Sewing your own parachutes?

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Gunkie

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I can get an old, but good Singer sewing machine and was thinking about using it for making my own parachutes. Having never sewn before, except for the odd suit jacket button during business trips, am I kidding myself? It seems that new, spherical, sewn, 8-to12 panel, rip-stop chutes are very expensive. In addition, I think it would be fun to bring down a big rocket with my own laundry.

Is this a reasonable objective for a sub-novice sewing ace?

Thanks.

Scott Ghiz
TRA#2760, L3
 

SPONGE

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Totally. If you can cut and hem a straight line you can sew a chute. The easiest are the X-form. Cut two panels in a rectangle with a 1:3 ratio, hem or surge the edges, and sew them together in a cross shape. Round four panel chutes are also not too hard. You can usually find rip stop nylon at the sewing store, and I use kite string for the lines.
 

powderburner

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I think it's mostly a matter of dexterity, and maybe a little patience. If high-school dropouts and third-world Nike-company slaves can run a sewing machine, I don't think it takes a rocket scientist. But just in case it does . . .
 

mtmind

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Richard Nakka has an excellent site on making parachutes here:

https://www.nakka-rocketry.net/

There is a link at the bottom of the page that says "Parachute Design and Construction" which will take you right to it. He has downloadable patterns and everything.


Peace:cool:

Mike
 

RevKeith

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Shameless plug...I just happen to have some Orange Rip-Stop Nylon for sale in the Yard Sale section. Great for making your own chutes.

Keith
 

Gunkie

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I'm looking forward to making my own parachutes. The X-form idea is great for someone like me. I'll be sure to let everyone know about my tailoring skills, "hey, is that rocket supposed to have streamer recovery?"
:p

Thanks again for all the help!
 

flying_silverad

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Originally posted by Gunkie
I can get an old, but good Singer sewing machine and was thinking about using it for making my own parachutes.

Is this a reasonable objective for a sub-novice sewing ace?

Thanks.

Scott Ghiz
TRA#2760, L3
Sewing, is it difficult to pick up? My mother (80 years old) makes all of my chutes. She does a great job but I can't keep up with demand. Is this a long involved process if all I need to learn is to sew chutes?
JR
 
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It's not difficult at all, the material does have some minor quarks that take a bit of getting used to...setting the tention on the thread if your using nylon or teflon thead sometime gets very touchy but nothing a little practice can't overcome. Check out the multitude of Rip-Stop nylon supplies on the web. There are Tons of fabric weight and colors available. I like the lighter weight fabrics, but I only make Hemispheral parachutes 6" to 48".
I posted gore layouts for 6 panel hemi's in several sizes here somewhere, a search should bring them up, I think the largest headache was the layouts for the full size gore cutting patterns.
I tried 8 panel and 10 panel gores layouts but the stiching and overlap seams bunched up making even 36" parachutes to bulky for smaller diameter bodies. 6 panels seems to work very well and gives an almost perfect hemisphere canopy. 36" and 42" fit very will in Bt-80 and Bt-101's.
Hope this helps
 
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