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What Are the Best Tips for Building a Zip Line?

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  • Written By: Christina Edwards
  • Edited By: W. Everett
  • Last Modified Date: 02 December 2016
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    Conjecture Corporation
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A zip line can usually be built just about anywhere. One of the easiest ways to build a zip line is by using a zip line kit, but building a zip line can also be accomplished by obtaining all of the materials separately. Before a zip line is built, one should make sure that there are no objects a user could hit as he travels along the line. The angle of the zip line will also determine how fast the users travel. Although zip lines can be a load of fun, safety should be a major consideration when building a zip line.

An outdoor zip line can be enjoyable for people of all ages. These are usually set up between two tall objects, like trees. One popular place to build a zip line is from a tree house to the ground. If trees are not available, two heavy metal poles can be used instead, but they must be placed firmly in the ground.

A zip line kit is often the easiest way to build a zip line. These can be purchased from some sporting goods stores, but they can also be found on the Internet. They typically contain all of the equipment needed to build a zip line. Cables, handles, and brakes are usually included in these kits, and some even come with seats.

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Building a zip line without a kit also is an option. This requires some thick steel cable, and a pulley or a zip line trolley. For safety reasons, however, it is very important that the materials are strong enough to hold the weight of a heavy adult. Aircraft cable is usually recommended, since it can hold a great deal of weight.

To ensure that users travel down the zip line, one end of the cable must be anchored slightly higher than the other end. Building a zip line with a steep slope, however, can cause a user to travel down the line too quickly. This can be dangerous for young or inexperienced users, and it can result in serious injuries.

To begin building a zip line, the distance between the two points of the line should first be measured. Several extra feet of cable should be also be purchased. This extra length will compensate for the cable being secured to the anchor points.

Long eye bolts made from galvanized steel can be used to anchor the stainless steel cable to each tree. The cable should be threaded through the eye bolt at the launch point, and a loop should be made and secured with a stainless steel cable clamp. After the pulley or zipline trolley is threaded onto the cable, the other end can then be threaded through the eye bolt at the stop point of the zip line. A cable puller can then be used to pull the cable tight, and a cable clamp can be used to secure a loop of cable to the second tree.

A handle can be attached to the bottom of the pulley to make it easier to hang on to. A loop of rope can make a simple handle for a zip line, but large wooden dowels can also make good zip line handles. The rope should first be securely attached to one side of a dowel and threaded through the metal ring on the pulley, before being attached to the other end of the dowel. A longer piece of rope can also be used to attach a seat to the zip line.

Safety should always be the first concern when building a zip line. Zip lines should never be built too far off of the ground, for instance, since this can result in very serious injuries in the event of a fall. Any obstructions, like tree branches, should also be cleared away from the zip line to ensure users are not struck by them. All materials and equipment should also be checked for loose anchor points and damage each time the zip line is used. Helmets are also recommended.

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