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  1. #1
    Senior Member chickenwing's Avatar
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    This is how I cut Rip-Stop Nylon

    I know there are many ways to skin cats, but this is the method I prefer. I hope you find this helpful.

    This is the first in a series of posts and videos discussing how to make your own gear.
    When making your own gear for hammock camping, you will be working with a lot of rip-stop nylon. And while cutting this material is very easy, it does tend to fray just as easily. You could always cut with a pair of pinking shears, but you still end up with frayed ends. Or you could heat treat the cut edge with a lighter or other open flame, but then you run the risk of burning up your material (don't ask me how I know this).

    The method I use for cutting rip-stop nylon doesn't involve scissors or an open flame. I get a nice straight cut every time and my fabric is heat treated so it will not fray.

    Tools Needed for this project are:
    • heat resistant cutting surface
    • metal straight edge
    • clamps
    • soldering iron


    For instructions on how to use these tools to cut rip-stop nylon, check out the video below.



    And as always, to quote Bartyles & Jaymes, "Thank you for your support" <-- you can do this by subscribing to my youtube channel and/or liking them and/or commenting on them.
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  2. #2
    Senior Member easyriver's Avatar
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    What wattage?

  3. #3
    Senior Member chickenwing's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by easyriver View Post
    What wattage?
    This is the one I have ---> Dual Wattage Soldering Iron . I use it on the 30W setting and it works great, but I think I would go with a little higher wattage next time or maybe a variable station.
    and then

    Check out my website www.cwhammocks.com or Find me on the YouTubes
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  4. #4
    Senior Member Lonely Raven's Avatar
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    That's how I cut my tarp. I made a 6" cat curve on some 1/4" MDF, laid it all out on my garage floor (which is super clean FYI), and just dragged the iron down the curve.

    If my garage wasn't such a mess today, I could probably cut the material for a half dozen tarps in about an hour....it's the sewing part that slows me up.
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  5. #5
    Senior Member bdbart's Avatar
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    WOW... I never would have thought of that....Well I have give that a try...already made several tarps and hammocks.....guess I am gonna have to make some more
    My memory's not as sharp as it used to be. Also, my memory's not as sharp as it used to be.

  6. #6
    Senior Member Bomber's Avatar
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    +1 on the soldering iron

    my preferred method for cutting nylon. I also don't like to use open flames around nylon(and don't ask me why not either)
    /Bomber.LTD
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  7. #7
    BurningCedar's Avatar
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    Great approach. I used to use a metal straight edge when doing this. But I found that the metal "sucked up" the heat from the soldering gun, requiring either multiple passes or slower runs to get enough heat to the fabric to cut it.

    I've now switched to an old-fashioned wooden yardstick. It chars the edge of the yardstick a little, but otherwise works great.
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  8. #8
    Alamosa's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lonely Raven View Post
    That's how I cut my tarp. I made a 6" cat curve on some 1/4" MDF, laid it all out on my garage floor (which is super clean FYI), and just dragged the iron down the curve.

    If my garage wasn't such a mess today, I could probably cut the material for a half dozen tarps in about an hour....it's the sewing part that slows me up.
    It would definitely be cleaning the garage to that "super clean" state that would slow me up.
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  9. #9
    WV's Avatar
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    Nice clear video. I like the clarification about the type of soldering iron. Two other factors influence the outcome, the type of straightedge and the surface you cut on. A heavy straightedge that conducts heat well will affect the rate of cutting. It's actually best if the straightedge doesn't conduct heat well, but you can compensate by using a hotter soldering iron. I knew a kite maker once who used a small disk of some non-conductive material with a hole in the center of it. He rolled the disk along a straightedge with the point of the soldering iron in the center hole so it didn't touch the metal of the straightedge. I always wanted to try this, but never got around to it, because it required machining the disk out of masonite so it had a thin tapered flange on the bottom that slid under the straightedge. I use a technique similar to the one you showed, and it works fine for me.

    The other big factor is the working surface. The best thing to cut on is a sheet of plate glass, but getting one big enough is a pain (ouch! get it? pane ). I have used a full-length mirror, but be careful - the soldering iron can leave scratches on whatever you use. Another good choice is a piece of formica (but not the kitchen counter ). I make long cuts on a 4' x 8' sheet of masonite, which not quite as good, but it works.

    One last hint: if you need to reposition the fabric and the straightedge to make long cuts, always put the soldering iron down somewhere else before adjusting the work. You will be tempted to move the material with one hand while holding the soldering iron in the air with the other. I have ignored this rule and burned holes in the fabric and in my skin. Very demoralizing, occasionally painful.

    I look forward to your other videos!

  10. #10
    Senior Member GvilleDave's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Alamosa View Post
    It would definitely be cleaning the garage to that "super clean" state that would slow me up.
    Me too!

    I sometimes use this same method but instead of a soldering iron i use a hot knife. Same idea just has an exacto type blade in the end instead of the soldering tip. Seeing CW's results I am not sure the hot knife doeas any better, its just what I have...

    CW - thanks for sharing the video and hopefully we will run into each other at a Carolinas hang sometime...

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