Tuesday, August 02, 2011

Paracord Carabiner Spool

This was a project I'd tried a couple of years ago that wasn't working like I wanted at the time, so it's been on the unfinished 'to do' list too long. This time I ended up with a much better working model. The paracord is zigzag spooled(like you may find with cordage you buy from store that comes on a spool) onto the PVC pipe over the carabiner. With the carabiner held in hand or secured to gear, the cord can be pulled off and quickly deployed from the free spinning spool. If the ends of the spool were flared/capped, keeping the cord from spilling off the spool, it would be easier to coil cord onto the spool...

The biner I used is an Omega Locking D Carabiner that I've had for almost 20 years, that has a tubular formed body compared to some that have odd shaped cross sections. The oval and D shaped carabiners will have the most room for carrying more paracord, so that's what I used. The diameter of the carabiner tubing was slightly smaller than the interior spool diameter, that I intended to put over it, which is just what you need to measure for.

I had some leftover 1/2" diameter PVC pipe, to use for the spool, stored in the garage from a light tent project several years ago. I used a hacksaw to cut a 3" long length to fit the carabiner. Of course you can't just slide the PVC onto the carabiner, so I cut it again down the center of the length of the pipe, making two halves.

I fit the two parts around the carabiner and used gaffer/duct tape to wrap around them and secure them back together. The pipe then spins freely around the carabiner. I wrapped as much paracord on the spool as I could, which was about 40 feet worth, and still be able to open the carabiner gate just enough to slip it over nylon webbing/PALS/MOLLE attachment points on a bag, backpack, strap, or vest.

The PVC pipe makes for a firm spool where my previous tries with softer rubber and plastic tubing would give/warp too much when adding the paracord, creating too much friction and the spool wouldn't freely spin around the carabiner. I may eventually add a short tutorial for making this project later.

A similar product, that might could be used/converted to dispense paracord, is a cave reel /diver's spool. They come loaded with string, but it may be possible to put some paracord on them instead, although I don't know how much would fit...






Earlier in the year, a friend made me some smaller bead sized metal tubular spools with flared ends. I'd tried finding similar and making my own but was unsuccessful. My intended purpose was to add thread, fishing line, or some 0.9mm braided nylon line onto the smaller bead spools and them add them to a survival type paracord lanyard. My photo shows the beads next to a penny for scale, and the paracord lanyard is a 'Bug Belly Bar' tied by Manny, who also made the beads.

30 comments:

Ninja R said...

Hm. Instead of two pieces of PVC to fit, I wonder if one could take a hacksaw and split the pipe lengthwise on one side, then pull it apart to fit around the carabiner. I might try that idea this weekend.

Stormdrane said...

@Ninja R, I tried that first but couldn't pry the PVC open wide enough to fit onto the carabiner, thinking it might snap/break if I forced it, so I went back and cut through the other side to halve it.

Previous attempts with rubber fuel line hose, aquarium air line tubing, even plastic straws had been cut lengthwise down one side to fit onto the carabiner, but they just didn't spin freely like the PVC does...

Madman said...

Nice.

Can you explain or provide a link to the zigzag spooling technique? I have tried before to replicate that, but it never seems to look right.

Stormdrane said...

@Madman, I learned to wrap cord like that around a spool, from years of retying the slack back onto spools of various types of cordage that came that way.

I used the term 'zigzag' from it's appearance and I'm not sure what the proper term for that method may be. If I can find a good reference for it I'll add a link, but I may just have to do a tutorial or video showing the method when I get a chance...

Ninja R said...

You know...I was thinking if it looked like the PVC would break, just get out my router and a chamfer bit and go to town on it.

But then I realized, "Hey, just cut two pieces, ya big dummy."

Snake Doctor said...

This is an amazing idea, thanks for sharing!

Roni said...

I know you have tons of paracord of all different colors and sizes. What type of system do you use to keep it all together and easily usable? Something similar to this maybe a shower or curtain rod to keep it all handy. I've been enjoying your blog and practicing your trade love the tutorials. I have started to gather lots of cord and having issues of miss placed cord or a tangled mess. I think a system expanded like this may solve my problem.

Stormdrane said...

@Roni, I keep most of my different types of cord stored on the spools they came on and kept in Rubbermaid tubs for storage. Most of the tools, accessories, and cord that I may be using during a knotting binge, is in a messy pile on the floor next to a chair, lol.

For paracord that comes in 100 ft hanks, which is what I almost always use, I usually keep it in the plastic bag it came in, pulling out just what I need to work with. It can be coiled up onto other re-purposed empty spools to keep it neat.

I've seen examples of paracord 1000 ft spools mounted on dowels/rods for dispensing, mainly by people that are in the business of selling the cord or high volume production of knotted items. If I had/used that much cord, that would be the way to go.

ilS1mon said...

hi man
as always thanks for your wonderful works!
i've a question about this work: i'm a diver and i think it's really usefull something like that, so do you think i can use that carabiner under the sea?
or i should buy a carabier for sea water?
if so do you know some good sea-water-resistant carabiners?
can you suggest us?

thanks again
cya

Stormdrane said...

@ilS1mon, Carabiners are usually made of steel, aluminum, or titanium. Titanium would be the best for salt water applications(expensive), but aluminum would be good too. Steel would be prone to rust, but if you rinsed them with fresh water and dried after each use, that would extend the useful life of the carabiner.

The spring in the gate and pins of a carabiner may be made of steel, even if the body is aluminum or titanium, so you'd have to look at the specifications of particular carabiners to see what they're made of.

A lot of folks use carabiners in sailing and sea kayaking applications, with stainless steel type carabiners, shackles, and clips. So I imagine as long as you take care of and inspect which ever type you use, they should give a decent service life.

PVC pipe should be fine in salt water, a water proof type of tape should be used around the PVC pipe when attaching it to a carabiner when making the spool. Paracord is fine around salt water, but should be rinsed with clean water after use, to prevent salt from accumulating in the cord and damaging it over time.

Lerussell said...

what was the music from...dig that sound

Stormdrane said...

@Lerussell, The tune was just a random AudioSwap selection from YouTube, that was about the same length as the video. I tried to go back in and find the player, but had no luck...

Stormdrane said...

@Lerussell, I went back to look again and found this info for the track:

Title: Dustbowl 0:58

Composer: Mark Johns (PRS)

Cool, laid back solo Dobro (slide guitar)

Dan said...

SD, love the new look of the blog. This is a very cool project, I really like how you wound that cord on there. I get the sneaking suspicion that if I were to try it it would look a lot... different. ;)

Wes said...

Fantastic idea.
You may want to google something about reshaping PVC. I've seen people who boil the PVC, which makes it pliable and can shape it into whatever they want. You could then flare the ends yourself. You may also be able to open up a single cut piece wide enough to fit over the carabiner and close it again, gluing with PVC cement.
I need to get a 'biner, but will be trying this myself ASAP.

Gorth said...

On the subject of smaller spools... you could use 2 rivet nuts taped or jb welded together. they come in many diffrent sizes.

Wes... Great idea on heating the pvc. I have worked as an electrician for 25 years and deal with pvc alot and your idea will work great

BlackShamrock said...

Do a search for "Double Flared flesh tunnels", and you'll find what you are looking for. Many different gauges and materials to choose from, usually sold in pairs, but not always.

Stormdrane said...

@BlackShamrock, Ah, that's what those ear stretching thingamajigs are called. I was kinda worried what might pop up with images when I Googled it, lol...

They do look like spools and may be useful as decent lanyard beads, to add fishing line or thinner cordage to...

knot4fun said...

Can you please make a video of the zig-zag spooking method? I cannot find anything on the Internet.
Thanks.

Jim said...

I'll second (or third or fourth) the request for a video or some instructions on the zig zag wind. The google has failed me....

TigerWolfe said...

Fifth? on the request for how you wrapped the cord. My method requires me to get narrower as I wrap and looks much sloppier than that.

Stormdrane said...

A short video on zigzag spooling with paracord is on my 'to do' list. ;)

LocustsOfSteel said...

Great idea!

I've certainly got the cord, PVC tubing & duck tape to pull this off... The only problem in my way is finding an affordable and suitable extra large carabiner to make this with.

I have a couple of questions for you-
#1: How many feet of cord did you get on that thing?
#2: What are the internal dimensions of the carabiner you used?

LocustsOfSteel said...

Wait a sec, the length was on the vid's after all lol...
I'd still like to know what the internal dimensions of the carabiner if you could be so kind as to measure it

Stormdrane said...

@LocustsOfSteel, The amount of paracord you can get on a spool will vary by the size of the carabiner and the paracord, which can also vary slightly in diameter. For example: Atwood brand paracord is a little larger in diameter than the Atlanco and GI Plus brands of paracord I've had, so you'd get maybe a few feet difference on total cord spooled.

The D shaped carabiners will vary slightly in dimensions by brand, but they're pretty close from the ones I have:

Inner long base width length is about 3" to where the upward curve starts(spool cut length) and at the widest 3 3/8"

The top width length is about 2 1/2"

The vertical space between gate and base is about 1 1/8" with locking carabiner and 1 1/4" in carabiner without the lock.

Again, those are approximate, using an Omega locking biner, the Stansport and Blackhawk brands that I have are close to the same.

Simone Bissi said...

hi David
and here you are... my carbiner for diving with home-made plastic spool (with 3d printer)

pic 1
pic 2
pic 3

Simone Bissi said...

And here you are the page of thingiverse if someone want to print the spool with 3d printer (for that carabiner dimensions)

CARABINER SPOOL

Phantom said...

nice product! Could u plz link me where I can buy it?

Stormdrane said...

@Phantom, I do not make them to sell, instead encourage folks to try and make their own using the information I've shared with my ideas.

For those that just want to purchase one, a production version is available from County Comm . ;)

Ark said...

Hi Stormdrane,
I'd just uploaded by design inspired by you here: http://www.thingiverse.com/thing:142349

Cheers!