How to Make a Cody War Kite




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before i go on, i would like to say i'm sorry for the pictures, i don't know why they are upside down so please don't complain.

       A little history:
A man-lifting kite is a kite designed to lift a person from the ground. Historically, man-lifting kites have been used chiefly for reconnaissance and entertainment. Interest in their development declined with the advent of powered flight at the beginning of the 20th century.

in this tutorial i will be showing you how to make a cody war kite, that is 4 feet wide, and 3 feet tall.

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Step 1: Supplies

you will need:
1 string
2 plastic sheet
3 1/4" wood dowel

1 scissors 
2 hot glue gun

Step 2: Base

first you are going to make the base as shown below using hot glue. you will need 2 of them.
stuff needed:
2 3'
4 2'
2 1'

1 line = 1 foot
_  _
|_ _|

Step 3: Taking Shape

take one of your base pieces, and glue 12 of your 1 foot rods vertical to every intersection. then gluing  the other base piece on top of that.

Step 4: Lashing

this is an optional step. lashing the intersections with a length of string.

Step 5: Plastic

now you will need the plastic sheet, i used a painting drop cloth. 

what you do is cut out a piece of the sheet that is bigger than the size you need, then you glue the corners pulling it tight then gluing along the edges, after that you will cut the plastic down to the exact size of the base you should end up with your kite looking like this.

Step 6: Support Strings

this is also optional

im not exactly sure how to explain this so just look at the pictures. 

Step 7: Optional

adding a 4 foot rod across the top and 2 1 foot pieces will make this look more like the original, war kites.


you now have a kite that is just plain awesome.

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Step 9: Step 9: Flying and Crashing

Terribly sorry, but i did not have a camera on its flights. Here in Utah the weather can change from not a cloud in the sky to absolute downpour in a matter of minutes. So when the wind started to pick up I had to get out here before the wind dispersed. the wind was about 45 mph, and was barely able to lift it. Then the wind picked up and the kite had so much upward thrust it was lift 50 foot into the air (that's how long my rope was) and then broke one of the main support shafts that ran the entire length of the kite, but somehow still flew. i flew it for another 10 minutes until it was so torn up (there were a lot of tree collisions) that it simply wouldn't fly. but all in all it is a very durable kite and was a very fun project to make.

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    14 Discussions


    5 years ago on Introduction

    These are not my original idea although I have used them a lot in making kits and for joints they work really well.

    Polythene tubing with a suitable internal diameter for the sticks used can make good multi angle joints. See picture.

    kite joints.jpg
    3 replies

    Reply 5 years ago on Introduction

    It will help people a lot if you show how the bridal is fitted as well.

    Nice Kite - These can create a lot of lift so use good quality flying line.


    Reply 5 years ago on Introduction

    thanks ill use these when I build my next one, I would use shapeways to print some plastic ones.


    Hey this seems like a really cool project - do you think you could re-orient your photos? Do you think it would be easy to replicate this project with fabrics? I just came into a mountain of ripstop, and I think it would be fun to make a kite.

    3 replies

    Reply 5 years ago on Introduction

    The originals were made of, I believe, cotton, I have seen many made of ripstop, and made them myself out of newspaper.


    Reply 5 years ago on Introduction

    yes the originals were made from cotton but they were much much bigger, about 26 to 28 feet wide, mine is only 4 foot wide the originals were 7 times that big, resulting in bigger surface area, to frame weight ratio.