Blue tubes

Discussion in 'Mid Power Rocketry (MPR)' started by Cody Webster, Sep 9, 2018.

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  1. Sep 9, 2018 #1

    Cody Webster

    Cody Webster

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    Hello all!
    I have been looking at blue tube for use on some mpr's. Are they worth the money? And do you use the same building supplies as reguler paper tubes? Wood glue etc?
     
  2. Sep 9, 2018 #2

    Worsaer

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    Blue Tube is excellent, easier to cut and work with with than Fiberglas, particularly for scratch builds. Wood glue works great, as does epoxy, depending on what you’re doing. Most of my scratch builds, particularly 3” and 4” airframes, are Blue Tube.

    For MPR, it will be much heavier than LOC tubes.
     
  3. Sep 9, 2018 #3

    Cody Webster

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    Thanks for the reply, I think Im gonna order a couple pieces just to mess around with and see what its like and go from there.
     
  4. Sep 10, 2018 #4

    JohnCoker

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    Blue tubes are great products; I've used them in my last couple of projects. Check out a comparison of various tube types here:
    jcrocket.com/body-tubes.shtml
     
  5. Sep 10, 2018 #5

    Cody Webster

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    Thanks for the link John!
     
  6. Sep 10, 2018 #6

    Maxwelljets

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    Be aware that Blue tube has the unfortunate tendency to warp when exposed to moisture or humidity. If you live somewhere humid, definitely keep this in mind. I unfortunately do live somewhere rather humid. At several launches I've attended, I've seen rockets that fit together fine while indoors warp to the point that the coupler joints are dangerously tight.
     
  7. Sep 10, 2018 #7

    rharshberger

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    Blue tube 1.0 or Blue Tube 2.0, it was my understanding that BT 2.0 fixed those issues.
     
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  8. Sep 10, 2018 #8

    timbucktoo

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    I keep a lot of my blue tube 2 in garage and never experienced any warping issues even with Florida humidity. One thing I did upon receiving the BT was follow Dave's recommendation of hitting it up with a coat or two of sanding sealer.
     
  9. Sep 10, 2018 #9

    Maxwelljets

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    It was with 2.0. My admittedly limited understanding is that 1.0 warped badly enough that the rockets were totally unusable. With 2.0 the worst I've seen has basically just affected the fit of the couplers (and sometimes if it's really bad, the motor in the motor mount), and can be fixed with sandpaper/masking tape.

    I don't use blue tube for my rockets, so I don't know how sanding sealer would affect things. These are experiences I've seen other people have.
     
    Last edited: Sep 10, 2018
  10. Sep 10, 2018 #10

    Rocketjunkie

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    I've used both 1.0 and 2.0 in larger sizes. Both shrank over the first year, having to sand the coupler and inside where the nose cone fits. After a year or so, the size stabilized and did not require sanding every time. Another problem is delamination if it gets wet such as the rocket landing in a puddle or ditch.
     
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  11. Sep 10, 2018 #11

    Speaknoevil

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    LOC tube in a humid environment will swell and not fit without sanding. PML QT varies all over the place due to temperature and needs to be compensated for on each launch. Filament wound fiberglassi seems to collect BP residue and get gummy. Fit is something rocketeers have been dealing with for 50 years. It is not at all limited to Blue Tube. I have never seen Blue Tube 2.0 warp. I think it is time to move on and remove this belief from the rumor mill.
     
  12. Sep 11, 2018 #12

    Andrew_ASC

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    They can crap talk Blue tube all day long. All I know is blue tube won’t leave a big hole in wallet like all those fiberglass and CF tubes did. You gotta give Blue Tube this, it’s economical.
     
  13. Sep 11, 2018 #13

    rharshberger

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    Agreed, I have had an unsealed, unpainted blue tube 2.0 38mm MD version of the Loc Weasel under construction for over a year, sitting leaned in a corner, no warpage, no fitment issues. Each material has its advantages, Blue Tubes is that its a fair bit stronger and tougher than phenolic or cardboard, and less expensive and lighter than FG.
     
  14. Sep 11, 2018 #14

    Mustang67

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    I have no experience using BT, but did look into it a bit after hearing about it at AirFest.
    After reading this: https://www.alwaysreadyrocketry.com/blue-tube-2-0/ it sounds like this product is extremely strong. I would think being born of tank ammunition and with a much lower price point, we would see far more m more adoption of the product.

    One question I do have is why does this specific vendor offer the BT for Airframes but not for fins? Their fins are wood.

    If the product is as strong as they state, it sounds like it would be great for HP. So what am I missing here?
     
  15. Sep 11, 2018 #15

    rharshberger

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    Your not missing much really, Blue Tube is offered by only ARR afaik (BMS used to carry it, not sure about other vendors). Blue tube is very nice to work with as it works with the same tools you would use on cardboard airframes and the same adhesives (wood glue). The fins are probably wood for ease of construction, I don't think the BT material would make good fins (it might though) unless they are tube fins (see Ari's Blue Fin Tuna) they may require the tubular shape to gain their strength and a flat plate style might not work.

    Here is a thread from Jan 2017 about wood glue and BT (most likely BT 2.0 at that time). https://www.rocketryforum.com/threads/top-blue-tube-adhesives.138325/

    Edit: Apogee carries it as well, and Tim has a good write up of the product,
    https://www.apogeerockets.com/Build...ath=42_43_56&zenid=p1gre2sha1pupj21ajh1mjea97
     
    Last edited: Sep 11, 2018
  16. Sep 11, 2018 #16

    cbrarick

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    Just don't think you're gonna hand sand it and do much. It took a group effort, lots of sandpaper & beer to fit a coupler at URRF-1 (or was that 2). If we had a dremel I'd walked back to Smugs just to use it.....

    Other then that it is what it is, like all materials has it's advantages and disadvantages. People debate the speed of QT all the time but it's still used.... just gotta be on the right project.
     
  17. Sep 11, 2018 #17

    Worsaer

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    Using sanding sealer on couplers helps mitigate the risk of humidity. It’s worked well for me more than once.

    As for fins,it’s obviously a curved product. If you want curved fins, you could use it.
    Here’s a link to an ancient thread where I used it to replicate the look of flip out fins.

    https://www.rocketryforum.com/threads/lockheed-martin-dagr.34080/
     
  18. Sep 11, 2018 #18

    jadebox

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    I used Blue Tube couplers with LOC body tubes for my upscale Break Away ("Youbee"). I already had the LOC tubing, but had problems in the past with the couplers swelling and delaminating. Since the Youbee has four couplers, I used Blue Tube ones. They held up much better and made assembling the rocket less of a chore.
     
  19. Sep 11, 2018 #19

    DavidMcCann

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    Should have hired those mennonite boys in the back to sand it up ;)
    [​IMG]


    I've used a TON of blue tube. I haven't had any warping issues.... some issues with it expanding or shrinking... and over time it definitely stabilizes. My Optima has about 30 or so flights over maybe 6 or 7 years now and it's held up to a lot of abuse. My L2 rocket is a 4" BT and it's just about as old.

    Confused as to why anyone would think it would work as fins? it's a tube material...not plate. It'd make HORRIBLE plate. It's brittle and chips once you cut it...but as a tube, it's perfect.

    I prefer to use epoxy with it, and wood fins. but thats just me. lots of ways to skin a cat.
     
  20. Sep 12, 2018 #20

    cbrarick

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    So....that's what we did wrong....crap...and it only took 5 years to point out my error!
     
  21. Sep 12, 2018 #21

    crossfire

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    I have scratch built two rockets using Blue Tube one with G10 fins and the other with plywood fins no problems at all with the tubes. Tubes purchased from Always Ready Rocketry.
     
  22. Sep 12, 2018 #22

    grouch

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    Who's the ugly guy in the hat?
     
  23. Sep 12, 2018 #23

    Howie

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    I have three rockets built with Blue Tube 2.0. Last year I build the AAR Basic Blue 4" kit, and I used their 3" tubing in a scratchbuilt PAC-3. This spring I rebuilt a rocket that took a 54mm rocket that lawn darted with Blue Tube in that size.

    For assembly and finishing I use the sanding sealer recommended by AAR inside and outside each tube and coupler. I think it swells slightly in the process - slightly less so over the area where the area where the inside spiral seam runs. I've noticed when I'm sanding and priming that area and the outside spiral seam need building up to get a really smooth finished surface. The general finishing process is just like a cardboard tube rocket - it needs more work then fiberglass in that regard. I've assembled my kits with epoxy but according to Apogee Rocketry wood glue works too.

    My Basic Blue is painted dark blue, and on sunny days when prepping at the field, the nose cone fit gets tight. I use some talcum powder and helps the fit. The e-bay doesn't have that problem nor does my PAC-3, so I think it's the plastic nose cone expanding more then the body tubes when each gets hot.

    Having built cardboard, Blue Tube, and fiberglass rockets, each material definitely has it's place. For low cost and lightweight construction, nothing beats cardboard (that I know of). For ease and speed of assembly nothing beats fiberglass. But Blue Tube is a great intermediate material - lighter and cheaper then fiberglass, and far stronger then cardboard.
     

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