A question about 38mm Hardware

The Rocketry Forum

Help Support The Rocketry Forum:

This site may earn a commission from merchant affiliate links, including eBay, Amazon, and others.

Tobor

Get your peanuts....
TRF Supporter
Joined
Oct 8, 2016
Messages
2,871
Reaction score
1,253
I recently purchased my first 38mm kit, Wildman's Darkstar Jr., during the WM Black Saturday sale. With this purchase I now have to answer the problem of which brand of hardware to use for this awesome bird. To date the only composite motor hardware I've have used is AT's 29/40-120, which I think works really well and is not difficult to assemble.

The big gotcha that I see with using AT's 38mm hardware are the Haz-Mat fees associated with 38mm reloads. Secondly, some AT reloads seem to be hard to come by as evidenced by the many "Out of Stock" notes on most vendor's sites.

So my questions are, in regards to price/performance...

A. Is Loki a viable alternative?

B. What other vendors exist that are competitive to CTI, Loki or AT?

Note that I am not a big fan of CTI, though I have no personal experience with their products. My disfavor is mostly do to the seemingly high number of CTI CATO's I have seen posted on the Net. I do realize this may be due to higher popularity of CTI hardware, but for now I will shy away from them. Sorry if this offends anyone.

Thx in advance,
Tobor
 
I like Aerotech hardware and use it for the most part. I do have a Loki 38/480 case that I have flown several times and works well, I just find the snap ring hardware less enjoyable to assemble. I have yet to use CTI, although I did pick up a cheap used one grain 38mm case that I plan to use next season.

I buy reloads at launches or through group orders with my club, so the hazmat fees aren't an issue for me.


Sent from my iPhone using Rocketry Forum
 
Those are the three remaining high power manufacturers unless you're suddenly interested in hybrids. Get the Loki, you won't regret it.

Just my personal opinion, of course.
 
AT, CTI, and Loki are the big three in our hobby.
CTIs popularity is based on ease of assembly (54mm and smaller) and diversity of propellants, and cheaper hardware ( again up to 54mm) all CTI motors are HAZMAT due to either the ignition pellet or prope
llant weights.

AT has more expensive hardware, but they aslo have quite a few Non-Hazmat loads in 24,29 and a few 38mm loads (iirc). AT also has a fairly large selection of motors and propellants.
Loki doesn't offer any motor smaller than 38mm however Scott does have motors up to I impulse that are non-haz. Loki motors are also fairly simple to assemble and there are some high performance offerings, and some really cool sparkies.

Find out what your local clubs vendor sells, then you have a steady local supply and can mitigate the hazmat fees.
 
Last edited:
Loki is entirely viable, and has many loads with no hazmat

CTI catos recently are due to a well known manufacturing error. CTI did a good job trying to let people know about it. And replace parts to fix the issue. People obviously just kept flying them. They also use a plastic rear closure I’m not a big fan of. If you build it right no problem. If you crossthread it, fire. Lots of fire. In bad places. People have flown thousands and thousands of them without incident. Slightly hard to get a hold of now, CTI production is still recovering from the fire from what I understand.


i really like my loki cases
 
Loki is entirely viable, and has many loads with no hazmat

CTI catos recently are due to a well known manufacturing error. CTI did a good job trying to let people know about it. And replace parts to fix the issue. People obviously just kept flying them. They also use a plastic rear closure I’m not a big fan of. If you build it right no problem. If you crossthread it, fire. Lots of fire. In bad places. People have flown thousands and thousands of them without incident. Slightly hard to get a hold of now, CTI production is still recovering from the fire from what I understand.


i really like my loki cases
CTI afaik only uses the plastic rear closure on the 38mm the 24, 29, 54 all use metal iirc.
 
I recently purchased my first 38mm kit, Wildman's Darkstar Jr., during the WM Black Saturday sale. With this purchase I now have to answer the problem of which brand of hardware to use for this awesome bird. To date the only composite motor hardware I've have used is AT's 29/40-120, which I think works really well and is not difficult to assemble.

The big gotcha that I see with using AT's 38mm hardware are the Haz-Mat fees associated with 38mm reloads. Secondly, some AT reloads seem to be hard to come by as evidenced by the many "Out of Stock" notes on most vendor's sites.

So my questions are, in regards to price/performance...

A. Is Loki a viable alternative?

B. What other vendors exist that are competitive to CTI, Loki or AT?

Note that I am not a big fan of CTI, though I have no personal experience with their products. My disfavor is mostly do to the seemingly high number of CTI CATO's I have seen posted on the Net. I do realize this may be due to higher popularity of CTI hardware, but for now I will shy away from them. Sorry if this offends anyone.

Thx in advance,
Tobor

If you have a vendor who attends your launches than that should help you make your motor choice. Loki has a number of 38mm non haz mat reloads. All motor brands have had their problems over the years. I have flew at least 100 CTI 38mm reloads with maybe 3 problems. One for sure was my fault. With Aerotech having the DMS line that may be a route for you to go.
 
There are a couple of 38mm non-Haz loads. The H180 is a great little L1 motor. One of my new go-to loads.
 
I fly both AeroTech reloadable (24, 29, and 38mm) and Loki Research 38mm motors and have great confidence in both firms. Loki's 38mm/240 kits in all propellant blends all ship without a HAZMAT fee, while AeroTech's 38mm L1 RMS kits only offer H130W (38/240) and I180W (38/360) in non-HAZMAT. (There is, or soon will be, a J-class no-HAZMAT fee RMS kit for the 38/720 casing in the pipeline, too.)

Loki reload kits don't come with a disposable nozzle like AeroTech supplies with each kit. Loki's graphite nozzle's throats are simply cleaned of baked-on slag and reused after each flight, and they're said to be good for 10 to 2 dozen or so flights before their throat erodes to the replacement point of 1/64" extra diameter. A new nozzle runs about $32, and Loki's proprietor Mr. Scott Kormeier will resize your old worn nozzle to the next size at no extra cost to you except shipping.

An excellent Loki primer is found at https://lokiresearch.com/images/Documents/Loki Article.docx

Good skies,

Glueck Auf
 
So my questions are, in regards to price/performance...

A. Is Loki a viable alternative?

B. What other vendors exist that are competitive to CTI, Loki or AT?

A - Yes.
B - These are the big 3 in the US. By market share: AT > CTI >> Loki.
You should be able to pick 1, or 2 out of 3, and be very happy.

When I was making my choice a few years ago, CTI just had its massive fire, so I went with AT.
No regrets.

I do firmly believe in supplier diversity for key dependencies and business and personal life, so have AT & CTI 54mm hardware.
Might add Loki or CTI 38mm hardware in 2018 for that reason alone.

The big gotcha that I see with using AT's 38mm hardware are the Haz-Mat fees associated with 38mm reloads. Secondly, some AT reloads seem to be hard to come by as evidenced by the many "Out of Stock" notes on most vendor's sites.

AT does have at least 3 non-Haz motors: H130W, I180W, and J520W.
Between the following 3 vendors, you should always have access to full AT inventory at discounted prices, at all times:
www.siriusrocketry.com
www.balsamachining.com
www.wildmanrocketry.com


Note that Haz should NOT drive your decision making all THAT much. Even without Haz, shipping fees will be in $10-20 range per order, so you will be unlikely to order motors one at a time. If you plan ahead and place 1-4 orders per year, the Hazmat fee is a wash.

Buying from local on-site vendors may, or may not be, an option in your area.
If you do, they usually charge full List/MSRP price, so you will pay more, but save on Hazmat shipping fees.

Online, you are likely to score significant (10-25%) discounts on AT motors off List price, and slightly lower discounts on CTI motors.
No online discounts on Loki motors.


Just remember - motor selection is not a marriage. You can have more than one!
And if you change your mind later, you can always sell used hardware for ~80% of what it cost you in TRF yard sale section.

a
 
Don't forget if you buy Loki be sure to buy a starter to go with it. I fly Aerotech and Loki, mostly Aerotech because of more variety and I purchased most of the hardware from the yard sale, used, at significant savings. Loki is easier to assemble and no threads to clean, but you do have to clean a nozzle. Both have trade-offs to be sure.

If you don't have a local vendor then for 38mm I would have to say go with Loki. The hardware is cheaper than Aerotech. The loads are cheaper than any of the others and all the 38/240s ship without HAZMAT. The addition of the starter will add to the price a bit but not much. Chris Short has em 2.50 each. Even with the sarter the loads are still cheaper than AT, if not by much. And way cheaper than CTI. By the time you need a new nozzle, it will have paid for itself in savings over the other two. And if Scott will resize the nozzle for the next size case, then you could easily grab the 480 case and repurpose your 240 nozzle. That would be a fairly inexpensive route to take later on.
 
if I read your sig. right (and doing a little research) you'll be flying your darkstar either with qcrs (Princeton) or at the Bong...both places that the Wildman(and trailer) frequent :), so one could contact/order from him and have your order delivered to either place and skip shipping/haz-mat charges. those savings would more than pay for trip costs. we will shortly enter the TARC season so Es and Fs will be hard to find most places. from my observations Tim usually has both cti and AT on hand.
Rex
 
Wow! Thanks for all the responses.

Unfortunately, in the half dozen times I've been to NIRA's flying field in Glen Ellen, Illinois I've never seen a vendor hawking wares. And NIRA's field is restricted to G motors and below.
I've only been to QCRS (a 2.15 hour drive) once for MWP-15, but I do plan on attending an April or May launch. Other options for 2018 include CIA's field (a 2.75 hour drive), Fox Valley Rocketeers (1.4 Hour Drive) and Woosh's Bong Range (1.25 Hour Drive). I believe Wildman attends all QCRS and Woosh launches, so that will help with the AT side of things, if I can make those events.

Okay, back on point...

I was leaning towards Loki to start, then add AT hardware to the mix (I like their Reload Adapter System) as budget permits. But, on-site access to vendor(s) is a factor not to be ignored. Anyhoot nothing is written in stone until I pull the trigger on my 1st 38mm purchase.

Again, many thanks for all the advice.
 
if I read your sig. right (and doing a little research) you'll be flying your darkstar either with qcrs (Princeton) or at the Bong...both places that the Wildman(and trailer) frequent :), so one could contact/order from him and have your order delivered to either place and skip shipping/haz-mat charges. those savings would more than pay for trip costs. we will shortly enter the TARC season so Es and Fs will be hard to find most places. from my observations Tim usually has both cti and AT on hand.
Rex

Yeah, I figured that out while composing my reply, but thx for the verification. Too bad Wildman doesn't sling Loki stuff. :(
 
Wow! Thanks for all the responses.

Unfortunately, in the half dozen times I've been to NIRA's flying field in Glen Ellen, Illinois I've never seen a vendor hawking wares. And NIRA's field is restricted to G motors and below.
I've only been to QCRS (a 2.15 hour drive) once for MWP-15, but I do plan on attending an April or May launch. Other options for 2018 include CIA's field (a 2.75 hour drive), Fox Valley Rocketeers (1.4 Hour Drive) and Woosh's Bong Range (1.25 Hour Drive). I believe Wildman attends all QCRS and Woosh launches, so that will help with the AT side of things, if I can make those events.

Okay, back on point...

I was leaning towards Loki to start, then add AT hardware to the mix (I like their Reload Adapter System) as budget permits. But, on-site access to vendor(s) is a factor not to be ignored. Anyhoot nothing is written in stone until I pull the trigger on my 1st 38mm purchase.

Again, many thanks for all the advice.

Remember there is also Tripoli Wisconsin flying at Bong. This generally gives you twice a month to fly at Bong. Wildman attends both WOOSH and TWA launches.
He carries Aerotech and Cesaroni. If you order ahead he will have your order at a launch which bypasses all shipping and hazmat.

Do not expect Wildman to be carrying Loki. There is a backstory, which is a can of worms I do not want to reopen.



Sent from my iPhone using Rocketry Forum
 
I agree with the advice about finding a local vendor for the brand of motor and getting orders at the site. This works quite well and can save costs if you are only buying one or two motors at a time. If you want to really save on costs, a $300 to $500+ order with volume discounts picked up at a site should keep you in motors for a while so you can attend launches where vendors don't show up. Then again, if you put in a large on-line order, some vendors will waive the shipping costs so you only pay a single hazmat for the order and with on-line discounts, even with the hazmat fee it can cost less then MSRP prices on-site.

With that said, if cost is a big factor, you might want to rethink where you want to go in the hobby or how much you want to fly. Costs will climb a lot as you move up and hazmat fees will become almost insignificant. Not only the cost of motors go up, but the cost of kits, electronics, chutes, etc. Add to that travel and hotel costs to get to sites with higher waivers and that is why the most common response to a new L1 certified rocketeer is "Congratulations, now open your wallet!"
 
Last edited:
@Handeman: Oh yes, the cost issue became readily apparent when I picked up this hobby again last year and started researching the HPR side of things. As all of my past adult hobbies have been that way, I'm used to it... :p


Remember there is also Tripoli Wisconsin flying at Bong. This generally gives you twice a month to fly at Bong. Wildman attends both WOOSH and TWA launches.
He carries Aerotech and Cesaroni. If you order ahead he will have your order at a launch which bypasses all shipping and hazmat.

Ahhh, I was not aware of TWA's use of the Bong site. Cool, thx for the heads up.

.......Do not expect Wildman to be carrying Loki. There is a backstory, which is a can of worms I do not want to reopen.

Not cold enough for WM to carry Loki. It would be nice.

Okay, understood. But I can always hope for a miracle......
 
CTI afaik only uses the plastic rear closure on the 38mm the 24, 29, 54 all use metal iirc.

And the title of the thread is "...38mm hardware" How silly of me to comment on CTI's 38mm closures.

Okay, understood. But I can always hope for a miracle......

Heh, I'm a Bills fan and never gave up...and hope they'll win the Super Bowl this year....and that pigs have a good chance of flying. I don't hold my breath for Tim to carry loki ;)
 
Irregardless of the Loki backstory, Tim liquidated all snap ring products a few years ago. He may still stock KBA, but I'm not positive.
 
There are Loki dealers out there. And one could always do a group order and spread out the Haz-Mat fee to the group.
 
There are Loki dealers out there. And one could always do a group order and spread out the Haz-Mat fee to the group.

I don't think it's worth the hassle to organize and distribute an order just to avoid hazmat. What is it now $28? I think planning and ordering during sales is much more important. If you make the order during the Black Friday or Cyber Monday or when vendors are offering a 25% discount, that will more then cover your hazmat. If you order motors for a years worth of L2 flying, a couple L motors, and few Ks and some Js, you're well over $500 already. Add in a half dozen I and a dozen H motors and Hazmat isn't much of a factor.
 
I don't think it's worth the hassle to organize and distribute an order just to avoid hazmat. What is it now $28? I think planning and ordering during sales is much more important. If you make the order during the Black Friday or Cyber Monday or when vendors are offering a 25% discount, that will more then cover your hazmat. If you order motors for a years worth of L2 flying, a couple L motors, and few Ks and some Js, you're well over $500 already. Add in a half dozen I and a dozen H motors and Hazmat isn't much of a factor.

For some an extra $28 might be a factor. Its just another option to order as a group.
 
For some an extra $28 might be a factor. Its just another option to order as a group.

Example: Me :wink:

I don't pay HAZMAT on my CTI 29mm motors because my club does a group Wildman order and splits the HAZMAT. However, I'm looking into Loki at some point because I'd like the freedom of not having to confine my MPR/HPR to one order per year.

Of course, I still haven't gotten my L1, so $28 is one or two "big" motors for me. Even in Loki a 38/240 H is only $25 (more for "specialty" loads like sparkies). So just think- for the cost of that HAZMAT fee you could have had an extra H100 Spitfire.
 
Depending on the altitudes you're interesed in, you can adapt down to 29mm. AT 29mm HPR reloads are a less $ for the same impulse as 38mm, and all non-hazmat. Largest impulse is the I200.
 
Depending on the altitudes you're interesed in, you can adapt down to 29mm. AT 29mm HPR reloads are a less $ for the same impulse as 38mm, and all non-hazmat. Largest impulse is the I200.

yeah, that is one of the thoughts that I will employ. When I ordered my Darkstar Jr. during Black Saturday I also purchased an Aero Pack A2938 motor adapter.
 
Back
Top