Picture of Kite Winder for Kite Aerial Photography (KAP)
This is a simple winder for KAP. KAP generally uses strong single-string kites as lifters: you get the kite and the camera up there, and you don't do a lot with it once it's there. Meanwhile, you want to be working your controls to take photos.

This is a design that I've seen around on the internet for a while. I'm sure the resemblance to a Klingon bat'leth is entirely coincidental.
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Step 1: General dimensions

You'll need a piece of wood about 26" by 7". A lifting kite can put plenty of force on you, so choose something thick and strong - a floorboard or a bit of sturdy plywood is ideal. I've got MDF, because that's what was handy.

Step 2: Make a template

Picture of Make a template
Use a folded piece of paper so that both sides are symmetrical. The hand-holds are 1.5" by 5" (a bit large to allow easy use while wearing gloves). I got the position of the angled hand-holds by cutting a little hand-hold sized scrap of paper and moving it around until it looked right.

Step 3: Cut out the blank

Picture of Cut out the blank
Cut it out. I used a big hole-cutting drill bit and a jigsaw; use whatever you've got handy. Remember, when working with MDF, to wear a mask. It's nasty stuff.

Step 4: Smooth up and add the furniture

Picture of Smooth up and add the furniture
Sand it all down nice and smooth. You can seal it with varnish now - I haven't because I'm cheap :)

Put a notch in the centre of the beam to anchor the kite string.

Drill a pair of holes between the hand-holds. To one, attach a little carabiner so you can lock the kite line: when it's flying, pass the line through this crab to stop any more line paying out.

To the other, attach a loop and a big climbing carabiner. This will let you clip the whole thing to a belt or harness leaving your hands free to work the radio controls. CAUTION! If you've got a strong kite, you're light, or it's gusty, TAKE CARE because lifting kites can be brutes and being thrown around by one is a painful and expensive affair.
anique00401 year ago
its good winder
ajhewitt741 year ago
Looks like Klingon bat'leth
fenris4 years ago
If you are winding this the way I think you are doing, you are going to get a twisted kite line. Go front-to-back around the top horn, cross OVER and go front-to-back around the bottom horn, cross back over and go front-to-back over the top horn again, and so on. Get somebody to show you how to do an old-school kitestring wrap around a stick - same principle. Ever see somebody wind up an extension cord around a hand and elbow, and then when you are stretching it out it becomes a spiral and gets to be a real pain in the butt? Or a hose, and it winds up getting so twisted that the water pressure gets between the layers where it has kinked and begins to leak? A wise gardener pulls in his hose and lays it in a figure 8 pattern and then picks this up and hangs it. When you lay that down and take off pulling one end, you are just unfolding the figure 8s and the hose is not twisted.
Kiteman6 years ago
Of course, if you attach the larger crab to a dog-stake, you would have even more freedom of movement. If you're flying over urban landscapes (with no soil or sand to screw a dog-stake into), then take a long loop of strong cord as well - you can fasten the loop to something with a lark's head hitch, then clip the crab onto the loop.
andygates (author)  Kiteman6 years ago
I've pulled out dog-stakes -- most of my flying has been near beaches, and the sand is too loose for 'em. I was thinking of a deadman, but that's a lot of work. The loop and larkshead is so obvious that I'm kicking myself! Thanks for that one!
Dont know what a dead man is in this instance, but I've just brought empty sand bags with me to the beach. Toss em down, fill em up, and clip onto the handles.

More wind = more sand. Also, it helps to sew a large patch on the bags that reads "DON'T MOVE!! These sand bags are for kite launching and landing purposes. Please don't touch them unless you've been asked to by the kite pilot"
rpoole6 years ago
I've used a Pen Surf Reel for about 20 yrs now, with smaller kites. BUt your design of a large winder seems to slove my problem for flyiing my 8' ROK . Thanks.
dchall86 years ago
This is great! And you could make a smaller bat' winder for smaller hands, right? The use of the climbing carabiner tells me that you take your kites pretty seriously. You spent more on that than I've spent on kites since 1958. A childhood friend of mine had a kite winder. Back in the 50s about our only choices in toys were balls and kites. That made kite accessories more important and available. Anyway he criss-crossed the winds as he hauled in the line. He said it was to keep the string from twisting. He also had swivel connections (from dad's fishing tackle box) on the kite end of the line for the same reason. Sometimes he used a piece of broom handle for a winder. He had a criss-cross way of winding the string on that to keep it from tangling and twisting when letting it out. Of course ours were toy paper kites, not the ripstop nylon and graphite kites of today. I built a double delta conyne about 10 years ago. It was a catastrophe. I used newspaper and bamboo. The bamboo was fine but attaching the bamboo to the paper was the problem. The double design was sensitive to the bamboo being exactly in place. If/when the bamboo was not attached well enough, the kite did not last long. It wanted to go sideways at high speed. When I got things just right and the kite went up, it went up fast and hard. Then when the forces on the paper shifted the bamboo, it came down equally fast and hard. Next time I'll buy a nice nylon kite. I like the delta conyne design.