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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
* * UPDATE * * - I built the zipline and posted pic/vids on page 2 of this thread!


As many of you know, I built a little treehouse in my backyard about 2 years ago. http://www.kawieriders.com/forum/club-kawie/81228-winter-project-tree-house-6.html

Now that my kids are a little bigger, I think its time to add a zipline to the treehouse. My current plan is to launch from the balcony of this treehouse and end at another tree that is 100' away. The platform of my treehouse is approx. 11' off the ground...so I'm guessing the zipline cable will be approx 17' off the ground where its tied to the tree (that supports the treehouse). From what I've read, its best to have a 6' to 8' drop per 100' of zipline for a safe speed. So the end of the zipline should be approx. 10' off the ground where its tied to the tree. I'm hoping that cable height will leave ample room to account for the sag in the line (will probably use 1/4" galvanized cable for the zipline). Also, I want the cable height to be tall enuf that it won't interfere with my mowing or the kids riding their ATVs in the backyard.

I plan to buy the supplies (cable, trolley, clamps, etc.) and build this zipline in a few weeks (after I return from vacation). Just curious if anyone has made a zipline before and if so, what advice do you have for me?

Happy trails...:)
 

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id go a little thicker, i buy cable from lowes it shows the working load limits on the board, same goes for all your pulleys, ALWAYS over engineer. they had one at the house my parents bought, my younger brother played on it for a few months and grew out of it.
 

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Mikey, I build a tree house and a Zip line for the grand Kids about three years ago also.

I made mine out of 3/8 cable and made my own pulleys.. but they didn't last because they weren't hardened steel. finally had to break down and buy a $100 speed pulley off the internet and have been good since.

The line I built is about 100/120' and cable is about 18' off of the ground at the tree house and about 7' off the ground at the ending tree. I have the cable loose so it acts as a break at the end, getting to it's lowest point about 3/4+ down and actually traveling up hill the last 10', with the sag in the cable their feet can touch the last few feet. Even with that they have to stop themselves with their feet or have someone stop the small kids.

I went to Lowes and bought indiviual parts of swing sets as the seats to ride. One is a oval seat on a rope, one for small kids is a swing that they sit in and are strapped in and one that is just a bar they hang from and ride down..I put "D" rings on all for easy hook ups.

Another thing you'll probably want to do is make a winder to bring the seat back up to the top. I bought a cheap hose winder and mounted it to the back side of the tree, tied 150 feet of 1/4 rope on the hook and every time they go down, they can climb back up and wind it back. Kids are always at the top, hook up is always at the bottom...lol

Only thing I would do different, beside just getting online and buying a kit already put together is make my launch plateform larger, now it's about 4' x 4' and there is usually two kid on it at a time, so that should be bigger.

Hopes this helps you some, have fun. don't get hurt.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Thanks for the tips. What I've read so far states that 1/4" cable is sufficient for upto 350 lbs, but maybe I'll do the 3/8" just to have an extra measure of safety. The problem is that the heavier the cable, the harder it is to pull it tight whenever you string it up and attach it to the trees.

I really like Shotgun's idea on the winder. I saw one for sale online, but it kinda looked like a large fishing reel and was way overpriced for what it was. Your idea sounds good, but I wonder if having that 1/4" rope dragging behind the trolley while the kid goes downhill will slow it down alot? Does the garden hose winder really spin freely when the trolley is goind downhill, or does it have alot of resistence and/or have problems with tangles in the rope?

I don't suppose you have any pics of your zipe line and winder do you? If not, no biggie...just trying to get ideas.
 

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I'll get some better pic's this weekends.

these ones, are about 1 minute after we got the cable up, kids had to try it..

these pics are before I finished the steps up to the tree house and before the the railing was up... and we didn't have the winder yet.. we had a rope tied to the hookup and just pulled it back up, wasn't very safe. My wife was afraid that the rope was going to get caught on something and jerk them off the line.. she was right, hence the winder...:lol:

The hose winder doesn't slow down the decent much.. if at all, with the angle I have the line, they are going to fast anyway.
 

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I would look for a kit, I have seen them online for reasonable prices. 1/4 is too small, the 350lb rating is for a straight pull. When you tension a cable and pull it sideways the forces are much greater. Pulleys will last better on larger cable as well.
 

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You are right riverkid, I think the 1/4 might be to small, over that span, I got online and looked at the kits that were designed for the distance I was going, those kits used 3/8 cable, so I did also.

I was going to run another zip line down to a trampline, but my wife got wind of it and put the stop to it:(... she ruins all my fun..:lol:

I also had a chance to get about 1000' feet of 3/4" cable from a site that put giant wind mills up. That would have been enough to go down the hill, to our pool, she vetoed that idea too:eek::lol::p
 

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Discussion Starter #9
Thanks for the pics Shotgun. That is very helpful.

I'm surprised to see that you got the treehouse built BEFORE you built the stairs. I spent 6 months building my treehouse (I'm slow) and more than half of that time was the stairs and bottom platform (working off a ladder was painfully slow). Once that was done, the rest of the tree house went together pretty fast.

The kits that I've been looking at so far come with 1/4" galv. cable...supposedly good for upto 200' or so of travel. The longer kits (200' and longer) come with 3/8" galv. cable. Both kits were rated at 350lbs (rider weight), but that seems odd to me b/c I would normally assume that the heavier cable would support a heavier load.
 

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Actually I wasn't going to have any stairs. If you look in pic #1, the small tree, got a bend at the bottom and goes up along side the door, just behind the red step latter. I just screwed 8 inch lag screws on both sides of it, as a way to get up.

Again, Wife saw the littler kids climbing up that, so that was out...:lol:

I didn't tell her I was planning a fireman pole as a way down:p:lol:

I also put up a slide along side the stairs going up to the platform. you can see it in the background, standing up along side the stairs (Green)...actually two slides put together... those were to fast and steep for the little kids, so I took it down...
 

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Discussion Starter #12

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Discussion Starter #13
UPDATE:

Whoo hoo! Today, I finally ordered a zipline kit (got the delux kit with 150' of cable)... Zip Line Kits | ZipLineGear.com Can't wait to get it and start the installation. I'll update this thread with pics after its built.
 

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Good deal Mikey, you'll like it, the kids will have fun.

Cookieman I like your line, looks good. I must have my line to steep because mine travels a lot faster.
 

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Discussion Starter #15 (Edited)

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Cool Looks like they are going to have some fun this year!!!
 
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