Sunday, 19 February 2017

Making small Parachutes.. some tips.

So I'm working on a rocket that originally I'd started building with the idea of leaving incomplete for the rocket design workshops I've been running... I cracked and ended up putting it all together a while ago! However I realised to fly it I needed a chute size (50cm diameter) that I didn't have in my collection. So I made a couple of small chutes a while back as experiments out of some superlight ripstop nylon but struggled to cut it with an even edge which would then instantly fray as it cut. My remedy before was to turn and hem the edge all the way round. I wasn't too satisified with the results as the hemmed edge added a little weight (pretty negligible) but also added a lot of bulk when the chute was folded. So after some head scratching I did a few experiments in cutting/melting the nylon with a soldering iron.. brilliant results can be had with the cut both cutting and also sealing the edge instantly.

I found my little battery powered soldering iron the best for this with its fine tip.. my larger irons were too hot and caused a wider melt line whereas this one could create a neat cut less than a mm wide.

 I ended up slightly stretching the nylon over a wooden board and keeping it taught ish with some masking tape. This helped me both mark the circle (pen and a piece of cord swiveling around a central pin) and also helped the cut as I'd noticed if you cut an unstretched piece the melt line thickness can vary.

Added some binding tags to attach the shroud lines too. I made the shroud lines 2.25 x the diameter of the chute (50cm)

All packed up and ready to go... just need some weather (and I actually keep them stored unpacked as they can get a fold memory if you leave them packed and may not deploy correctly!).

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