The base question of the problem is here. Another related question here.

Additional to the material of the rope, I also need to be able to deal with the said rope when lowering the kite, when the fun gets to an end.

Rolling a few tens or hundreds of meters by hand, might be doable. Rolling a few kilometers of rope by hand, should be a serious physical challenge, I guess.

Additional to the rolling itself, some actual force might be needed to lower the kite, as it might not want to come down. Which complicates the problem even more.

Of course, one solution is to have an entire team of people on the problem - which is far from what I have in mind.

The other solution is to have some kind of help (mechanism?) to help me deal with the problem.

I had an idea about using the wheel of the car for this purpose (actually, one of the powered wheels, still attached to the car), but it has several drawbacks. The main con reason is safety related - it is plain dangerous. Also, the car might not be allowed at the site of fun.

I also amused myself trying to find a way to use an accumulator-powered electric screw-driver. The main issue is that it is asymmetrical, the screwdriver being on only one side. And will the accumulator have enough energy? It seems that at least 2 people would be needed in this case also.

Having an entire setup with combustion engines and gears is cool (and more suitable for the Engineering site), but I had in mind something more like "crafting hack". That is why I added the question here. It also does not really fit in the Lifehacks site, unfortunately.

  • 2
    Designing a line control and retrieval system doesn't seem to be within the scope of a crafting project covered by the site. Brainstorming an approach is too broad, designing a system seems too broad, and the design requirements would be a much better fit on the Engineering site. I edited one of the trio of questions so it was about crafting the line rather than flying a kite (off-topic). I'm not sure A&C is the right site for this one.
    – fixer1234
    Commented Sep 23, 2020 at 20:31
  • I agree with fixer1234. Adding that you like to see a "crafty" solution doesn't solve that issue, I fear.
    – Joachim
    Commented Sep 24, 2020 at 20:06
  • There are a variety of simple spools for this kind of thing... quite common. Not sure what the issue is. Have you tried googling or looking next to the kites in the kite store?
    – rebusB
    Commented Oct 6, 2020 at 20:40
  • @rebusB: actually, I searched. but I found only solutions for "short" lines. If the line is very long (like I have in mind), then they would not be able to handle the length and the weight. If you were luckier and found something more suitable, please help me with a link or a picture. I would be most grateful.
    – virolino
    Commented Oct 8, 2020 at 5:33

2 Answers 2


It appears from your question development that you are considering something other than the typical "children's" kite in your project.

Your additional information indicates that the aforementioned Spectra line would be a good choice. Light weight, low volume.

My use of the line was for a tow system to launch paraglider and pilot to about two thousand feet AGL. 700 pound test was sufficient to do so and about five thousand feet of line was needed, as the winch pulled in line as the paraglider and pilot climbed.

The winch was constructed from a Yamaha motor scooter, one with an automatic transmission, which adjusted for the load by reducing the internal gear ratio. The rear wheel was removed and flanges were added to convert it to a winch drum. This is not too far off from your thought of using an automobile, although it was easier to move a trailer with the scooter mounted.

Critical to the design was a fairlead to ensure that the line was pulled straight from the drum and returned in a straight line during retrieval.

You will want to consider the winch drum as your start point and build from there. Bearings, axle, support members all will attend to the one-sided aspect of power. If the magnitude of your project is as great as it seems, you will not have sufficient power to retract a kite by using an electric screw driver.

There are many electric bike kits on the market and you may be able to use a higher powered motor from one of those. A number of benefits also apply in that you'd have a controller plus the bearings and axle incorporated in the design. A sturdy frame, perhaps more sturdy than a conventional bicycle would provide the support members.

The rim could be supplemented by flanges turning it into a winch drum of substantial diameter. It may be necessary to use a gearing system from a motor in order to get sufficient torque to retrieve a kite under some high wind conditions.

Note also that wind gradient is a factor for high flying kites. You may have light to moderate wind at ground level, but as altitude is gained, the kite will experience much higher levels of wind. This is caused by the reduction of friction with the ground as one gains altitude.

  • The idea is good for long term, or for a dedicated enthusiast. For my level I would prefer something more simple, I am not sure what. +1 for the idea, anyway.
    – virolino
    Commented Sep 24, 2020 at 13:27
  • @virolino - ok... so you want to launch a kite miles into the air, a major engineering feat to accomplish. Someone tells you how its done and you whine that its too complicated. What you want is complicated pal.
    – rebusB
    Commented Jan 6, 2021 at 16:35
  • @rebusB: there must be some solutions available between "bare hands" and "combustion engine + gears + what-not". I am just trying to simplify the complex feat to some degree, since I do not intend anything professional or record breaking. If I will do it, it will have to be fun, safe, and maybe bring some sentiment of achievement.
    – virolino
    Commented Jan 6, 2021 at 17:03
  • Not when you are trying to fly a kite a miles into the air. There is a thing called Physics you know, that has a say in how easy that would be. And Physics says there is no "bare hands" way to fly a kite 10,000+ feet into the air.
    – rebusB
    Commented Jan 6, 2021 at 17:08

Maybe add info about how big "kite" you have in mind to your question.
As it might come like kid's version, less then 1 square meter and single thin rope or fishing line would be enough as it's power would not be enough to lift you off the ground.
Or it could be something like wing glider where there 4 ropes to fully control it, few square meters of the "sail"/surface and so it can drag or lift you with no problem. That's what came to my mind when you mentioned car wheel and I realized your idea of "kite" might be significantly different from mine.

Therefore solutions will differ for various sizes.

For smaller kites I had in mind mentioned fishing lines, and they come on spool, so use that, make a U shaped holder for it on central axel protruding from holder. Then on bottom of the U you can add anchor point so you might use "panic" carabiner (those for horses) to attach the rope to your belt or use rock climbing harness. So you'll have it hands free, but in case of strong wind you'll not get dragged by kite and can disengage quickly via that panic-carabiner.
then both sides of the axel might have cranking handles to roll the spool by both of your hands, or the axel might be hex for better grip and you can use some help from aku drill or similar tool to speed up rope/kite retrieval.

That's the setup I have in mind for my next big kite. At the moment I'm rolling those fishing nylon lines manually and hold them in hand, but kites are small so I can handle them.
Unfortunately I have no idea about kite size where I would need to use wheel of my car to pull it back.

  • Thank you for your answer, it actually has some interesting, useful information. I do not have a specific size in mind. Maybe 1m x 2 m (or slightly bigger). If it is too big, then transporting the kite itself is going to be a problem - and therefore the lines and retrieving them become a non-issue.
    – virolino
    Commented Jan 6, 2021 at 16:59

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