[balloon-makers] velcro specs?

SPCLFXGUY at aol.com SPCLFXGUY at aol.com
Mon Jul 30 10:29:55 CDT 2001

I'm not a balloon-maker, nor a pilot, nor have I had the pleasure of having 
ridden in one...  :-(    I have always been a very big fan of them, since I 
was a kid, growing up in KY.  (As you all must know, they have the anual 
Balloon Race there as a part of the KY Derby celebtation).  

I stumbled into the internet's world of "balloondom" while looking for 
information on dirigibles, and found myself staying up to nearly dawn, 
reading pages of logs of people's experiences building their own balloons!  

Anyway, I just think you guys have a really cool hobby/obsession/whatever you 
want to call it...  It's great to see people realizing their life-long 
dreams!  (like yourselves, I am living mine as well, only chose Special 
Effects as mine...)

Anyway, well...  As I mentioned, I do Special Visual Effects (costumes, 
props, miniatures, etc.) and I read the question about velcro.  Its been my 
experience with (and from what I understand of the design properties of) 
velcro, that it works or holds  best against shear forces; and it doesn't 
work well at all, when vertical force is applied.  

And, if not used "correctly'", the amount of velcro - or surface area - you 
use may not  make much difference.  You can put a 1' X 1' tile of "hook" on 
the floor, and  stick a 1' X 1' tile of "loop" down onto it.  It's pretty 
easy to just tear it right off the floor, with a little vertical force. (once 
you start to "peel" it up, the velcro just comes right apart without much 

On the other hand, the same tile of 1' X 1' "hook" can be attached to a wall, 
and then the loop side applied to it and, (unless you start to "peel" it) you 
could hang a person from it.  

I guess what I am getting at is that if you have any downward force (the 
weight of the balloon fabric?) pulling on a piece (or pieces) of velcro, it's 
very likely it will peel apart.  The trick is to arrange your velcro so that 
it will be made to hold more against sheer forces.  

I hope that I am not insulting the intelegence of anyone who reads this.  I 
appologize if I have.   In fact, I'm not even what it is you are attempting 
to do with the velcro...  Obviously you need some kind of lightweight, quick 
fastener system to keep something closed..  Can you briefly explain?  

Who knows?  We (in FX) incorporate so many different technologies, from a 
wide variety of industries (from aerospace to medical), and our job is a 
constant stream of troubleshooting, invention and re-invention.  Maybe I 
could help you come up with an alternative solution to velcro.


In a message dated 7/30/01 7:45:32 AM Pacific Daylight Time, rat6666 at home.com 
I sewed 12 1"x2" sections of hook-and-loop on my 12-gore 42k envelope
(sewn vertically onto the fabric). Maybe it's the fact that I used a
"less-than-name-brand" fastener, maybe it's just coincidence - but
sometimes they pull out with any amount of pulling or tugging at the top
of the balloon as it's inflating, especially with very little wind.

Unless I just made the mistake of using an inferior product, I'd
probably go with 2"x2" squares next time.


Micki Killingsworth wrote:
> What size you use really depends on how you intend to install your velcro.
> The manufacturers use 3/4", 1", 1 1/2", and 2". Some hang it vertically 
> the edge, one puts it on a load tape that hangs freely, some sew it
> vertically to the fabric, and some sew it horizontally to the fabric. Some
> sew it on every gore, while others sew it on every other gore (2" velcro).
> There's really no reason to use the 'load tape' method. It takes an
> eternity to install, and likes to peel apart when you're pulling on the 
> Micki
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