Thursday, September 29, 2011

Building The Man....Stickman That Is...

I managed to drag the balloon out again yesterday to finish putting on all (4) of the horizontal load tapes. It was quite the experience forcing the fabric through the throat of the sewing machine on the horizontal load tapes at the equator. It may be a small balloon, but there is still a lot of fabric to handle at that section. After I had the last one installed, I was happy to check off another item from my "to do list".

Pictured: Finishing the throat of the balloon...and my dog giving me moral support like he always does.

Once I pulled the balloon out of the sewing machine, I was contemplating if I should start my stickmen or just wait until this Friday/weekend. The sewing machine was acting up a little bit (bobbin casing was catching my top thread and jamming the machine every 20-30 feet or so) and I didn't want to deal with the frustration of that happening while I put in 16 stickmen. So instead, I prepared all the pieces I needed and just installed one. I doubled up the load tape to give the tie off loop a little more strength. It probably wasn't necessary, but then again, why not?

So here is my first stickman:


I placed the stickmen on the half gore seam (not on the vertical load tape) mainly because of how the colors of the parachute would line up. In the picture below, the blue dots are my Velcro tabs which are on the seams of the parachute. If I were to have the Velcro tabs line up with the envelope vertical load tapes, the colored points of the parachute wouldn't line up with the diamonds on the envelope.

So instead, I installed the stickmen and Velcro on the half gore seam so the pattern will line up like this:
It might be a subtle difference in the drawing, but I know it will make a big difference once the balloon is inflated.

I plan on installing the remaining 15 stickmen, 16 envelope Velcro, gore numbers and closing up the last gore seam this weekend. Once it is closed up I'm going to partially cold inflate it in the shop to take a few interior pictures. Check back in the next few days for another progress update!

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