This is the story of my FIRST attempt at making my own gear. You know, I've snipped a few useless things off of my GoLite Jam, but that's about it... so, I just decided to make a Cuben Fiber Tarp for myself. Here's the story...
First, I ordered 5 yds of Cuben Fiber, 0.48oz per sqyd from Quest, along with Cuben tape, lightweight shock cord and some acquseal. Got some good advice from Quest - use a razor blade, don't try to cut with scissors. I was amazed at home SMALL the package was when it arrived from Quest, just 2 days later!
So, I drew a couple little sketches on scrap paper, grabbed a tape measure, a sharpie and a utility knife with a new blade and headed down to my basement with all the components.
Laying out the cuben fiber was a bit tricky, it was sooo thin and light, and a little bit slippery. I eventually got it flat, folded in half and was able to mark out approximate edges with my sharpie, using a piece of wood trim that was lying around in my basement as a long straight edge. By keeping the material folded in half, I was able to quickly and easily cut the basic shape of the tarp with four cuts. Since I was planning to fold and tape all the edges, I didn't feel the need to be super precise with the major cuts - I just left about 1" around the whole perimeter.
One issue I found was that doing SMALL trimming is VERY hard - the material tends to rip if you don't have it really well held down. This works fine with 1" or more of spare material, but was very tricky when dealing with tiny trims and cuts to neaten the edges.
Anyway, here is the basic shape. I made my catenary curve by measuring a straight line, then picking a spot and using progressive bifurcation, putting little dots at each bifurcation point, then joining them together by hand to make a smooth curve, worked OK, but would probably want to do a better job on this next time.
Next, I taped all the edges with the cuben tape... working in sections of about 6-9" each time, so as to minimize the risk of accidentally sticking the tape to the material. I did have to move the tape a couple of times, but found that it damaged the material a little. One trick I discovered was, if you get a little cuben tape stuck, carefully cut it to the smallest area of stuck tape, then cut a small piece of cuben fiber to exactly the same size and stick it on top! This way you don't damage the main tarp, and can cover up the problem tape area. Anyway, patience is definitely the key skill in taping the edges. I folded right up to my sharpie lines, so that they made a definite edge... I thought it looked pretty good like that!
If you look carefully at this corner, you can see the pieces of tape and the sharpie lines... this approach allowed me to do all the trailing edges and the ridge line seal without too many issues.
Continuing in next post...