DIY or local source for couplers and bulkheads?

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Well-Known Member
Feb 10, 2017
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Wanted to add a payload section to an Estes Mammoth, just need to cut the airframe, add a bulkhead and coupler, and move the shock card. However, although the bulkhead and coupler cost just a dollar or two from online vendors, they charge $6-$10 for shipping, which seems a lot. Is there some local source (e.g., Home Depot) product or household products that can be pressed into service? I found a large plastic bottle cap that is the right size for a bulkhead, maybe fill it with epoxy for extra strength. Would that work?
A hard problem with random plastics is finding the right adhesive.

But yeah, Red Diamond Iced Tea caps fit nicely in a 38mm tube, for instance.
Is there some local source (e.g., Home Depot) product or household products that can be pressed into service?

For the couplers I usually just take a similar size or slightly larger body tube and cut a slice out of the side just the right size so that it fits inside one of the 2 tubes that I plan to join without any overlap. Then I take a piece of tube and glue it on the inside edge of the seam to act as a splice plate. I did this today with a piece of BT-60 to make a 6" long stiffy tube to reinforce a BT-56 rocket that got damaged after a hard landing.

If you have a drill press in your shop it is pretty easy to cut your own bulkheads and centering rings from 1/8" plywood that you can get easily at local craft stores like Michael's, JoAnne Fabric or Hobby Lobby. I got a carbide tipped circle cutter from Harbor Freight for less than $10 and it does an OK job (for the price).:wink:
heres a good video from john coker on making couplers

any local hobby shops that carry estes rockets near ya? hobby lobbys usually carry rocket stuff and might have parts. they also have wood stuff that a bulkhead could be made from.
You can always take a section of body tube about 3 or 4 inches long and cut a strip out of it to reduce the diameter. Obviously not as strong as a real coupler as you have a gap in it, but it does work.
I do the samething that Mr. Rocket does to make couplers. I overlap the seams by about an half of an inch with another piece of body tube, which is then glued in place. For bulkheads I use whatever I have handy, depending on the bulkhead useage. I will use a hole saw or my band saw on lightweight ply and my x-acto knife on cardboard. Sometimes I have to double-up the bulkhead for the strength and for its usage.