|Following on from the Circoflex, from Oostven and Schiefer which was featured in the last but one issue, we have the plans for another kite was on view at the last Dieppe festival. Andeas Agren from Sweden is one of the top founder members of the "Sala & Tango Sallskap" (Kite and Tango club). In the artistic creation class of competition at Dieppe he designed the Colour X, a transparent kite train. The framing in itself is a work of art. It is the plan for this frame, called A-Kross that Andreas Agren has given us. The kite can have the sail material of your choice, be it transparent film like the original, paper or spinnaker cloth.|
|The A-Kross frame consists of five pieces : two spine pieces (right and left), one front piece to achieve the dihedral and one rear piece to more or less restore a flat surface (this last piece makes the letter A when you attach it). Finally there is a short straight stick used as a separator between the spine pieces. The frame is easy to do, only takes some time and precision in bending and gluing the bamboo sticks. The frame is selfsupporting and it is handy to have a few frames laying around to be able to quickly make a train when a new idea pops up. The size of each frame depends on the quality of the bamboo sticks; a window blind has rather soft sticks, therefore a frame built from that should not be bigger than A3 size. I have built A5 size kites of the very thin bamboo from paint brush wrappings. When I built the kite I usually work in three sessions: bending bamboo, assembling frames and putting on sails. To be able to make a number of bent bamboo sticks at one go, I use one jig for bending one stick at a time, and another jig for drying several sticks at a time.|
|THE MATERIAL |
What you need to start : * A piece of wooden board for the bending jig. *A piece a sheet metal, not bigger than it fits in the oven, for the drying jig. *Nails with small heads *Two dozens of 60 x 4 mm screws and nuts. *A hot air gun.
For the frame : *Bamboo sticks (for example from a window blind). *White glue for wood. *4 mm eyelets
For the sail : *Painted or printed paper, plastic or cloth (decorated plastic bags are excellent).
Jigs The bending jig can very well be made of board, but the drying jig must be of sheet metal if you intend to put it in the oven for drying the sticks.
Bending jigs * Draw the template for the spine stick on the wooden board. * Put nails along this line as indicated in fig. 6. * To get smoother corners you can use bottle caps in the corners. * Draw the 150¡ dihedral on the board. * Put nails along this line as indicated in fig. 6.
Drying jigs * Draw the tempate for the spine stick on a piece of sheet-metal. * Drill holes along this line as indicated in fiG. 7 and fix 60 (at lest) x 4 mm screws in the holes. * Make the three marks for separator stick, towing point and flattening stick. * Make also marks for the ends of the spine stick itself. * Draw the 150¡ dihedral on the board. *Drill holes along this line as indicated in fig. 7 and fix 4 mm screws in the holes. * Make also marks for the ends of the dihedral stick.
Bamboo Soak the bamboo sticks for a couple of hours, this will make them stand the heat of the hot air gun better without getting burnt.
|MAKING THE FRAME |
Spine * Put the end of one stick in the bending jig, (see fig. 6) switch on the hot air gun. * Start with the first corner and warm the stick with oscillating movements where it is to be bent. Keep a light pressure on the stick so you feel when it softens. * Do likewise with the two other corners. * Continue to warm the three corners of the stick for a while with oscillating movements, then move the stick to the drying jig. * When the drying jig is full, put it in the oven at 140¡ - 150¡ C for at lest 20 mn. ¥ Before removing the sticks from the jig, put marks on all sticks aligned with the marks on the jigs.
Dihedral * Make the dihedral piece in the same way the spine piece (see fig. 3)
Flattening piece * Make the flattening piece (see fig. 4) in the same way as the spine piece, only use the top part of the spine jigs.
Assembling the frame When drying the glue, use pegs to keep the bamboo sticks in position. Before glueing, bend each stick slightly as a quality check. * Cut the spine piece and the dihedral piece to length. * Glue one dihedral and two spine pieces together and let it dry. The spine piece should be on the "inside" of the dihedral, i.e. the dihedral is to be closest to the sail (see fig. 5). * Cut the separator stick to length (10 cm for A3 size) and glue it in position between the two spine sticks. Glue the other end of the inside of the dihedral, right in the middle (see fig. 5). Let it all dry. * Cut the flattening piece to size and glue it onto the spine sticks. Put a drop of glue also between the spine sticks and let it dry. * Finally attach a 4 mm eyelet (for the line) at the towing point and put a drop of glue between the spine sticks just below the eylet and let it dry. The eylet is for keeping the line in position within the frame.
Sail * Check and test each frame for quality. * Cut the sail to size and glue the sail onto the passed frames.
Line A suitable distance between the kites on the line is 1.5 - 2 times the height of the kite. If all kites are decorated in the same way, keep them close, if they are different, have some distance between them. To keep each kite in position on the line, I tie a "constrictor" knot (fig. 8) around a short piece of thin PVC covered electric wire. The "constrictor knot" (from the Ashley book of knots) is a much safer knot than the similar "clove hitch" knot, and it squeezes the PVC so everything stays in place. The "constrictor" knot may, like the "clove hitch" knot, well be tied in the hand by bending two loops. This is easier to do than to describe, but I have tried in fig. 9.
|FLYING AN A-KROSS |
An A-Kross kite train prefers light wind, and it can fly in quite a high angle. The top kite might need a pair of thin strings as tails to fly more steady. Keep away from other kite lines as you fly. This kite literally chewes kite line, and within seconds after crossing another line you have got a magnificant, friendship-creating tangle.