Attaching a zipper to 16oz vinyl, need suggestions

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Attaching a zipper to 16oz vinyl, need suggestions

Postby melodiousdirge » Mon Jul 18, 2011 6:11 pm

I'm building the canopy for my geodome right now. I'm making it from 16oz fabric reinforced vinyl tarp material, and I'm making the seams with a solvent based vinyl cement. This is mostly because I have no sewing machine, zero sewing machine skills, and I think this way is actually easier and stronger anyway.

However.

I've come to the point where I need to make doors and windows/vents in the canopy, and some #10 industrial zippers seem like a cheap, ideal way to accomplish this. The problem is the zipper tape is a nylon weave that more or less needs to be sewn on to the vinyl. Referring to my earlier point about zero access/zero skills with a sewing machine, this makes for a bit of a problem.

So, I have a couple of ideas. One idea was using snaps to attach the door flap directly to the dome skeleton in the door area. I am not sure how strong this would be; probably pretty strong if I use heavy marine snaps designed for boat canopies and such and space them close together. This sounds less ideal than a nice zipper though, and I'm considering this a plan "B".

Another thought I had was taking my lengths of zipper to an awning place or shoe repair place and getting them to sew a 3" wide vinyl strip to the zipper tape, so I can then use my solvent cement to attach the zippers to the rest of the canopy. I like this idea, but it's sort of a pain in the rear, and it may wind up costing me a fair bit to have the sewing done (I live in a place where precious little is cheap to get done).

I'm getting a little stressed about this project, as there's not a ton of time left before departure day. I know I will make something work, but I've put a ton of time into making this dome nice and cleanly constructed, so it will have a slick, professional outer appearance; I would hate to wind up resorting to duct tape and nylon tie straps at the 11th hour because I didn't plan this particular detail. Does anyone have better suggestions than what I've listed above for making closeable doors/windows?
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Re: Attaching a zipper to 16oz vinyl, need suggestions

Postby FIGJAM » Mon Jul 18, 2011 6:17 pm

Sewing the zippers to a strip of vinyl is how I did the door and windows on my homemade tent.

It will take someone less than 3 minutes to do this so don't let them gouge you.

Or glue some velcro on them bitches! 8)
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Re: Attaching a zipper to 16oz vinyl, need suggestions

Postby melodiousdirge » Mon Jul 18, 2011 6:27 pm

FIGJAM wrote:Sewing the zippers to a strip of vinyl is how I did the door and windows on my homemade tent.

It will take someone less than 3 minutes to do this so don't let them gouge you.

Or glue some velcro on them bitches! 8)


Thanks Figjam. I was thinking the same thing, that it's a straight stitch, although there is a pretty good length of zipper involved (3 openings, 7 feet across). If I can find someone interested in the project and talk them into it, they might even do it for free... Otherwise I'll be paying out the nose; labor and services seem to cost about 3x normal rates up in the north here.

I don't think velcro would be strong enough. I thought about the 3m super velcro and so on, but with big flaps like this the wind force on them will be pretty significant.
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Re: Attaching a zipper to 16oz vinyl, need suggestions

Postby Stickygreen » Mon Jul 18, 2011 7:43 pm

have you tried looking for your zipper at a hardware store? there is such a thing as a zipper door ( http://www.homehardware.ca/en/rec/index ... R-I2610320 ) I have seen this product at Home Depot, and a few other Hardware stores. It has tarp material on the other side of the zipper, plus the zipper is 7' long! only down side i could see, is the zipper could be a beefier model, but it should do..
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Re: Attaching a zipper to 16oz vinyl, need suggestions

Postby TomServo » Mon Jul 18, 2011 7:44 pm

The thought of vinyl as shade seems a little scarey. Vinyl doesn't breath....with that in mind, maybe you should think of grommeting pre cut pieces and sewing them together with rope or bungee, allowing gaps for airflow.
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Re: Attaching a zipper to 16oz vinyl, need suggestions

Postby theCryptofishist » Mon Jul 18, 2011 8:10 pm

melodiousdirge wrote:
FIGJAM wrote:Sewing the zippers to a strip of vinyl is how I did the door and windows on my homemade tent.

It will take someone less than 3 minutes to do this so don't let them gouge you.

Or glue some velcro on them bitches! 8)


Thanks Figjam. I was thinking the same thing, that it's a straight stitch, although there is a pretty good length of zipper involved (3 openings, 7 feet across). If I can find someone interested in the project and talk them into it, they might even do it for free... Otherwise I'll be paying out the nose; labor and services seem to cost about 3x normal rates up in the north here.

About the "gouging"...I don't know if thickness of material is going to break a needle, but they will likely have to change in a stronger (leather or denim) needle, so that will be part of the price as well. And then change it back out. Just something to keep in mind.

yeah, and you want air to move through your shade structure. Otherwise it's a very large oven-like device.
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Re: Attaching a zipper to 16oz vinyl, need suggestions

Postby melodiousdirge » Tue Jul 19, 2011 12:20 am

Thanks all. It's a 24 foot 3v Geo Dome, and the idea is to have 3 or 4 of the pentagon sized panels (around 30 square feet each) removable completely via zipper or snaps or [insert suggestion]. So I can open up some large passageways for air circulation, but also be able to zip it up tight to keep the worst of the dust or rain out in a storm. The vinyl is heavy duty, white, and free; so it is more or less ideal, as long as I can manage the airflow aspect.

The idea of grommeting the edges and using ropes or hooks or even bungee balls is a good one. Not as convenient as a zipper but it might work in a pinch.

Whoever sews it will definitely need to use a leather needle. This fabric is pretty heavy, and I would have them sew the zipper to a doubled over edge for strength.

That zipper door is awesome! I've seen that before but I completely forgot about it. I don't know if it will work here, but if not I will find another way to use it for sure.
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