The View Up Here

Random scribblings about kites, photography, machining, and anything else

Getting ready for WWKW 2013!

Posted by Tom Benedict on 24/03/2013

World Wide KAP Week 2013 is right around the corner. The dates this year are from Friday, April 26th to Sunday, May 5th. One month to go!

I really like to have new gear to fly, or new things to try, or new places to go for WWKW. But with life the way it’s been the past few years, I haven’t managed to pull this off. The damped KAP pendulum is still in the design phase, my video gear is more or less dialed in, and what with turning into a homebody since Rydra’s surgery, I don’t have new spots planned out.

Instead I’m using WWKW 2013 as motivation to go through my gear, fix the things that are broken, mend the things that need mending, and generally take care of as many minor annoyances as I can.

Today I started with my trusty Fled. Just over a year ago (a whole year!) I broke the spreader on my Fled. Rather than replace it with the 6mm tube it came with, I replaced it with Skyshark P200. So far so good. I only got into trouble when I tried to replace the Velcro pocket the spreader fits into. The new pocket I made was too big, I didn’t get it aligned quite right, but worst of all I was using a sewing machine that had no business getting near a kite. I had no way to set the thread tension the way I needed it to sew that @$%! pocket on. In the end I was swearing, shaking my fists, and threatening to throw the kite and sewing machine out the window. I shoved the Fled in its bag, crammed it in the closet, and stewed.

Rydra, in her infinite wisdom, used that as an opportunity to order a new sewing machine. We wound up with a lovely Janome that not only handled ripstop nylon with grace, it also helped fix the jib on our sailboat, made several light baffles for work, and has generally been a workhorse of a sewing machine.

But I’ll be damned if I pulled that kite out again!

And for another year I didn’t. Then only a few days ago my younger daughter asked about it. “Yeah yeah… I know where it is. Grrr…” Then she hit me with her Kid Magic: the eyes… the pleading look… the words! “I’d love to see it fly again.”

>sigh<

So today I pulled it out. The snarl of stitching I’d originally done came clean after a few minutes with a seam ripper. A quick trim and melt job with a lighter, and the pocket was a more appropriate length. And sewing the new pocket back on? It was an absolute DREAM with the new machine. It came together so well, and looked so good, I had to keep going!

I re-capped the P200 spars with a pair of “Bic Pen” style end caps. These are caps I make myself on the lathe using Delrin. They look sort of like the plugs in the end of the Bic Pen: outside diameter matches the OD of the spar, a hemispherical rounded end, and a press-fit into the spar leaving no seam. Hands-down this is my favorite end cap for slipping spars into a kite. Nothing to snag, nothing to cut the fabric.

With the Fled back together, I started to look at my other kites, too. I’m planning to re-cap my Dopero’s spars with Bic pen caps, and replace the dying Velcro on the bottoms of the longerons with new Velcro, backed by nylon webbing. I might do the same to my Didakites rokkaku, too (though so far I’m pleased with the caps they used.) Then it’s time to rummage through my kite bag and find other stuff that can be fixed.

I’ve got about a month before WWKW 2013. No new gear this year. No new techniques or places to fly. But if I can get everything fixed before I head out, maybe it’ll be just as good as if I did.

– Tom

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