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Kite design software

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Postby KiteSurferDude » Thu Oct 07, 2004 3:42 pm

I was going to mention the dvd The Complete Guide to Kitesurfing as Don Montague goes through a detailed kite design process and shows various aspects of the program he uses. Def not CAD software...
kitemaster wrote:Can somebody capture the part on kitedesign and post it.
Ask or buy the DVD its realy good!

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Re: Kite design software

Postby dlangpap » Wed Apr 25, 2018 10:23 pm

I was browsing the web, looking for design software used by kitesurfing companies. Since the last post in this thread is from a while ago, I was wondering if someone had newer information?

Any information really appreciated. Thanks!

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Re: Kite design software

Postby Ikon_ben » Thu Apr 26, 2018 5:19 am

Hi dlangpap,

Here is a bit of info on kite design softwares and references. Enjoy!

Only few companies/designers have developed their own software. I know Ozone is taking about OZ-CAD. Maybe something they developed early with the paragliding program and now adapted to kite design.
Some of the designers have developed Rhino macro using Grasshopper plugin or similar. I use Grasshopper to develop all my profiles.

There are few tech talks from designers online. Ken Winner :

I have been working in the industry since 2005 starting designing kites for Airush, then Ikon Kiteboarding in 2010. Here are the softwares I use everyday

Surfplan / Gliederplan
Surfplan is for kite design. It is the main software in the industry in my opinion. I know a lot of companies that use it.
I have been using the hobby version since version 1 and using the pro version since 2005.
It's a great tool and it has been refined through the years following the innovation.
You can play a bit with the demo version :
Gliederplan is specialized in paragliding design.

Rhino + Graahopper
Use Rhino for some specific task especially for bridle design.

XFoil (now included in XLFR5)
2D airfoil analysis tool developped at MIT

XFLR5 is an analysis tool for airfoils, wings and planes

Other Software I never used:

IK Design and FW Design
Never used it but worth a look

Open source paraglider builder

Single Skin ... sk-nr.html


Other website :

Foilivier : Interesting website -

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Re: Kite design software

Postby decay » Thu Apr 26, 2018 11:14 am

@ikon_ben, have you seen any other full parametric kite design coded in Grasshopper apart from mine?

Like Ben said almost all inflatable designer's are using SurfPlan from David Aberdeen. He is for sure the unsung hero of our sport. The power and ease of use of SurfPlan has allowed designer's a lot of freedom to explore concepts quickly without a lot of manual low level CAD work. The cost of the yearly license is well worth it to the brands using it.

About a year ago, for no good reason other than I had the time available and I really wanted a 'difficult' coding project to tackle I wrote my own parametric kite code for Rhino using Grasshopper. I think all up it took me about two months full time work to get a usable code base (with two full, back to bare screen rewrites). I was completely expecting to run into issues I could not overcome, but no unsolvable problems derailed me.

To date I've had one kite built from it, a 9.0m AR4.0 three strut freeride. I completely expected it not to fly, but with some very minor bridal tuning it turned out to fly better than could have hoped. I've put 30 hours on the kite over the summer.

I've recently updated some of the code and tweaked the design a little, order for MK2 going to the factory shortly.
received_10216709609155597.png (146.06 KiB) Viewed 1310 times
Wingworks, who is active on this forum has written a similar piece of code in Python using Blender: ... -wingcalc/

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Re: Kite design software

Postby longwhitecloud » Thu Apr 26, 2018 11:36 am

order for 2? :-)

my lines look like they need knitting they are so fluffy and my kites flapped out enough to use as toilet roll!

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Re: Kite design software

Postby Ikon_ben » Thu Apr 26, 2018 1:25 pm

@Decay - glad you are coming forward showing your project.
I saw a similar Rhino macro before but for simpler wing.
Cool you are improving it.

Agreed with you that Surfplan made a massive change in the industry. Also the brilliant option of offering a hobby version for free allowed me to build home made kites. After hundreds samples made i had enough experience to get a job in this industry.

Keep in touch.

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Re: Kite design software

Postby kitexpert » Thu Apr 26, 2018 5:49 pm

To master Surfplan takes quite a lot work. Of course it is not just how to use the program but to be able to use many parameters and know how they affect the design. It is also possible to design single skin kites with Surfplan.

I see the future of foil kites in three categories: race kites, beginner kites/some snow kites and high performance mid AR kites. This last category is perhaps the most interesting because race kites are so difficult, laborious and expensive and low AR kites are too compromised.

Now FS has published Soul, the first mid AR kite with high cell count and quite complex inner structure. I've been designing something more or less similar but I'm not yet sure how ambitious should I go. It is a fact that bar is set at quite high level already. I have some ideas though 8)

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