Rodrigo Alvarez

Tinkering as a way of life

Kite Foil – It’s done!

We finally made it! As we were on a time constraint to finish, some on-the-fly decisions have been taken. First and most obvious, it’s black. No, it’s not carbon fiber, but it looks pretty much like it. It does not add to the functionality, but it does raise the “coolness” factor of the device.

Secondly, we’ve finally made it all a single piece. This makes it a pain to fit in cars and move around, however, once we started laminating the fuselage, we had to come up with a way of keeping the screw threads in place while avoiding dropping epoxy on them. If we messed up, most likely we wouldn’t reach our deadline. For the board, we sourced marine grade plywood which is supposed to be waterproof, we then cut a round part and drilled a few holes.

But, Does it work? Well, it has been hard to tell. As there wasn’t enough wind to test, we had to rely on the engine of a sailboat which only got up to 6 knots (3.1 m/s) that we believe isn’t enough to start foiling. However, when falling, the board rose on the foil on it’s own so it looked promising.

Notice the flex on the board while the foil was rising

Notice I said “looked”? Well, the truth is, it died on the second day we tried it.

Upon further inspection it, looks like a failure in the lamination between the mast and the base. Although the mast was inserted into the base, it was hard to make the right angle properly with the fiberglass, leaving an empty space between the parts thus creating a weak spot.

We are not deterred, we will keep working on it.