I wanted to find an easier way to feed out and wind up the string during balloon flights. I wandered around the hardware store for awhile and came across a reel to store extension cords (relatively inexpensive at $10-12). All of the other pieces in the construction I had in my workshop or were part of my balloon mapping kit.
I have found that this setup is much easier to feed out and reel in a lot of line and reduce the risk of string burns. The reel has a handle and makes it very easy to walk around with and the board provides a stable base to set it down.
- Extension Cord Reel
- 12"-14" board or section of plywood
- Zip ties (4)
- String (from balloon mapping kit)
Cut the tab off the middle reel so it doesn't snag the line. The reel is a medium hardness plastic and was able to cut it with a pair of dikes.
The next is pretty straight forward, tie the string around the spool and start reeling it in. I ran the line over the handle which made it easier to guide the line on to the spool so it didn't get all wrap around one side of the reel.
The reel is held to the board by zip ties, line the reel up on the board and mark eight holes to pass zip ties through. Then drill the holes just a little wider than the zip ties.
Then pass the zip ties through and tighten them down to secure it.
The cord reel I used had holes in the side, which allowed me to pass a dowel through the holes and the reel to create a brake and not allow more string to be released.