# Apogee tracking powder vs. alternatives?

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#### tbonerocketeer

TRF Supporter
Anyone used the Apogee orange tracking powder?
https://www.apogeerockets.com/Build...acking_Powder/Tracking_Powder_Burst_of_Orange

Is it really significantly better than the alternatives: chalk, tempera paint powder, talcum powder?

I'm interested in trying something, from what I've read chalk and tempera are quite messy.

Thanks,
Bill
Go to Home Depot and buy line chalk refills.http://www.homedepot.com/p/DEWALT-8-oz-Chalk-in-Orange-DWHT47076/204352695
$1.39 for 8 oz instead of$6 for 1oz

#### CPUTommy

##### Thrust cures All
I use the chalk at home depo, I made a small canister out of a 18mm engine mount and hook it to the nose cone, i also loaded the body tube after the chute and cord were packed in the tube to give me a "reference" point after ejection, was able to see the "puff of chalk every time it hit the nose cone, all the way down. The bad part, cleaning up after flight.

#### DavidMcCann

Tim Van Milligan.... soon to bring us rocketry toilet paper for use at rocketry events. Only $5 a square. Lmao. #### dhbarr ##### Amateur Professional I use leak detection powder, myself. Powders chutes, gets everywhere, makes a tremendous puff when shaken into the dog barf. Stains like crazy. #### billdz ##### Well-Known Member So is the Apogee powder just higher priced chalk or is it really significantly better, as claimed? I wouldn't mind paying more if it is less messy and more visible. @dhbarr - Where do you buy leak detection powder? Are you saying that leak detection powder gets everywhere and stains like crazy? If yes, why use it instead of chalk? Or are you saying that chalk gets everywhere and stains like crazy but the leak detection powder is better? @CPUTommy - Could you give more details about your canister, how is it sealed? Are you saying the powder does not all disperse at ejection, it comes out gradually and can be seen "all the way down"? That would be really great. #### CPUTommy ##### Thrust cures All So is the Apogee powder just higher priced chalk or is it really significantly better, as claimed? I wouldn't mind paying more if it is less messy and more visible. @dhbarr - Where do you buy leak detection powder? Are you saying that leak detection powder gets everywhere and stains like crazy? If yes, why @CPUTommy - Could you give more details about your canister, how is it sealed? Are you saying the powder does not all disperse at ejection, it comes out gradually and can be seen "all the way down"? That would be really great. I can when inget home from work, esentially it's a "a,b,or c," engine mount that has a plug on one end and is crushed similar to a spent shot gun shell at the top, the sealed end is connected to the nose cone, the "semi open" end allows filling and dispersal. The tighter the top of canister the smaller the puff is. I have since switched to the Mylar reflective threads to spot my rockets at altitude, way less clean up and actually easier to see. #### CPUTommy ##### Thrust cures All #### kjohnson ##### mox nix Since it's raw pigment and not colored chalk, talc, etc, the color will be brighter and won't disperse as fast. For general tracking duties, prolly not worth the cost, but for competition were you want to be as light as possible and make sure the trackers see the puff to get your altitude, maybe. For comparisons sake, you can buy fluorescent paint pigment other places, and Tim's 1.4 oz pack for$6.25 is cheaper than 4 oz @ $19.98 at Glowinc.com. Unless you are buying by the pound- then you get$3.50 an oz from the paint suppliers. You'd have to use an awful lot of tracking powder to make that $56 investment in pigment work out though. Kevin #### ksaves2 ##### Lifetime Supporter TRF Lifetime Supporter I can when inget home from work, esentially it's a "a,b,or c," engine mount that has a plug on one end and is crushed similar to a spent shot gun shell at the top, the sealed end is connected to the nose cone, the "semi open" end allows filling and dispersal. The tighter the top of canister the smaller the puff is. I have since switched to the Mylar reflective threads to spot my rockets at altitude, way less clean up and actually easier to see. Go to the hydroponic garden suppliers and look for the reflective silver mylar rolls and go for the thicker plastic. (Little bird told me pot growers use it for their indoor gardens and hang it on the walls to reflect the gro-lights to the plants!) A long strip on the apogee harness with give light flashes even if you can't see the rocket. If using it for streamer recovery, put strips of clear packing tape on the longitudinal edges to reinforce the streamer as the mylar has a tendency to fracture and break. A single layer of tape is fine. Fanfold it and use a Monokote iron to set some creases into it before you roll it for flight. Perhaps not so necessary to use tape if using the streamer as an "at altitude" marker as opposed to a recovery device. So what if it breaks as long as an alternative tracking means is available. Kurt #### CPUTommy ##### Thrust cures All I use the party store Mylar, the top is solid for about 4 inches and I'll usually cut off 4 inches and wrap it over itself then stuff it in the tube. #### Kartman ##### Active Member I can testify the Apogee tracking powder is superior stuff. I flew a 13mm A Parachute Duration at MWRC 17 at Bong in a 16mph wind. The rocket sims out to about 1000' and is invisible at that altitude. If not for that puff of flourescent orange the timers would never have spotted the rocket. I've tried powdered chalk and in my opinion it is not nearly as visible. Tom WOOSH #558 #### billdz ##### Well-Known Member Interesting that you mention mylar. I started thinking about tracking powder because I did not have much luck with Trim Monokote, which was recommended in my previous thread, http://www.rocketryforum.com/showthread.php?140931-Material-for-best-rocket-visibility #### dhbarr ##### Amateur Professional Yes, leak detection powder gets everywhere and stains. It's basically chalk and pigment ground -extremely- fine, flows almost like a liquid. I use it because I bought a tub to see if it works. It does. #### MClark ##### Well-Known Member Since it's raw pigment and not colored chalk, talc, etc, the color will be brighter and won't disperse as fast. For general tracking duties, prolly not worth the cost, but for competition were you want to be as light as possible and make sure the trackers see the puff to get your altitude, maybe. For comparisons sake, you can buy fluorescent paint pigment other places, and Tim's 1.4 oz pack for$6.25 is cheaper than 4 oz @ $19.98 at Glowinc.com. Unless you are buying by the pound- then you get$3.50 an oz from the paint suppliers. You'd have to use an awful lot of tracking powder to make that \$56 investment in pigment work out though.

Kevin
I have a 50 pound bag of real flourescent Orange pigment from Dayglo. At those prices it wot be quite valuable.

M

#### billdz

##### Well-Known Member
How much chalk or powder should be used to make a nice visible cloud at around 3000 feet? I'm thinking a couple of tablespoons, is that enough?

#### billdz

##### Well-Known Member
Launch this Saturday, could someone please advise whether 2 tablespoons is about the right amount of chalk for a 3000' flight?

#### CPUTommy

##### Thrust cures All
I never really measured , I just squeezed in a bunch and put the nose cone on.

#### dhbarr

##### Amateur Professional
I like to shake it up with the dog barf before I put it in, and I like loose dog barf to cover the motor about one caliber unpacked.

#### Nathan

##### ☢
TRF Supporter
When I used tracking powder in the past for MPR rockets, I filled a fast food ketchup cup with a 50-50 mixture of talcum powder and red chalk powder. The cup was attached to the shock cord with masking tape and placed on top of the chute. That worked well but I found that a mylar streamer was much better. With a small rocket at high altitude you may not be able to see the rocket descending even if you do see the puff of tracking powder at ejection. On a sunny day the mylar streamer my little 29mm minimum diameter rocket was easily visible descending from about 4300 ft.

#### CPUTommy

##### Thrust cures All
When I used tracking powder in the past for MPR rockets, I filled a fast food ketchup cup with a 50-50 mixture of talcum powder and red chalk powder. The cup was attached to the shock cord with masking tape and placed on top of the chute. That worked well but I found that a mylar streamer was much better. With a small rocket at high altitude you may not be able to see the rocket descending even if you do see the puff of tracking powder at ejection. On a sunny day the mylar streamer my little 29mm minimum diameter rocket was easily visible descending from about 4300 ft.
Exactly the same scenario I experienced. And much MUCH less clean up. I landed about 1/2 mile away from the pad and the whole walk there I could see the twinkle from the wind. I don't fly with out Mylar any more.

#### billdz

##### Well-Known Member
Thanks for the replies. Could you tell us more about the mylar streamer? Length, width, color, where to buy?

#### CPUTommy

##### Thrust cures All
I got mine at the local party store.

Think it cost me 5 bux

#### Nick@JET

##### Well-Known Member
I use the chalk at home depo, I made a small canister out of a 18mm engine mount and hook it to the nose cone, i also loaded the body tube after the chute and cord were packed in the tube to give me a "reference" point after ejection, was able to see the "puff of chalk every time it hit the nose cone, all the way down. The bad part, cleaning up after flight.
Amen to the cleaning up part - no more powder for me, what a mess