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Message started by alpine on Feb 23rd, 2011 at 11:36pm

Title: Lacrosse Mesh Sling Pockets
Post by alpine on Feb 23rd, 2011 at 11:36pm
Here are a couple of posts that I put into a new thread to collect comments:

I appreciate the more authentic and traditional slings pictured on this site, showing the weaving, complexity, ingenuity, materials, release mechanisms, projectiles, slinging styles, etc. that people come up with. It is interesting to see so many variations on such a seemingly simple design as a sling. Although I like the braided designs, I donít think I am up to making them (yet), so I have been experimenting with more simple designs using paracord.

One modern material I think may have been overlooked for making slinging pockets is hard mesh replacement pocket material for lacrosse sticks. I used to play in college and it occurred to me that this would make a good sling pocket. This material is designed for making cupped pockets. The hard mesh is fairly stiff, but conforms well. The mesh replacement pockets cost about 8 bucks on the internet, come in many different (and bright) colors and you can make many sling pockets out of one piece of replacement mesh. †

The first sling pictured was built horizontally and has a large pocket for golf or tennis balls. It doesnít need to be nearly so large, but I am only starting to experiment with this material. Used in the horizontal direction, the mesh makes more of a rectangle and expands when pulled at the ends, like an accordion. I am guessing this is best for larger projectiles like golf or tennis balls since the mesh stretches out and might grab too much with smaller and pointy projectiles such as rocks. †

The second sling uses the mesh in the vertical direction, where the mesh makes more of the diamond shape that seems to be best for slinging pockets. When oriented this way, the mesh pulls together tighter and doesnít stretch much when pulled at the ends. †This seems to be best for odd shaped rocks since the holes in the mesh stay smaller and there is less wind resistance.

For a basic mesh sling, total construction time with paracord is about 10 minutes. I used simple larks head knots to tie off the paracord to the mesh and allow the paracord to be adjusted for length very quickly and easily without cutting off excess. I have also been experimenting with using a fly-tying bobbin to wrap the ends of the paracord to the mesh, instead of using a knot. Although it is more permanent, it looks cleaner to me this way. If you find the right kind of fly-tying thread, you can use a lighter to melt it a bit when you are done, just like with the paracord.

I could see other ways of using this mesh that I havenít tried yet, such as using the mesh as a base to thread the paracord thru, filling up the holes of the mesh to make more of a solid pocket. The mesh can be pinched together at the ends as well, depending on your design, to make more of a cupped pocket. I have seen some sling designs where the cord diverges into two pieces and makes the pocket, where the mesh could be used in between. Iím sure there are lots of ways I havenít thought of.

I would really like to see what the more experienced slingers think of this material and the different designs that can be made using it. Hope this inspires some more ideas for slings and I look forward to seeing how other folks use it. †

Interesting site.

1_005.jpg (1080 KB | 303 )

Title: Re: Lacrosse Mesh Sling Pockets
Post by alpine on Feb 23rd, 2011 at 11:37pm
Here's another mesh version. I don't know if the mesh provides any real benefit or not yet. They work as well as my all-paracord version. I can throw pretty hard with them, but am just not experienced enough to really be able to evaluate the mesh against other materials as far as accuracy, speed/distance. The good thing is that you can crank out different versions in minutes to tweak a design.  

One thing to note if you want to try this material is that replacement mesh pockets are sold in kits or separately. Be sure to buy the mesh material only. The kits sometimes include a bunch of stringing for a lacrosse head that you won't need and the kits cost more. I got the mesh(only) at Dicks Sporting goods, which had them in a lot of different colors, grey (silver), black, bright yellow, bright orange, blue, etc. The one I got is called the "Warrior Lacrosse String Kit - Part A Hard Mesh" for $9.99USD. There are alot of other brands out there too, that cost a little less. The mesh in general is impregnated with wax, which is what makes it conform and allows you to shape it.

Let me know what you think about it, good or bad.  

I am currently re-weaving my all-paracord version, trying to figure out how to get the pocket weaved so tight together. I can still see daylight thru mine.

2_004.jpg (23 KB | )

Title: Re: Lacrosse Mesh Sling Pockets
Post by alpine on Feb 23rd, 2011 at 11:39pm
Here is a picture of the fly-tying bobbin that I use to help wrap the thread real tight. I am using thread to wrap the paracord ends together, instead of using a knot to attach the paracord to the mesh. It makes it look cleaner and maybe you get a little bit less wind resistance without a paracord knot? Once I get done with wrapping the thread, I finish it with a couple over hand knots to tie off the thread. I found that if you use a polyester-type thread, it will melt in the same way that paracord does, so that you can (lightly) melt the ends of the wrap to prevent fraying, like you do with the ends of paracord. This takes a light touch, so as not to burn the wrapping, but works pretty good. As Masiakasaurus pointed out, if you melt the wrapping itself, it might get too hard and crack under the repeated stress of throwing. If you use the same color as the paracord, or something bright, like red, it gives it a real finished look.


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Title: Re: Lacrosse Mesh Sling Pockets
Post by alpine on Feb 24th, 2011 at 12:00am
I got to sling some rocks over the long weekend and noticed that the pocket needs to be broken in a bit at first, since it is still pretty stiff from the wax. Just like a lacrosse pocket, it needs time to soften up before it is really good. Some of the projectiles would slide out once in awhile before I got the sling moving fast enough to lock them in (probably more to do with my technique than the sling). The mesh needs to be soft to make a more cupped pocket. I thought about putting a rock in, then heating it up slightly to soften the wax to form a better pocket... or just keep throwing until it breaks in more.

Title: Re: Lacrosse Mesh Sling Pockets
Post by Rat Man on Feb 24th, 2011 at 7:10am
Hi, alpine;
  Welcome.  Those are some good looking slings.  I don't think that anyone has used Lacrosse stick material for sling pouches before.  Nice work.

Title: Re: Lacrosse Mesh Sling Pockets
Post by Bill Skinner on Feb 24th, 2011 at 12:26pm
Hello, that is a neat idea.  So, how do they work?  Bill

Title: Re: Lacrosse Mesh Sling Pockets
Post by Rockman on Feb 24th, 2011 at 5:29pm
This should be on the FAQ. A good design for people with few braiding skills.

Title: Re: Lacrosse Mesh Sling Pockets
Post by alpine on Feb 24th, 2011 at 11:59pm

Bill Skinner wrote on Feb 24th, 2011 at 12:26pm:
Hello, that is a neat idea. †So, how do they work? †Bill


Thanks. Well...I can throw pretty hard with them and hit targets once in awhile, so I guess ok. I'm still getting my technique down though, so it's hard to judge when the problem is with me or the sling.

With the first design where the mesh is horizontal, the sling is about 30". It is great for chucking tennis balls, so if you have a dog and a park, it would be good. However, I made the pocket too big so it slows down the throw on other projectiles. I haven't resized this one yet to try the horizontal mesh using real projectiles like rocks, etc. I will try to get this testing done and post the results.

With the second design where the mesh is vertical, the sling is about 32". I have tried rocks, chunks of concrete and golf balls, but nothing really heavy yet like lead. I think I could modify the shape of the pocket more and add some sidestrings to get the mesh pocket to cup more. When the sides of the pocket are not cupped, the projectiles tend to roll out the side once in awhile (probably more technique than anything). If the projectile stays put, I can throw pretty hard with this design.

I was also wondering if the paracord comes in a smaller diameter. I know there is some smaller diameter kernmantle rope at REI for climbing that would be thinner and maybe give less wind resistance?

In general, I have gotten the figure 8 throw down pretty good and am starting to get my timing down so I can throw with more of a baseball pitching motion and getting the legs involved more. Also, trying the sling technique as seen in the you tube video called "Slinging : 30 meters distance.Sling stone / HighQuality ". Don't know what you call that style, but it looks like a good way to throw pretty hard. I am mostly focused on technique and throwing hard for now and not worrying about accuracy as much. Also am starting to look for bigger and heavier stuff to throw. It's difficult though b/c I live in a condo, so practice space and ammo is an issue. That's where I am hoping some more experienced members can build, test and compare the material over time.

Title: Re: Lacrosse Mesh Sling Pockets
Post by Rat Man on Feb 25th, 2011 at 6:44am

Rockman wrote on Feb 24th, 2011 at 5:29pm:
This should be on the FAQ. A good design for people with few braiding skills.

Yes, I agree. It is done. Congrats, alpine.  You made Frequently Asked Questions and Tutorials with your 8th post!!

Title: Re: Lacrosse Mesh Sling Pockets
Post by Dan on Feb 25th, 2011 at 7:33pm
@Alpine If you get the off brand stuff it's a little more narrow ,try the camping section at wal mart or gander mountain.

Title: Re: Lacrosse Mesh Sling Pockets
Post by alpine on Feb 25th, 2011 at 8:53pm

Rat Man wrote on Feb 25th, 2011 at 6:44am:

Rockman wrote on Feb 24th, 2011 at 5:29pm:
This should be on the FAQ. A good design for people with few braiding skills.

Yes, I agree. It is done. Congrats, alpine. †You made Frequently Asked Questions and Tutorials with your 8th post!!

Well, heck, that is really cool, thank you. I'm glad I could bring something to the forum, since I have taken so much away from this site already. The real test is going to see how this stuff performs over time and with different designs. I suppose if you wear out a pocket though, it is not too hard to replace. Also, the breaking strength of a single mesh joint (where you connect the paracord to the mesh) is pretty high. I couldn't tear apart a single joint with my hands, so it should do ok there.

I am thinking about another design that folds the diamonds together at the ends, so the paracord goes thru two diamonds. This might help the pocket cup more and prevent the projectile slide-outs.

Title: Re: Lacrosse Mesh Sling Pockets
Post by Masiakasaurus on Feb 25th, 2011 at 8:59pm
One of my favorite slings is a wide, flat, stiff piece of leather that doesn't cup and it also doesn't have a problem with dropping golf balls (slipperiest devils on the planet) so cupping isn't the most important thing in the world. It just helps a little. ;)

Title: Re: Lacrosse Mesh Sling Pockets
Post by Rat Man on Feb 26th, 2011 at 12:43pm
I like a little cupping but too much can definitely work against you by causing the projectile to hang up. †Just enough is great though. I use a lot of cupping in making my pj and similar type slings, but I almost never sit the projectile inside.. it sits on top perpendicular to the pouch, so hanging up isn't a problem at all. †Only the smallest projectiles go inside. Though I don't make my pj type sling pouches like this anymore, below is an example of such cupping. †I now make such pouches without the big, ugly knot at each end.  I also like a small wooden bead before the release knot.
037Fx.jpg (99 KB | )

Title: Re: Lacrosse Mesh Sling Pockets
Post by alpine on Feb 26th, 2011 at 6:09pm

Rat Man wrote on Feb 26th, 2011 at 12:43pm:
I like a little cupping but too much...


Real Nice Sling and thanks for the advice on the cupping. I built one of the PJ type slings per the instructions as my first sling. It's a great tutorial and had me out and slinging in no time. Even with a loosely woven pocket, it works great and holds the projectile in well. I got some advice on how to tighten up the pocket from Masiakasaurus and just need to find the time to sit down and get that done.†I am on the lookout for an end knot bead to try one of those out next.

I think the mesh will not get too much of a pocket, as it will only stretch to a point, depending on the size of the pocket. I know the mesh gets better and softer as it breaks in, so I am thinking of ways to get that done faster. I might just throw a small piece in with the wash sometime, which should do the trick.

I might be spending some time in the LA area once in awhile and found out that the beach at Topanga State Park is pretty rocky. Might have to stop by there sometime and work on my technique. Good thing is that any rock you throw out into the ocean will eventually find its way back to the shore, isn't that like recycling?


Title: Re: Lacrosse Mesh Sling Pockets
Post by alpine on Feb 26th, 2011 at 8:13pm
Well I found a great place to sling today. It is an old construction road a short walk away, had a giant puddle of water in the middle and an orange survey stake right in the middle. Perfect target for distance practice and I could actually see the hits b/c of the splash. I paced off 80, 100 and 120 paces from the stake and started testing my mesh and pj type slings. (I am 6'2" for reference.) The results were very interesting and not what I expected at all.

I first tried my vertically oriented mesh sling. It threw perfectly fine, but I was losing projectiles once in awhile out the side. It can only hold up to golf ball sized rocks, so I didn't feel like I was getting a good hard throw. Throws were about 80 paces but I knew I could do better with bigger, heavier rocks. Good sling, though I might tweak the design by increasing the size of the pocket to accomodate larger rocks.

Then I tried my pj type paracord only sling. Same experience, I could throw well, but could only hold projectiles up to a golf ball size and had a few slip out. Not bad at all. Good sling, but for me, at this point in my experience, needs a bigger pocket for larger rocks.

Then I switched to my horizontally oriented mesh sling and it changed everything. I started throwing asphalt chunks and rocks from golf ball size up to racketball size. I estimate some of them to be more than a half pound. That sling will hold whatever you put in it and nothing slipped out. With that confidence, my throws got really long at that point and my best throws were about 120 paces or more with a good trajectory. With the resistance of the larger rocks, my timing improved and I could really get my body and legs behind the throw. The mesh expands to a point, but it actually seems to 'set' the projectile into the pocket during the wind up. Once it is up to speed, it is fully stretched out and performs well. I could actually start to guide my throws where I wanted them and started throwing really straight. It even seemed easy.

I noticed that sometimes I was stepping to the side and out from under the figure 8 throw, if that makes sense. It caused me to lose power and my throws went off to the left (I am left handed). Once I staightened it up a bit more, I could really throw straight and far. Nice and relaxed like a golf swing, straight arm to the rear on the wind up and I was really getting the hang of a hard throw without putting too much strength into it. Just like someone else on the forum mentioned, a nice relaxed throw and good form gave me the best results. Seeing the rocks splash made it that much more fun! I learned a lot. I had to re-tie the knots once to re-connect the paracord to the mesh as they tended to loosen up, so I think I will go to a wrapped connection, instead of using knots on this sling. I think a release bead would help too. By far, this was the sling that worked the best for me and the pocket turned out to not be too big at all.

I used to pitch way back when and there is no way I could have thrown so many rocks by hand without throwing my arm out. With the sling all I did was get tired, but my arm feels fine. Just for fun I threw a rock with my hand out of a baseball windup. Seemed really pathetic in comparison to the sling...

Title: Re: Lacrosse Mesh Sling Pockets
Post by Rat Man on Feb 26th, 2011 at 8:39pm
Any craft store like Michael's will have the proper size wooden beads.  I got my last batch at Walmart.  

Title: Re: Lacrosse Mesh Sling Pockets
Post by alpine on Mar 2nd, 2011 at 2:12am
Cool, thanks for the tip. I am in the process of building my next sling design and it will definitely have a bead. I was also wondering if a "T" piece, held between the fingers, instead of a slip knot would distribute the pressure a little better on the other side. I have seen some other slings that have this and figure I'll give it a try.

So far the mesh is holding up Ok, but I haven't had a chance to sling as much this week as I did over the weekend.


Title: Re: Lacrosse Mesh Sling Pockets
Post by alpine on Mar 6th, 2011 at 7:14pm
Here's aother design with three strands of braided paracord.
braid1.JPG (32 KB | )

Title: Re: Lacrosse Mesh Sling Pockets
Post by alpine on Mar 6th, 2011 at 7:16pm
Another pic of the same sling. I like the heavier weight with the braid. The end knot is nice and big and the loop end is for two fingers, to spread out the weight of the projectile over more than one finger.

This one is my best and longest sling design yet. This one really throws far. It is about 36" or so and with the braiding, it gives it a good weight. I think this extra weight helps to control the smaller projectiles a little better than a one strand design, for me. I used three pieces of continuous paracord pieces of the same length, slid on the mesh pocket and braided the ends. This makes it so no knots are needed to tie the mesh pocket to the paracord. One end has a big knot and the other has a loop that goes around two fingers (ring and middle) to help distribute the weight of the throw across two fingers. It seems more comfortable to me.

My good fig 8 throws are still averaging about 100 to 120 paces and I can throw that far most of the time. However, out of all the throws today, I only had a handful that really cracked. I read one bit of advice to drop the offside shoulder when finishing up the throw and worked on this. It really added some power and now I 'get it', but can't do it very often. When I got the timing and form right, the projectile took off like a rocket, a lot faster than my usual throws and the end of my sling cracked. So, that will be the next step, to get this power on every throw, then work on accuracy. I have a feeling once I get this figured out, I will be throwing a lot farther.

This new sling is working great.
braid3.JPG (28 KB | )

Title: Re: Lacrosse Mesh Sling Pockets
Post by alpine on Mar 30th, 2011 at 2:30am
Has anyone tried making a sling with this material?

Title: Re: Lacrosse Mesh Sling Pockets
Post by Rat Man on Mar 30th, 2011 at 6:23am
Very nice, sir.  I haven't tried it yet only because I haven't come across any such material.  We often sling at night on the empty fields behind the local high school.  It's only a matter of time before I find an old, discarded lacrosse stick back there.  I'm looking very forward to having some lacrosse slings.

Title: Re: Lacrosse Mesh Sling Pockets
Post by alpine on Mar 30th, 2011 at 10:46pm

Rat Man wrote on Mar 30th, 2011 at 6:23am:
It's only a matter of time before I find an old, discarded lacrosse stick back there. †I'm looking very forward to having some lacrosse slings.


Ah, smart strategy. You can get the mesh online (new) for about ten bucks, but the mesh from an old stick would be a lot better since it's already nice and broken in. My old sticks are nice and pliable, mostly from the wax wearing off over time and with a nice healthy dose of dirt and grass to soften up the pocket. Problem is, that's when they get good and you don't want to give them up. Often, a good mesh pocket will last for years. When you break a stick head you just transfer the pocket over to the new head. Anyway, I digress. Maybe the coach has some old material.

Title: Re: Lacrosse Mesh Sling Pockets
Post by alpine on Jul 2nd, 2011 at 3:18pm
Going on 6 months since I tried this material. So far the lax mesh is holding up well. I found a couple more places to sling and find decent sized rocks. The biggest problem I have had is keeping the knots tied in the paracord from loosening. I might try some superglue on them, see if that helps. Other than that, the sling has held up well. Still on the lookout for a cool skull head release bead too.

Title: Re: Lacrosse Mesh Sling Pockets
Post by Morphy on Jul 2nd, 2011 at 3:49pm
Super glue is good although if you use too much it can make the knot brittle and prone to cracking. Even if using the right amount, it is brittle stuff and over time can crack. FWIW, another way to go about it would be needle and thread. Wet the part to be knotted thoroughly and then tie the knot. The moisture will allow the knot to be pulled much tighter on most cordage.  Then let dry and pass the needle through all the parts of the knot 15-20 times and then put the very tip of the superglue applicator in the very center of the knot and put one drop in there. It will last the life of the sling.




The knot at the end of the release cord is done this way.

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