AnchorWizard Kite Reels

edited June 2011 in General
What do you think of this? They're made about 15 miles from my location, I'll have to stop by and check them out in person. Says right on their website the FAA uses them for flying blimps.

Website....AnchorWizard -video-....Other uses for the AnchorWizard -video-



  • edited June 2011
    I like that...even for larger kites.
    I use an electric capstan conected to the hich on my truck.
    imageWinch used to bring down Sutton 252" alt="Electric Capstan" />
  • Anchor Wizard Kite Reels? Yes!!!

    First prototypes nearly complete, all aluminum construction with a solid core. Testing this week.

    500' of #400 test spooled loosely and unorganized to see if it would fit. Larger spools available... plus, they're interchangeable! The small reel is holding 60' of rope.

    They work much like a coaster brake of a bicycle, but using the disc brake pad from cars. How much can they hold/pull? A slightly larger version is pulling in 400lb fish in Alaska!

    There is no way for the line to slip off the roller in the front, it's counter sunk into the sides. Length is adjustable per the users arm length (not complete for the photos). Different length levers will also be available, possible 'adjustable'. Knurled Handle, powder coating available.

    Weight? The first prototype is built using much heavier material on hand and weighs almost 6lbs with the #400 line, by using thinner wall material, and a tube in the front instead of a solid rod our target is less than 4lbs spooled with 1000' of #200.

    The production model will have many changes from this, but still appear and function the same.

    An additional feature in the near future? Electric powered!

    I am the distributor...

    AnchorWizard Kite Reel
    AnchorWizard Kite Reel
    AnchorWizard Kite Reel

    This was a test, easier to hold on to the reel itself, so the bar will become a strap. An option will be a t-bar to rest against your waist.
    AnchorWizard Kite Reel AnchorWizard Kite Reel

  • Looks promising!
    The much discussed stratospool design might be the best design for handheld use. The lighter the better.
    With the electric motor possibility, even better, but ideally having the capability of removing lever & replacing it with a cordless drill is the best IMHO.

    Will wait for the final outcome of possibly the ultimate kite reel??
  • Nice! I would be very interested to see an electric version of the AnchorWizard.

    I tore a calf muscle a few weeks ago and have been significantly hindered from flying due to the inability to walk walk my kites down. Just for the fun of it, I've been playing around with using a portable drill/screwgun to power my reel. It's still in the prototype stage and needs a lot of development to be practical, but it does look feasable to use a portable drill to power the reel in moderate to strong winds (10 - 15 lb pull). I'll start a separate thread for this.

  • edited August 2011
    Pictured below is the electric anchor conversion, the creator has several motors in testing. He did say how fast it reels, but I can't remember.

    The spool shown is yet another with larger hub.

  • edited August 2011
    Thanks for posting this picture Troy. This reel looks very robust. The model I'm working on is a step down in complexity, is made primarily of wood and looks like a modified stratospool. I'm re-working the spool to reduce size and add a leather band brake.

    Homebrew Electric Reel

    Any word on the projected cost for the Anchor Wizard?

  • From what I understand, $125 for the small, $225 for the large (stratospool style). I do not know the cost of additional reels, different size handles or the electric conversion yet.
  • @ Mike LeDuc
    Well done! I am thinking on those lines as well! I'm planning to use a 10inch halo winder fitted on a hub with roller-blade bearings.
    I'm not sure if I will use a 90 degree drill chuck attachment, which might make reeling in more ergonomic. (& more affordable!)
  • @ Troy
    I am still keen on seeing the final stratospool-like, lightweight reel with 1000' of 200 dacron capacity! :-)
    Will pictures be available any time soon?
    May I suggest KiteWizard as a very appropriate name for the new product line of dedicated kite reels?! :-)
    Wish you luck with progress!
  • I just received them today so I'll be testing over the holiday weekend.

    This photo shows the adjustment at the bottom side, adjusts in length from 24" to 32.5", fully proportional and will not fall out. I'm thinking it's a little to long, but fully extended it's pretty comfortable kneeling with one foot on it. As for the bottom piece to rest against your waist, I was expecting a plate. After testing this weekend I can make more recommendations on its design.

    Kite Wizard? ;)

    For testing right now it'll only have 500' of 200lb as its all I have.

    Warranty? Basically, over the last few years he's had a customer break a bearing, replaced it for free and there hasn't been a problem since. If you break it, we want to know how it broke, and we mean don't sugar coat it... You'll get replacement parts, and do what you will with it, and it still breaks, it's replaced again. By accurate feedback changes can be made to improve the design so there are no failures. After seeing the abuse put on some of these in the shop, I seriously doubt a kite is going to break it. Warranty is replacement

    I mentioned the use of a cordless drill as a motor, he said, "Yep, we can do it." Simply remove the handle, put on a spacer and attach the drill. The difference in the handle means a drill attachment would be extended through the mounting point so the drill wouldn't affect the threads, it could also be used with the handle attached.

  • Troy,
    I watched the AnchorWizard videos again. The integrated brake and clutch mechanism is very impressive. It's nice to see that someone is working to provide a high quality design like this for kites. I hope your tests go well this weekend and that you have good winds.

    It would be pretty cool if a relatively lightweight electric option were available. I'm not sure if you plan to pursue the use of a cordless screwdriver/drill for this. It seems like a practical approach since there are a lot of inexpensive high torque drill models available which include a battery and charger. For what it's worth, I've found that I need to minimize the spool diameter as much as possible to keep from over-torquing my drill motor in strong winds. This results in a wider spool than I would use for a reel that is hand crank only.

    Glad to see you're working on this!

  • edited September 2011
    We are pursuing the drill option as most people may already own a drill, it would make going electric even more affordable. Thunderstorms currently, probably because I was going to test. :(
  • edited September 2011
    " For what it's worth, I've found that I need to minimize the spool diameter as much as possible to keep from over-torquing my drill motor in strong winds."
    Mike, what is the diameter of your hub? I believe the one I have shown is 1.5". I'll have to double check when I get the 400 lb line removed.

  • edited September 2011
    For the line I'm using (1000 ft of 150 lb test), the volume is approx 37.5 cubic inches under moderate tension. My current spool is 3 inches wide. The hub diameter is 2 inches empty and increases to about 4.5 inches when filled with line. For hand cranking, I would like to have a larger hub diameter than this in order to take in more line per turn (lots of cranking with a 2 inch hub), however, I've found that the line tension can't increase beyond 10-15 pounds @ 4.5 inch diameter or it over-torques my drill motor at low speeds (very roughtly between 22 and 34 in-lb of torque). The smaller hub diameter isn't a problem when driven at a reasonably high RPM. I was able to retrieve about 800 feet of line in about 4.5 minutes with the drill-o-matic attachment (10 - 15 lb line tension). I've had limited test time since our winds have been so light here, the forecast shows good wind conditions tomorrow, so hopefully I'll have more time to try it out and get a better feel for torque requirments.

    A big variable is the drill torque capability. The drill I'm using is a Performax 12volt model (Made by Rockwell) that I purchased for $49 at Menards. It's reasonably small and lightweight (2.6 lbs). The battery pack has an integrated charge level display which is nice because it allows you to know the battery condition before using it. The max torque is specified as 170 in-lbs, but I"m not sure how this spec relates to the kite application. I'm sure there's a lot of "specmanship" at play when different manufacturers publish their torque numbers. There are higher torque models available with higher cost and weight but the one I'm presently using seems pretty strong when driving screws... never thought I'd be trying to use one of these to bring in a kite :)

  • As for the actual spool, we're trying to use already existing from his other products verses spending the big bucks to make a specialized kite reel mold. High enough demand would warrant it, but I can't currently see that coming. Any size can be made at a higher price. The smaller diameter kite reel shown above is machined. He did mention making sort of a clamp to put inside to increase size, two halves make a whole and the hub would still be solid, but I could see line slipping in the edges. The next size up I believe has a 4" hub, in which both have an approximate 1.88" internal width. The smallest reel hub is 1.25", internal width is 2" and outside diameter is about 3.44" (I can't get the calipers close enough to be accurate as the reel is internal.) One question the AnchorWizard ;) asked was, "For a larger hub, why don't they just rap more line and put a couple layers of duct tape on it." LOL

    The only drill I have to play with is a Craftsman 19.2v 1/2 drive with 125 in./lbs. who knows how they rate them....!? I can sink a 1/2" lag bolt into treated wood with a washer, strongest I've owed yet.

    I'm sure drill speed would be an equation too, wrap faster, equals wrap tighter. Seems there should be a happy medium when it comes to not having to hand crank.

    Is there a discussion here on the average length and weight of line used for each person? How many use 500'? how many use 1000'? and so on?

  • edited September 2011
    I have used 500' of 150LB dacron most times.
    I have several plastic halo winders by Premier kites with different line strengths spooled & I decided to take a few measurements which might help in spool size selection:

    500' of 150LB dacron spooled under moderate tension on 8"(OD) and 5.25" (ID) winder with inner width of 1.4" leaves about 1cm of free depth.

    1000' of 100LB waxed dacron under moderate to light tension on same size winder as above, leaves 0.75cm free depth to the outer rim.

    In a dumb experiment of mine, I let out 3000' of 200LB dacron with the intention to wind it onto a more usable 10"halo winder.
    Needless to say, that I ended up with aching arms & a HUGE pile of line on the ground as I had to get it in hand-over-hand when the wind died & it got completely dark! I estimate that I managed to wind about 1/3 (i.e. around 1000ft) onto a 10" (actually 9.75" OD) 6.3"ID and 2" inner width reel, before I had to start piling.
    3000' will never be let out in one single stretch again!! This amount of line weighs too much for practicality & it was let out parallel to the horizon in its final few hundred feet!
    200LB line is a good "middle way" for a reasonably wide range of wind speeds, though most of the time I feel its too heavy for my preferred KAP wind range.
    Winding under tension with high rpm probably needs such a strong line to avoid breaking when winding.
    1000' is most likely around the maximum length used by most KAPers but I may be wrong.

    Over-torquing of a portable drill is a concern but it can only be vaguely described as there are several variables: hub diameter, line tension, drill power....
    An idea of a practical balance can only be determined by experimentation.

    That's my 2c worth!
    Hope it helps!

  • edited September 2011
    The suggestion to preload the AnchorWizard spool with extra line to get the desired diameter sounds like a pretty good idea to me. It doesn't require any modification to the stock spool and let's the user customize it to the diameter desired. The maximum diameter can be tailored for either hand (larger diameter) or electric (smaller diameter) cranking.

    After thinking about it more, It would be pretty easy to determine the torque capability of the drill without having to use a kite. A weight can be suspended from the ceiling with a pulley and used as a load. This would allow static and "short run" tests to be performed with different weights to simulate the kite line pull.

    I had a great test flight today. The winds were 20 MPH with gusts to 26 MPH and the Levitation kite generated a pull between 10 and 15+ lbs (edited). My electric reel had no problem bringing in about 500 feet of line under this tension with a 4.5 inch max spool diameter, so I think I"ve got the necessary power with my current drill. I still need to optimize the hand brake and frame of the reel.

    From what I've found so far, a modified Stratospool design with a drill attachment and reduced hub diameter should work very well as an electric reel. It looks like the AnchorWizard would be a great commercially available product for this.

    I'll post the results of my "homebrew" reel in a separate thread for general interest.

  • Given the interest in motorized reels for kite lines.....recommend you check out this fine gem from the down under kite folks in NZ.....can hold 2000 meters of 150kg kite line....should be enough length for most KAP sessions!

  • I have checked out that electric reel previously, looked heavy and couldn't find any specs. A few years ago I built my own real that was way to heavy also... it wasn't until I saw the AnchorWizard reels that I regained interest.

    Yesterday I spooled it with 500' of 200 lb, I will be recommending a drill attachment for sure. ;) With the 'more line for hub diameter' idea, it would have to be wound tight and a layer of something preventing the new line with possible more tension from sinking into it, which would be a real challenge so we'll have come up with a solution.

    500' 200lb

    Yesterday was perfect for testing, my wife was holding the kite for a moment before launch and the wind took it from her, she grabbed for it, slipped and we spent the rest of the day in ER with her broken thumb. While sitting in the waiting room I taught her on a few things like "let it go", it can't run away. Oops. It's raining out today.

  • Troy,

    Sorry to hear about your wife's injury, all in the name of KiteWizard prototype testing! Hope she'll be fine soon!

    That is a serious-looking prototype!
    It seems it can easily hold another 500' of the same.
    Option for drill attachment is a must IMHO & personally I might prefer drill axis parallel to reel axis (using a 90 degree chuck attachment).
    This does not need any inbuilt reel modifications.
    Also capability for cordless drill use should be an extra & not the main feature. It must not preclude hand cranking altogether. After all it's part of the fun in kite flying!

    I had come across those fishing reels from PFK but they are too bulky & heavy (& expensive with the included motor)

    What is the reel's weight? This is a major selling factor in my opinion. The lighter the better.

    Keep up the good work!
  • As you see it in the picture with line the weight is 5 lbs 2 oz, keep in mind that we used what was on hand for this prototype so dropping a couple lbs wouldn't be unheard of. The front and rear bar are solid which will be replaced with tubing, and the wall thickness of the square tubing does not need to be so thick. Actually, I'd like a 1/8" thick plate on the back so padding could be added. Also, the mounting point for the bearing will be shorter to remove more weight, but a safety lock will also be installed. Overall length should be shorter too, fully extended the only way I can use it is if the back is on the ground and I stand on it.

    As for drill attachment, the hole for the handle is .42 diameter and not tapped all the way through, by tapping it all the way we could create a drill attachment that could be screwed in and locked. Problem solved... but we could make it without the actual handle too.
  • Envision ... count me in for one of the production units!!!! {insert some drooling here}
  • Looking good! :-)

    Weight reductions look promising & feasible. Portability increases, as well as affordability especially considering international shipping charges.

    I might be misunderstanding things but it seems that the handle is screwed on tight then line retrieval starts.
    The handle is pulled back to let out line. Would it result in loosening/unscrewing of the handle in strong line tension?
    If that's the case, a hexagonal, or square (or any-other-than circular) shaft might fit its purpose much better. The handle is "slotted on" rather than screwed on tight.
    A drill's chuck would also grip much better when the handle is removed.(Emphasis on interchangeability rather than drill+handle set-up)

    Though one must point out the need for a retention nut/bolt to prevent the handle from sliding out to the side when it is in use.

    I hope that my ideas help in brainstorming the best design, rather than being taken as requests. ;-)

  • The reel brake, tightening and freewheeling method is patent pending. It uses a one way bearing, a thrust bearing and brake pads machined from actual automotive brake material. The handle screws tighter clamping on the hub for a brake and reeling system. When releasing the handle it will not spin but remains locked in place until you pull back on the handle and release pressure allowing freewheeling of the reel at your desired speed, much like a coaster brake on a bicycle. Push forward to slow, lock and continue reeling once again, if a gust of wind came up and started to slowly unreel you'll just need to push the handle harder to lock it for the new tension. So... the drill would work the same way and need to have either the handle, or the bottom clamping piece in place of the handle to make the drill work. Drill on slow, high torque setting would be best.
  • Rare photo op with myself, video below.

    1 2

    The kite was pulling decent, and was not one bit strenuous. I let out the full 500' and rewound under tension to test the reel for compression. On occasion it would pull really hard, so I'd stop and wait a few seconds at a time. I was dreading reeling in the 500', but it was no problem at all, maybe 10 minutes.

    Definitely recommend a belt attachment with that amount of pull, but once under my foot it was easy.

    Contour HD camera used, so the aiming was just guessing. Here's the >>>>VIDEO<<<<</a>

  • I love the way this winder is capable of letting out line in a controlled manner. Currently I use a climbers 8 to let out line smoothly, which is working perfectly. There is however no way of retrieving the line using the 8. (other than walking it down..)
    The only disadvantage I see with your winder is that the line is spooled under tension. I have no worries about the metal spool, it's the line I'm worried about. I'm not sure storing a line under constant tension is a good thing. (wet line ;might even be worse)

    I'would rather have the handle/brake as a capstan, and ad a (motor driven) (and very light...) reel behind it to wind the line. Using a large diameter drum would crank in a lot of line with every turn of the handle, without much effort.

    Don't take this as comment on your device, I was just thinking out loud about an alternative way of using the same elements.

  • Troy,
    Very nice!!

    I could see the handle being offered in two options:
    1. Standard crank
    2. Modified crank with hex shaft for drill attachment and an offset balance for the handle (similar to the balance weight on fishing reels).

    This one will quickly make it onto my Christmas wish list :)

    Hope your wife's thumb heals quickly.

  • I'would rather have the handle/brake as a capstan, and ad a (motor driven) (and very light...) reel behind it to wind the line.
    We had thought of that also, currently it would add a lot to the cost. This was a simple solution to offer something comparable or 'better' to the reels already on the market.

    I wound and left it under tension for testing as you know someone will do it all the time and we need to know it can withstand the pressure. I plan to have another reel at home for simple unwinding and respooling the line after returning home. We will be researching a light capstan reel for the future.

    As for the large drum, any line under tension would pull in much harder especially by hand with a larger reel. There was no strain with this reel, another inch or 1.5" diameter larger hub would work well, but would require thousands to make a new mold, adding to the cost... Or if demand is high enough. There is a larger reel with a 4" or 5" diameter hub if prefered. However, with Mike LeDuc's testing above, if it overpowers a drill with a 4.5" hub, I don't want to be winding it by hand. How fast is fast enough? The faster you wind especially in higher winds the tougher it also is on a kite, not to mention the line. Could it over power the kite causing a loss of control? I'd rather take the extra couple minutes to be easier on all equipment.
  • 2. Modified crank with hex shaft for drill attachment and an offset balance for the handle (similar to the balance weight on fishing reels).
    I believe the 'Anchor Wizard' mentioned we can make the handle adjustable much like the bottom section with a knob, I'm sure moving the handle near center would balance it out with this option. Is this for high speed reeling with a drill? I'll have to see if we can get a drill attachment done this week for further testing.

    I'll tell you, the previous methods always left my arms exhausted, I'm sure it's because I like to lift to much weight combined with the line pull. This is one reason why I didn't KAP for so long. You can look forward to seeing more from me. ;)
  • Evolution of the KiteWizard well underway! :-)

    I thought of something about 'more line for hub diameter' idea & I thought I see what you think of it:
    What about the reel's sides having holes spanning out over its radius? Say 1.5" , 3" and 4.5" from the hub centre? These are designed to accomodate bolts which are slotted it according to user preference:
    just out from centre for electric reeling only
    furthest out for longest line retrieval per turn as ideal in hand cranking only
    or midway for a balance where most drill won't be over-torqued (hopefully).

    This set-up would be similar to the Luxury kite reel from PassionKites as shown here by Mobilexile
    I think some 12 bolts are used. Distance from the hub centre can be kindly measured possibly by some of our colleagues owning this reel?

    Regarding electric reeling speeds, we have to be reasonable: nobody wants any kite or line failure, let alone loss of flight control.

    Troy: "I believe the 'Anchor Wizard' mentioned we can make the handle adjustable much like the bottom section with a knob,...."
    I really like this idea as it works both ways:
    For those people who want the handle on all the time, handle knob can be slid in all the way when using the drill as you say. (Those who don't can remove it altogether.)
    BUT ALSO, when hand cranking becomes tiresome, handle can be lengthened, increasing the moment force making winding easier.
    Feedback appreciated.

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