Wednesday, May 14, 2014

One Kite To Rule Them All

        Well, maybe not. It wasn't that good. The final exam for my architecture class was to design, build, and fly a box kite. I suppose it was an exercise in craftsmanship, model-making, and designing something with the right weight and so on. There are a bunch of tutorials online about the proper dimensions and materials to use, but I decided to just wing it and if the kite completely failed I would take someone else's advice. I'd say that's  pretty good procedure, wouldn't you? ;)
        It turned out to work on the first go. I believe the kite is about two feet tall and ten inches on each side of the square. The paper comes down six inches. I hadn't ever seen a box kite fly before - it's nothing like the traditional design and I really couldn't imagine it flying. I kind of just threw together a frame of 1/8" dowels and dental floss (that stuff is amazing), and taped some roughly cut flimsy drawing paper on. It's a good thing I did that when I did, because we didn't have much wind at all after that. I was amazed at how well it flew that first test flight. I didn't use any ratios of measurements; I figured I would make any necessary adjustments after. It flew so well, I didn't have to fix the frame at all. Somehow, I estimated all of the lengths correctly, and the kite flew upright for as long as I wanted it to. It didn't twist or dive, and, I must say, was a break for me. I had been expecting to have to redo it. I got  a few weird looks up on my garage roof flying a box kite, but I'm used to that. 
        The day before the final, I put new paper on the frame. The plain white had looked, well, plain, so I decided to put a design on the top one. Here's what I did:

One ring to rule them all
One ring to find them
One ring to bring them all 
And in the darkness bind them.

        I printed out a Google image of the elvish on the ring, after transferring it to Microsoft Word and enlarging it so that each 'word' would fit on one side of the kite. I ended up with two sheets of paper that each had approximately half of the image. I then placed each piece under my cleanly cut flimsy paper, and traced it all out with a pencil. Then, I went over the pencil with a pen before putting it on the kite frame.

The two pieces of paper I had to print it on.

Put together.

        I was really pleased with how it came out on the flimsy drawing paper - don't you think it looks nice? 

        As I said before, we haven't had any wind for the past few days. I guess this is a project the ARCHI 120 class does every spring and they usually have wind, but today at the final, there was none. Part of our grade was based on flying time, but because of the weather (or lack thereof), our instructor graded mainly on flying quality. Maybe I should say 'flying' quality. No one could get theirs to stay up, but the well made ones, would rise without spinning or diving if you ran with them. I was actually surprised that many people did not make their kites well at all. More than half, actually did not even rise, and even broke after just landing lightly on the ground. I think it was because the materials they used were too heavy and not attached properly. I used 1/8" dowels, while most people used 1/4" because they thought the others would break. I found that they are flexible, so even if my kite crashes, they just bounce right back to straight. 
        Now, I'm not meaning to brag or anything, but my instructor was the best pleased with my kite and how it flew, which was nice. He referred many other students to me for dimensions and materials, which was surprising since I simply guessed. I suppose the ratios and such were perfect for the ideal flying, but anyway, it was a nice surprise. That means that I'll have an A! It was very fun to make as well, and easy. Flying it from my garage was a blast too, and anything that has elvish on it I love. :)

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