50/50

As a follow-up to my ‘let the season begin’ post, here is a video of my first try on a 50′ line for the 2014 season.

50/50: My first 50 foot line as a 50 year old! Plus, I figure I’ve retained about half of my ability after taking the winter off from serious slacklining.

The two videos below try to show the difference between my abilities toward the end of last season and what I’ve got left after taking the winter off. One thing to note, I only made it to the halfway point yesterday. True, the line from 2014 is more slack (difficult) than the line from 2013. In any case, I hope you are getting out there starting this Spring!

 

 

Home Made Anchors

Today I have a couple pics of some anchors I made at home. I was able to procure some 6″x6″x0.25″ plates of 6061-T651 aluminum. I cut these down into 2″ strips, laid out some hole patterns, and drilled/milled the stuff until I was left with two pieces for each anchor.

A trip to the hardware store, and I put these together using shoulder bolts, spacers, and nuts. I still need to add some sort of strap to them for connection to the tree, my plan is to sew some dog-bone style straps to one end of the anchor.

Each anchor replaces a rap ring and a carabiner, and the eventual goal is to use this type of anchor on a longer line (> 100′).

So far, I’ve made three of these, and they work great for the 50′ lines I usually set up. I don’t have a method for testing their break-strength, but calculations show they are fairly heavy duty. Here are a couple photos:

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Rap Ring Replacements

After viewing this article over on NWSlackline, I decided to try my hand at using chain links instead of rap rings in my Slackline setup. I ventured out to my local Lowe’s home improvement store and bought one foot (nine links) of 5/16″ 3900lb working load limit (WLL) chain*. Total bill was $2.89 including tax. After cutting every other link I will have 5 good links, so the cost comes out to about $0.58 per link – not bad when you compare the cost of a rap ring at $4.75 (plus tax). A rap ring weighs about 30% less than a link, which is why climbers probably wouldn’t do something like this, but chain links are perfectly useful for Slacklining.

I used a grinder and a cutoff wheel (and some safety equipment) to cut the four odd links. This left me with 5 links for use as line lockers.

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I filed down the weld on each link. As Adam points out, over time the weld on each link can cause damage to the Slackline. (Click on the picture above, and zoom in, to see the welds on the links)  Using a file, some 80 grit sandpaper, and some elbow grease I removed the weld protrusion. The following picture shows a link after the process.

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After smoothing things over with the link, I replaced two of the rap rings in my Slackline setup, one at each end. This picture shows the fixed end using a chain link instead of a rap ring. (The rap ring seen in this picture is part of the system to remove the tri-loading, and cannot be replaced with a chain link).

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For size comparison, here is picture of a link and a rap ring:

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Chain links are nearly 1/10th the cost of rap rings, and two links can eliminate both rap rings of a basic primitive setup. This saves about $9 and gets the job done quite well.

* Note: I used 5/16″ Grade 43 chain that has a 3900 lb Working Load Limit (WLL) and a breaking strength of over 11,000 lbs (52kN). You’ll also find 3/8″ Grade 43 chain available with a WLL of 5400 lbs, and a break strength over 16,000 lbs (72kN). Either of these are good choices, and both accept a 1″ wide Slackline. I stayed away from the chain with lower rating (ie. 2650 lb WLL) and went with the Grade 43. More information here.

Anchor Basics Parts 2

Today’s entry includes video below.

This is the second entry in the series on slackline anchors. (click here for Part 1)

The Part 2 video below describes three types of anchor setups for the adjustment end of a slackline (the part where you tighten it).
Now, get out there and start slacking!!

Inspiration for this idea is taken from Adam’s “Strength of 3 men…” video on NWSlackline.

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Progress Update

Today’s entry includes a video link below.

We spent about an hour or two with the slackline set up in the backyard on Friday afternoon. Then about another hour or so on Saturday. My wife was able to take four steps on Saturday! She is improving, although not as fast as she’d like. She took today (Sunday) off from slacking, to use the day to prepare for a 10K tomorrow.

I set up the line and walked this afternoon. This was the first time I set it up by myself. Usually, it takes two of us to pull the line tight enough so that I am not on the ground. This time, the line was as high as my inseam. I found the line to be a bit more loose, and took a bit to get used to it again.

After getting used to the line and walking a bit, I started trying to turn around on the line. I can now walk most of the line in one direction, so I figured it would be a good time to start learning to turn around. This video shows various methods of turning. I use a version of Adam’s shown first in the video. I step backwards and spin as I shift my weight to my back foot.

It’s been two weeks since Mother’s Day, and I am now learning to turn around. I was able to do it successfully, although not very pretty, about 3 or 4 times. It takes some chance, and some getting used to the art of spinning your weight around without losing balance, but this is yet another milestone in my trek to be proficient. I hope you folks see this as encouragement.