Mini-Circoflex Variant - Photos & Notes

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I am now building ``Mini-'' Circoflexi, all under 5 meters (circumference) in size. I build these not only form my own use but also as a special item for swaps or personal gifts to fellow flyers ;-)

However I'll just briefly describe the construction of this sturdy circoflex variant. This may expand into a plan one day! espeically with additions from my respones to people asking questions. So the more you ask the better this plan will become!

[photo] The material is ripstop (.75oz/m^2) sewn into strips 32 cm wide (1 foot and 1 inch), which allows for a 1 cm (1/2 inch) fold on each edge for leach line and the 2mm fiberglass spar). When creating the strips I do not worry about the exact length of the strip just ensure it is 32cm wide and will fit together straight.

I then sewn the pieces together until the ripstop strip is roughly somewhere between 3.5 to 4.5 meters (yards) long. At that point I join the strip into a ring, and measure the final result for this mini-circoflex's circumference. Yes it varies, and I do not measure the final ring size, exactly until all the pieces have been sewn together.

This way I do not have to worry about the amount of material absorbed by sewing the peices together, as I measure after, and I don't waste the material as I would if I was trying to building to an exact size.

I meaure (and note) the final length of the ripstop ring, and a leech line is measured and marked, so that 15-20cm extra line is left at each end. The extra line prevents you loosing the end of the line as you do the next step.

I then fold the trailing edge over by 1 cm (1/2 inch for the americans out there) and sew the leach line into the hem as I go. Note, I do not bother to do a full rolled hem on the mini's. I have never seen the edges fry and their is not enough material to catch the wind. I sew continueously all the way around the ring leaving the smallest gap between the start and end lock stitches for the extra leech line ends to come out.

Then, I pull both ends of the leach line as much as posible! That is I gather and compress the ripstop into the smallest posible length of the leech line. When fully compressed I tie of the leech line 2-3 shorter than the measured marks, and spread the ripstop over the whole length (un-gathering it).

This initial gather seems to improve the inital flying characteristics of the circoflex. Actually I find that a leech line in a mini-circoflex becomes nearly a non-requirment, as the gather also reduces the trailing edge size of the ring by an appropraite amount.

The leach line is kept and remeber it is reduced in size by 2-3 cm ONLY. It is far too easy to over-do and must be only minimally smaller than the kites circumference when flying. Any more and the leech line only produces a LOT drag, preventing the kite from flying as high as it should.

The leading edge spar pocket also folded over by 1cm (1/2 inch) is just sewn empty, near the foled edge. A 3-5 cm left between the start and stop of the stitch is enough to allow a 2mm fibreglass spar, to be inserted and feruled into place. A gap this small does NOT need to be closed, so you can if needed remove the spar again.

I get the fibreglass in 6 meter stock lengths directly from the factory. However I still need to join the ends together and I also sometimes piece 2 or 3 pieces together for a specific circoflex. So whatever you can get it in will be fine. Even 1 meter lengths will be ok.

I use a thin brass ferule tube, 2cm (1 inch) long, with a 2mm inner diameter (exactly same and fibregalss spar) to join the pieces together. I super glue it halfway on one end of each rod and then (when dry) just push the other end into the tube to form the ring. At one point I used to slightly crush the ferule onto the fibreglass but it is far to easy to over do and crush the rod itself. Glueing is better.

When I measure cut (and join together) the spar, the same length as the final ripstop ring measurment, adding only a tiny little extra (about 1cm) to the over all length. This ensures that a very slight stretch in the ripstop itself keeps the rods feruled together. It is better to slightly over do the rood length and under do it, and have the ferule detach when flying.

After inserting the spar in the circoflex. I sew the 8 bridle loops equally spaced around the circoflex. The loops are sew by folding a thin strip of ripstop folded three times (sew a fully rolled hem on a piece of scrap ripstop the approprite color, and then cut it off!) over and around the spar already inserted in the kite. then seing accross the strip close to the spar (in the kite) with a zipper foot.

The bridling however is different to the larger circoflexi. For reasons why see Mini-Circoflexi Bridling in Bridle Line Calculator).

I use the bridle pigtail attachments to measure out and attach the lines to small `pigtails' larks headed to the bridle loops. The other end of the bridle lines are attached to a single solid (no gaps) brass ring, using the single ring bridle arramgment to keep the bridle lines neat, rather than the 3 ring arrangement I use on the larger circoflexi.

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These mini-circoflexi can also be linked in a train, but have problems due to a lower bridle point. Basically the line from one circoflex to the next can catch onto the lower part of the sail. This causes one or two mini-circoflex kites to tip upside down, resting on the line leading up to the next kite in the train. This is where the kite settles, pulling the rest of the train down.

Created: 12 March 1999
Updated: 18 June 1999
Author: Anthony Thyssen, <>