I thought I'd spend a little time over this winter cobbling together a kite more my own than just the usual off the shelf sort of thing. Back in The Day™ I used to reframe and rebridle kites a lot, more in a spirit of investigation than any real expectation of turning out something better than the professionals, so this isn't totally new to me.
I picked up a not-ready-for-prime-time Talon SUL sail
and the intention was to combine it with my favourite SUL of the moment, the TNT Zero
. How "favourite" is this kite ? I reach past a Cosmic Ghost to get to it.
So the frame and construction details of the TNT with the sail shape of the Talon - nitro and
glycerine ! How could it go wrong ?
The framing is Skinny UL for the whole LE, Skinny SUL (that's a heavier, stiffer spar) for the LS, a P90 spine and a 4mm tube US.
One of the more obvious construction details is the bridle line centre T. In all honesty it's barely lighter than a plastic part so it's not there for SULiness but it is neat and shows no signs of moving. I glued a nitrile o-ring to the long centre ferrule and fixed it around that. More o-rings on the spine to keep it all positioned.
On the 4 spars I had to cut (ULE, LS) I've injected the thin, cut end with hot glue. This gives them a slightly
better chance of making it through the flying day. The cut end of wrapped spars can easily splinter.
The other really standout construction detail lifted from the TNT is the attachment points of the bridle - the attach to the LS, not at the centre T. Now this has been done before but with cross-bridles. I was a little concerned at first but neither my Zero nor a standard TNT have shown any drawback to this so.... also lifted. A couple of glued on o-rings keep the lines in place. Position for these was arrived at by a combination of ThatLooksAboutRight and mathematics.
I've stuck with yoyo stoppers rather than rollbars 'cos I'm not willing to subject Skinny ULs to too much abuse. I'm still playing with the fitting of these but they are behind the LE tunnel.
And a bit of cord at the wingtips.
The result is quite nice to look at, even though I say so myself, and tips the scales at a gentle 184 grammes. This is allegedly
11 grammes heavier than the official Talon SUL
and I'll happily take that. Flying so far has been limited but it does
fly. Some bridle tweakery and even <shudder> weight games lie ahead for sure but that was always what I was looking for in a project kite. It might not end up a particularly good kite but it'll hopefully end up good enough for me.
A tip o' the hat to Jest of Eve and Alphakites for inspiration.