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Bell Kite Project BlogI am building a huge kite inspired by Alexander Graham Bell's historical models.
Wednesday, August 8, 2007
I've been out of town for about a week. Now I'm back and it's time to finish the kite. It needs to be done soon, because I leave for Nova Scotia on the 17th.
Today I cut out about 100 covers. The covers are made of polypropylene film. They cover the cells and catch the wind. The film comes on a long roll, and I cut out the covers with a soldering iron using a heat-proof template. A good tip is to work on a sheet of glass and stick the film to the glass by misting water on it. This system was recommended to me by Bruce Lambert. He says that this method of cutting film makes better edges that are less likely to fray. The template I'm using is based on the TetraLite designs.
There are still several big unresolved issues. One is how to reinforce the framework. Currently it is rather flimsy, and I think that the bridal lines would probably tear it apart. I brought back a bunch of fibreglass tubes from the States for this purpose. The fibreglass is quite flexible, making me I think that perhaps I should have chosen carbon fibre tubes instead. There's also the question of how to arrange the reinforcing spars. I haven't yet settled on a design.
The other remaining issue is telephony. I bought a scanner, and I'm currently trying to figure out how to use it. So far I've only been able to hear static and silence. I hope to set up a system for air to ground listening so that you can call the kite and listen to the wind as well as signals picked up by the scanner. It's hard to know at this point whether this will be an interesting listening experience or not.
Right now I'm mired in the details of the project and it's hard to keep in mind the overall grandeur and ridiculousness of the whole endeavour. I am looking forward to that changing when the kite first takes to the air at the Bell homestead in a little less than two weeks.