Umbrella Turned Delta Kite

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How many broken umbrellas have you thrown out in your life? [BigApe] has come up with a novel way to reuse them, by turning them into kites.

The beauty of the build is in the MacGyver-style material list. Apart from a few store bought 8mm aluminum and plastic tubes, the majority of the build is out of other scraps that you can easily find around the house. Spokes from a broken bicycle wheel, plastic from a CD case, elastic bands, yarn, some washers, an empty hair gel tube, the list goes on… We really have to give him credit on the creative material choices!

Now before you get too excited, this project does involve quite a bit of sewing, so a sewing machine would be quite handy. Other than that, only basic tools such as pliers, scissors, punches, matches, drill bits, and a saw, are required.

The finished product ends up being a bit heavier than most similar sized consumer-grade delta kites, but [BigApe] achieved some kite-like flight out of it in low wind speeds. He promises to post a test video when it gets a bit windier to prove his design.

On the topic of kites, earlier this year we covered a remote-controlled, autonomous, power generating kite!

A remote-controlled, autonomous kite generates power

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Generating power from wind is easy – just stick a windmill on a pole and attach a generator. That’s not particularly cool, though, so [Adrien] and his team from his senior design project are using an autonomously controlled kite to generate power

The basic idea of generating electricity from a kite is to fly it around in figure-eights while unwinding the kite line from a spool. The very strong forces on the kite lines can be used to drive a generator which provides power for reeling the kite back in at a lower angle of attack. You can check out [Adrien]‘s kite power theory page for a few more details on how this works.

Right now, [Adrien] and his team have a basic rig set up to generate power and are flying the kite via a joystick. Updates are coming, and you can check out the video of their RC kite in action after the break.

[Read more...]

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