Homemade Zip Line

Written by mark quest
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Homemade Zip Line
Zip lines can be set up without trees. (zip line image by Linda Mattson from Fotolia.com)

Zipping through the trees in your own backyard is an exhilarating fun activity that even adult kids can enjoy. The last few years has seen homemade ziplines become popular. All you need is a place to set one up. You do not need a sloped yard or even trees, just two points of attachment at different elevations. They can be elaborate permanently installations or quickly put together for a day of fun. A homemade zipline would make a good party activity.

Skill level:
Moderately Easy

Things you need

  • Rope or steel cable, length will depend on the distance of the zipline.
  • 1 Dual pulley trolley
  • 1 Handle
  • 1 Harness
  • 6 Cable clamps if using steel cable. You will need 9 if you do not wish to drill holes in the trees
  • 3 Cable thimbles
  • 2 Turnbuckles
  • 3 Carabiners
  • 2 Eye bolts with nuts and flat washers
  • Plastic tubing that the rope or cable can fit through if you are not going to use the eyebolts to attach the zipline to the trees
  • 1 Lawn tractor tire for a brake
  • Wrench for the cable clamps
  • Bolt cutters if using steel cable
  • Knife if using rope
  • Drill
  • Drill-bit sized for the cable or rope
  • Auger bit sized for the eye bolts

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  1. 1

    Drill two holes in the tire lined up opposite each other so the cable or rope can be threaded through.

  2. 2

    Locate a site for the zipline by finding two trees at different elevations that have a clear, straight path between them.

  3. 3

    Lay out the rope or cable along the path of the zipline. Do not cut it yet, you will need some extra length for securing it with the cable clamps.

  4. 4

    Feed the tire onto the cable or rope near the lower end.

  5. 5

    Slip the trolley onto the other end of the cable or rope.

  6. 6

    Thread the ends of the cable or rope through the turnbuckles putting a cable thimble in the bends. The thimbles protect the rope or cable from abrasive wear. If using rope, tie with a couple of good secure knots, with cable use 3 cable clamps evenly spaced. This assembly will be called the zipline. Cut off the extra cable or rope and whip or melt the ends of the rope to prevent fraying.

  7. 7

    Drill a hole through each of the trees and put in the eyebolts secured with washers and nuts. If you do not want to drill holes in the trees use extra cable or rope wrapped around the trees inside the plastic tubing. Use 3 cable clamps for steel cable to join the ends by overlapping them.

  8. 8

    Attach the zipline to the eyebolts by clipping on with a carabiner at each end of the zipline.

  9. 9

    Adjust the tension of the zipline with the turnbuckles. It needs to be tight.

  10. 10

    Clip the handle and harness together to the trolley.

Tips and warnings

  • Do not make the zipline so steep that the rider slams into the brake.

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