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Building a Professional Zipline

This article is intended to provide a general overview of what is involved with building a professional zip line and it is not intended to teach individuals how to build a professional zipline.  That would take a complete book and many hours of face to face training.

When building a professional zip line there are many factors to consider.  One major consideration is speed and most importantly, how do you come to a stop.  There are a number of factors that affect speed: design slope, weight of rider, weather (wind at your back, wind in your face), speed rating of trolley, aerodynamics, etc.  The faster the rider goes, the more difficult it becomes to stop them safely at the landing area.  

zipline catenary survey

The first step in building a professional zip line is to identity the departure and arrival locations with a proper site survey Site Survey.  It is important that the slope be manageable based on the available braking distance. Once the locations are determined we professionally survey the land and perform the catenary and clearance study. This analysis report starts with formal survey points to determine ground line contour, arrival/departure tower requirements and cable sag to assure every line is designed with optimal slope and appropriate clearance for riders. These procedures insure that the zipline is properly designed for maximum safety.

Once this step is done we can start designing the towers or posts and engineering principles are applied to determine the cable specifications. Once that is completed construction can begin.  

How do you stop a person safely at the arrival platform?  Zip-Rush uses the latest breaking technology such as our proprietary patent pending Counterweight Progressive Brake (or CPB) for very high speed landings or the Zip-Stop for slower rides.  The ZipStop uses opposing magnet force to slow people down as they arrive while the CPB uses a counterweight to smoothly decelerate the rider over a longer distance.  Lastly proper staff training and ongoing inspections are critical for any professional operation.

In conclusion, zipline construction should be left to professionals who have experience in designing and building them.