How To

How to install a zipline:

Zip lines are much easier to setup than most people anticipate. Anyone with basic handyman skills is fully capable of installing a typical zipline. 

 

Determine route and anchor points:

You need a track free of obstacles for your zipline with firm anchor points at both ends. Determine the most accessible locations to launch and dismount. Depending on your terrain, the dismount location may be at the end or at the lowest point of the cable. Platforms may be required depending on your terrain.

Make sure your zipline course is clear of obstructions 2,1m below and 1,5 m on both sides. Remove large rocks, tree logs or branches or other objects from the course.

A zipline setup can apply up to 1500 kg of horizontal force to the anchor when loaded, choose your anchors as follows:

Do not use playground structures, power poles, dead trees. Please determine  an appropriate anchor point. If you attach to a building make sure you have a suitable attaching device that is capable of coping with up to 1500 kg horizontal pulling force, if in doubt check an engineer or architect if you attach to a building structure.

Trees: tree trunks must have a 30 cm diameter at the attachment point, do only attach to the central trunk. Do not use trees with rot, disease, cracks, exessive lean or in loose soil.

 

Poles/posts: wooden poles, at least 30 cm diameter, sunk 120 cm in the ground or 10% of the pole length plus 60 cm (whichever is greater) Secure with at least 20 cm concrete around pole.

 

The cable between the two anchor points must have a sufficient slope to allow the pulley to build up sufficient speed during the course, in addition the steel cable sags slightly under when loaded.


Take into account the following 2 parameters: 6% slope between start and end anchor points and with a sag of 8% when load is applied to the cable.
Start with these basics, afterwards you can refine the speed of the zipline course by adjusting these two parameters.

Note: 6% slope only when you use a bungee brake system or other braking method as the Brakehawk, without braking system lower slope to maximum 3%


Example: For a 30 m zipline on flat terrain you will have a difference in height between start and end anchor point of 1,8 m (6% of the length) If you want the pulley to hang about 2.1 m above the ground on its lowest point and taking into account 2,4 m sag of the cable (8% of the length), the starting point should be at 4,5 meters above the ground (2.1 + 2,4). If you deduct the 1,8 m height difference between start and end, you reach a height of the lowest anchor point of 2,7 m. This example assumes that both trees / anchor points are on a flat terrain. If you can mount the zipline on a slope, you can lower the height of the starting point.

 

Cable installation:

Use wooden blocks at the marked heights of the anchor points to protect the bark of the tree against the cutting of the cable loop.

Figure below shows a tipical setup of a 45m kit.

 

Preparing the loops for anchor points:

Take the two short pieces of 2.5 m cable and make a loop at both ends. Use three cable clamps for each loop, followed by the figure, at least 35 cm cable. The first clamp at 8 cm from the tip of the loop, the next at 10 cm each. The u-bracket of the clamp sits on the free retracted cable end. (for the two loops for the anchor points, DO NOT use a thimble)

Tighten the bolts of the cable clamps securely. 

Wrap your loops around the tree.

Completely unscrew the turnbuckles (at their longest position) and attach them to the loops that were hung around the anchor points.

Unscrew nuts from bolts. Draw bolts from the turnbuckle jaws.

Insert the two ends of the loop in the turnbuckle jaw and secure the nuts to the bolts in the jaw.

Now mount the main cable on one of the two sides to the turnbuckle (Place that is the least easy to reach.) The reason for this is that you have to tighten the cable at the other end - of course you prefer the place that is the lowest at the ground or the easiest to reach.)

Wrap the main cable down to the other anchor and pull it through the eye of the  turnbuckle (or around anchor for 30 m kis who come with 1 turnbuckle)

Pull it by hand as tight as you can and until you reach the desired height. Be sure to wear gloves and have a friend to help you secure the cable around the anchor with three cable clamps.

Alternatively use a cable tensioner kit to tension your zipline.

The basic function of the tensioning kit is to stretch your zip line cable tightly from one anchor to the other. The ratcheting nature of the come-along allows you to lock it in place at any point, freeing you up to make the cable termination without having to deal with the dead weight of the hanging cable. It dramatically reduces the installation time for any zip line and is an essential for dealing with large distances.

 

Step 1: Wrap the nylon strap around your anchor (top or bottom, whichever end is most accessible), and clip the end loops to the hooks on the back of the come-along. It makes things easier if you wrap it a short distance above where you intend to anchor the cable.

Step 2: Release the come-along and draw out the cable grab, unwinding the come-along cable near to it’s max. Then re-engage the ratchet mechanism.

Step 3: If the opposite end of your zip line cable is al- ready anchored, pull the zip line cable toward the come-along, and attach the grab as far out on the line as possible. The grab will lock automatically when the weight of the cable pulls back through it.

Step 4: Crank the come-along until the cable hangs near the desired height. You then bring up the last few feet of your zip line cable and make the permanent termination to the anchor.

Step 5: Slowly work the come-along backwards to ease the cable tension off of the pull kit and on to the permanent anchor. Once the tension is completely switched over you may disconnect the grab and take down the entire kit.

Adjusting Your Zip Line with the Pull Kit
This pull kit can also be used to make adjustments on the height or tension of your existing zip line. Simply repeat steps 1-3, then make your adjustments on step 4 by moving the termination up or down, adjusting the turnbuckle, etc. Com- plete with step 5.

Warnings:
DO NOT attempt to ride your zip line using the pull kit as an anchor. This can damage the cable and cause serious injury to the rider.
DO NOT use this kit in such a way as to over-tension the cable and make the zip line unsafe for use.

How to install a zipline bungee brake:

The bungee brake must be installed close to the end of your zipline to stop the pulley and slow down to a stop. Mount the wooden block with the rubber side to the side where the pulley collides. The bungee cord then goes from the wooden block to the bungee anchor point on the side of the main cable. The bungee stretches 180%, so make sure that the bungee cord does not stretch further when braking. If your bungee streches beyond 180%, the steepness of the zipline must be adjusted and / or an extra elastic bungee cord must be installed. 

Mount the wooden brake block (not included in standard kits - sold seperately) with rubber facing towards where pulley will hit th eblock. Insert bolts trough block and washers. Tighten nuts. Attach the bungee cord with a quick link.

Screw the eye lag screw into a nearby tree or post, 4m off to the side of the zipline. Use quick link to connect the eye lag screw to the bungee cord. 

 

How to make a DIY wooden brake block?

Cut two blocks of wood with equal dimensions of approximately 200x90x45 mm. Cut a recess in the length of each block (to let the cable pass trough), easilly done with a circular saw - be careful!
Now build the two halves together around the cable with the three bolts / nuts and one eyebolt / nut along the side of the anchor point (do not make the holes too close to the edge). Make sure the brake block can move freely over the cable. Place a piece of carpet, rubber, bicycle tire or the like on the side where the pulley collides to absorb the impact and protect the pulley.

 

Riding gear installation:

Use a carabiner to attach a handlebar, a seat, a harness and lanyard combo to the to the pulley.

Only attach carabiners to the attachment point of your pulley, each accessory must use a carabiner to attach it directly to the trolley, never attach an accessory to another loop or another accessory and do not chain link carabiners.

squeeze test each carabiner to ensure proper locking and the locking gate is engaged.

Attach lanyard to the harness attachment tie-in loop as shown, attach other free end with a carabiner to your pulley.

 

Testing your zipline before use:

Weight test:

Hang a rope on the pulley in the middle of the track and hang a test weight, equel to the weight of your heaviest participiant. Or hang on to it with two adults to get a simulation of a weight of around 150kg. Mark cable at each end with a marker or pen. After the weight test, inspect the marks for indications of clamp slippage.

Check all bolts are checked and secured. Never load the zipline with more than 150 kg on the pulley.

Bounce test weight up and down and observe anchors for exessive movement.

Speed ​​test:

Have a test person sit on the zipline and walk alongside to that person while holding a rope attached to the pulley. Increase the speed at each test attempt until you are convinced that the pulley will not extend the bungee cord more than 180% and the users will never reach the lower anchor point of the zipline at full speed and under maximum load of a person.

Inspect riding gear:

inspect on proper configuration, damage, bending,...

Warning!
Do not use zipline if any slippage, deformation, misconfiguration, inadequate cable sag or another potentially hazardous condition is found when performing the above tests. Retighten clamps, reconfigure equipment, increase cable sag, reinforce anchors or search further professional advise as appropriate for the situation before any participant is allowed on the zipline.
 

How to build a platform for your zipline:

 

 

 

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