Introduction: Army Man Parachute

Picture of Army Man Parachute

Ever have a parachute for your little army men?  We had a 2nd story balcony growing up and loved to throw all kinds of things off of it.  One of those being army men with parachutes.

This instructable will show you how to make a parachute for the Paracord Army Man.

You will need the following: a mylar sheet (purchased at craft store or party store) that is about 19"-20" square, left over center cord from the 22" lengths of paracord used in the Army Man, paper clip, masking tape, scissors, lighter, protractor and a ruler.

Step 1: Cut the Parachute Circle

Picture of Cut the Parachute Circle

Spread out a 20"x20" mylar sheet.  Fold it in half then fold it in half again so it is 1/4 of its size.  Make a quarter circle template and overlay it on the folded mylar so that the center of the template is on the corner that is the center of the mylar.  Trim off the mylar corners using the template.  Unfold to produce a mylar circle.

The PDF file has a template for a quarter circle with a radius of 10".  Trim the first sheet at the edge of the printed lines and overlay it on the second sheet taping it together.  Cut out the quarter circle template.  Or you can make your own by taping sheets of paper together.  Tape a piece of string at the center point, measure the string for your radius and draw a quarter circle using a pencil attached to the string at the measured radius.

Step 2: Make Anchor Points

Picture of Make Anchor Points

Prepare 12 pieces of masking tape cut to 1/2" in length.  Place two of these at the edge of the circle over one of the folds that runs the diameter of the circle.  Place the protractor at the center of the mylar circle so it is lined up with the same diameter line.  Place a ruler at the 60 degree mark on the protractor and place a piece of tape at the edge of the mylar circle.  Place the ruler at the 120 degree mark and place another piece of tape.  Repeat for the bottom half of the circle.  When complete, there should be 6 pieces of tape spaced at 60 degrees around the mylar circle.  Turn the circle over and place the last 6 pieced of tape in the same locations as the ones on the first side.  Use a hole punch to make holes in the center of the pieces of tape.

Step 3: Attach Parachute Lines

Picture of Attach Parachute Lines

Attach a 22" line of cord to each of the six holes.  Do not tighten the lines against the parachute, but rather make loops that move freely.  The nylon cord is really slippery and somewhat hard to tie and keep tied.  Here are two ways to approach it.  One requires cyanoacrylate (CA) glue whereas the other does not.

Easy way:
Tie an overhand knot and apply a little CA glue.

Harder way:
Use a fisherman's no-slip knot, like what is used on lures.  Here is a link to a website that shows how to tie one.  You don't need to do quite so many wraps as shown in the animation, a couple should be fine. http://www.netknots.com/fishing_knots/non-slip-loop-knot.

Fold the parachute so that all of the lines come together.  Cut the lines so they are the same length as the shortest one.  Use the lighter to melt and fuse the lines to make them easier to tie.  If you are picky, put the lines in order so they aren't crossed before you fuse them.

Step 4: Make a Hook

Picture of Make a Hook

Bend a paper clip to make an Army Man hook.  See the pictures for an example of the hook used for this instructable.  Attach the parachute to the hook using a figure eight knot or an overhand knot and some CA glue.

Step 5: Prepare for Launch

Picture of Prepare for Launch

Attach the hook to the cross on the back of the Army Man uniform.  Bunch the parachute together and then fold in half.  Wrap the cord around the parachute and toss into the sky.  Either over-hand or under-hand works well for tossing.  The parachute deploys pretty quickly, so experiment with parachute tightness and wraps for maximum height.

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