AeroTech Mantis Launch Pad

The Rocketry Forum

Help Support The Rocketry Forum:

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

Fore Check

Well-Known Member
Sep 24, 2010
Reaction score
Is this a good pad? Is it durable and have good features? How much are they really worth as an individual item?

Likewise, how much is the AT Interlock controller worth?

The mantis is OK, i think the leg attachment points are weak (dont hit teh legs on anything) and since AT wants $99 or so for it, I say get a better pad. The interlock is pretty easy to assemble, and it goes for $50 or so. Again, you could scratchbuild a better one for about 20% of the cost.
I have both. The Mantis pad is "o.k.", but too fragile and wobbly. Build yourself a better one from PVC and misc. hardware, you'll save lots of money and the result will be much more durable.

The launch controller is better, but again, you can make your own from plans, parts will cost about $25 (if that) at Radio Shack.
I never have really understood what's the function of that kind-of S-shaped goose-neck thing on the Mantis pad ... looks to me the main result would be to make it wobbly and unstable and more prone to tipping over if you have a heavy rocket on the rod...

I have an Estes Porta-Pad E which serves me well - you can easily switch rods from 1/8 to 3/16 to 1/4 depending on the model you're launching, just a few twists on a wing nut and you're good to go. It's also made out of molded plastic and I wouldn't want to see what happens, for example, if somebody accidentally steps on one leg. :eek:

As Blue_Ninja and vjp say, I think you can probably make a better one yourself, several threads here in this forum have discussed DIY pads made out of PVC piping that look pretty good. The PVC pads also look tougher and probably more resistant to inadvertent damage. Heck, if you want, you could make a pad out of 1 1/2" or 2" PVC that you could probably drive a truck into without damaging too much.

I've also seen a lot of people convert photo tripods to launch pads - those look pretty cool and they're also a little higher off the ground so you don't have to crawl around in the weeds to hook up igniter leads ...:D
yeah, i've seen those old drum stands used as launch pads, those are pretty durable. the main complaint with the mantis is the poor legs. PVC is a lot cheaper than 99 bucks.
The leg attachments on the Mantis pad are the weak link. I've seen several that are broken.

I've had good luck with my Holverson "Slider" pad. had these for sale at one time. It would be easy to "clone" this pad, but for the price, I didn't bother. It comes with 1/8, 3/16, and 1/4" rods.

mine is just a cheap tripod, a quarter inch rod, and a garbage pail that i tore apart to use as a blast plate

if i just roll some tape or paper around the base of a 3/16" rod then i can put it in the 1/4 slot and it works fine
The "S" shape puts the rocket back over the center of gravity of the pad

I mounted a drill chuck on mine so I can swap out rods in a flash
I use mine for all of my local launches and it has served me well
for 4 years so far. It's not something you want to toss around and you do have to be carefull not to step on the legs.but If you find a really good deal for one ,like on ebay or somewhere, go for it.
I've smashed the leg mounts on 2 of these things. the leftover legs make nice pad standoffs. For what AT wants for them, they are definitely not, IMHO, anything approaching a value.

The interlock controller is nice, however as said above, you can build the functional equivalent for a fraction of the price. I have the one that came with my Initiator startup kit and find it dependable and easy to use.

I should have added that I now own both the controller and the pad (I got an Initiator starter set, that was clearance priced, for 1/2 off at Hobby Lobby for a total of $47.50)

I own an AWESOME launcher, the Pratt SureFire2 system, and have no use for the Interlock controller. I was more curious as to it's eBay value.

The pad, however, I'm intrigued by. I normally use an Estes Porta Pad for 1/8" and and Estes Porta Pad "E" for 3/16 and 1/4". I'm not to happy with the functionality on 1/4" rod sized rockets, and was considering building the Mantis for use strictly on 1/4" rod sized rockets (so I'd bring all 3 pads to a given launch, if I brought an appropriate assortment of rockets.)

How would you compare the durability issue of the Mantis to the durability of the Estes porta pads? I've had fine luck with the Estes pads.