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Zippers are a great way to attach different pieces of garments, bags, and sculptures. Zippers allow for a fast, secure, and repeatable attachment point that is somewhat flexible. Zippers are not limited to fabrics. A zipper can be attached to a portion of fabric and then attached to a solid object. Zippers allow large fabric sculptures to be broken down into smaller pieces for transport and then easy reassembly at the installation site.
Types of Zippers
Zippers are usually made of metal or plastic and come in two main types, hard interlocking teeth and soft interlocking coils. Some zippers separate at one end, such as those in a jacket or modular sculpture.
Common metals used in zippers are aluminum, brass, and steel. The metal can have different surface finishes such as antique brass, nickel plated, chrome, black oxide, gunmetal, and painted. Metal zippers are always made with interlocking teeth and not coils. Metal zippers are not as strong as nylon coil zippers but can and visual interest to a piece.
Plastic zippers can either have moulded plastic teeth or a continuous coil as the joining mechanism. Moulded plastic teeth zippers are similar to metal teeth zippers. Both are difficult to impossible to repair if one of the teeth breaks.
Plastic coil zippers are very strong and resilient to minor damage and are usually made of nylon. Coil zippers are often seen on luggage, automobile covers, sports equipment bags and other items that need strength. If the spacing of the coils gets messed up, often just running the zipper pull up and down the length of the zipper will realign the coils. Coil zippers are good for going around curved surfaces.