Daniel SanGiacomo

aka Daniel Aktas

3D printing Kite Parts

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So I am actually secretly planning on printing and making individual kites for all my guest at my wedding. So with all things i do in life i started with research.

Comparing styles of kites (of which there are many) like the delta kite or the sled kite I thought that the diamond shape of the eddy kite would be most recognizable shape and provide the best canvas for my printed designs.

A few simple kite forms from left to right is the Eddy kite, delta kite, sled kite.

Looking for diamond shape kites I discovered a variation of the style called an Eddy kite. The Eddy kite differs from a diamond kite because of its curved arms and its two string attachment points or bridle points. The curved arms of the eddy kite made using a bow method allows the air to evenly pass on both sides with out darting to one side or the other. The two attachment points keep the kite at a 30 degree angle to the wind allowing the kite to get the best lift.

Using this knowledge I starting making kites with my niece Kaila! For the cost of a few bucks (or pounds here in the UK) I picked up some wooden dowels and wall paper backing for the frame and sail from a home improvement store and two lines of kite string from a toy store.

After making the two kites i discovered the difficulty in making the bow and connecting the bow to the spine. The bow is under tension and makes the dowel prone to snapping and is difficult to string with an accurate angle. Additionally affixing the bow to the spine with string leaves the bow unsteady unless its secured to the sail.

This problem is solved with a small part called a dihedral piece which holds the spine straight and the arms at 15 degree angles. My research now is focused on analyzing existing parts and modeling my own.

Eddy Kite diagrams from www.kiteplans.org and a picture of me and my niece having made each an Eddy kite.
Kite diagrams showing the different parts of a kite and then the types of bridle kite attachments.
A dihedral piece imitates the curve made from the bow in the frame of the eddy kite. The center image shows a dihedral piece modeled in the computer by artist Michael Ang for his eddy kite as a precurser to his more compilicated structures. Michael Ang Berlin based Artist
A production made dihedral piece from goodwinds.com
The dihedral piece designed my Michael Ang and offered on thingiverse.com 

Screen Shot 2015-03-31 at 7.56.55 PM

This is my first iteration of a dihedral piece. I worked under the following design guidelines.

  • holes made for .25″ dowels
  • leave holes in the top of the part to squeeze glue into
  • design a base that is level on the x and y axis to prevent a maker bot from building unnecessary support structures
    • We can see the maker bot will print support walls in the same material as the form and will print additional layers at a maximum of 45 degrees. Note that this is only a design feature of extruded 3d printers because they work against gravity, the last image show a laser ossified 3d printer that can print overhangs without the need of printing support walls.

My next iteration will use less material for the base and include a notch to keep the bridle line in place.

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