Gather notes and questions about our lifters here -- types, tuning, pros and cons

the ROKKER ; a new vented Rokkaku with good features of Roller



  • edited April 3

    Before diving into making a kite with expensive materials, I like to first make a smaller prototype out of wood dowels and plastic. I made a vented Rokkaku this way and test flew it for the first time today. It is 5 feet tall, 4 feet wide, and 3 feet between the spreaders. The wind ended up being moderate, which is stronger than I would normally fly one of these dowel kites, but it handled it very well. It was also quite stable. I am positive that my 4-foot dowel Barn Door kite would have gotten blown down or broken in this wind, and it's smaller than this one. So, suffice it to say, I'm sold on this vented Rokkaku concept. I'll order some sail cloth soon and get going on the big version. Here are a few pictures and videos.

    I actually took a video with this tiny palm-sized drone that I recently got too, but I forgot to hit the record button again at the end of the flight, so it was lost. Oh well, it wasn't great quality or anything anyway (it's intended just for having fun around the house or yard, not for recording HD video.) It was fun buzzing around it, though. Maybe I'll try that again once I build my 7-foot Rokker.

  • edited May 1

    I finished sewing the sail for my 7 ft (2.1 m) Rokker. It was a new record for me; it went from a roll of fabric to completed in less than two weeks of my free time. The sewing is not as beautiful as SMAC's, but it will get the job done. I'm hoping to finish the rest of it tomorrow and do the first test flight on Sunday. More pictures to come!

  • Nice work, Montagdude. I finished a 2 meter high vented Rokker two weeks ago. I still have to order glasfiber spars for it. I choose bright colours. I intend to use it in 4-5 Bft. The new kite will replace my 4 square meters Rok for KAP. It's way to powerfull for my lightweight rig.

  • edited May 4

    Looks nice! I originally wanted to do two colors with mine, but with the way the pieces worked out, I would have had to order two extra yards. The wind has been too strong lately to fly mine, so I haven't quite finished it yet. All that's left is to make the bridle, though. I hope to see some pictures of yours in the air when it's done. Mine is intended for light winds, probably 2-3 or maybe 4 Bft max.

  • My kite flies! Thanks smac for the idea and tips. So far I've just done a few short test flights. I'm excited to get to know it more.
    Here is more information and construction details: The total weight is 12 oz (340 grams), and the sail area is 31 sq ft (2.9 sq meters).

    A couple videos:

    And some pictures:

  • Looks good and very controllable, with typical roller "elevator" movement with wind changes (or varied pull on the line). A good job!

  • edited May 16

    Thanks, NZflier. We haven't had much good wind here lately, so I haven't had a chance to KAP with it. I did get my longest flights in with it yesterday. So far I haven't found any bad tendencies, and it is very smooth and stable. No dives or tense moments yet. It went through several powerful thermals yesterday up to a few hundred feet, which was fun. It's also rigid and light enough that it responds well to tugging on the line during launch or trying to keep it up in an unsteady breeze. I think it will be a great KAP kite.

  • Looking great! Keep the videos coming!


  • edited May 18

    I do have one more video of it. Here it is thermaling in a light wind. This was a fairly gentle thermal in a light evening breeze, not the more powerful type that I was having fun with during the afternoon the other day. It's hard to tell since there are no clouds or other good references, but it goes directly overhead before falling out of the thermal.

    I am going to try to get some video from the ground when I finally get the chance to KAP with it. Just haven't had much wind lately, much less reliable wind overlapping free time. All my flights so far have been short spur-of-the-moment affairs.

  • nice work Montagdude! I sparred my Rok a few days ago and it had it's maiden flight. Mine is a bit smaller, 195 x 150 cm. A nice size for KAP. I can pack it down to 100 cm. When I built it, I took in account that I want to assemble it quickly. I'm happy with it and I think I will use it regularly for KAP. In the Netherlands glasfiber spars with matching ferrules and caps are available through kiteshops. I used 12 (spine) and 10 mm (spreaders) . I think I should have chosen 8 mm for the spreaders. A Rok should have flexible spreaders and a rigid spine. This is probably the fifth Rok I built. Simple to build and fly.

  • I had my first KAP-session with the new Rok and it performed well. The size makes it a very manageable platform and I can walk around with it easily. These are some shots of my first session with this kite.

  • edited May 21

    Nice job and interesting pictures! I still haven't had a KAP session with mine, though I could have today if I had been prepared for it. I ended up flying for about 30 minutes in my neighborhood in a 10 mph breeze with gusts to about 15. The kite is more stable than any other I've owned (though granted, I've only been into this for about a year now). It just parks itself in the sky, sometimes surging or riding high in a thermal, but very steady the whole time. The gusts were barely noticeable just by watching the kite. Even with the fairly big size I made, I think it would be able to handle 20 mph gusts, and probably fly in as little as 6 mph if it's steady enough.

  • edited May 24

    I had my first real KAP session with the Rokker yesterday (the true first was the day before, just a short low altitude one near my house). The wind was challenging, varying from 8 to 20 mph, and not much space to launch on the little beach where I was flying, but it handled it all with ease. I'm really impressed with this kite. Here's a picture:

    Here is a video of it flying with the KAP rig attached (best viewed in HD):

    And there are more pictures and a story here.

  • Lovely photo. Chesapeake Bay looks a great area for KAP, and the kite seemed to be as steady as a ro(c)k!

  • Kite testing over WW proving grounds ;-)

    SMAC vented ROK....holding up a bunch of streamers....

    A kite flies just about every day there is wind over WW proving grounds....with the same streamers....for visibility - both from the ground and from the air above!

    Still working on my KAP rig repairs.....too much much fun flying kites.... ;-)


    Kite time over WW proving grounds!

    Kite time over WW proving grounds!

  • Kite rescue story in progress....fingers crossed....


    Kite adventure

    Kite adventure

  • edited July 1

    I have no idea what a deer skull could possibly have to do with rescuing a kite, but I'm interested to know.

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