't expect an actual yard to weigh 3/4 oz.  I've used texlon as my "go to" fabric for single skin and foils I've made and been happy with the results though like the poly it doesn't stretch much. 

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