This document will serve as a step-by-step instructional guide for teaching users how to make their own rope from home. Following a few simple procedures with the textual and visual explanations provided by these instructions, along with the necessary tools and materials found listed below, users will be able to build and operate their very own easy-to-use rope making apparatus (or rig, as it will be referred to here), which can be used and re-used to construct rope from virtually any type of string-like materials. A safety warning has been included below, as the building process may include the use of power tools and/or rudimentary carpentry techniques.
These instructions will be broken into three sections in the following order: 1) Tools and Materials, 2) Constructing Your Rig, and 3) Making Your Own Rope. These individual sections will be broken down further into subsections containing detailed instructions that will take users one step at a time in order to ensure successful replication for properly functioning final products.
NOTE: Users can find the respective numeric indicator in the top left corner of each image, which can be used to match each image to its corresponding instruction.
SAFETY WARNING: This process requires the use of power tools and some rudimentary carpentry skills. For your safety throughout the building process, we highly recommend you wear protective goggles and gloves, take any and all necessary measures to ensure the least potential risk, and proceed with caution.
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Step 1: Tools and Materials
- 2X 1x8x9” wooden planks (any kind of scrap wood works)
- 2X 1x8x10” wooden planks
- 1X 1x4x4” wooden plank
- 1X 1x1x8” piece of scrap wood for handle
- 1X metal coat hanger
- 1X eye hook or j-hook
- 1X pair of tin-snips
- 1X power drill
- 1X Phillips head bit for drill
- 1X 9/64" drill bit
- 1X ½” spade drill bit
- 6X 2” screws
- 1X pair of safety goggles (per person)
- 1X pair of work gloves (per person)
- 1X miter saw (or any hand saw to substitute)
- 1X wood rasp or micro-plane
- 1X roll electrical tape
- 1X tape measure
- 1X pair of pliers
Step 2: Constructing Your Rig
2.1) Measure out lengths for your 1x8x9” and 1x8x10” planks (2 of each, for rig), a 1x4x4 plank (for spacer) and a 1x1x8” piece of scrap wood (for handle). Use saw to cut each piece to size (cut to outside of measured line for best results).
2.2) Use 1x8x9” plank as base and 1x8x10” plank as vertical piece and connect at 90 degree angle. Use 3 screws and phillips head bit on power drill to secure vertical piece to base (pre-drill with 9/64 bit for better results and less splitting). Repeat with two remaining 9” and 10” planks to make two identical L-shaped pieces.
2.3) Select one L-shaped piece. Mark a spot in the center of the board, about 1” down from the top of the 10" vertical plank (the 9" piece will serve as the base). Use 9/64 bit on power drill to drill a hole through the plank in the designated spot. Place eye-hook on pre-drilled hole and screw into place until secure with the opening of the eye hook facing upwards (use pliers to screw into place if needed to help screw in tightly)
2.4) With your second L-shaped piece, mark a spot in the center an inch and a half from the top of the piece, and mark two more locations each 2.5” from this marked horizontal center, so that you have three equally spaced points on the same horizontal plane. Use 9/64 bit on power drill to drill holes through all three marked spots.
2.5) Use tin snips to cut metal coat hanger and straighten as much as possible into one long piece. Measure the length of your hanger, divide by three, and use tin snips to cut into three equal-length pieces. Use pliers to bend one respective end of each piece into a similar hook shape as your eye-hook, for three total coat hanger hooks.
2.6) Thread your three cut and bent coat hanger hooks through the three pre-drilled holes in your second L-shaped piece. Bend the non-hook ends of these hangers down against the back of the L-shaped piece and then back out at a 90 degree angle roughly an inch down from the pre-drilled holes to create three separate L-shaped wire handles. Measure the remaining three wires jutting from these handles, measure two inches for each, and cut off any excess wire.
2.7) Using your 1x1x8 handle piece of wood, measure three spots each 2.5” apart from one another (same measurements as 2.4) and use 9/64 drill bit to drill three corresponding holes. Feed the three wires from the back of your L-shaped piece through these three holes in order to connect the handle. All three wire hooks should be able to spin in tandem without hitting one another if done correctly. If your 3 wire hooks are touching/unable to spin in tandem, you may need to re-bend your hooks to make them smaller.
2.8) To make the spacer piece for your rig, take your 1x4x4 piece of wood and, using your ½” spade bit on your power drill, mark three centered spots on three separate edges of the square plank and drill holes in each using the spade bit, leaving one edge unchanged. Use wood rasp clear away any excess wood from closing these holes off so that each hole opens up on the outer edge of the wood to which each is closest. This piece will serve as your spacer.
2.9) You should now have a completed rig, which you can use to make your own rope from home with the material of your choosing. This rig should include two L-shaped rig pieces, one with a single centered eye-hook and the other with three hand-spinnable wire-hooks, as well as your spacer piece.
Step 3: Making Your Own Rope
3.1) Rig Setup:
- Your rig should be set up with both of your two L-shaped pieces facing each other parallel at a distance that will be determined by the length of your twine or string material.
- Note: The more string you use, the thicker your rope will be, and the further apart your L-shaped pieces will need to be when setting up.
3.2) Rope Prep:
-Measure off three equal lengths of whatever material you are
going to make your rope out of. In our example we are using twine which can be picked up at any hardware store
-Tie a simple loop at both ends of your pieces of twine. Make sure your pieces of twine are still close to the same length.
- Loop one end of your twine around the stationary I-hook on the rig.
- For simple three-strand rope place the other loop around the hooks made from your coat hanger and pull the ends of your rig far enough apart to hold tension in your twine.
- Once you have created tension either weigh down the ends of your rig or have a friend pull against the stationary piece.
- Place each piece of twine in a slot in your spacer and slide the spacer down to the stationary end of the rig
-To make thicker multiple three strand ropes hook one end of your piece of twine to the I-hook, then loop the rope around the coat hanger hook and back around the I-hook before placing the other end loop around the coat hanger hook. Repeat this for each strand of twine.
- Place the spacer so that each hook can be kept separate from the others.
3.3) Making the Rope:
-Once you have the rig set up however you desire slide the
handle onto the exposed ends of your coat hanger hooks and begin to turn either clockwise or counter clockwise.
-Make sure you are maintaining tension in the twine and that the strands are not trying to mix together.
-If you are using single lengths of natural fiber pay attention to the original direction it was twisted. If you twist opposite to that direction you risk the strands becoming unraveled.
-Turn your strands until you begin to see kinks in them. Reverse your direction and maintaining tension turn until the kinks have worked themselves out.
-Slide the end loops off of your stationary I-Hook while keeping tension in your strands.
-Use electric tape to bind the ends of the twine together
-Slowly slide the spacer forward and watch as your rope winds together.
-Use electric tape to secure the opposite end of your newly made rope and cut off the excess.