• Very interesting indeed.

    Gets the creative juices flowing for sure. But for my money, your Stratospool is the best.
  • I'll wait till Brooxes or KAPshop have them in stock! ;)
  • I'm working just beyond the concept level on my Stratospool version 2. My first one is big, tough and heavy and works well in big winds with big kites however I do a lot of flying in lighter wind.
    For me not having my own drill press, lathe or band saw the reel core is the most difficult and I've gone from think about what I can second source easily to trying to develop a plan that the average guy with few tools could go to the hardware store and pick some things off the shelf and easily put them together for a basic light weight inexpensive reel with some of the features of the Strat'.
    So far I'm looking at a 3" Schedule 40 PVC coupler for the core and an HDME cutting board for the sides. Total investment $4 US. Although I can get Schedule 80 in a larger size, the big box hardware stores don't carry that.
  • edited July 2012
    Made my own Strat with drum brake from a tandem bicycle, it's too heavy for day to day Kapping but if I need to fly my big 4sqm flowform in stronger than expected winds it gives me total confidence when anchored to the ground

    My next will be similar but much smaller and lighter ~ I just love the control of a brake
  • edited July 2012
    Having read all the comments on reels and winder and having looked at other designs, I decided to make my own winder for use with my 18 ft delta, seeing as a hand winder was not really suitable. I used the same basic layout as the Stratospool, with an H shaped bar and a large spool on the right.

    I used what I had at hand, and seeing as I do not have access to a workshop I used parts I could just put together without having to machine any parts.The bar comes from a lightweight wheelchair aluminum crossbar, and the reel is from a wheelbarrow wheel from Harbor freight. I simply cut the solid rubber tire off the wheel and the rim was my reel. The knob is a skateboard wheel from the reject bin at the local skateboard store. The only real difficulty was the large diameter of the wheelchair wheel, and I had to make my own bushings to go from the bolt I used as an axle to the wheel.

    I took the Picture prior to adding a waist strap, with a loop to hold the reel locked in position.

    See the reel here:
  • image
    Reel Mini - Okuma Top View by SkyEye3D, on Flickr

    I had to search for your image on Flickr.
  • edited July 2012
    Hello Puffin

    That is my Mini Reel I built for light kites based on a Okuma Fishing reel and a hacksaw handle, but it is really small and hold only about 200 feet of line.

    Another picture of the Mini Reel can be seen here:
  • I bought one of the reels listed on this site last year and it was a nightmare. The seller packed the reel in a sheet of brown craft paper and thin bubble wrap for shipping half way around the planet. As a result it was damaged in transit and, after much wrangling and debate with PayPal, I ended up with a US $30 refund for a reel that was damaged. In the end the seller suggested I bend it back with a hammer, which I did. It's still bent and rubs with each and every spin of the line. I STRONGLY suggest avoiding this seller / company.
  • edited December 2012


    My new winder. Tested in the field with Rokkaku 8.7' and Dopero 10', wind 10mph. I am Very pleased. Now I want to buy a 1000 ft Kevlar Braided Line 250LB Strength, 5.8oz/235g weight. ;O)

    Piotr BKT
  • Ok, the photos on the web site Jim posted at the beginning of this thread begs a question:

    Aside from the whole cool anodized aluminum thing, what stands out most about the reels on that page is that they're all equipped with brakes. The first one in the list (the gold anodized one) has what looks like a disc brake off of a mountain bike.

    So here's my question: For those with Stratospool-style winders, how important is your brake? And is a disc brake the right way to go? If I remember right, someone bought one of these winders and described the braking action as grabby and loud. Is a dedicated disc brake a good choice? Or is something like the original Stratospool pressure bar the right way to go?

    The reason I'm asking is that I have a pair of cable-activated disc brakes sitting in my shop right now. A friend of mine upgraded his bike to hydraulics, and gave me his old brakes. So this could be the core of a pretty cool winder! Or... it could be the core of a winder I'll get frustrated with the first time I take it out in the field.

    I know this ties back to the whole winder discussion Jim hosted about a month ago, but I don't know if this aspect of the design was really discussed in depth. I'm curious what people think.

    One other question: HOW do you use your brake? Do you use it to lock the winder? (Something a disc brake would do a pretty good job of) Or do you use it to regulate the rate at which line comes off the winder? (Something I'm not convinced a disc brake would do particularly well.)

    Also, are you using your KAP rig for videos or for stills? Long, long ago when Scott Armitage was developing the GS-1 gyro-stabilized servo, there was a really brief discussion of winder design as it relates to kite aerial video. The technique Scott was using, if I remember right, was to let out line so the KAP rig glides just above the ground. This is a cool technique, but it's a real test of a winder. ANY variation in drag, the lay of the line, etc. makes the KAP rig wobble. What came out at the end of the discussion was a comment that one of the best benefits to kite aerial video would be a kite winder with a really sensitive brake, to allow for shots like that.

    Sorry for the barrage of questions. This is one I've been curious about for a while now.

  • edited December 2012
    I've been sort of thinking about one of these winders, and having a brake of some sort, but I don't have a cycle disk brake lying around and I'm not sure I'd want something that big on my winder. While looking at those expensive cycle hub brakes on ebay, it seems that those mini motorbikes/scooters that seem quite fashionable at the moment have cheap drum brakes, with diameters from 7.5cm upwards.

    Here is a link to an ebay listing that has some decent photographs of such a drum brake (this is by far not the lowest cost but it does have some good photos). www.ebay.com/itm/Rear-Brake-Drum-Assembly-for-Mini-Gas-Electric-Scooter-M-BK13-/230768395428

  • Tom,
    I started to install a bike-parts brake on my current iteration of my version of a strat-type- the " Air-Reel" . It has an extendable arm for leverage, but the brake seemed like a waste of space and weight. With my gloved hand I let the
    line reel out slowly, then when we're out a bit the plywood flange of the reel allows for easy braking with more surface the further out you go. Easy to grip, squeeze both sides of the flange.. How can one show relevant photos here; is Flickr the
    only option...?
  • Paul, you can link to a photo anywhere on the web, as long as it has a URL.
  • edited March 2013
    I love the simplicity, this brake is sufficient for my needs. You just need to have a glove on his left hand. :O)

  • To be honest, I use the simple original bar design brake, works really well to slow the drum. To lock off, a simple loop of webbing strap attached the butt end, which I loop over the winding handle and knob.
  • edited December 2012
    Just finished a hybrid strato spool using nylon chopping boards. I really like the skate wheel reel but need just a little more bracing and power sometimes. Gloved hand for brake.

    Kite reels
  • edited December 2012
    I didn't feel ready to contribute to the recent online discussion that Jim organised. I built my rig in October but have not used it much. I have made up for that in the last couple of weeks. I have documented my trials and observations @ http://meerstone.wordpress.com/ and this includes my thoughts about the brake. I tend to use it squeezed against the frame to control the speed of the reel when letting out line. My brake is more effective at stopping the drum if squeezed close to the axle. Further away it is less efficient but fine for controlling speed. I also tend to use it when winding in to provide a bit of friction to give me an advantage over the kite, rather like having ratchet would stop the reel turning backwards. I have also found that it is most efficient at stopping when pulled away from the frame. No one else seems to have mentioned doing that, but for me it works.

  • Hey, Martin, can you add a subscribe button to your web site? I'd be more than happy to click it.

  • No problem Tom. I'm not quite as up to speed with social media as I should be so my blog is still under development. I have added the function to "Follow Blog via Email". I probably need to look more at the options to see if that is the best option to provide. That's a job for next year.

  • You can follow Meerstone's blog with Google Reader. While we're talking of blogs you can have a look at mine here. It will soon include a post about reels.
  • Great blog Andrew found it very informative.
  • Thanks Nestor. I thought I had better write down everything I've learned over the last few months before my brain fills up. Very impressive bio by the way. Your kite and rig collection is stunning.
  • edited January 2013
    Brooks- and others-

    Re: “ you can link to a photo anywhere on the web, as long as it has a URL.”

    I have a flickr account which I have never been inclined to use. Probably thinking too much of the tales of stolen photos. I presume that a photo with a URL is accessible by anyone, as opposed to one I might attach and send in an e-mail only to you.
    I understand that this forum is not the proper location for albums of one’s photos; all I would like to do is occasionally share a shot of a rig , as others have done. I simply would like to copy and paste in to a post.


    PS: final order arrived. Many thanks, as always.
  • edited January 2013

    Flickr lets you make photos public, available only to friends or completely private (visible only to you). I suggest that you put any rig photos that you don't mind anyone seeing onto Flickr and make them public. You can then use the "share" pulldown above the photo to grab the html text you need to paste the photos here (Flickr lets you choose the size from thumbnail 100x75 to original). Takes just a few seconds once the photo is on Flickr.

    The advantage of using Flickr this way is that it's then trivial to add the rig photos to the Kap Rigs or KAP Bits groups. Again just takes a couple of seconds.
  • Thanks Dave,

    Looks like I'll have to get after it and give it a try. To further show my lack of flickr-ese, who do you suppose someone
    would put photos on to flickr and have them visible only to the poster?
    I still wonder about things like - does it take a lot of energy ( electricity ) to store old long-ago-read e-mails in some memory bank, in some industrial park....
    and what happens to old-emailers messages when they go to the great computer console in the sky....? Do the old ads from Amazon live on in perpetuity....?
    As always any of your wise enlightenment is most welcome.
  • Apart from anything else, Flickr makes a good offline backup store - unlimited space (more or less), free and with a lot of care taken to make sure they are fail-safe.
  • Dave,

    Each step of the way you help it make more sense to me. Thanks for the guidance and patience.

  • The privacy settings on Flickr mostly regulate how your photos show up in searches and lists. If you set a photo to be 100% private, you can still post its URL to a forum like this one, and it'll show up. But it won't be searchable in Flickr, Google, etc. And if you never post its URL anywhere, it's only accessible by you.

  • Thanks andrewnewton for the heads up about Google Reader. I post updates of my blog on my facebook page (pm me for details).
    What you have done with your blog is great. Writing stuff up as you find it is useful. That way you explain it not as an expert but as a new user. Its all to easy when we know a subject in depth the miss small details that we don't consider important, but which others find an essential component for understanding. I came across a quote recently that is attributed to Einstein which says that "If you can't explain it to a six year old, you don't understand it yourself." I now have that on the wall next to my desk.
  • Thanks for the encouragement, I'll keep on blogging.
    Just to keep this thread about reels on track, here's my blog post about Lines, Knots and Reels
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