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  1. #1
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    body tube materials

    could I use mailing tubes like the ones on the following link as body tubes? what is the BT# inch equivalents? I have watched a lot of videos on youtube on building your own rockets and wanted more input please. thanks in advance


  2. #2
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    13th October 2014
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    You can use mailing tubes however, they are heavier wall than rocketry standard LOC airframes. iirc a 4" mailing tube will work with LOC 4"couplers and nosecones but there is a lip where the cone meets the airframe. 3" mailing tubes are similar to 4" in compatabilty with LOC parts iirc. Honestly the LOC airframes are only slightly more expensive than mailing tubes, weigh less, and are designed to work with standard rocketry components. The additional cost is offset by the capability to build lighter and use less expensive motors in larger rockets.

    Rich

    NAR# 99154

    L3-4x upscale Estes Cherokee-D- AT M1297W 5/28/2016 http://www.rocketryforum.com/showthr...r-rharshberger

    TriCities Rocketeers NAR section# 736 http://www.tricitiesrocketeers.org/

  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by rharshberger View Post
    You can use mailing tubes however, they are heavier wall than rocketry standard LOC airframes. iirc a 4" mailing tube will work with LOC 4"couplers and nosecones but there is a lip where the cone meets the airframe. 3" mailing tubes are similar to 4" in compatabilty with LOC parts iirc. Honestly the LOC airframes are only slightly more expensive than mailing tubes, weigh less, and are designed to work with standard rocketry components. The additional cost is offset by the capability to build lighter and use less expensive motors in larger rockets.
    Thanks for the info. Could I possibly roll my own tubes? what would be the best stuff to use for that?

  4. #4
    Join Date
    18th January 2009
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    Atlanta, GA
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    Depends on what size tube you want to make, and what it will be used for.

    If larger than a couple of inches, and for high power applications, a commercial tube is still your best bet. Or you can make large tubes from fiberglass, wrapping around a form such as another cheaper paper tube, that you remove after curing. Small specialized body tubes for small ultralight competition rockets can be made of light fiberglass wrapped around a metal mandrel. The time honored way of doing cheap model rocket tubes is by using kraft paper strips and thinned white glue wrapped around a wax paper covered mandrel. Or soak some 1/32" balsa and wrap around a mandrel, let it dry, coat with glue or sealer before removing the mandrel.

    You'll realize that commercial body tubes are, in fact, very economical!
    Roy Green
    nar12605 L2
    Southern Area Rocketry

  5. #5
    Join Date
    31st October 2016
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    118
    Quote Originally Posted by McKinleyw View Post
    could I use mailing tubes like the ones on the following link as body tubes? what is the BT# inch equivalents? I have watched a lot of videos on youtube on building your own rockets and wanted more input please. thanks in advance
    Yeah. Don't spend too much time looking at YouTube.

    Looking at your other posts, looks like you aren't thinking about HPR just yet?

    It is time consuming, and probably not a whole lot cheaper than ordering tube stock from Aerospace Specialty, Apogee Components, Balsa Machining Services, (going alphabetically... there are other suppliers) but its not too hard to roll your own small caliber tubes and couplers.

    http://www.jamesyawn.net/modelrocket...bes/index.html

    As noted above, the tricky part for non-standard body tubes is getting a nosecone to fit.

    True cones are pretty easy to fabricate.

    You can make secant nosecones out of plastic easter egg or a plastic wine glass...

    http://modelrocketbuilding.blogspot....ose-cones.html

    ... anything that that has a circular cross-section and a base diameter larger than the body-tube that you are trying to fit (and that can be cut down to fit). Unless you get very lucky, it will be hard to get a tangent cone from something like this (I write as someone who went through four boxes of "jumbo" ping pong balls before I found one that worked as a BT60 nosecone)

    If you are handy and interested in paper craft, here are two techniques for ogive nose-cones that could be made to match the diameter of whatever tube it is you have lying around

    https://www.apogeerockets.com/educat...sletter409.pdf

    There is an online tool that will get you out from under all the spreadsheeting at the end of that article

    http://www.delorie.com/rockets/transitions.html
    Last edited by jlabrasca; 13th December 2017 at 07:40 PM. Reason: cut-and-paste error
    NAR Level 1, Sheridan Oregon, 09/16/17 -- scratch built 7.6cm x 120cm rocket on an AT H182R.

  6. #6
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    11th December 2017
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    myakka city, FL
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    Thanks guys. Awesome information. HPR is something im interested in, but not enough space for safe recovery. I will be sticking to the commercial parts for a while. If there is anyone around my area that would be kind enough to show me some tips and tricks and launch some rockets with us please hit me up. I am located in the manatee/Sarasota county florida area.

  7. #7
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    5th December 2013
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    Quote Originally Posted by McKinleyw View Post
    Thanks guys. Awesome information. HPR is something im interested in, but not enough space for safe recovery. I will be sticking to the commercial parts for a while. If there is anyone around my area that would be kind enough to show me some tips and tricks and launch some rockets with us please hit me up. I am located in the manatee/Sarasota county florida area.
    If you do get into HPR, don't forget that you will need an FAA waiver to be legal.

    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
    31st October 2016
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    118
    Quote Originally Posted by McKinleyw View Post
    I am located in the manatee/Sarasota county florida area.
    Reading what you've posted about your property, you are well set up to launch LPR on your own.

    Launching with a club is more fun. You get to see what other folks have built, and get advice and encouragement in person. Lots of clubs hold open-to-public launches on some kind of schedule -- so you won't have to join to send your rockets up from the club's launch equipment.

    https://www.rocketreviews.com/search-clubs-5623.html

    http://www.nar.org/find-a-local-club/nar-club-locator/

    Edit: I don't think anybody answered this question?

    Quote Originally Posted by McKinleyw View Post
    what is the BT# inch equivalents?
    Look here

    http://www.erockets.biz/body-tube-sizes/
    NAR Level 1, Sheridan Oregon, 09/16/17 -- scratch built 7.6cm x 120cm rocket on an AT H182R.

  9. #9
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    22nd January 2009
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    While I agree 100% with the answers offered here so far I think there is something to be said for using "found" materials to construct some simple low power rockets. A recent book in the Maker vein might be a good source of ideas and techniques. It's been out for a few years and you might be able to find one at the library.

    https://www.amazon.com/Make-Rockets-.../dp/1457182920

  10. #10
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    18th January 2009
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    Maryland
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    I will just say the I like mailing tubes. I like the ones from the container store that have full-length telescoping tubes.

    Sent from my SAMSUNG-SGH-I337 using Rocketry Forum mobile app
    Dick Stafford
    The member formerly known as the Pointy-Haired Moderator.
    The Original Rocket Dungeon
    Volunteer compiler of product news for ROCKETS Magazine

  11. #11
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    11th December 2017
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    myakka city, FL
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    Lots of great info thanks guys.

  12. #12
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    Don't do mailing tubes unless you really like making nosecones.

  13. #13
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    My 3.1" Optima upscale that I flew for my L1 was made with mailing tubes. And I did make my own nose cone for it. Overall a fun process where I learned a lot. Nearly 2 years ago now, wow. The first tubes I used were a hair thicker wall than LOC tubes but same ID, the mailing tubes I used on the rebuild were the exact same ID/OD and weight as an LOC 3" tube, but not near the strength. After several flights I'm getting those spiral wrinkles from too much flex.

    If you're curious, here's the thread(now "photobucket ransom" fixed):
    http://www.rocketryforum.com/showthr...3-quot-upscale

    Note: Don't use elastic on a 2.5 lb rocket. I got one good use out of it before I had no choice to switch to nylon & kevlar.
    NAR L1 - Optima 3" upscale/CTI H133 @ NYPower 20, May 28, 2016
    My YouTube channel

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by Cabernut View Post
    My 3.1" Optima upscale that I flew for my L1 was made with mailing tubes. And I did make my own nose cone for it. Overall a fun process where I learned a lot. Nearly 2 years ago now, wow. The first tubes I used were a hair thicker wall than LOC tubes but same ID, the mailing tubes I used on the rebuild were the exact same ID/OD and weight as an LOC 3" tube, but not near the strength. After several flights I'm getting those spiral wrinkles from too much flex.

    If you're curious, here's the thread(now "photobucket ransom" fixed):
    http://www.rocketryforum.com/showthr...3-quot-upscale

    Note: Don't use elastic on a 2.5 lb rocket. I got one good use out of it before I had no choice to switch to nylon & kevlar.
    thank you

  15. #15
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    18th January 2009
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    Maryland
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    Quote Originally Posted by dhbarr View Post
    Don't do mailing tubes unless you really like making nosecones.
    You can use standard cones, I do it often. There is a slight lip at the transition. I usually use them for oddrocs, rockets made from found materials, etc. so that doesn't matter. If you want a really nice clone, are investing a lot of $$, etc then I agree to bite the bullet and use real rocket tubes.

    And, hey, everyone should make cones!
    Dick Stafford
    The member formerly known as the Pointy-Haired Moderator.
    The Original Rocket Dungeon
    Volunteer compiler of product news for ROCKETS Magazine

  16. #16
    Join Date
    4th October 2014
    Posts
    751
    I have made a few LPR, 13, 18, 24 mm engine mount A through D powered rockets out of the paper recycling bin, especially this time of year with wrapping paper tubes, Even have used paper towel rolls and toilet paper rolls. Card stock paper 110# and cereal box cardboard can be used for centering rings layered up to similar thickness as the fiberboard parts supplied in kits. I really recommend building a few kits to use as a starting point before building your own designs, or look up the plans and parts to copy a proven design that you know will be stable and fly safely. Once you are familiar with the basic construction techniques in proven kit designs, and can reproduce those parts from common paper packaging materials, then you look at the recycle bin in a whole new light, it is filled with potential rockets. Brown paper packages tied up with string can be recycled into a new favorite model rocket! And, you can make your own parachutes and streamers from the plastic bags in there too.

    Click image for larger version. 

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    http://modelrocketbuilding.blogspot....uild-part.html

  17. #17
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    thinking INSIDE the box, body tubes don't have to be round.
    You can fold square or triangular (or other shapes) tubes that will also work. You will need to create your own centering "squares" or "triangles" easily for LPR motor mounts with foam board (get a cheap 18 mm drill hole saw, after the cut in foam slips a 20 mm tube in easily with a bit of sanding. Don't get a 20 mm, the hole will be too big. Go with a 22 mm for a 24 mm engine mount tube.)

    Biggest advantage is you can "fold your own" nose cones.....er.... pyramids, at whatever size you want, out of cardstock or posterboard.
    It is amazing what you can do when you don't have a choice.

    Smart people learn from their mistakes.
    REALLY SMART PEOPLE learn from OTHERS' mistakes.

  18. #18
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  19. #19
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    Many aluminum foil core tubes fit standard 29mm stuff with little to no adjustment... Hmmm...

    Sent from my LGL44VL using Tapatalk
    NAR #104043

    crmrc.org

  20. #20
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    Lots of really good points lol

  21. #21
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    It probably doesn't matter much for LPR, but when you start into MPR or HPR, mailing tubes are not created as dense as rocket designed tubes like the LOC tubing. They are substantially weaker as a result.

    Handeman

    TRA #09903 L3 3/29/2015

    "If you don't use your head, you have to use your feet!" my Dad

    Tripoli Central Virginia #25 - BattlePark.org

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