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Thread: Cutting ripstop

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    Senior Member gstepclassical's Avatar
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    Cutting ripstop

    I was just poking around on the internet and found some info on cutting/sewing ripstop. http://www.xs4all.nl/~pdj/starting.htm This fellow uses an old Weller soldering gun. He just pounded the tip into a disc shape, filed it to a knife edge and away he went. He actually used wire, seemed to be about 12 gauge. I have an old soldering gun and tried it and when you develop the proper speed the fabric looks like it has been cut with a razor and it is sealed. You need to have a gun and not a pencil type iron and it must have a double heat range trigger. Use it on the first range which is about 20% I am pretty sure I will be putting away my lighter for good!!!

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    Senior Member headchange4u's Avatar
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    I have been wanting to try this hot cutting method. I do some eletronics work so I have several soldering irons lying around including a Hakko 936 variable temp soldering station that has a temp range from 400 - 900 *F. I also have a collection of tips. I normally cut my fabric spread out on my carpeted floor. I'm afraid that a soldering iron would leave some lasting impressions in my carpet and my wife may have something to say about that. I'll stick to using my lighter until I have a safe cutting surface to attempt this.
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    Senior Member gstepclassical's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by headchange4u View Post
    I have been wanting to try this hot cutting method. I do some eletronics work so I have several soldering irons lying around including a Hakko 936 variable temp soldering station that has a temp range from 400 - 900 *F. I also have a collection of tips. I normally cut my fabric spread out on my carpeted floor. I'm afraid that a soldering iron would leave some lasting impressions in my carpet and my wife may have something to say about that. I'll stick to using my lighter until I have a safe cutting surface to attempt this.
    My wife has a big foldout cardboard cutting surface with inch/centimeter markings and several other markings that I have no idea what they are about. This thing is about 3' x 6' when it is unfolded and it is probably not expensive. I'll bet an appliance box would work as well. The point is, at the low heat range, it cuts the fabric and has no impact on the cardboard. Sweet!!!

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    Senior Member lvleph's Avatar
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    I was thinking about doing this with my POS soldering gun, but Silnylon doesn't really need to be melted, from my experience.

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    Senior Member blackbishop351's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by lvleph View Post
    I was thinking about doing this with my POS soldering gun, but Silnylon doesn't really need to be melted, from my experience.
    Sil doesn't, but DWR and untreated ripstop do. I'll be switching to a soldering gun soon for that reason, and I'll probably use it on sil too, once I get comfortable with it. I like keeping things simple - one cutting method for everything
    "Physics is the only true science. All else is stamp collecting." - J. J. Thompson

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    Senior Member lvleph's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by blackbishop351 View Post
    Sil doesn't, but DWR and untreated ripstop do. I'll be switching to a soldering gun soon for that reason, and I'll probably use it on sil too, once I get comfortable with it. I like keeping things simple - one cutting method for everything
    Yes, you are absolutely right about that. I probably should use the soldering gun for DWR, but then I guess why not use it for everything. It might save me from burning my fingers, since I won't use the lighter method any longer.

  7. #7
    I get these disposable battery cautery units from work and they cut ripstop and webbing like a knife. One will last for quite a few projects. They're sold in most medical supply stores. Don't know if I could mail them to anybody...

    Disposable cautery

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    slowhike's Avatar
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    i would think using the hot tip w/ a strait edge would be a quick, reliable way to get a perfectly strait edge.
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  9. #9
    Quote Originally Posted by slowhike View Post
    i would think using the hot tip w/ a strait edge would be a quick, reliable way to get a perfectly strait edge.
    Yeah I have had very good results with that method. I use a wood burning tool that I had laying around and either a 4' level or a wooden yardstick. I havent been able to make good cuts with scissors but hot cutting works well for me and you dont get any fraying ends.

  10. #10
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    Hot cutting would save a lot of time. I've got an radio shack soldering iron. That article mentioned tips. Does that mean his gun has changable tips?

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