WARNING: This plan is old and while it works is small and not particularly great. A new messenger plan Anthony's Lifting Messenger is now online and is recommeneded over this plan. It remains online as an example of the old style of messenger.
In any case this messenger is tough and although the sail has been replaced 3 times it is still in use and work since being created in late 1995. I will be leaving this plan online as a reference though I don't expect people to actually use it.
This was a prototype and if I build a new one, I will give it a bigger sail and hook to allow a larger load to be carried, such as a bag of (wrapped) lollies to be upended, or a teddybear. I would also probably move the sail hinge further toward the front of the kite.
NOTE: The kite photos show a rubber band keeping the release hook closed. I have found this is not really necessary. Nor is it necessary for sail retraction lines as used on Dorf's Ferry. The problem with the latter being that the hinge is not large enough and has a lot of fiction to overcome to work, which means retractor lines are needed.
Here is a photo of the messenger just after launch. The line is being
supported by two UFO (rotor class) kites, which produces a very tight a kite
line at a 30 degree angle which is perfect for messengers.
The messenger is made from a plastic joining strip, used to join laminated
plywood together for bookselves, walls and ceilings. Very very cheap. The
strip is cut square and the thin strip of plastic used to close the top and
just the back part messenger, forming two square holes for the coat hanger
wire. In the prototype the body is about 36 cm long.
The sail is made from coat hanger wire, which after inserting into the hinge
(see below) is joined into a square by a bit of plastic tubing. The sail
itself is just kitchen tidy bag plastic decorated with permanent marker pens
(since faded). Ripstop or other fabric would be just as good. In the
prototype the sails are about 20 cm square.
The hinge for the sail was made by winding coat hanger wire, around a screw driver. This is done twice so the loops hug the width of the messenger body. the rest of the wire is then cut off. Two of these are made and taped to the plastic joining strip.
Perhaps a small ascii art will help explain this better...
Ferry Body (Plastic Laminate Joining Strip) | ----------------. | ,------------------------------ -------------. | V | ,--------------------------- _| |__________| |_ _(_| |__________| |_)_ (___| |_)| |(_| |___) | | | | | | SAIL | | | | | | SAIL | | |----| | | | | | | | | ___| |_ | | _| |___ (___| |_)|____|(_| |___) (_| |__________| |_) `---- Wire Loops around Sail Frame | | | | | | | | | | | |Note that the sail frame is very loose in the hinge and thus is free to fold back easily by the wind.
The release rod is also coat hanger wire which was straightened and then bent
almost double. In the picture the wire is also kinked to allow me to add a
rubber band to pull the `release hook' close. I have found this is not
required. the messenger receives a good jolt when it hits the cork and this is
enough to overcome any friction on this wire.
In the photo is a picture of the release `hook' (upside down). The plastic
body was cut back to allow access to the wire just before the end. When fully
closed, the end is just inside the body of the messenger. Also in the picture
is a small ring (fiberglass washer from hardware store) with the lines which
hold the sail out into the wind.
To complete the messenger (do this last!) the other end of the release wire is
bent up into a open loop which can slide along the kite line. A second such
loop is taped to the outside of the body at the rear. Some messengers (such as
Dorf's Ferry) use two loops for the messenger to slide on, which are separate
to the release rod (wire).
That is it. Enjoy. Let me know how you go.