Custom Tubes

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Well-Known Member
Jan 18, 2009
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I was curious if anyone here had experience rolling their own tubes. I'm looking for a long-term scale project that requires custom sizes, and figured tube rolling would be a good skill to learn. I'm more looking rolling paper tubes, rather than fiberglass. Thanks in advance!
With so many size tube available now it's hard to imagine needing to make custome tubes for most model projects. That said tho I've run into occasions where the still still comes in handy.

Spiral wound I've only done very tiny tubes.... actually micro Launch lugs. but the same procedure is used for larger tubes as well.
I think if you can get PlasticPaul to respond he's done tons of different sizes micro to HPR with butcher paper and cardstock.

Heres a pictorial on those micro Launch lugs. The wire guage is .051" or .052". They work beautifully in micro Scale models. Sorry I have nothing larger to show.
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I am in a similar situation, needing to build a ring fin in the 4-5" diameter range, that is preferably made with the light construction of low power tubes, rather than high power, thicker tubes. Chances are, since my main body tube is 2.217", I will just use two tubes cut in half, streatched out, and then overlapped with another two tubes, rotated 90deg. I Feel like this should be strong enough, because it won't have to support anything, it will just be glued on to some fins.

if you don't mind the slight increase to weight, you could use the same technique for making your tubes, but they will definitely be weaker than something spiral wound.
I wrote up a page on how to roll your own tubing on my Mod Roc building website listed below my name. It's in the Budget Rocketry section.
I follow Eric Truax's method of letting a coat of white glue dry and using a hot, dry iron to seal them.
I've had good luck with BT-5 and BT-20 sized tubing. Anything larger diameter and they don't feel strong enough.
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