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Project KiteWing

Posted: Mon Jun 17, 2019 11:27 am
by bragnouff
Plenty of hype recently about those additional toys, that appear to be the must have in any kiter's quiver. (arguably)
Still not convinced that I absolutely need to buy one, but I'm pretty keen to try. I see an application for windskating, where it'd be easier to deploy than a windsurf rig. And on SUP or SUP foil in one wind direction that doesn't quite work for kiting due to sketchy launching spots and gusty winds. More riding time, why not.
Anyway, that's for the background and motivation, there are plenty of topics in the other divisions of the forum to discuss those, but my topic here is essentially to document my journey in trying to turn an old kite into one of those contraptions, and learn along the way with others.
I've been kiting for 20 years, done a few minor repairs on kites and bars, but interestingly enough, I'm totally clueless about sewing, which might be a challenge, and while I can take some parts of the work to be done to the local repair shop, I'll aim for the most DIY option possible, partially to show that it can (hopefully) be done on the cheap and that the big brands are taking the mickey. And of course to extend the life of some kites that have been retired for various reasons.
Reduce, Reuse, Recycle, that's always a good lifeline.

So here it goes!

Base kite for this attempt: a GK VSonic 8m² which should yield something in the 5m² range. Kind of stocky, full of 7 struts, but most of all black and red which looks awesome. Built like a tank, with a Dacron skeleton, solid base for it. Only a blown out strut and a worn out bridle. There's also the 11m available if I want to attempt a bigger one.

Re: Project KiteWing

Posted: Mon Jun 17, 2019 11:34 am
by bragnouff
Starting by folding the kite to have an idea of its new shape once the middle section is gone.
Middle chunk neatly tucked away with pegs.

Re: Project KiteWing

Posted: Mon Jun 17, 2019 11:42 am
by bragnouff
I have invested in a seam picker and started removing the seams inside of the T2 struts (T1 being the center strut)
And I obtained two smaller halves like that:
I was not too sure how to proceed. Keeping two struts in the center seemed like an easier idea than keeping only one... The Dacron frame that the struts are built on will provide an easy way to put them back together.

I kept some length of the leading edge either side, here again, not really knowing how it would play out.

Re: Project KiteWing

Posted: Mon Jun 17, 2019 11:54 am
by bragnouff
In hindsight, I should probably have removed the LE bladder before splitting it in half, but I had in mind to really have to half wings connected together, somehow...
I thought I could seal the bladder at some point, but for now a knot will do. Light inflation only for now to see how things come in place.
Disconnected the T4 struts, and reusing the valves of the one pump to inflate my halves.

Trying to get my kite repair person to do the stitching between struts, but being mostly away or unavailable at this time of the year, I went ahead with dacron tape. The stitching can come at a later stage, and this holds the halves together enough while I concentrate on the rest.
Clean up with isopropyl alcohol, dry with hair dryer, used 2 sided tape to hold lightly in place, and used the black sail tape to stick things together. Applied heat with hairdryer to improve adhesion.
Left the part near the leading edge unattached while I figure out a way forward...

Re: Project KiteWing

Posted: Mon Jun 17, 2019 12:03 pm
by bragnouff
The leftover of leading edge is folded onto itself a few times, and both of these are clamped together with a basic 3d printed clamp.
From there I figure out that it'd be better to have one leading edge than two halves, that would provide more stiffness, and I'm working at reconnecting things together, which would be pretty easy for someone who is used to repair kites. Bit more of a challenge when only using glues, tapes and cable ties. But challenge is accepted nonetheless!

More soon.

Re: Project KiteWing

Posted: Mon Jun 17, 2019 12:52 pm
by jumptheshark
What about the dihedral that is opposite to the kites original anhedral?

That looks to play a pretty big role in handling.

On a similar note, I'm scouting appropriate older kites with known turning speed and decent power for the right candidate for some strut and reinforcement stripping.

Want to strip em down to the absolute bear essentials and see what kind of weight and light wind handling can be achieved.

Re: Project KiteWing

Posted: Thu Jul 04, 2019 6:39 am
by bragnouff
Managed to glue my two half bladders together using Aquaseal. Glued about 50mm of overlap. One side after the other, plus a bit of glue over the leaky parts by the seams. Leading edge stayed inflated overnight and is then worthy of reinsertion.

The junction of the two halves that I had in mind is working pretty well. One side of the Leading edge dacron is rolled onto itself, allowing insertion of the other protruding half.
First inflation at mid pressure.
The two center struts are strapped together, which prevents stress on my median sticky tape while things aren't secured.
Junction of the leading edge will be copiously glued once I figure out if I add a webbing or boom attachment there.
There is some dihedral in there which I can control to an extent through tension between those 2 struts. This will be locked in place with FlexTape, and/or mesh and glue (waiting for my Dr Tuba order to arrive). And that will fill the gap in the canopy in the center front bit.

Need to repair wingtip struts that were initially burst. Or replace them with battens or foam struts, and tidy up the inflation valves.

Overall, this starts to look like what I had in mind.

Used so far:
One Seam ripper, scissors, 2m of sail repair tape. 5g of Aquaseal.

Re: Project KiteWing

Posted: Thu Oct 17, 2019 9:28 pm
by B19 ELS
Any more to this build? Anyone done anything similar?

Re: Project KiteWing

Posted: Thu Oct 17, 2019 11:55 pm
by bragnouff
Not much happening at the moment.

Couple of reasons:
-I think I have developed a sensitivity to the VOC in the glues like aquaseal / shoe goo, kind of a sore throat coming up afterwards. I can't do the full glueing and curing outside, and the next phase is going to be glue intensive. Might get better with the weather improving.
-I bought a Gong Wing 5m to have a reference point, and figuring out what works or not. So I'm learning to use that first. Few mountain board sessions, couple of half successful attempts on SUP foil in miserable conditions.

Overall I don't know if I'll achieve the stiffness level of the Gong with my bladder rework. My LE diameter is reasonably thin (as for a 8m kite), and it'll require super high pressure, or lighter loading (like when using on a skateboard).

There's a few DIY'ed wings at although as a sailmaker with the right expertise, it seems it's easier to start from scratch than recycling kites.