Homemade Parachutes

I need a 24" chute for my custom built rocket, but i don't wanna buy one and
waste the money on shipping...can i just cut a 24 inch circle out of a white
cotton sheet and put 6 equally spaced holes around it's circumference and
put some shroud lines in...or should i ust use a garbage bag for the
material... any tips would be great!
-Vishal
Reply to
Vishal
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I wonder if he is sincere and would accept such a generous offer. Email me to arrange a bulk order Tom.
Reply to
Jerry Irvine
The largest that we can go is 30". That is the size of Mylar we get in. If you would like more information on this go to
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and e-mail us and we can get you a price.
Reply to
rocket trike
For a questes sized model rocket plastic trash bag material is fine. THe other good alternative is the colored mylar sheet material sold in party stores. A 18x30" piece is good for an 18" and a 12", or two 15" chutes.
For heavier stuff, say from an Executioner up to a LOC IV, I've had good results using a nylon dress liner material called Sunline or something like that. A 1 yard piece (36" by IIRC 60") is about $3.
Bob Kaplow NAR # 18L TRA # "Impeach the TRA BoD" >>> To reply, remove the TRABoD!
Reply to
Bob Kaplow
Yes, it is that easy. Here's a link to a picture of my Candy MIRV recovery.
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I have 10-12 2" sphere payloads with 18" chutes all of which are ejected at the top. I made a hexagonal pattern out of cardboard, laid it on top of ripstop nylon (sometimes available for $1.00 a yard at WalMart), and cut around the template with a soldering iron. The holes were also punched with a soldering iron. The shroud lines are braided mason's line. Most hardware stores have it, but be sure to ask for braided line, not twisted line. Twisted line unravels and doesn't work well. (Note that the soldering iron will only work with nylon or other synthetics; if you want to use cotton, use a knife to cut around the pattern.)
Making ellipsoidal 'chutes is more complicated, and requires a lot of sewing. Still, it's doable with a standard sewing machine (sergers are better, though.) Here's a link to pictures of a 5' and 6' .707 ellipsoid I made. (Sorry, no ground shots.)
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The hard part is calculating the gore pattern; I wrote a program to do it for me, and it can calulate any number of gores, for any shape of ellipsoid. However, there are some simplified methods on the Internet. Richard Nakka has one, or do a google search for 'hemispherical parachute' and you'll find lots of links to sites that will do the calculations for you. Some of these are kite sites, but hey, a parachute is just a specialized kite. ;)
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Parafoil plans can be found here:
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Mark E. Hamilton NAR #48641-SR
Reply to
Mark Hamilton
Hmm, observant readers will notice that there are too many lines on this 'chute for a hex; it's actually octoganal. How could I have forgotten that?
Mark E. Hamilton NAR #48641-SR ARSA #218
Reply to
Mark Hamilton
I've never seen any one use a cotton sheet. I bet it would piss off your mother too!
The large plastic bags used at places like Target and Hobby Lobby would probably make fine parachutes.
I happen to prefer the aluminized mylar sold in party stores, or Sunliner from the fabric stores. And I prefer 8 shroud lines since it's easier to cut via oragami-like folding, then one cut with the paper cutter.
Bob Kaplow NAR # 18L TRA # "Impeach the TRA BoD" >>> To reply, remove the TRABoD!
Reply to
Bob Kaplow

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