Help me find a reel!



  • edited June 2012
    Ric - Adapting the Deep Sky reel to a Stratospool design is an awesome idea!
    In fact, what if that reel were designed to be a REMOVABLE/DETATCHABLE element to a Strato-frame, you would have TWO cool reels for the price of one...well, one and a half? Neat-o !

    I do think the handle needs to be relocated for optimal pull strength, though.

    Also, UPONTHEHILL, here is a great survey of some well-made reels: I know yours is already fabricated, but interesting just the same. The one on the bottom of the page -- the Hi-Flier -- is REEELY cool.

  • My gosh Phil, how do you come up with thee mock ups so quickly? I had envisioned adding a thin layer of aluminum plate or stainless to move the handle away from the axis in much the same shape as your outline, the original strato shape. Perhaps a simple bar would be enough, the forces required would be minimal. In looking for alternative pictures of the Deep Sky I came up with reaaly deep sky reel, now THAT'A a deep sky reel.
  • I found that an inner handle on the stratospool was more of a hinderance then helpful and ended up completely removing it. As with most designs, what one finds useful, another hates. Until you start using your spools in anger, then I suggest keeping an open and creative mind.
  • I've taken what I've thought were some of the best design ideas you all have used and used some of the things I had laying around in my garage and came up with my own version of the Stratospool (Kap-O-Spool). I'm still not committed on my strap designs and flew with is for the first time yesterday in light winds with the Lev Delta which was overkill but gave me additional design insights. I've had version 2 in my mind since the first day working on this one. This one will be good for higher winds and bigger kites, Rev 2 will be designed for lighter winds and smaller kites. Yesterday I realized I'd like a more comfortable waist rest on the near end of this.
  • One problem I've had was when carrying and storing the spool, the reel even with a loop of webbing to stop it moving, would work lose and start moving around. Hoo Dat's idea of a sliding bolt to lock the reel was the solution I was looking for. I found a small cheap version in a local store. All that it needed is a small shallow hole drilled into the edge of the inner plate, a small bit of plywood as a stand off to aline the bolt with the hole. It works very well, I placed it on the back end of the main bar towards the waist brace. This keeps the line area free from possible snags.

    I think at one point I shall be making another refined version with the various ideas included.
  • edited September 2012
    I appreciate being able to copy what I see as the best of each persons design here on the site. My latest mod is a barrel lock. I was able to try it today with some fairly stiff wind and lots of line out and it worked great. Multiple locking points possible, just drill more holes.
    In addition to that, not wanting to risk kite and camera when I brought it all back down in dirty wind I walked the kite down the last 150 feet or so and then discovered the cool looking hole in the handle I copied from Phil works as a great high speed spin point for line laying out on the field.


    The elastic cord tied over the top alleviates my fear of the lock jumping in to or out of place when least desired.
  • I have finally got round to making a stratospool. I see that most have bolted the sides through the core. I have found one example online that only used screws. Has anyone used screws and consequently had a failure?

  • Meerstone,

    Yes. My original stratospool (purchased) that I have used for over 15 years gradually failed under many years of high stress winding....most damage done over the last 6 months with bit bigger kites and higher wind speeds....

    Time permitting.....replacement reel will be built this weekend.....I have a few refinements that have been on my drawing board that I hope to incorporate...


  • Thanks Jim, I though a bit more about it and then decided to go for bolts. Just the brake to finish now and I will be ready for a field test.

  • Started with large wood screws, which simple pulled through under extreme stress. I replaced these with nuts and bolts with the largest washers I could find on both sides of the reel. This spreads the stress over a larger area, which seems to work very well.
  • New WW stratospool under construction.

    Image one: shows stress build up on current travel stratospool. ~ 1" deformation on the crank plate from the center to the edge. Still using this stratospool. Original stratospool (not pictured) is being replaced for similar wear.

    Image 2-4 shows beginning stages of construction.

    Current travel stratospool showing the stress.

    New Stratospool Build

    New Stratospool Build

    New Stratospool Build
  • edited October 2012
    I have finished my second Stratospool. Lighter duty than my first behemoth. Now to think about the 3rd "ultralight" version.
    There are a series of pictures on my Flickr page of this version constructed with HDPE sides, a PVC conduit coupler core, red oak frame, clevis pin lock and brass hardware.

    Sratospool 2
  • Perhaps it's been too long since I posted a picture from Flickr on here...Didn't there used to be a "post as HTML" button here? Did that change with the new version or is it Chrome perhaps?
  • Been using this for year:

    It's not perfect but has held up for 6 or 7 years. I have some tricks with it that have helped. It's cheap. Without my tricks, it might go wrong so let me know.
  • edited October 2012
    Rick - there are buttons above the edit box to help with posting links and images. For some reason they seem to be broken in this particular comment thread (but not in others). Your Flickr image insert did not work because you had a # symbol in the alternative text field. I removed the # and, voila, the image appeared (see above).
  • edited October 2012
    I have just added details of my Stratospool to my blog@
    I am still in the testing / tuning stage so I may make more changes. Just need some time to get out with it, and of course enough wind.


  • edited October 2012
    Here's my new strato-spool fresh off the assembly line. Skate bearings on the reel and wheels for knobs. No brake but I need full fingered gloves to slow the rotation. Actually the 500' 200lb dacron just fits. A bigger diameter reel and wider line guide would be better.

    6mm ply, epoxy glued, KD hardwood handle 19 x 42mm, pine reel core.

    Lumix LX3 KAP
  • My modified version "2B" stratospool. Shortened, lighter, increased take up speed, HDPE line guides. 1000 feet of 100 pound line, may add another 1000 just to increase the apparent circumference.
    Stratospool 2b
  • edited October 2012
    Strata-spool version 1.0 (attached to the car above) was pretty good and I couldn't have handled the strong wind without it but here is the tweaked new version.

    Strato-spool improved

    The skate wheels were too heavy to be wizzing around fast (the bruises will heal eventually) so they were replaced with lighter wooden knobs. A wider line guide (drawer handle) and fatter reel (60mm internal) means the line now fits comfortably.

  • @ Wind Watcher: Your circles look perfect. I'm looking for some kind of pattern or jig in your image but don't see one. Is this an illusion or do you have a secret in achieving these?
  • Google "router circle jig" if you have a router and that will help. You can also use a jig saw to get real close and then uses a belt sander or even hand sanding or a file if you have the time and strength. If all fails, find someone local with the tools for the job and pay them to craft your desires! Best wishes! I'm working on my strato-spool now also.
  • You guys know that I'm building Stratos again, yes?
  • Yes - know you are building stratospools again YEA!

    How are the new reels selling?

  • Hello Doug,

    Have you considered the possibility of using the Crane Reel?

    On Bits and Pieces I have posted a lot of information and video. The system is different than the Stratospool, some disadvantages and some advantages. I am anxious for a KAPer to give it a try so I can find out if it needs some refinement or if it works as good as I think it will. My reels work great for the kind of flying I do. However I just don't have the time to launch into a new photography venture, so I want a KAP veteran who will put it to a good test. Please take a look at my presentation and tell me what you think.

    I have been using mostly Spectra but the reel works equally well with the more bulky Dacron lines.

    I am ready and willing to make one of you KAPers a really good deal on a trial basis. I will ship it, no charge, and you try it for say 30 days or so. If you like it and want to keep it you can go ahead and pay. Otherwise ship back to me COD and your only obligation is to tell me honestly how it failed to perform as you needed and how I might be able to improve it.

    I am addressing this to Doug because he is the one asking about finding a reel, but it could apply the same way to any one of the KAP. I'd rather offer this deal to only one party at a time.

    The prices are posted on Bits and Pieces and the shipping in the US is around $30 or less, depending on what options you want.

    Frank Crane
  • edited September 2014
    Slightly off topic: I wish there was a cheaper way to ship a stratospool to Europe...
  • Use a router circle jig like the one on this page. I used the thickest plexiglass. The hardest part was sinking the router screws in so they wont rub. They make a drill bit for this task.
  • Countersink bit. Fits a 1/4 inch electric drill. Sears, HD, Ace hardware etc. About 7 bucks.
  • I found (listed as "Kite Reel, Line Winder") a small reel similar to the Stratospool, most of it is brown and cream ABS plastic but with steel screws/bolts and ball-bearings and an adjustable brake. The brake is adjustable with the same large knob that holds the spool on and also makes it easy to disassemble the thing. It's little bitty thing, about 12" long with an 8" spool and a short loop (which may get replaced with a short bungee) that may work as a lock (if the brake isn't up to it) and a place to tie the line-end to otherwise. I got it with the idea that it would be nice for travel - small, light and disassembles easy.
    Right now it has 1000ft of 100lb test (with just a little space left) and I plan on trying it for the first time tomorrow (20+ MPH winds ought to test it!) with various kites as a prelude to a Caribbean cruise in February.
  • @ BrianC
    Can you put a link for the reel you have please. I'm thinking I need a stratospool now.

    Fly High

  • SueSue
    edited November 2015
    I've found some 20mm square aluminum tube in the garage, a plastic reel which we used for a while and some brackets so I'm on my way to a new reel.
    Just ordered this folding revolving handle from Amazon.

    Fly High

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