Tetrahedral Kite Plan - Responses

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Responses from people

The following are responses I have recieved from the network about this tetrahedral kite plan. Many of the tips given below have been included into the tetrahedral kite plan. Even so, it is a good idea to read what people say about the plan and the way they built their tetra.

Many thanks to all who have replied.

Buck Childers <childers@tyrell.net> writes...
I just took a look at your Tetra Plan. Looks very complete. Nice job. Some day I'll build one.

I thought I'd give you a tip on working with plastic (vinyl) tubing: The easiest way to put holes in it is with a short piece of brass *tubing* just like you would a drill bit. Various diameter tubing is available at most hobby or hardware stores. Just cut a piece about 2 inches long (... errrr this is Australia, make that 5cm long ;-). Put it in a drill and spin the 'cutting' end against some sandpaper to give it a sharp edge. Using it like you would a drill bit you can cut perfect circles through vinyl tubing without distortion. It's quick too. I made 36 connectors for a multicell box kite last weekend in about 10 minutes. I use this method on all my stunt kite fittings. Give it a try....

Anthony's Reply...
Thanks for the tip, however 3mm fibreglass does not really need this technique as you do want a good tight fit. But for larger spars such as 6mm dowel (err.. for Americans, 1/4 inch dowel ;-) a 4-5mm hole maker slightly smaller than rod diameter) would be a great help.

Anthony's Addition, 5 March 1997
I have started using a leather hole punch set to the largest hole setting for punching holes in vinal tubing for dowel framed tetras. This works very well though the hole is a little tight at times. It is also quick, and clean and does not require a workbench.

Thanks for the tip.

Spencer Chun <spenuki@aloha.com> on, July 8th, 1996, wrote...

Aloha Anthony! I've been making tetras since 1986, using plastic tubing joints very similar to yours. I've also been invited to Fort Worden and Junction Kite Retreat to teach tetra building using plastic tubing. It's good to see that someone else has figured out how to make these joints with tubing.

Additional Info...

Spars are made of wood rods having a diameter of 6 mm. The cell length is 50 cm, so the kite represents a regular tetraeder having main edges of 1 meter.
Cover material is made of nylon, The tailored cells were slemmed before using them for covering. The four corners of cells were cutted out before hemming in order to ensure the proper room for joints.
8m x 1 mm transparent soft vinyl tubes (internal diameter is approx. 6 mm). As I use two additional spar horizontally across the middle of the front and rear faces I apply two types of joints (4 Corner Joints and 6 Edge Joints) only. In order to attach the kite line a small circle-like hole is cutted out from the centre of the wind-most cell.
As first attempt I have no use any bridle at all. Then I attach a bridle line connecting to the left and right corner of trailing edges. The length of the bridle is approx. 1.5 meter. (Aside: - Some books gives a bridle like this).
...no further response recieved...

Ross Leighton   <leighton@ozemail.com.au> on January 23rd, 1997, wrote...

First a brief introduction - I belong to the Australian Kiteflyers Society (AKS) based in Sydney (Australia).

[photo] I saw your plan for the fiberglass tetrahedral using the plastic tubing for the connectors. It was a type of kite that I did not have so I pulled your plan from net and decided to built a 10 cell Tetrahedral using 6mm dowel over the Christmas period. I wanted to have something new for a week long kiting festival-workshop/s that were held down in Tathra (NSW south coast just below Bega). I'm pleased to say I found it easy to make thanks to your ideas and instructions and it flew well - created a lot of interest.

[photo] The kite uses a cell size of 50cm covered by ripstop. I created your 4 cell version first and then added another "bottom layer". It flew well in 7-10mph wind and higher. I haven't tried folding the Tetra as I tend to carry kites in two ski bags on a roof rack and hence take the tetra fully apart. With practice I'm getting better at assembly without finding "spare" sticks being left over!!! My wife calls it my puzzle kite.

We publish our club magazine "Flying High" about 6 times a year and I'm being "pressured" to write an article on building the tetrahedral. My intention is to focus on my experience and give reference to your plan. Question:- Before I go ahead do you have any objections to me including references to your plan in the article? I'll send you a couple copies of the magazine when it's published.

Anthony's Reply...
Yes you can refer to this plan (and/or use parts of it in the article). I look forward to seeing this artical and may if you do not mind incorperate some of your suggestions into the main plan.

Carlos Ascuasiati <alas@aacr.net> on March 18th, 1997, wrote...

I made a tetraedral kite with yours plan, but beause it was imposible to get the fiberglass stakes, we used (my brother and I) "pendones". This is the point of the sugar cane wich is very ligth and strong (we have a lot of sugar cane in Dominican Republic) and we have bean building kites with that material since ever.

We fall in love at the first sight with the tetraedral in your page, and we build a 40 modules tetraedral, divided in ten modules of four each.

The joint we used was tape, masking tape, and it works very well.

The modules have 75/35 cm steaks and we used colored paper with glue. We transported the kite in the ten separates modules and build it no site (20 minutes work). The wind was 3 to 5 km/hr and the kite was a sensation, very preaty and quite.

Thanks for your idea.

PS: We won a contest with the tetraedral, aproximatly US$150!!, so thanks you again. The credit was yours.


Andrew <agro@ois.com.au> on June 16th, 1997 wrote...

I have just built a 4 panel proto type out or 4.5 mm dowel (cause they didn't have 6mm) and newspaper. It was in the air for 9 hours before it had a tradgic end on landing. One prototype down.

Woo hoo.. the best kite i have ever built and flown and i love the idea of using the hose pipe for joints never thought of that before.. I was using 60cm cells. The newspaper was perfect for the task. I had the rear cross member extended extra wide almost 3xL rather than 2xL it needed it for the ground winds.

It is the most exciting kite I have made, and an immediate success from the construction room floor into the air.

Thank you very much.

Andrew (from Perth Australia)

Allan Gaines <exfloridians@ecsu.campus.mci.net> on 23 April 1998 wrote...

Hello, Anthony. I've got a tetrahedron kite question for you. I recently built a 4-cell tetra. It has 60 cm. cells, and is made from 8 cm. [I think] wood dowels. The cells are regular (all angles and strut lengths are the same). It is covered with a mylar-like plastic film. [I'm not SURE if it's mylar or not. It was advertised as such.]

I've tried to fly it once or twice, and while it flies, it wants to 'hunt' left and right after I get it into the air. Almost to the point of doing a complete 'roll' before righting itself. What I want to know is, is this a symptom of it being too heavy (having been built out of wood dowels), or must it be LARGER (have more cells) to be stable? Also, would decreasing the 'dihedral angle' of the individual cells help fix this problem?

Anthony's Reply...
A one cell tetra is definatly unstable as the center of forces and the center of gravity coinside exactly. A 4 cell is borderline stable, as you can see with the way it "rolls" around. A 7 cell tetra (3 cells added to one side so base is 2 cells by 2 cells with three on top -- see Tetra Variations) is even more stable.

The larger a tetra kite is the more stable it becomes. As such my suggestion is give the kite more cells! The more cells a tetra has and the lighter it is the less "roll" and figure '8' movement the kite has!


Bob Brennan <Tree-Brennan@prodigy.net> on 24 May 2000 wrote...

You and your web sight have sent my 9 year old daughter into the wonders of kite building. The assignment started with an end of the year project. Thanks for your help Talia got an "A". Here is her photo.

[photo] [photo]

Itzhak on 12 Nov 2006 wrote...
I am from Ness-Ziona, Israel. We have a yearly kites contest between the basics schools of our town. The contest is part of a big event of kite flying as a demonstration for the environment.

I am leading my girls schools team̶. This year we built a tetrahedral kite based on your plan. See pictures attached. Thanks for the plans! Itzhak
Thank to all who have built this kite and responded -- Anthony Thyssen.

Created: 16 June 1996
Updated: 13 November 2006
Author: Anthony Thyssen, <Anthony.Thyssen@gmail.com>
WWW URL: https://antofthy.gitlab.io/kites/tetra/plan/