Inexpensize Kite Building Materials (SUMMARY)

A while ago in article <1992Apr22.012602.1474@nds.com> I asked the following
> I have a problem.  My enthusiasm for building kites has far outgrown my
> budget!  I am interested in finding an inexpensive source of kite building
> materials to help ease the strain on my pocket book.  Does any one have
> any suggestions?  I am most interested in spars (wood, fiberglass, epoxy,
> graphite, etc.).  Buying in bulk is not a problem if it will ultimately
> save me money.  Does having your own bussiness help prices even more?

I did not receive many responses, so I have put together a table of the
best prices I have found so far for parts.  If anybody knows of better
prices than these, please let me know (Email or News post).  Let's see
how low we can go!

NOTE: All prices in US $, Tax & Shipping not included.  Prices taken
from latest literature available to me.  Prices subject to change without

[Editor's note: If you are reading this a decade more after it was written and are surprised that prices have changed and companies have moved on, then you, my friend, are a fool]

Ripstop nylon:

    Sky Aire Products
    P.O. Box 125
    Montesano, WA 98563

        1/2 oz white                            $.50/yd,  12yd increments
        Assorted weight white remnants          $10.00/lb, 5lb min
        Assorted weight colored remnants        $15.00/lb, 5lb min

Hardwood Dowels

    Into The Wind
    1408 Pearl St.
    Boulder, CO 80302

        3/16" x 48"             .25 ea,  12 for $2.50
        1/4" x 48"              .30 ea,  12 for $3.00
        3/8" x 48"              .50 ea,  12 for $5.00

Epoxy tubing

    Into The Wind

        .278 OD x 32.5"         $2.00 ea,  12 for $20.00
        .298 OD x 32.5"         $2.00 ea,  12 for $20.00
        .350 OD x 32.5"         $2.00 ea,  12 for $20.00

AFC Carbon

    Into The Wind

        All diameters           $3.30 ea

Here is a summary of the responses that I received:

kyoder@lamar.colostate.edu (Kenneth Yoder)

I too am trying to find cheap sources of materials.  Establishing your own
business and getting a retail license is easy and not very expensive.  You
can then buy wholesale which can save a LOT of money - on premade kites,  
you can save about 50%.  I am still checking on materials however.  Someone
told me to go to a major library and look for the Thomas Register.  It is
supposed to contain listings of wholesale dealers and distributers for the
US.  I guess you can do a subject search, etc. 

sasaki@sasaki.zko.dec.com (Marty Sasaki)

Well, having your own business and buying in bulk will certainly help
with lowering costs. If you have a resale certificate (or whatever is
necessary in your state) then you can go directly to the manufacturer,
or their distributor and get the wholesale price.

If you standardize your kites to a specific size, then you can swap
sticks from one kite skin to another. I make all of my rokkakus the
same size, so I can move the sticks from one to another.

Kevin Lahey <kml%sware.com@mathcs.emory.edu>

I also am interested in getting cheap materials.  Here is what I know:

Rods can be bought cheaply, in bulk, from the manufacturers, but only
if you have some sort of proof that you are a business.  AFC sells
their carbon fibre rods for something like $1.50/stick, with a 
minimum order of $50 (these are seconds for arrows, but are just
fine for kite building).  Glassforms sells fibreglass, I think the
prices are similar, but they are even more anal about getting proof
that you are have a business, and they have a $200 minimum order.

I don't have a business license;  this is just information I've gotten
from friends who do.  I'm not sure what you have to do to get a license,
or how much it costs.  I do know that it sounds like it can add up 
(business cards, filing fees, etc.) so you might be better off not bothering
if you aren't building *alot* of stuff.

I've found a decent enough source of cloth in Darryl Westmoreland of
SkyAire products.  He sells .5 oz white cloth for .50/yard, which isn't
too bad.  He also sells .75 oz white for $10/pound, and .75 colors for
$15/pound, which works out to maybe $2/yard or so.  These are all
remnents from sailmakers, but are pretty large, and I've been very
satisfied with them.

My thanks to all those who responded.

Brian Dockter                    | Northwest Digital Systems

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