Design and build a unique 50 cell Tetrahedron kite
50 Clutch of Bluebirds
Use 3d printing technology to create a simplified yet unique kite with special fittings
Ah ha moment for the project with Lindsey was falling onto the idea of "Birds instead of Diamonds”, for the tetra sails. I know I wouldn’t have had the lasting power to make the sails if they hadn’t been unique.
Scott Skinner, Lindsey Johnson
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These projects are always a process – for Lindsey, more than for me, because he might be asked to make these fittings again. I’m convinced that the modeling plastic we used is a bit brittle, and I’m sure the next generation made by Lindsey will be in a different plastic. Additionally, the fittings can be made in a variety of geometries: flatter, wider sails; bigger cells; different spar materials; or, perhaps, a full new development for a specific project.
tools or applications used
3d Printer, sewing machine, facebook messenger. The beauty on my end is that all I had to do was to produce sails to the proper size for the fittings and sticks used. Lindsey and I coordinated our efforts by mail, I sent him the old fittings, example sails and example spars, he engineered the connectors and sent them back, I constructed a test cell and then went mad on the sewing machine. We had no time crunch, so this was done old school,
Each iteration of a process like this will produce new results. I know for sure, that if we did the project tomorrow, we’d choose a different plastic for the fittings.
The making of a new collaboration, 1993 to 2018. In the early years of my attending the Fanoe, Denmark, International Kitefliers Meeting, I was greatly impressed by the tetrahedral kites of Til Krapp and Peter Malinski. Malinski, an inspiring artist had become a close friend and, along with Denmark’s own Jorgen Moller Hansen, had convinced to come to Fanoe in the first place. Til Krapp had a background in medical and dental equipment and he was the one who developed the plastic fittings used in their tetras. So, with something to trade (sewing skills), I proposed a trade with the two of them; I’d make 50 sails for each of them if they would make me enough connectors for a 50-cell tetra for myself. The following year was the payoff, three, fifty-sail tetras, all made with sails made by me, and tetra fittings by Til and Peter. 25 years later, the tetra-bug bit me again and I felt that I might go another direction of the critical fittings that make this project possible. Enter Lindsey Johnson, longtime kite maker and innovator, who was demonstrating a great aptitude for 3-d modeling and innovative kite hardware. Using Til’s original fittings as a guide, Lindsey developed a 3-d-printed fitting that could serve the same purpose. As I had done in the first collaboration, I had Lindsey make fittings appropriate for Easton arrow shafts (1/2 a shaft for each stick) for this tetra design that features internal, 4-stick cells. I would add, that it was at about this time, as fittings were being made, that I decided upon the sail design that would make this a once-in-a-lifetime tetra; bird-shaped sails that would make a flock of birds instead of a simple, geometric, tetrahedron. (By the way, my flock of bluebirds is a “clutch”, although “hermitage” can also be used) So, almost a full year later, my almost-50-sail clutch of bluebirds is finished. Thank you to Lindsey Johnson, I know I’ll be seeing his interpretation, soon.