Wind Driven Kite Bubble Generator
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I was looking through the old Rec.Kites News
Group Archives, when I can across an old (and untested) plan for a Bubble
Generator to be attached to a kite line. The Author of the news article
Peter Ulfheden <Peter.Ulfheden@ki.ericsson.se> kindly gave me permission to
publish this plan....
- Original Plan by Peter Ulfheden
Peter, in his reply also says...
`` I have ping-pong balls and some other stuff lying on a shelf but
there has always been another kite that I had to make first ;-) ''
The following is my own attempt at creating a kite bubble generator..
`` But I think I'll give it a try this summer. ''
This Plan was a failure. I have left it here for comments and suggestions
by other kite flyers. The bubbles were produced but burst on the edge of
the container. Also the loops seemed to churn the bubble mix, foaming
it into a big, and usless, mess.
- A cheap plastic freezer container (cylindrical 500ml container with
tight snap-seal lid)
- A good quality barbecue skewer (for spindle)
- A couple of pipe cleaners (for the bubble making loops)
Alternative: bubble loops you get in bubble mix bottles
- 4 ping pong balls (halved into 8 half balls to catch the wind)
- one wire coat hanger (for ping pong ball rotor)
Alternative: stiff plastic or fibreglass spars
- A old wooden ruler or dowel length (line suspension)
plastic tubing, picture/telephone wire, superglue.
Foam Styrene pieces to form a base to stop the container rolling and
spilling bubble mix when on the ground.
- Bubble Mix -- Of course!!!!
ASIDE: All the above stuff totals under $10 Australian including the bubble
Notes to keep in Mind
- Study the Original Plan. That is all I had, and probably better
than my descriptions.
- The Wooden Ruler (or dowel) which is used to suspend the bubble
generator to the kite line is required. The reason is that it and the
hinge will keep the generator facing the correct way better than any
fins or other mechanism I have thought of.
- The rotors must rotate so that the bubble loops move INTO the wind.
If they move with the wind they may not generate bubbles as
- I choose pipe cleaner for the bubble loops so that it can hold some
of the bubble mix and generate more bubbles. If you look at a plastic
bubble loop that comes with bubble mix you see that it has ridges to
also hold some of the mix.
- There are many other ways this can be built.
- I could probably go to the local supermarket and buy a ``Bubble and
Skip'' and replace the traction wheel with a propeller. The only
thing that stopped me was that it cost about $60 Aus!!!
- Set the spindle parallel to the wind instead of perpendicular,
and drive it with a propeller. Though I think that may spin the
bubble loops too fast and some gearing is needed (as used in the
``Bubble and Skip''.
- build a motor driven bubble generator (fan optional)
I (and Peter) would love to hear of any and all things you may try and
weather it was successful or not.
Step 1 -- Rotor
2 lengths of coat hanger wire was pushed through a bit of plastic
tubing, right angles to each other. A smaller diameter is inserted
into one end. The satay stick will be insterted into the smaller tube.
The ping pong balls were halved and a small hole bored through near the
edge on opposite sides. A heated precision screw driver (or wire thinner
than the coathanger wire), does a clean job of this.
The ping-pong balls are then pushed onto the end of the coat hanger wire of
the rotor. NOTE: the ping-pong balls must face in the opposite direction
on the ot
Super glue the plastic tubes together and the ping pong balls. DO NOT glue
the satay stick spindle into the smaller tube. This is never glued so that
you can disassemble the generator.
Step 2 -- Container
A large oval shaped hole cut out of the side on the container leaving the
lid and base completely alone. The hole should be almost but not quite half
way around the container. Careful, the plastic of these freezer containers
are very tough to cut. I Sliced my thumb while doing this :-(
A hole made on the base and lid (dead center) just large enough for the
satay stick spindle to spin freely.
You may also like to cut out and wire a foam styrene `foot' for the
container. This will stop the container spilling its contents when you sit
it down on the ground. Though I added a `fin' to the styrofoam `foot' of
the container, I am not sure if it will do any good or if it will just pop
Step 3 -- Spindle
Measure the satay stick spindle in the container (through holes in base and
lid) and mark the point where the middle of the container will be. Insure
that you leave enough out each side of the container so that the rotors
are clear. You may have to leave more on the lid side of the container.
Twist the pipe cleaners into loops and twist around the satay spindle at
the mark. I found a little bit of extra wire helps. Check that the loops
fit in the container and will spin freely. When satisfied superglue the
pipe cleaners in place on the spindle. Do not superglue the loops
themselves so that you don't destroy the fuzz.
NOTE: I used three hoops rather than the four of the original plan
so that they do not interfere with each other. Two would probably
Step 4 -- Generator
Open the lid of the container and put spindle inside. Push the rotors
onto the end and trim the satay stick so that the loops were in the
middle of the container, and the rotors were clear. I pushed a couple
of the smaller plastic tubing to space the rotors away from the
Note the direction of the ping pong balls so that the loops move INTO
I also found that the wooden spindle did not hold the rotors very well so I
covered the ends of it with super glue to seal the wood. I then I let that
glue to dry completely before trying to push the rotors on again.
Step 5 -- Line Attachment
I had a old wood ruler handy which I used to wire/tape a hinge and kite line
knobs. This handle is needed to keep the generator facing into the wind.
The Kite line is attached to the knobs with a rope ladder loop knot. Just
loop the line once around each knob seems to hold it in place nicely.
Dated: 11 May 1996
Updated: 11 May 1996
Author: Anthony Thyssen,
WWW URL: http://www.cit.gu.edu.au/~anthony/kites/bubbles/mark1/