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DRAGON64

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I built my launch pad from a ProRail Base launch pad designed and built by John Coker. Visit John Coker's website for the original plans here: ProRail Base

The launch pad is a 3-leg desin that requires a flat surface to sit on. With a large flat footprint, the design is very stable with a low center of gravity.



I originally I built my pad using 1.5" square tube steel. What a pain it was to haul the launch pad to and from the flight line. Then a few years later, I rebuilt the pad with 2" Aluminum square tube I picked up from onlinemetals.com. The launch pad became quite a user friendly pad then.



Although lacking in adjustable frills, the pad fully makes up for it by being portable, loadable, stable and affordable... the key suffix here is "able"







Here is a short video I made describing the operation of the launch pad:

[video=youtube;zQLKTbqmJRs]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zQLKTbqmJRs&feature=plcp[/video]
 
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cwbullet

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That is very nice. I have always liked the simplicity of that design. On more than one occasion, I have though about building one.
 

DM1975

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I built one like this too but I used an old army cot.





 

cwbullet

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I have seen the cot pad before. Nice ingenuity.
 

DM1975

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Thanks, I walked past the cot one day in the garage and it just jumped out at me. You can get two pads out of one cot. I have to build two more for AIRFest to hold and show off my rockets on.

To launch a large rocket on a big motor like a K or above you really need to stake the legs out or put sand bags on them or something as the launch pads are so light weight.
 

DRAGON64

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In the video...
Gotcha; since I use windows movie maker for my youtube vids, the colors and options for text suck. Sometimes the text is ledgible in white, and then sometimes you have to get creative so that the text does not blend into the background... I need a better video editing program.
 

Green Jello

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Gotcha; since I use windows movie maker for my youtube vids, the colors and options for text suck. Sometimes the text is ledgible in white, and then sometimes you have to get creative so that the text does not blend into the background... I need a better video editing program.
I'm in the same boat. I use Windows Movie Maker. I have Adobe Premiere CS6.....but I have no idea how to use it.
 

cwbullet

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This is my new launcher. It consists of a tripod off a work light ($35 at Home Depot: http://www.homedepot.com/h_d1/N-5yc1v/R-202066789/h_d2/ProductDisplay?catalogId=10053) and an angle couple off a speaker mount ($12 at Fry's: http://www.frys.com/product/3518714?site=sr:SEARCH:MAIN_RSLT_PG).

An R/C Ecee Thunder conversion is waiting on the launcher.

Ari.
That is a neat idea. Great job and initiative.

I may have to try this for the RC rocket I have to build. What did you have to do install the angle?

Can you post a close up picture?
 
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iter

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That is a neat idea. Great job and initiative.

I may have to try this for the RC rocket I have to build. What did you have to do install the angle?

Can you post a close up picture?
Thank you for your encouragement Chuck. Here are some closeups. This launcher requires a bare minimum of work, mostly throwing parts away.

I throw away top and bottom of the speaker mount. The inside diameter of the mating parts is 1/2", perfect for 1/2" rod mounts that our club is using. I replace original set screws with wing screws--this way I can adjust everything in the field without tools.

I throw away the inner-most telescoping tube from the tripod and everything that attaches to its top. This tube's outside diameter is 1". The outside diameter of the speaker bracket is 1". The bracket has some protrusions on one side (around the screw hole) but with a little bit of pressure it fits right where the innermost tube is missing from. The tripod's tubes have plastic nuts on top to lock tubes in the up or down position. I tighten this black plastic nut, and the mount is complete.

The photos also show my 3-prong launcher head that I use with gliders and my R/C launch controller (I already have a transmitter in my hand when I launch, so I use it for fire control as well as flying). These are sort of off-topic for this thread.

Ari.

sIMG_1327.JPG


sIMG_1329.JPG


sIMG_1330.JPG


sIMG_1331.JPG


sIMG_1332.JPG
 

Neuport

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I built mine from the same plans as Green Jello. It stows in a recycled camp chair bag and I store launch rods in a length of 1/2" PVC with the caps pressed on. I currently store 1/8, 3/16, and 1/4 rods but there is enough room in the 1/2 pipe for 2 of each size. The small spring clips help organize ignition wires and would also prevent a rod from being pulled out although the rod fit is tight enough without them.

IMG_0499.jpgIMG_0500.jpgIMG_0495.jpgIMG_0497.jpg
 
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jim fustini

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422.jpg I made this one a few years ago.
I don't use it much because I launch with a club now.
It will adapt to a rail too.
 

mannyskid

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It's not quite finished yet, but I am in the process of rebuilding Tim's old unistut pad. It's basically three axles off of a nine axle mobile home trailer with one axle cut off (two axles total). When lowered horizontal, the whole tower used to be about seven feet off of the ground. I have seen people try to load rockets (300#) on here above their heads! I think that this will be much easier to load rockets onto. The welds are not great, I'm not a professional welder nor do I weld very often. But I do belive that they will hold. The main reason that I am rebuilding this pad now is to launch Vern Hoag's Saturn 1B (800#/ 4X N5800's) off of at AIRfest. He took a look at it this past weekend and he really liked it. I still have to route the winch through a couple of pulleys in order to lift it up. I also have to make a locking system for when it's in the upright position.

Tower Up.jpg


mount.jpg


weld.jpg
 

Micromeister

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My "nearly" self-contained Solar/Cap. discharge or remote 12V powered launcher was created because of an ill fated trip to one of our remote Launch fields for some personal launching only to discover not only had I left the 12V battery but the launch rod tube at home as well. These oversights... (Yes Pee-poor planning on my part) caused me to have a good 1-3/4hour drive home to try to dream-up a way to prevent such a situation from happening again. Over the next couple months I developed and produced What I lovingly call My 40lb Nearly self-contained Solar Launcher.
If using the Solar/Capacitive Discharge mode or the on-board 12V rechargable cells with 36" x 1/8",3/16" or 1/4" launch rods for single motor ignition launching this unit is indeed completely self-contained. The Semi-Self-Contained condition comes in if preferring to use an External 12V power source and/or 1/4" thru 1/2" x 6'-0" Launch Rods, Adapted Rails, or Towers. Any and All external options easily attach to or on the Launcher head. The entire Wooden head was built to swivel aprox. 300° in each direction with a stop to prevent continuous rotation which would harm the controller cord connections. To get this launcher head Up well away for the ground cover, I added 2" x 2" x 42" Sq Aluminum tube legs at also provide additional tilt & leveling adjustment to the inner Launcher Head 30° tilting Stainless Steel Clad Rod Holder block centered over a 16ga Stainless steel exhaust deflector that is split horizontally to focus the exhaust smoke out both side ports. To follow my Club nickname "Mrcluster" a 40amp/contact Power Relay with 8clip leads was added for Cluster ignition duty with the exterior battery drop cables.
50' of permanently connected 16/2 white lampcord connect the launcher to the custom made hand controller with both cable and controller storage in Leg #1. All three legs have .080 Alum. hinged doors. Leg #2 contains both #8 gauge stranded copper battery drop leads. Leg #3 contains a liftout multi-Launch rod holder containing 2 each 1/8" x 36", 3/16" x 36", 1/4" x 36" Stainless Steel Launch rods and 1/2" x 36" wooden Cable stuffer. I've recently added a couple .049" x 12" MMX rods to the rack Just for fun. Snap-on clamps added to my competition Launch Tower all it to be quickly mounted to this launcher base.
Electric/Electronics are mounted on a slide out "works in a drawer" tray inside the 12" x 12" x 9" OA wooden pivot head fastened to a 1/4" brass base bearing and Leg mounting plate. At 40 pounds I wouldn't want to have to carry this thing very far but the leg spread and mass allow me to fly any model I care to launch.
Solar power is collected by a small 12V 50ma panel that attaches and stores on the 1/4" clear Polycarbonate hinged "lid" along with Stopwatch timer, Compass and 3 way hinged solar panel mount which helps adjust to the sun angle. Custom folded 22ga Stainless steel cover deflector protects the tilt adjustment head and brass thumbscrew rod/rail retainers.

Since building this Launcher it's the only full size launcher I carry. Can be transported either standing on it's head or laying down sideways. Will fit easily in a car trunk but I have a Van so it's never any trouble to haul at all. Over time I've added an away lead cable that allows my launcher to be controlled by other remote Club launch controllers for use as a single motor flying platform.

I've really enjoyed having this Launcher the last 20+ Years. It's a lot bigger and heavier than the little tripod Micro-Maxx everything launcher I'll show a bit later, but it sure gets the job done with style.

Solar Launcher-k1-sm_15pic Everything Pg (60dpi)_11-23-05.jpg
 
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oddmanrockets

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P1010680.jpgsaw some other launch pads being displayed so i thought i'd show off mine.basic beast of a pad ,designed and built by me. here are all the pieces except for the tower and rails,the base is a 15x15 in 1/2 in thick steel plate, 1/4 in angle iron for pivot points.also in pic is my adapter for 1/4in rods up to 1515 rail. the tower sections have a 1/2in rod to pivot on.the base is also color coded so when people borrow it they can assemble it really easilyP1010685.jpgi'm getting it ready for its 4th trip to Balls (it goes with friends without me next yr i hope to go LDRS)my pad has also been to several LDRS lauches too. its handled several P motors ,complex O rockets,also the 10x upscale Mars Lander,the 400lb X-15, the Proton and other serious powered rockets. you can find videos of the flights on you tube under Plaster Blaster launches.P1010693.jpgthis is it with 22 ft of 1515 rail attached. total $s invested including tower pieces and rail about $200.
 

cwbullet

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Nice launch tower. I have thought about building on with Unistrut.
 

oddmanrockets

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one of my fellow rocketeers is going to adapt his uni-strut to mount onto my tower, he has some big projects planned
 

Micromeister

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Custom Small & Micro Camera Tripod Launcher:

I really like doing building things that are simple, effective and adaptable. Being an older Rocketeer now I also will not get on my Knees to hook up anything. All these things in mind I wanted to convert a folding 10segment Digital Camera Tripod into a convenient Launcher base for Micro & smaller models Up to about 454g (1lb).

To that end I designed a nearly flat attachment 2" x 5" scrap Aluminum base with a built-up platform and (3/4" Clear Acrylic) threaded .049" diameter Stainless steel Micro Launch rod holder with retainer thumbscrew attaching to the Tripod using the built-in captive 1/4-20" camera attachment screw.

Basicly the 2" x 5" x 1/8" bottom plate as an additional 1/8" spacer plate and topping 1/4" alum baring plate that allow the base to be attached and thumbscrew retained on any 1/8" or thinner Launch Rack base or threaded onto any standard 1/4-20" Tripod attachment screw.
Space was left between the attachment plate sandwich which also has two layers of CA soaked File folder shim spacers to allow the 8-32"x 3/4" brass thumbscrew launch rod retainer to be inserted. The acrylic Rod Holder block is tapped for 6-32 and 8-32 attachment & power lead attachments with coiled and rolled 18/2 stranded copper micro clip, model support leads. Additional tapped 8-32" holes provide mountings for additional Launch apparatus such as micro, 13, 18 & 24mm metal and floating head pistons, 3 & 4 fin adjustable micro tower launcher or 1/8 to 3/16" standard launch rods. All these add-ons attach via 8-32" thumbscrews to a 3/4" x 3/4"x 1/4" ground and polished Aluminum angle fitting.
All in all I think I spent all of about 10 bucks mostly on Stainless & Brass hardward making this launcher base. Picked up the 10 segment Digital camera tripod at Walmart for 8 buck. UP the full 54" I've launch things as small as .08grams to as large and heavy as Floating head 18mm altimeter ladened 14.75oz models. While design intended to be an Everything Micro launcher it has not failed to support just about any Standard LPR model I've ask it to handle.
A few pics of the construction.

Multi-Use MMX Launcher Base-j1_AngleClip&Screws_03-31-02.JPG


Multi-Use MMX Launcher Base-n_Add-on Clip & Rod_03-31-02.JPG


Multi-Use MMX Launcher Base-o_on 10segment Tripod_03-31-02.JPG


Multi-Use MMX Launcher Base-p1_Base &  Piston_03-31-02.JPG


Multi-Use MMX Launcher Base-q1_2 ring Tower_03-31-02.JPG
 
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Micromeister

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Wanting to get other Club members into flying more Micro models at our monthly club launches I decided to build a 6 postion micro maxx Rack launcher with custom controller, cable and on-board Relay (Micro Cluster) capability.

The original Idea was to incorporate 6 of Quests Brand New Silo Launcher bases in a 4" x 6" x 36"long folded aluminum channel beam with wooden end closures and .080" Hinged/1/4turn Lockable bottom access & storage compartment doors. Compartments would hold Launcher support Coiled wire Heads, Micro Clip leads & various length x .049" Stainless Steel launch rods, Tiny cloths pin standoffs etc.

All 6 Quest Silo bases were converted with new contact points that allowed the used of the old style Plastic plug igniters or my much more reilable 30ga folded Nichrome igniters with plug in stand-off coiled model support/clips.

16/8 x 25foot Stranded Copper multi-conductor cable and connectors are Multi-pin connected to the rear of the channel cabinet. All connections are with Radio Shack 4pin Mic Box Connectors and Cable end Plugs making all clip leads interchangable. The Cable and Controller are housed on a manual winding reel. Making an 9 pics system: 6 silo bases, cable controller reel, HD camera Tripod, & Rack channel.

1"x6" Yellow poplar stained walnut wood plank was added to the top for asthetics and to create a space to hold the black plastic launcher bases by friction but firmly.

Being a micro launcher the controller is designed to be hand held but with enough weight to hold itself and the cable weight stationary while laying on a table. Our Controller enclouser box is fabricated of .064" 280 muntz metal. internal wiring, switches, rotary selector etc. are standard stuff. On-board relay within the Rack body is a Radio Shack 10amp 12vdc coil DPDT enclosed socket type mounted under pad #6. A multi clip micro cluster connector is also housed in the doored bottom compartments.

I wanted this "rack" to be able to simply set on a table, attach to one of the clubs existing Launch racks or stand alone on a Camera tripod. To accomplish this the center bottom structural member is a 1/2" x 1" x 4" aluminum bar tapped for tripod standard 1/4-20" fasteners. I chose an old Video Camcorder HD tripod I had laying around. Adjustments for Azmuth & Angle are made with the Tripod Handle tilt & rotate ajustments.

After a few years service I decided to retro-fit the micro rack eliminating the need for the Quest Silo bases making the whole system a little more compact. Into the racks wooden Silo base recesses 3/4" acrylic Launch rod & electrical connection bars were fabricated and mounted with machine screws. Each pad now it's own 2" x 2" x 22ga 304 #4 Stainless Steel exhaust deflector. Deflectors also store in the bottom compartments. These improvements reduce the System parts to 3: Channel Rack base, Cable/Controller Reel & HD Camera Tripod.

A seventh pad "add-on shoe was added that accepts the standard aluminum base used in my Camera tripod Launcher discribed earlier adding 2-pad Drag-race capability as well as all other Piston, towers & fixtures to be used with this Rack.

Here are a couple before & after retro fit photo's. Have to say it's a hoot to use.

Eq04Lp01a_MM_6-Pad-Rack-Launch-System_07-07-01.jpg


Eq04Lp01d_MM_6-Pad-Rack-Controller_CloseUp_07-07-01.jpg


Eq04Lp02d_6 models 0n Rack_07-07-01.jpg


MM 6pad Rack mods-a_complete rack_03-28-06.jpg


MM 6pad Rack mods-d_Rod Lock & conn. detail.jpg
 
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oddmanrockets

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heres 2 of the rockets that flew off my pad at blackrock the other weekend IMG_0890.jpgIMG_0926.jpgan O powered smoke and a 2 staged M flight
 

DRAGON64

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Updated my custom launch pad by adding a blast deflector, and replaced all of the zinc coated hardware with stainless steel hardware (not a cheap option by the way, but worth it)...





 

retortec

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My new low/mid power rail and rod launcher. I borrowed an idea from the Knight launchers and designed 3/4" socket on the pivot. Unlike the knight launcher rails are set on adapters and cover the 1/2", 3/4" and 1" sizes. Rods use a 1/2" drill chuck mounted on a hollow bolt with a stepped well drilled in the adapter block. Rode sizes of 1/8", 3/16" and 1/4" are covered with over 5" of insertion. Elevation of 0-25 degrees is controlled by a ball end tension rod. Controls are a little tight but I was trying to pack a lot of stuff in a small space. When I build the full size high power version things will get a little more spread out.

IMG_1008.jpgIMG_1003.jpgIMG_0999.jpgIMG_1001.jpgIMG_0998.jpg
 

cwbullet

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Anyone else have photos?
 

retortec

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Here is a low to mid power pad my daughter and I call the "Tuff Pad". Frame is PVC and the removable legs are reinforced with chains. Power is provided by 6 D batteries hidden in one leg. Power is fuse protected and has continuity light and arm buzzer on the controller. Blast plate is a $3.00 saw blade from harbor freight with the teeth knocked off. Drill chuck is also from harbor freight and is protected by a $1.00 flower pot. Elevation is adjustable from 0 to 30 degrees.

IMG_1026.jpgIMG_1030.jpgIMG_1039.jpg
 
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cwbullet

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I am planing anew pad for our club and would love to see more examples.
 
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