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  1. #1
    Join Date
    15th October 2011
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    Oregon
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    364

    Need ideas/plans for a low power launch rack

    Hi folks,

    I am the rocket launch coordinator for our local Cub Scout pack, and run the pack launch each year.

    Since I took over, I have migrated our setup away from a bunch of un-coordinated Estes launch pads and started running launches using the GSE from my local club. This works great, so long as I stick around to borrow the equipment each year. But, as all parents know, those darn kids keep growing up, so eventually, I won't be around to support the launches in that fashion.

    So I am looking for ideas and plans to build a 6-8 rod launch pad. Ideally, it should use inexpensive and readily available materials, be easy to assemble, disassemble, and repair as necessary, and it would be great if it were an appropriate complexity for older cub scouts (Webelos level) to build as a den project.

    I am not looking for launch controllers at this point. Just the pads.

    So what designs can you suggest?

    Thanks!


  2. #2
    Join Date
    4th October 2014
    Posts
    540
    http://www.rocketryforum.com/showthr...45#post1642945

    A five rail launcher was about the right size for our small pack, and we decorated it with cub scout hiking stick medallions of each rank badge, available at ScoutShop. Webelos can load their rockets on it, but Tigers are not quite tall enough to reach the top of the rods.

    Here is the plan for a ten rail launcher that was my inspiration.
    http://makezine.com/projects/10-rail...mega-launcher/

    Last edited by GlenP; 5th January 2017 at 07:34 AM.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    15th October 2011
    Location
    Oregon
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    364
    Quote Originally Posted by GlenP View Post
    http://www.rocketryforum.com/showthr...45#post1642945

    A five rail launcher was about the right size for our small pack, and we decorated it with cub scout hiking stick medallions of each rank badge, available at ScoutShop. Webelos can load their rockets on it, but Tigers are not quite tall enough to reach the top of the rods.

    Here is the plan for a ten rail launcher that was my inspiration.
    http://makezine.com/projects/10-rail...mega-launcher/
    Thanks, I saw the one in Makezine, but didn't get past the controller construction before I moved on. I'm interested in setting up something with two-axis adjustment capability so that we can keep the launch platform facing the scouts no matter which direction the wind attacks us from. I do like the simplicity of the setup, however.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    15th October 2016
    Location
    Huntsville AL
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    681
    HARA uses a few of those lightweight folding sawhorses for lo-power. 4 small cheap drill chucks mount in holes in the top and allow quick rod size changes.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    19th February 2009
    Location
    Auburn, WA USA
    Posts
    1,805
    There is a clever adjustable angle pivot which can work in two axes in this design: http://archive.rocketreviews.com/rev...eapo_pad.shtml

    You do need a 10-32 tap and drill to make the rod holder in this design - that's the only slightly specialized tool required.

    At least one club I've flown with has a sawhorse-based rack with these eyebolt-based rod holder/pivots and I've recently built (but not yet put into use) some single pads using this basic design. I've also been thinking about making something using multiples of these to replace our club's aging 5-pad rack.
    Last edited by BEC; 5th January 2017 at 08:21 PM.
    Bernard Cawley
    NAR 89040 L1
    AMA 42160
    KG7AIE

  6. #6
    Join Date
    5th December 2013
    Location
    MD
    Posts
    5,500
    Two sawhorses, an 8' 2x4 cut in half, eight steel (or even aluminum) rods, eight small terra cotta flower pots for blast guards. Then you'll need something to clamp the rods that screws into the 2x4.
    John S. ---- NAR #96911 ---- TRA #15253 ---- MDRA #067 ---- BARC #028
    L1, 3/15/14: Aerotech Sumo, CTI H133BS
    L2, 6/21/14: Giant Leap Vertical Assault, CTI J240RL
    L3, 3/12/16: MAC Performance Radial Flyer, CTI M1101WH
    Altitude: 13,028', L3 flight; Speed: Mach ???, L3 flight

  7. #7
    Join Date
    5th December 2013
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    MD
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    Quote Originally Posted by GlenP View Post
    http://www.rocketryforum.com/showthr...45#post1642945

    A five rail launcher was about the right size for our small pack, and we decorated it with cub scout hiking stick medallions of each rank badge, available at ScoutShop. Webelos can load their rockets on it, but Tigers are not quite tall enough to reach the top of the rods.

    Here is the plan for a ten rail launcher that was my inspiration.
    http://makezine.com/projects/10-rail...mega-launcher/
    Nice to see those kids following the safety code and staying fifteen feet away from the launch pad.
    John S. ---- NAR #96911 ---- TRA #15253 ---- MDRA #067 ---- BARC #028
    L1, 3/15/14: Aerotech Sumo, CTI H133BS
    L2, 6/21/14: Giant Leap Vertical Assault, CTI J240RL
    L3, 3/12/16: MAC Performance Radial Flyer, CTI M1101WH
    Altitude: 13,028', L3 flight; Speed: Mach ???, L3 flight

  8. #8
    Join Date
    20th January 2009
    Posts
    356
    +1 on folding sawhorses.

    I would mount each rod with a 'poolball sandwich'. See attached image.Click image for larger version. 

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    This is not my photo. I'm attaching, as i could not find a way to link direct to the image.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    7th February 2009
    Location
    Arlington, TX
    Posts
    1,173
    The DARS standard model rail is based on a 2X4 and folding sawhorse legs. A 1/4' threaded rod coupler nut is recessed in the top for the heads which can be as simple or as complicated as you like. Internal wiring includes a per pad continuity check. The current design uses a single piece of aluminum angle across the bottom rather than the recessed cups.

    A set of two is stored in a bag for easy carrying/storage.

    This old photo shows one with the PVC rod storage tube resting between the legs: http://www.dars.org/gallery/dads2005/p6180696.htm

  10. #10
    Join Date
    12th December 2012
    Location
    Edison, NJ
    Posts
    452
    This is what we use at RadRocks


    Click image for larger version. 

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    "Pointy end UP"
    L1 Madcow sea wolf
    L2 GLR Talon 3
    info@radrocketeers.org

  11. #11
    Join Date
    26th June 2016
    Location
    Mobile, AL, USA
    Posts
    844
    Quote Originally Posted by bguffer View Post
    +1 on folding sawhorses.

    I would mount each rod with a 'poolball sandwich'. See attached image.Click image for larger version. 

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    This is not my photo. I'm attaching, as i could not find a way to link direct to the image.
    THAT is a cool idea!
    NAR # 37682

    All the weird kids are doing it!

    If at first you don't succeed... You're about average.

  12. #12
    Join Date
    18th January 2009
    Location
    Orlando, Florida
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    2,020
    Quote Originally Posted by bguffer View Post
    +1 on folding sawhorses.
    I would mount each rod with a 'poolball sandwich'. See attached image.Click image for larger version. 

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    This is not my photo. I'm attaching, as i could not find a way to link direct to the image.
    I think that might be a picture I took from the Orlando ROCK launches. Launchers were made by Tom Dennon.
    The billiard ball swivel is a great idea and works very well. It doesn't take much to tighten the top plate down over the ball.
    Sometimes younger flyers like to tighten down the wing nut too many turns. You don't feel much resistance or an end stop.
    Hans "Chris" Michielssen
    Old/New NAR # 19086 SR

    www.oddlrockets.com
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    Your results may vary
    "Nose cones roll, be careful with that."
    Every spaceman needs a ray gun.
    Look out - I'm the Meister Shyster!

  13. #13
    Join Date
    26th June 2016
    Location
    Mobile, AL, USA
    Posts
    844
    Of course an end stop could be added simply by adding a sheath to the threaded bolt, limiting the travel of the top plate under the wing nut.
    NAR # 37682

    All the weird kids are doing it!

    If at first you don't succeed... You're about average.

  14. #14
    Join Date
    17th February 2014
    Posts
    412
    Our local LPR club used to use saw horses. They worked okay, but there's a pause in the action while 5 kids at a time load-up. They recently changed the set-up to steel fence posts with keyless drill chucks attached to the top. https://www.zoro.com/value-brand-fen...Q&gclsrc=aw.ds They typically set-up 6 of these pads in a semi-circle with the launch table at the center of the radius. Each pad has an orange cone with the pad number on it.

    For set-up they just pound the stake into the ground with a small sledge, install the rod and blast deflector. Each pad is far enough from the others that any pad can be loaded while the others are launching. When we have big scout groups, someone will roam the pads to help the kids load up and hook-up their rockets and keep them from wandering into the safety zone of a pad that's launching (if they do, they just hold that launch until it's clear). They can run a line of scouts through in no time. It's pretty impressive to watch. It's like alternating catapults on a carrier so they can launch an aircraft every 45 seconds. Except in this case it's 6 pads.
    NAR
    L1: 2/2/13, Madcow 4" Patriot. CTI H143
    L2: 9/2/14, Madcow 4" AGM33 Pike. CTI J335. 2,878 ft, 418 mph
    L3: 1/7/17, Wildman Drago XL. AT M1500. 13,559 ft, 1,017 mph, Mach 1.2

  15. #15
    Join Date
    15th October 2011
    Location
    Oregon
    Posts
    364
    Lots of good ideas here, thank you everyone!

    -e

  16. #16
    Join Date
    27th October 2009
    Location
    Brigham City, UT
    Posts
    1,867
    Some more ideas:

    http://www.rocketryforum.com/showthr...ht=launch+rack


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