Thursday, July 29, 2010

High-voltage static jumping off a kite line

In all my years flying kites, I have only encountered this 3 times. Phillip Chase was sitting on this bench flying a different kite and thought he heard the line singing on this one which was tied off. As he moved closer to check it out, it shocked him. I grabbed my camera to capture this real-life physics experiment. A few factors to note:

The bench was made of a plastic composite material, as was the line and the kite itself. The static would jump into mid air and make the same sound as jumping to our fingers if it was allowed to build up enough. The two other identical kites flying in the same conditions were not doing the same thing. They were flying on different line material, and tied off to different things, a person and a wooden fence. There was visible lightning and electrical activity in a storm that was about 1-3 miles to the West of us.

The other two times I have experienced this were both while riding in my kite buggy, and I started to get a shock through my leg to the metal frame of the buggy.

Listen through headphones or on good speakers for the full effect of this video.

Kites by Jordan Air Kites, Video by Tim Elverston and Phillip Chase. Shot at Anastasia State Park in FL on June 27th 2010 at 4pm.




I think the aspect of this instance which it truly worth noting is that we had two other kites 'showing' zero charging effect. They were at the same altitude, and only a few feet from this one. It's my guess that the charge was occurring on those as well, but had this one not been insulated, we would have never known that we were already the 'path of least resistance' on the other two kites that day. We would've gone home thinking that nothing abnormal had happened at all.

As in, you cant charge your body and get a spark to the door knob, while holding the door knob. You first have to build up the potential, and then discharge it. The other two kites were under constant discharge, but that doesn't mean that the electrons weren't dancing. It just means that this might be happening much more often than anyone is aware of.

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Making 3 ColorWing Morphos

This is a time-lapse that shows the incredibly lengthy process of painting and building these kites. Included is the complete paint and sewing job of one of the three. There is a total of 13 hours per kite of painting, and roughly that of cutting and building as well. The paint when dry adds about 14 grams to the total weight of the kite. The actual process of painting takes many days however, because there are 4 layers per panel and each layer has to dry completely before the next is added. There are a few things this does not show like the initial cutting of the panels and the complete framing processes. The kites are Morpho Gliders designed by Tim Elverston. Graphics and related technologies are by Ruth Whiting. The wing span is 14 feet each, or 4.25 meters. Weight of each finished kite is around 285 grams, or around 10 ounces. Thanks and enjoy!



If you are enjoying the video, it is VERY worth setting playback to 720p HD and clicking full screen.

Music is by Floex and is used with permission from the artist.

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Also, some backstory:
Pictured briefly at the end of this video are deltas made at Jordan Air kites. I designed these deltas at jordan air after being exposed to George Peters kites via Kitelines Magazine back in 1993 and also a small 2 foot plastic delta [giant by Charlie's standards] made by Charlie Sotich in 1995 which kind of started my entire obsession with glider-deltas. I never made any more like them. But after finding an old one in a friend's garage, dean recently revisited the design and has made a few - check out his site for the story. Kinda cool to have it all come full circle.

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Leather case for iPhone 4

So this is an iphone 4. Since I can't bring myself to buy a case for my phones, I have figured out a few ways to make them. This one is from leather. I got this phone because of the materials really -- they had me at glass and stainless. That and the camera. The images it takes are really amazing actually. Apparently there is supposed to be a signal attenuation problem with the new iphone when it's touched in a certain place. I can't seem to really make mine do it, but with this case it becomes a non issue anyway.

This is a detail of the well-protected corner.


Here you can clearly see the way each stitch hangs off the edge. There is a tension line that is trapped there and used as a draw string.

There are actually two tension lines. One for the front, and one for the back. As I was working with the leather, it was clear that it was going to need some kind of non-stretch solution for the main dimensional elements of the case. I used two super-thin dyneema lines.


Here you can see the 3 dashes along the side where the two lines get woven into the leather. This is so they can be losened when the case needs to come off which is not very often.



The scrap shows the corners that had to be cut. 8 tiny pieces of leather each had to have a bevel to sit flat against the face of the phone.



As far as the sewing went, it was pretty fiddly. I used a darning foot which is a tiny round foot for the machine. It's normally used with those clampy wooden rings that we used to see in people's houses back when they made stuff -- sniff. Anyway, this foot works well for the leather because it's tiny, and doesn't actually make contact with the base plate of the machine. There is a gap that it leaves that is just about the right height for the thickness of the leather, so you don't have it pressing down super hard. I have an industrial machine, but i didn't even have a chance to use the motor. I just turned the hand wheel with my hand. Each stitch is hand-placed.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

an artificial ecosystem in the air

Five kites from our new series. Painted by Ruth Whiting, designed and built by Tim Elverston. This shot was taken in Cervia Italy at Artevento 2010. The three kites in the background each have 14 foot wingspans. The two in the foreground each have 8 foot wingspans.

Monday, April 12, 2010

New Morpho Grandes



First I cut them, and then Ruth paints these for about 13 hours or more. Then I meticulously build them, and then they fly. They're 4.2 meters wide and weigh 284 grams. This is the first of three.

Friday, February 19, 2010

Bone Kite - Stainless wire, carbon fiber, cuben cloth




These images show one of the first flights of my new kite. I call it the bone kite because of the way the fittings work. I didn't realize it at first, but as I started assembling these fittings I saw that they work a lot like our joints. It's actually technology that I first developed for the articulated lamps that I've been making. This kite flies really nicely right now, but I'm more excited about the wide range of adjustment built into the design. Also the sail unclips while leaving the frame self-supported. This means that I can easily clip in different sail profiles and materials for varied conditions. My next designs will be a new quadline, and also another single line that does away with the spine.

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Double hinges


A spine and two articulated arms that will be leading edges for two wings.

Monday, February 08, 2010



Wednesday, February 03, 2010

Reading light

Tuesday, February 02, 2010

Articulated carbon



These are fittings that I developed as hinges for my counterweighted lamps. Here I have miniaturized them for use in a kite I'm working on. Images of that to follow.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Thursday, January 14, 2010

The fruit of the fire sticks






I've been making juggling sticks for a long time, but never made a set for fire until now. Here are the first shots from them. Taken by Paul Forrestel with my nikon at 2 and 3 second exposures.