Hoop Dreams

9 08 2009

So, I’ve had a thought on my mind for some weeks now that I’ve been trying to figure out how to engineer.

At the end of the month, we will be taking the ferry over the lake, and driving more hours than I thought possible to go to the Porcupine Mountains Music Festival.  Well, I want to bring hula hoops with me, but have had a total fail on the transportability of my big hoops – I’m not willing to figure out how to check a large 42″ circle when going on the ferry.

I did lots of research.  I looked at the infinity hoops – these collapse by pressing and twisting the circle to a figure 8 (infinity sign), then fold to to a smaller size.  These didn’t work well for me when built – I concluded that leaving the connectors untaped leaves room for some flexibility in the hoop for collapsing.

But….  the tube started coming off the connecters the first time I started the twist.  Too short a connector?  I don’t know the source of the issue that made these not work well for me.  Never fear!  Glitter Glue Princess decided these would be great to leave a grandma’s house for hooping at the lake when the hooping desire hits.  She decorated them and got them ready to go.

In the meantime, I bought one of these off Etsy to figure out how they go together.  Hopefully it will arrive by the end of the coming week.

At this point, I’m not ready to give up on building my own.  Of course, that intensified my research.  I found a how to article about collapsible hoops that snap apart, with bungee cord through the hoop, similar to construction of collapsible tent poles.  So, I bring out all the new tools – my dremel and some elastic cording I found from the fabric store.  I think I dremeled too much off the sides of the connectors, as there is some jiggle when connecting the pieces.

I put one piece of elastic cord through the hoop – imagine how much fun it was to have your hoop start flopping around you while spinning…  It made the GG Princess just laugh her head off when she saw it as the whole thing was just flopping everywhere when I tested it.  Not to fear!  I cinched another piece of elastic around the inside and tied even tighter.  This did the trick and the hoop stays together well when hooping – I’ve got a bit of clicking in the joints when starting the spin, but it is not annoying.

Here is my completed hoop:

And in a collapsed state:

Now the hoop can fit in a bag about a yard long!  Hehe – something else to make!

My improvements to be made next time:

  • not remove so much of the connector barbs to keep the joint more firm
  • use a heavier bungee – I found a seller on ebay and bought 50 ft – 3/16″ marine bungee cord for kayaks to replace the thin stuff from the fabric store  – there is a LARGE disparity in cost for 3/16″ vs 1/4″ (try 45%!).

Now to sit on my hands and wait till the mailman brings me bungee to try v.2 and the infinity hoop for me examine…  Maybe I should go sew something…  Or help Glitter Glue Princess with her entry in the American Sewing Expo Innovation Generation competition (more on that in the future!).