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Picture of Easy Portable Rope Making Kit

Most people don't need to make their own rope, but doing so is fun, extremely satisfying, and should be done at least once by anyone who has ever put a knot in a line. To that aim I present a simple two-piece rope-maker that delivers a finished piece of rope in less than 10 minutes from items you already have around the house.

This Instructable results in a kit that I will use repeatedly at scouting events. The average Instructable reader need not go that far. The fabrication and use of the rope-maker is the aim, the kit is for others out there like me that will end up using it a lot.

Ropes and cordage are an essential part of scouting. Not only is it useful knowledge, but we use it as a way to teach young people to teach and communicate with others. To earn the very first rank, "Scout," a youth must demonstrate how to tie a square knot, two half-hitches, and a taught-line. They must also show how to whip and fuse the ends of a rope. More difficult knots and lashings are added as they continue through the ranks. Several Merit Badges add on addition knots and the Pioneering Merit Badge (one that I teach) even has them making their own rope. Nothing is cooler than teaching kids how to tie knots in a rope that they made themselves!

In the past I've put together a rather complicated rig that took up a lot of space, had lots of separate parts, and took a while to set up. It worked fine once it was up and running, but in the end, I don't think the kids realized it was something they could do themselves without the fancy machine. They didn't own the creation process. This kit changes all that. It's compact, ultra-portable and the mechanism that enables the product only has two parts, a stick and a smaller stick. The best part is that it can be made for free from junk lying around your work space.

After we've assembled the kit I'll show you how to use it. You can make a three foot length of rope with whipped ends in 5 - 10 minutes.

Step 1: Supplies

Picture of Supplies

The basic idea for this rope-maker is to tie a twisted cord to a cylinder that spins around another, smaller cylinder. Some of you will be uncomfortable with this instructable. I'm not going to give exact measurements or diagrams. The idea here is that almost ANYTHING will work. Be creative. Look around your work area and see what fits the bill. For this project I found a broken hatchet handle, a dowel rod, and a ping pong paddle for the larger cylinder. The part of the smaller cylinder, or axle, will be played by carriage bolts.

For the kit, you'll need to decide on what kind of container you'll be housing everything in. This will determine the length of your rope-maker. I came across a deep Plano organizer, an ammo can, and a little red tool box. The ammo can was my first choice, but it was a little shorter than I would have liked. Ultimately I picked the tool box because it was light, had a removable tray for accessories and had a handle. I had to cut down the dowel rod a bit to fit.

Use whatever you have lying around (that's the point!). Just make sure that it's not too light, not too heavy, and won't hurt anyone.