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Blackstar builds a Le Virus


Blackstar
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Hey guys, I have started building a Le Virus.  I will try to document some of the process here as I move through this build (hopefully move through it! 😄) and work out all the issues.  I will post some pics of where I am at with it tonight when I get home from work.  I'll list my current materials below

Sail:   40D Coated Ripstop - 2 mil Mylar for the clear patches and winglet 

1- 2-3" 3.9oz Dacron for tunnels and edges (Le Virus has a leech line)

1000D  Cordura for nose patch.. I am thinking of sewing a cap of 3.9oz Dacron and then the Cordura over it 

300D (size 30?) Polyester thread - Industrial duty (I guess it's less fuzzy etc.) 

Frame: 6mm pulltruded  (all, spine, US, LS, LE) I think these are actually .240" 🤓

APA connectors - 2mm standoff rods (and for the winglet rod) 

R-Sky T (6mm)

Hercules 300# for bridle (in a nice blue)

Hercules 80# red for line

Going to build my own handles as I do a little woodwork for fun

If any of this is folly let me know! 😂

 

I have printed a full size plan and cut out the template pieces and will be transferring them to card stock tonight.  I am thinking to oversize them by about 5  or 6mm as I plan on doing just a flat seam with a 15 spi zigzag.  I read about using a harbor freight wood pyrography tool with a spring over the tip to make a "spot welder" which seems like it would really well for this approach - but if anyone has any other advice or can provide some tips I would welcome any!   I was planning on testing cutting with scissors vs hot cutting (I have a Weller soldering iron with a nice small tip) and seeing if the coated 40D nylon frays at all. 

 

I really don't know anything about this stuff other than what I've read in the last month, I have the Stunt Kite flying and Making book which I've read through, though I feel some of the info from 1992 may have been superseded as technology has improved.  I will list my current plan in steps and hopefully someone can advise me if it's sound or not !

Plan: 

1.) Make templates oversize by 6mm

2.) cut out all pieces (observing RH and LH symmetry for bias) 

3.) "spot weld" pieces together - symmetry in which panels are "on top" for both sides

4.) sew entire sail with zigzag (currently I'm using 15 spi and 7mm width) 

5.) Sew LE tunnel  ( I have questions about this when I get to it) 

6.) cut/sew T reinforcement and US reinforcement patch 

7.) sew winglet and leech line (attaches inside winglet)

8.) Sew trailing edge reinforcement (leech line tunnel - I will have questions about this I'm sure) 

9.) Sew Tail and Nose

Then frame and bridle, which will be a new plan 🥺

Well that's all for now

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After making 3 stunt kites when I am a terrible sewer I can recommend one principle,  It is fine to deviate from the exact plans because you have so many variables in play. Just keep working with what you already have and adapt accordingly. It will end up being your own design if it did like mine. It will still flyy just fine. Looks are not as important as reinforcing where needed. I'm really rough on kites so learned to use a stronger lower spreader.  Yours are all the same so might want to change. Maybe spine too if you crash like you are trying to destroy the kite like me. Have fun. Plan for that at Kite Plans.Org. send pictures when done! Michael 

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Thanks for the reply!  Yeah I am not a pro-stunter or anything, but I can keep my kites out of the dirt usually. One I have uses much smaller rods and it's been just fine so I'm not too worried about the 6mm rods.   

 

As far as the plans go, yes I realize it's all fairly "ballpark" as far as the seams and overall pattern once you start sewing.  I am hoping to just get something that flies out of this first try 😂

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One final novice builder suggestion. You can totally change the kites attitude by changing the aspect ratio by small increments. Just put a ferrule in the top and bottom spreaders to make them adjustable. I just tape with super sticky tape and it holds in place and easy to adjust. Leach line is great to make significant kite performance also.

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Here are a couple pics of my materials.  I am working on the templates today, and I'll probably end up cutting some ripstop. 

 

I went to Harbor freight to get the pyrography pen, but apparently they are out and I was informed they are popular item to be stolen.. probably for some sort of meth consumption purpose😑 so I ordered one from eBay and I won't get it till Wednesday 

 

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Ironic I made a Fulcrum copy Quad out of similar colors. Same blue and flourecent pink but black trim around every pattern piece. everything like stained glass look.  Lots of fun work ahead. Wierd how it comes alive only at the very end. Happy sewing! Michael 

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So I wont be able to start sewing till Wednesday now, probably next weekend in reality.  I am going to wait for the Pyrography pen so I can continue with my plan of spot welding before sewing.    

 

To anyone who has experience,  Is it advisable to spot weld the entire sail together and then sew it all in one go, or should I do 2 pieces at a time and then sew?  I am going to use just a flat lap seam on all pieces with the trailing edge having a hem.  

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Hey been there. Sew the biggest panels together first. That way you will be closer at the end. Spot tack all panels probably won't work out. It won't come out even and flat. Might just try and get R &L sides equal. Believe me it isn't going to be the same dimensions of the original but that really don't matter. It's your creation so just have a few and sew away. Improvise is half the fun. Velcrco is a pain to sew if you want good looks so might use nocks and bungee easier and more adjustability. Don't over think everything. It will fly great! Michael leach line is a nice addition use at least 4 standoffs for overall tweeking?

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Yes I think I am in agreement doing the big panels first and then sewing and adding the smaller as I go.  I will keep track of the "stack" so I can replicate it on the LH side.   

 

Yes, the kite has a total of 4 standoffs which seems pretty sufficient. 

I have a cheap Kite I bought in Oregon for my son, and it has a really great spine tail velcro implementation that I am planning on copying somewhat, but adding a couple little eyelets for the leech line tensioning.   It seems like it's pretty easy to sew with the non-taped variety of velcro.  

 

I realize it's all ballpark as I said before, but I try to get everything pretty close.  I was into machine work for a long time, and have built a couple guitars from scratch so I'm trying to let the sail be less decimal places than the steel  🤣

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I fooled around with the sewing machine and using my soldering iron to spot weld the panels together on some scraps and got everything pretty decent. I have to tweak my tension a bit as it's bunching a little.  

 

So then I decided to just see how it all would go cutting out some actual panels and have come to the conclusion I will definitely need to iron these panels before sewing.

 

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Since you said you are not very good at sewing you are going to make lots of mistakes so just don't be too concerned with looks. Have fun and you will learn alot to apply hopefully to your next creation. Keep tension issue on your mind and look at back of seam alot as you go.

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Yes I think I have logged one hour on the sewing machine so far.. 

 

It's not great, but really not too bad.  I can definitely improve as I go but I'm surprised it came out in the appropriate general shape and dimensions! 

 

I will need to see if the 30 weight thread helps the tension issue.

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I also learned to pre-iron the cloth before I cut out the panel. This improved my whole operation greatly and the only somewhat wonky panel is the one at the top of the kite there by the pink tip. 

 

So I'm gonna have a little break and start sewing the other side.   

 

What is the best way to "end a stitch" at the edge of a panel, but inside the area where there won't be any edging? That is to say I have gotten to the end and then done a couple reverse stitches and then just cut the thread..  maybe a drop of glue on each? 

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Finished the LH side and it came out just fine.  They are pretty dang close when I lay them back to back.  The soldering iron spot weld technique seems to have worked fine, I guess I'll see if it has any problems once I start flying the kite. 

 

Now to go back to the plan and write out the next steps in order.  

 

The grass is kind of lumpy and it's windy out so it was hard to get everything to lay flat. 

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Alright so the next step is to add the edging, and I have a couple questions if anyone can possibly help:

 

Do I put the leading edge all the way "On" the leading edge of the sail?  That is to say I fold the 2" dacron in half, and then the leading edge of the sail panels go all the way into the folded V ? Rather than like sewing the outside 1/4" to the sail and then the rest of the leading edge tunnel sticks out past the sail?  I hope this makes sense what I'm asking 😂

Do I double up where the US and LS fittings are?  I have seen numerous plans and they all kind of vary.   

 

Thanks for looking 

 

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Know your dilemma. If you fold Dacron in half and try sewing all three layers at once if probably won't be close to a nice curve. Might try sewing like you said a 1/4 seam to one side of edgings then fold crease Dacron and sew to sail again. Will be way straighter and stronger with 2 seams. That's how I did all 3 stunters. Avoid velco as it is a pain to sew and look decent. Easy too just use bungee and nock. Attach to the bottom spreader is a cool way to do it. Maybe you can do it another interesting way. Long bungee will give more options for tautness. Your doing good to be at that point already. It is slow go but worth the effort. Having fun is the main thing. Colors will pop! Michael 

 

 

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Don't know technology very well , don't know how to send pictures except by email. Send you a picture of my first kite if you want? Note 6 stand offs cross connected. Very taut trailng edge quiet. Second kite more trick happy wide aspect with very taut overall sail, a handful!

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Sewed both the winglet pieces and then the 1" edge Dacron around the winglet.. it seems to be as intended from pics I've seen of others.  

 

Next I'll sew the leech line and trailing Edge dacron.. 

 

I still haven't joined the halves.. 

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Your seams look really nice. The mylar is difficult to sew and look that good especially under side. Good choice as no stretching at high stress area. Please reconsider any glue or adhesive. It will usually gum up needle and other parts. Just pencil in lines of needed and go slow. Little sew clips ie. Mini cloths pins work great too. Michael 

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