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Old Apr 05, 2012, 08:50 PM
Registered User
United States, OR, Corvallis
Joined Jan 2010
936 Posts
Yippee!
Scratch built Launch pad and controls...

After a 25+/- year hiatus from model rockets, I got the bug again in the middle of building an RC Sail plane.

I made this whole scheme with the idea of riding my bike with everything in and on a backpack to go fly rockets(I build all my gliders the same way).

It's a Starlight Rockets brand model "F-32 Avenger"(or something like that) which I chose at the local Hobby Shop since I wanted to build from an American made company. I never had heard of them before and since they seemed like a small cottage industry sorta outfit (kinda like another outfit that started in Penrose, Colorado in "my part of the country" many years prior to offshoring to China, Estes that is, not me).

I modified the motor mount from standard A,B,C size to mini-T size motors since I have mostly small places to fly. I also took a few liberties with putting airfoils in the fins and other things.

The launch control was made from switches and stereo speaker cable laying around in my junk drawer, the housing is from an old empty denatured alcahol can cut, folded, and soldered together with additional yellow electrical tape. It will use the power source mentioned below and it's car battery capable as well.

The power source is 8 rechargable "D" batteries I had laying around and housed in a plastic peanut butter jar with 2, 4-cell holders inside.

The Launch Pad is all made from scrap wood laying around. The circular piece is dense hickory with a nice 2-tone heartwood/sapwood combination, the bases for the legs are red-oak, and the legs are spruce or hemlock. I used thumbscrews and wingnuts for the legs and there is a piece of bicycle innertube between the base and leg of each leg for better friction locking when the thumbscrew/wingnuts are tightened down. The piece holding the launch rod is a straight stempiece of Madrone. If you look closely, there are 2 tiny 1/16" holes that are vacuum breaks so that the rod can be more easily removed. The launch rod is a 2-piece Estes rod that I filed, emeryclothed and oiled the roll-pin connector until it has a good firm connection but comes apart without too much difficulty. The blast deflector is from a scrap of hardi-plank siding(concrete with wood fiber mixed in). The finish is 2 coats of shellac, even on the blast deflector to stop dust since hardiplank cut edges are a dusty mess that never quite stop leaving dust on things if not sealed with something.

Now I'm just waiting for the right weather and the time to go launch!

Adios - Paul
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Last edited by Pauliwog; Apr 05, 2012 at 09:16 PM.
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Old Apr 06, 2012, 10:09 AM
Registered User
St Catharines Canada
Joined May 2002
902 Posts
Very nice work Paul. I use to do similar but with a fishing pole and tackle box. Called it scooter fishing [500cc twin] I do like the idea of the central post holding the rod. Seems that it would be better than clothes pegs to support the models.

Richard
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Old Apr 13, 2012, 09:36 PM
Registered User
United States, OR, Corvallis
Joined Jan 2010
936 Posts
More launchpad and launching sorta stuff...

Richard, Thanks for the compliments. Actually the stem of madrone sits beneath the hardiplank blast deflector so when I launch either I just let the angled blast deflector be the rest for the rocket or I put a small detachable piece of C-beam plastic under the rocket and against the launch rod. Both work pretty well. The oversized hardiplank blast deflector has worked out well to protect all that nice shellac finished wood.

I've now launched 4 times with perfect flights so everything has worked great. I'm pretty stoked about making almost all of the launch pad and launch controller out of things laying around.

Adios - Paul
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