From: "Bruce Lambert" <>
To: "Brian Johnsen" <>
Subject: BASF kite plan
Date: Fri, 10 Dec 1999 16:54:42 -0800

Hi Brian,

here is a kite plan and construction instructions you can put on the website. hope you can open it. if not, let me know.


Bruce Lambert 4/99

This kite is fairly easy and quick to make and flies very well.   Its performance will allow you to learn virtually all fighter kite flying skills, plus will be very effective in fighter kite competitions.    However, if you just want to enjoy the fun of flying a fighter kite, flying the BASF will give you hours of pure kite flying enjoyment!

You can use many different materials for this kite, such as Tyvek, ripstop nylon, ripstop polyester, Orcon, paper, a plastic bag, or mylar or mylar-like plastic gift wrap films.   The technique described here is the way I make kites using a plastic film type of material for the kite sail or skin.

These instructions are based on using a mylar or mylar-like film for the kite's skin.   This material is lightweight, strong, waterproof, inexpensive and fairly easy to work with.

The particular gift wrap or floral wrap film I use is readily available at Micheal's Craft Stores for about $3 for a roll.   It is called Clearphane, Cellane or other names and is available in solid transparent colors as well as some patterns.   Any gift wrap mylar-like film will work just fine.   A roll has enough material on it to make many kites! So buy a roll with a couple of friends and share your fighter kite making experience!

These instructions use 2 different types of tape to hold the kite parts together.   You can apply this construction technique to any kite plan you want to make.

I suggest reading the entire instruction before you begin, this will give you an overview of what is involved.

Here is a material list for the BASF kite:

A 17"x17" piece of mylar-like film.   Position the kite pattern diagonally on the material if you are using this minimum 17"x17" size, or if your material has a grain or pattern in it, you may need it to use a 19" x 21" piece in order to properly orient the pattern.

Clear packing tape that is approximately 2" wide by about 36".

About 12" of double-sided carpet tape.

Bamboo spine 19" long.   Bamboo is the best material to use for the spine of the kite.

Bow material.   If you want your kite to fly indoors, use a bow 23 7/8" of 0.04" diameter carbon fiber, for light winds, 2mph-6mph, then use a 23 7/8" bow of 0.05" diamether carbon fiber rod, if you want your kite to fly in winds from 5 mph-12mph then use a 23 7/8" bow of 0.06" diameter carbon fiber rod.

A couple of drops of Super Glue

About a 1/4" length of the smallest diameter vinyl tubing or shrink tubing you can find.   These are used as stops for the bridle connections on the bow.

Optional Batten material.   You will need 2 pieces each about 6 1/2" long.   You can use small diameter drinking straws, like is used for stirring coffee.   The ones I use are red.

Approximately 50" of 15# - 20# test dacron line for the bridle.   Any strong small diameter, low stretch line will work just fine, including cotton, linen or spectra.

Here are the tools you will need to make the BASF kite:

A 24"x 20" work surface that will allow you to cut with a razor or xacto knife.

A very sharp breakoff utility knife or xacto with new blade

24" straight edge ruler

A Sharpie extra fine point marker

Sharp scissors

Construction nail, about 8 penny size, and a cigarette lighter or a pencil point soldering iron

Let's get started!

basf fighter plan

Measurements in Inches

plan by Dennis Ische using AutoCAD

( Alternate plan provided by Dennis Ische using AutoCAD)

If you plan to make only one BASF, then you can draw or transfer the full size pattern directly onto the mylar kite skin.   But, if you think you would like to make more than one, or if friends want to make one or more, you should make a template to speed cutting out the kite skins.

You only need a template for 1/2 the kite.   The included drawing of the BASF is to scale.   So the easiest way to make it full size is to enlarge it on a copy machine to the size that the spine length on the finished enlarge version is 19" long.   Transfer the 1/2 size template to a matt board or heavy poster board or other hard material you will use as a cutting template.   Of course, you can also draw the 1/2 kite pattern directly onto the template material.

I put small holes in the template at the points where the bow tips will be located at the wing tips, the lower bridle connection point, the point where the bow and spine cross, and the points where the bridle attaches to the bow and the location of the battens.

Before you actually cut out the skin, there is one characteristic of mylar and other plastic films that I want to share with you.   It is this;   once an edge is nicked, it easily tears at that point.

Here is how to minimize this potential problem.   When cutting out the kite skin with a knife, do not stop the knife along the cut.   Make each cut with one uninterrupted pass of the knife.   If you are using a template, make one pass with the knife on each edge.   The only place you can stop the knife is at the corners.   It is very disappointing to finish the kite and during its first flight, the skin tears for no apparent reason!   The reason is the "nic" made by the knife stopping and starting.   Fortunately with a piece of packing tape it can usually be fixed.

Fold the material so you have at least 19" along the fold.   Align the 1/2 kite template so the spine of the template is on the crease.   Now use the Sharpie pen to put dots on the material in all the holes in the template.   Use an xacto knife and cut around the template.   Now turn over the material and using your Sharpie, put dots on top of the existing dots so both sides will have them.

Open the material and lay it flat on your work surface.

Now we are going to reinforce the leading edge with packing tape.   This is an optional step.   The kite will fly just fine in light wind without it, but the kite, even in light wind is more durable with the reinforcement.   Cut about a 12" or so length of tape.   When you look at the included plan, you will see the dotted lines showing where the reinforcement tape is to be applied.    Using your eye as a guide, it doesn't need to be exact, place one end of the tape on the kite skin about 3/4" beyond the intersection of the left tab and the leading edge.   Place it so that when you extend the tape to the nose of the kite skin, about from 1/2" to 1" of the tape will be on the inside of the leading edge line.   This is the part of the tape that will remain on the skin of the kite as reinforcement.   After completing the left side, do the same for the right side.   Trim away the packing tape along the leading edge.

Now apply double-sided carpet tape to the kite tabs.   Mark on the roll of tape about eight 7/16" - 3/8" wide strips.   Cut pieces of carpet tape so they are about 7/16" - 3/8" wide.   Apply the tape to the tab area on each wing tip aligning the tape with the outside edge of the tap.

Now you need to get the bow ready to put onto the kite skin.   First, cut the carbon fiber to the correct length and sand the ends so they are rounded.   Next place two 1/8" wide slices of small diameter vinyl tubing onto the bow.   Leave them loose.   The bow is now ready for installing, which we will deal with a bit later.

Cut your bamboo spine to 19" long.

The shinny or skin side of the bamboo is the side to put onto the kite sail.   Now the spine is ready to be attached to the skin.

Cut the material you have chosen to use for the battens so you have 2 - 6 1/2" pieces.   The battens are now ready for taping to the skin.

Next, peel off the carpet tape protective paper covering on the tape you just put on the tabs.

Pick up the bow, make sure the 2 slices of vinyl tubing are near the center.   Flex the bow and touch the tips at the edge of the trailing edge on both sides so that they are just barely on the carpet tape, keeping the bow above the kite skin except for the tips.   Holding the tips in place, allow the bow to rotate down to the kite skin.   As it touches the kite skin, it will also be touching the carpet tape.   Press the bow onto the carpet tape where it is naturally touching it.   Then, while holding down one side of the bow onto the kite skin, fold over the carpet taped tab around the bow and onto the kite skin.   Burnish the tape and do the same for the other side.

Cut 2 small pieces of carpet tape, about 1/8"x 1", and apply to the nose and tail of the spine.

Install the spine so it is attached to kite skin at the nose and tail of the kite and the spine runs along the centerline of the kite.   Place the curved portion of the spine so it is trying to force the nose up off the work surface.

Cut 4 small pieces of packing tape, about 3/8"x 3/4".   These will be used to hold the battens in place on the back side of the kite skin.    Place the left batten in its position.   While holding it there, place one of the pieces of tape on the end of the batten that is nearest the trailing edge.   Be sure the tape is not extending over the trailing edge.   Next, apply a piece of the tape to the end of the batten closest to the spine.   Do the same with the other batten.

Reinforce the wing tip area where the tabs have been folded over with packing tape.   Cut 2 pieces of packing tape about 1" wide by about 6" long.   Apply the tape so it wraps around the point where the tab that is holding the bow in place, joins the leading edge of the kite.   Do the same to both sides.   The reinforcing tape should be about 1/3 on the front face of the kite and 2/3 on the back side.

Now, reinforce the nose of the kite with tape.   Place the kite on the work surface so it is lying on its face with the nose pointed toward you.   Cut a piece of tape about 1"x1 1/2" and lay it sticky side up on your work surface so that 3/4" or so of the length of the tape is under the nose of the kite.   Press the nose of the kite down onto the tape.   With your xacto knife, cut two slits in the the tape aligned so the cuts are extensions of each side of the spine.   Fold the center portion of the tape over the spine.   Then, fold over one side of the remaining tape onto and around the back of the kite skin and onto the spine.   Do the same with the other side.

Cut a 1/8" wide piece of packing tape and apply it around the end of the spine.   About 1/2 of the 2" long piece is on the front of the kite sail and the other half on the back of the spine.

With the kite lying on its front face with the nose pointing toward you, move the loose vinyl tubing pieces so that one is on either side of the spine, but within 1/2" of the spine.   Lay a ruler across the spine just below the bow so you can accurately measure 1-1/8" on either side of the spine center.   Put a drop of super glue on the bow about 1" either side of the spine.   Slide the vinyl pieces to the glue so that the outside (wingtip) edge of the vinyl is 1" from the spine center.   Once the vinyl touches the glue it should hold it.

Now with your Sharpie pen, mark on the kite skin the location of the outer edge of each of the vinyl pieces.

Using a small diameter soldering iron, touch the hot soldering iron to the kite sail at the dots on the lower part of the spine, at the points were the bridle stops are located on the bow, and at the point where the bow and spine cross.   You could also use a lighter or candle flame to heat a nail hot enough so it will melt the kite skin material.

For the bridle cut 3 pieces of bridle line, one 12" -13" long, another about 20" long and the third about 6" long.   Take the 6" piece and fold it in half and tie an overhand knot and trim the ends, set it aside.   This will be the "tow connection".

Next tie one end of the 12" piece to the bow through one of the holes in the front face of the skin.   Use any knot that will hold well and is easy for you to tie.   When I tie the knots, I usually have about an inch or so of line that is a tail that I later trim off.   Then tie the other end of the 12" line to the other bow bridle point.   Trim the tails so they are only about 1/2" or so.

With the 20" piece, loop one end over on itself and form about a 4" long overlap.   Tie an overhand knot there to form a loop that is approximately 3"-4" long.   Attach the looped end to the 12" bridle line you just tied to the bow.   To do this, use a larks head knot.   Center it and tighten.   Tie the loose end through the lower bridle attachment point holes in the skin and around the back of the spine.   Before you tie it, pull the bridle line toward one wingtip of the kite.   When tied, the bridle should not be long enough to extend over or outside of the wingtip.   Tie the lower bridle point and trim the tail of the line.

Using a larks head knot to attach the two parts of the bridle allows for adjustment of the kite's bridle.

Attach the 3"-4" loop you made earlier to the lower bridle line using a larks head knot.   This is the point where you will attach your flying line, it is called the tow point.   Using a larks head knot allows the tow point to be adjusted up or down to suit the wind and your flying style.