# Ripstop w/o a Sewing Machine?

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#### SharkWhisperer

##### Well-Known Member
Picked up several yards of calendered 1.1 oz ripstop nylon from RBTR for chutes. Several questions:

1) Slice with scalpel/Xacto or cut with sharp scissors? Which leaves fewer frizzled edges? I appreciate that sharp and straight are key.
2) Alternatives to hemming edges to prevent unraveling? I have no sewing machine, so this will be by hand. Simple flat hexagonal parasheets, 12-30" for now. Gores and pleats will wait til I get some practice in. Given that I have no sewing machine, it seems I am relegated to hand stitching hems to reinforce cut edges? Is this always necessary with smaller chutes? Are there alternatives to sewing, e.g., solvents to meld edges, rubber cement to flexibly reinforce, heat melding of edges? What works besides sewing to flexibly reinforce cut edges?
3) Alternatives to sewing for anchoring shroud lines? Plan to use 100 or 250 pound kevlar lines. Are grommets a reasonable alternative to sewing/zig-zag capture of shroud lines? Other options?
4) Is seam tape/binding at hems necessary for these smaller chutes (30" max for now), or is this only necessary for larger chutes (thinking weight)?

And, 5, I guess: How quickly should I get on Craig's List and locate myself a decent used sewing machine, hah ha?!?

I'm all over Nakka's and others' chute design sites, have reviewed recent forum threads, and have a decent appreciation of the physics and aerodynamics involved (I've also skydived 6x), but right now just need to become proficient in handling ripstop...

Thanks mucho!

#### Handeman

##### Well-Known Member
TRF Supporter
Use a cheap 25W soldering iron as a cutting tool to melt through the nylon. It will melt the edges together as it cuts.

All you have to sew is the shroud lines.

#### SharkWhisperer

##### Well-Known Member
Use a cheap 25W soldering iron as a cutting tool to melt through the nylon. It will melt the edges together as it cuts.

All you have to sew is the shroud lines.
Sweet, tx. But I'd imagine the edges might be a little ragged, no? Or will it burn/cut cleanly?

#### tfish

##### Well-Known Member
I make a lot of my own chutes with out sewing. I use a soldering iron to cut the rip stop and "sort of tie the shrouds lines on using 30# braided fishing line".

I can make a short video of how to "tie" the shroud lines on if you're interested.

Tony

#### SharkWhisperer

##### Well-Known Member
I make a lot of my own chutes with out sewing. I use a soldering iron to cut the rip stop and "sort of tie the shrouds lines on using 30# braided fishing line".

I can make a short video of how to "tie" the shroud lines on if you're interested.
View attachment 463226View attachment 463227

Tony
Thanks, Tony,

Yes, I'm sure I'm not the only one who'd be interested in your technique! But a video seems like a lot of work (even though it'd be appreciated)--would a description be easier?

Last edited:

#### crossfire

Picked up several yards of calendered 1.1 oz ripstop nylon from RBTR for chutes. Several questions:

1) Slice with scalpel/Xacto or cut with sharp scissors? Which leaves fewer frizzled edges? I appreciate that sharp and straight are key.
2) Alternatives to hemming edges to prevent unraveling? I have no sewing machine, so this will be by hand. Simple flat hexagonal parasheets, 12-30" for now. Gores and pleats will wait til I get some practice in. Given that I have no sewing machine, it seems I am relegated to hand stitching hems to reinforce cut edges? Is this always necessary with smaller chutes? Are there alternatives to sewing, e.g., solvents to meld edges, rubber cement to flexibly reinforce, heat melding of edges? What works besides sewing to flexibly reinforce cut edges?
3) Alternatives to sewing for anchoring shroud lines? Plan to use 100 or 250 pound kevlar lines. Are grommets a reasonable alternative to sewing/zig-zag capture of shroud lines? Other options?
4) Is seam tape/binding at hems necessary for these smaller chutes (30" max for now), or is this only necessary for larger chutes (thinking weight)?

And, 5, I guess: How quickly should I get on Craig's List and locate myself a decent used sewing machine, hah ha?!?

I'm all over Nakka's and others' chute design sites, have reviewed recent forum threads, and have a decent appreciation of the physics and aerodynamics involved (I've also skydived 6x), but right now just need to become proficient in handling ripstop...

Thanks mucho!
It's very helpful to have a machine with a walking foot. It helps pull fabric through the machine.

#### CalebJ

##### Well-Known Member
TRF Supporter
Sweet, tx. But I'd imagine the edges might be a little ragged, no? Or will it burn/cut cleanly?
There's a bit of discussion of soldering iron cutting there.

Seems like a great excuse to buy a hot knife though.

#### SharkWhisperer

##### Well-Known Member
There's a bit of discussion of soldering iron cutting there.

Seems like a great excuse to buy a hot knife though.
Ahhh, Caleb thanks, a hotknife!!! I remember those from high school. Wait, sorry, different type of "hotknife" for a different purpose, yipes!

Hmmm. From initial research (limited), it seems that hotknifes are mostly fancy soldering irons with different tips, mainly for woodburning purposes. I see some with an Xacto-style blade, but wonder if it would give up a lot of heat quickly due to thinness?

Any recommendations? I don't really plan to take up woodburning (but then again, why not...?), so most tips in the kits I'm seeing would go to waste, and I have a bunch of old soldering irons laying about someplace. But I'm definitely not adverse to buying a new tool (what guy ever is?) if it's better than a crummy old soldering iron for what I need to get done.

Even if I go the soldering iron route, I know I've got a learning curve to get over to start getting things right, as with any new task/skill. But I've got enough yards of ripstop to sacrifice along the way, tsk tsk.

Not incidentally, RipStopbytheRoll is discontinuing a variety of colored 1.1oz nylon. Many between 3.75 to 4.95 per yard (versus normal $5.95), and they are then discontinuing them. So, might be a good time to pick some up if you're in the market. I'm feeling a little nicked that several colors I bought a few months ago are now on discount, but such is life. Their stuff appears to be good quality. Wasn't so impressed with their delivery time, but shipping wasn't really expensive and I wasn't in much of a hurry... Thanks, Caleb! #### Kelly ##### Usually remembers to get the pointy end up Sweet, tx. But I'd imagine the edges might be a little ragged, no? Or will it burn/cut cleanly? For a few bucks you can get a 'wood burning kit' from Harbor freight. This is a piece of junk soldering iron (essentially), with a number of included tips including a flat foot - basically a dull knife edge. You can cut a pretty straight/clean line with this, and the edges won't unravel. #### CalebJ ##### Well-Known Member TRF Supporter Ahhh, Caleb thanks, a hotknife!!! I remember those from high school. Wait, sorry, different type of "hotknife" for a different purpose, yipes! Hmmm. From initial research (limited), it seems that hotknifes are mostly fancy soldering irons with different tips, mainly for woodburning purposes. I see some with an Xacto-style blade, but wonder if it would give up a lot of heat quickly due to thinness? Any recommendations? I don't really plan to take up woodburning (but then again, why not...?), so most tips in the kits I'm seeing would go to waste, and I have a bunch of old soldering irons laying about someplace. But I'm definitely not adverse to buying a new tool (what guy ever is?) if it's better than a crummy old soldering iron for what I need to get done. Even if I go the soldering iron route, I know I've got a learning curve to get over to start getting things right, as with any new task/skill. But I've got enough yards of ripstop to sacrifice along the way, tsk tsk. Not incidentally, RipStopbytheRoll is discontinuing a variety of colored 1.1oz nylon. Many between 3.75 to 4.95 per yard (versus normal$5.95), and they are then discontinuing them. So, might be a good time to pick some up if you're in the market. I'm feeling a little nicked that several colors I bought a few months ago are now on discount, but such is life. Their stuff appears to be good quality. Wasn't so impressed with their delivery time, but shipping wasn't really expensive and I wasn't in much of a hurry...

Thanks, Caleb!
I've actually never used one. But the idea has come up in the context of DIY backpacking gear enough times that I remembered it when you asked. One of many things I'd like to learn more about someday.

#### teepot

##### Well-Known Member
TRF Supporter
A hotknife is used for cutting foam. Will also do ripstop.

TRF Supporter

Dave F.

#### Handeman

##### Well-Known Member
TRF Supporter
Sweet, tx. But I'd imagine the edges might be a little ragged, no? Or will it burn/cut cleanly?
Use a straight edge. An old wooden ruler or piece of scrap 1/4" ply works fine. I cut my gore patterns out of 1/8" Hardboard.

#### Kelly

##### Usually remembers to get the pointy end up
The iron on this gave out after a few years, but I built a little adapter so I could put the tips into a standard Weller iron, these work great.

#### Alan R

##### Well-Known Member
TRF Supporter
take it to a professional.
i recently made a flexwing glider from ripstop. I took it to a local seamstress - she really knew what she was doing. I told her what I wanted, and she made a few suggestions to improve it.
then she sewed it up for $20 #### Alan R ##### Well-Known Member TRF Supporter Sweet, tx. But I'd imagine the edges might be a little ragged, no? Or will it burn/cut cleanly? The reason it's called ripstop... it will be a little ragged on the edges, but it will stop. If you look closely at the material you can see the larger threads running through it that provide the 'stop' part. see pic below. Shroud lines: here's how they're sewn (from Apogee): #### SharkWhisperer ##### Well-Known Member take it to a professional. i recently made a flexwing glider from ripstop. I took it to a local seamstress - she really knew what she was doing. I told her what I wanted, and she made a few suggestions to improve it. then she sewed it up for$20
Hah! I'll keep it in mind. But I'm sure I'll mess up a yard or two experimenting before I take it to a pro, just for the learning experience

#### SharkWhisperer

##### Well-Known Member
The reason it's called ripstop... it will be a little ragged on the edges, but it will stop. If you look closely at the material you can see the larger threads running through it that provide the 'stop' part. see pic below.

Shroud lines: here's how they're sewn (from Apogee):
View attachment 463290
Tx for the pic. I have several commercial chutes, but want to learn myself, too. Next I'll be braiding my own kevlar lines (kidding). The old double-fold to hide the ragged edge. Hmm. Maybe they should call it "RipSlow" because those thicker fibers in the weave have done little to prevent tears in my ripstop pants and tents from getting bigger, hah ha! But nothing that can't be fixed with a piece of duct tape!

#### tfish

##### Well-Known Member
Thanks, Tony,

Yes, I'm sure I'm not the only one who'd be interested in your technique! But a video seems like a lot of work (even though it'd be appreciated)--would a description be easier?

Tony

#### SharkWhisperer

##### Well-Known Member
Hey, you already have a YouTube channel, hah ha!! Anyways, thanks much for the video and the tips.

Two questions:
1) Your chute material was some thin transparent plastic, well, thinner than my 1.1 oz nylon I'd think. Could thickness become an issue?
and,
2) Knowing braided fishing line is stronger per diameter than any monofilament, do you suppose I might be able to use my 100 lb monofilament, or even additional kevlar cordage, as an adequate substitute, or does this require further experimentation (which I don't mind, but might lose a few fins in the process, ha ha!)?

Anyways, thanks much for your tutorial.

#### tfish

##### Well-Known Member
Hey, you already have a YouTube channel, hah ha!! Anyways, thanks much for the video and the tips.

Two questions:
1) Your chute material was some thin transparent plastic, well, thinner than my 1.1 oz nylon I'd think. Could thickness become an issue?
and,
2) Knowing braided fishing line is stronger per diameter than any monofilament, do you suppose I might be able to use my 100 lb monofilament, or even additional kevlar cordage, as an adequate substitute, or does this require further experimentation (which I don't mind, but might lose a few fins in the process, ha ha!)?

Anyways, thanks much for your tutorial.
1. My material is thin .75 oz sq yd. and sort of transparent rip stop nylon. Not plastic. Could who'e thickness? Yours or mine? become an issue?
I've been using this same material for 3 or 4 years now..before this stuff..I was using the 1.1 oz stuff. I did break a single shroud line a couple years ago during a 75mm min dia record attempt.

2. I'm only using the "braided fishing line" to tie on my (in this case) the 1.4mm 125# nylon shock cord. I've used Kevlar and 1/4 tubular nylon shock cords on other chutes...all tied on with the Braided line.

Just use the video as a 'concept" and figure out what weight rip stop and shroud lines your chute/project needs.

Tony

#### Blast it Tom!

##### Well-Known Dweeb
TRF Supporter
Ahhh, Caleb thanks, a hotknife!!! I remember those from high school. Wait, sorry, different type of "hotknife" for a different purpose, yipes!

Hmmm. From initial research (limited), it seems that hotknifes are mostly fancy soldering irons with different tips, mainly for woodburning purposes. I see some with an Xacto-style blade, but wonder if it would give up a lot of heat quickly due to thinness?

Any recommendations? I don't really plan to take up woodburning (but then again, why not...?), so most tips in the kits I'm seeing would go to waste, and I have a bunch of old soldering irons laying about someplace. But I'm definitely not adverse to buying a new tool (what guy ever is?) if it's better than a crummy old soldering iron for what I need to get done.

Even if I go the soldering iron route, I know I've got a learning curve to get over to start getting things right, as with any new task/skill. But I've got enough yards of ripstop to sacrifice along the way, tsk tsk.

Not incidentally, RipStopbytheRoll is discontinuing a variety of colored 1.1oz nylon. Many between 3.75 to 4.95 per yard (versus normal $5.95), and they are then discontinuing them. So, might be a good time to pick some up if you're in the market. I'm feeling a little nicked that several colors I bought a few months ago are now on discount, but such is life. Their stuff appears to be good quality. Wasn't so impressed with their delivery time, but shipping wasn't really expensive and I wasn't in much of a hurry... Thanks, Caleb! I bought one with my wife's 60% off coupon at Joann Fabrics, I think it came to$17 or so. If you take your time with the razor blade you get virtually no fraying. It has adjustable heat and you use it for soldering and woodburning as well. Branded fins!

Walnut Hollow Solder - Woodburner - Hot Knife