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Thread: Zip line trolley

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Oct 2010
    Northern Virginia

    Default Zip line trolley

    This is a quick and fun build- I've had the idea to set up a zip line ever since we had fun on a zip line at a picnic last summer. Zip line trolleys, the part that skims along the cable, retail from "stupid" to "insane" so I picked up some pulleys at McMaster (thanks again, Sportbike), some construction ties and hardware at the Home Deep, and started assembling.

    I attached the two ties to a chunk of 2x4 before drilling so they'd result in a mirror image, and line up nicely. The pulley axle holes are 3/8" so I bought hardware to match. Then a quick monkey swing: traced the bottom of a bucket onto some leftover plywood, jigsawed and sanded, then a hole drilled for the rope. I had 50' of 1/4" cable so I attached a thimble and clamps to have loops in the ends; I roped one end of the cable to a tree and used a cable puller as a tensioner at the other end.

    All in, about $20 for the cable, maybe $10 for hardware, and $13 for pulleys (I forget what shipping was from McMaster, but reasonable). Smile on 6 y.o., priceless. Next step is to get a 100' or better cable, because 50' is just too short!

    Click image for larger version. 

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    Oxweld oxy acet gear
    IMIG 200
    PowerTIG 210 EXT... Amazing!

  2. #2


    Looks lke a fun time!

    Instead of a bolt to hold the line, you could use a shackle instead and it would reduce the possibility of cutting the line.

    I think I might make one for the grandkids.

    Everlast Power I-MIG 200
    Everlast PowerUltra 205P
    Everlast SM 200-N
    Thermal Dynamics Cutmaster 42

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Oct 2010
    Northern Virginia


    Agreed, that bolt's been on my mind too, and try not to notice the rope fraying in that third pic. I was at the HD looking for hardware and got a phone call from my wife, problem at school so had to move fast, and forgot the smooth axle for the swing. But I take it down completely after every use, so I'm able to inspect all the parts for safety every time I set it up.
    Last edited by DaveO; 03-18-2012 at 02:50 PM.
    Oxweld oxy acet gear
    IMIG 200
    PowerTIG 210 EXT... Amazing!

  4. #4

    Default Lawyers

    Looks like fun, These things are cheap to build but expensive to buy do to the F###### lawyers and dumb a##es that get hurt then they want to sue the company that builds them I am sure the have to carry big insurance and thats what drives the cost of such items. AGH LAWYERS the world would be a better place without them.

  5. #5


    Looks good...simple. Can't beat McMaster Carr for a one stop shop.
    Most everything is in stock and shipping is usually very reasonable.
    Everlast 200DX
    Everlast PT185
    Shoptask 3-in-1 (not currently in my garage, but I own it...)

    Any day on a motorcycle like this that ends just needing parts and labor is a good day.
    4.82, 158.67mph 1/8th mile 7.350, 200.35mph 1/4 mile

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