Do you powder your parachutes on cold launches?

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ArthurAstroCam

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Thinking about trying some Tire Talc. What, if anything, do you use on your chutes for a powder when it is cold out during a launch?
 

neil_w

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Plastic parachutes do definitely require extra attention and care in the cold weather. I do apply a small bit of talc onto my plastic chutes, even when it's not so cold. Also, when I remember, I unpack them the night before and spread them out, so they can flatten out before getting jammed back into the rocket.
 

Bill S

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I tried it, and had zero luck with it. I switched to thin-mil parachutes (Top Flight) and haven't had any issues since. But I don't fly in December-February either.
 

ArthurAstroCam

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I tried it, and had zero luck with it. I switched to thin-mil parachutes (Top Flight) and haven't had any issues since. But I don't fly in December-February either.
I have a Top Flight that I got for my AstroCam, that is too large. I may try their smallest, which I believe is a 12. The stock chute is a 15, and that's what I got for a top Flight, which turned out much too bulky.
 

Buckeye

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I leave plastic chutes unfurled overnight, dust with talc, and I still get a "para-wad" 50% of the time on winter flights.

I want to replace them with small nylon chutes, I but haven't gotten around to it yet. Estes rockets are essentially disposable to me, so I don't want to pump a lot of money into them.
 

dr wogz

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define "cold".. 30-40°F? 20-30°F? 0°F?!

The typical plastic chutes on mine rarely get any powder. but I do 'fluff' them out prior to packing & launching. I have also invert-folded them (fold it back onto itself) to ensure they do at least make a circle when deployed. I've found the cold tends to freeze the plastic into the ball; the plastic becomes very stiff, so no amount of powder helps..

But then again, I fly in Canadian winters; below freezing temps.. -5 to -15°C is not uncommon..


(I remember one year, a friend's school bag cracked. it was the trendy Adidas vinyl bag from the early 80's.. left it in line at the bus stop one morning.. cold enough to freeze vinyl to the point of it shattering!)
 

ArthurAstroCam

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define "cold".. 30-40°F? 20-30°F? 0°F?!

The typical plastic chutes on mine rarely get any powder. but I do 'fluff' them out prior to packing & launching. I have also invert-folded them (fold it back onto itself) to ensure they do at least make a circle when deployed. I've found the cold tends to freeze the plastic into the ball; the plastic becomes very stiff, so no amount of powder helps..

But then again, I fly in Canadian winters; below freezing temps.. -5 to -15°C is not uncommon..


(I remember one year, a friend's school bag cracked. it was the trendy Adidas vinyl bag from the early 80's.. left it in line at the bus stop one morning.. cold enough to freeze vinyl to the point of it shattering!)
Below freezing, 32 degrees Fahrenheit here.
 

manixFan

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I switched to nylon streamers on small rockets in cold weather, and the thin mil nylon for regular chutes when needed. I also found dusting the inside of the rocket itself with a bit of talc helps if it's a tight fit.


Tony
 

GlenP

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I would open up and repack the chute right before launch, rather than have it packed up at home before going to the launch site.
 

Back_at_it

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Stopped powdering chutes years ago. Found that it tends to get sticky over the years with moisture and repeated use. Eventually pulled and replaced all of the chutes that were powdered. If I'm flying in cold weather, I keep my chutes in the car with my motors until right before launch.
 

cautery

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Hmmm... I don't think I would ever use talc. That stuff accumulates and becomes sticky/gummy. But I do see a purpose for "powdering".

Guess I found a use for the leftover gallon jugs of PTFE and Hex Boron Nitride (HBN) powders I acquired for other purposes. Both make excellent dry lubes.
 

icyclops

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Thinking about trying some Tire Talc. What, if anything, do you use on your chutes for a powder when it is cold out during a launch?
I have a big old can of J&J baby powder….old style. Works on plastic chutes very well.
 

MidOH

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I crumble, open, crumble, open, crumble, open, crumble, fold, pack. If it feels sticky, I might dust it a bit, but it's usually not needed.

You just need to make some fresh wrinkles to get rid of the chutes storage set.
 

gldknght

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I normally just use baby powder on plastic chutes when the rocket is first assembled. And after the last flight for the day, I leave the chutes out of the body tube so they don't develop a 'memory'.

Never had an issue with baby powder getting sticky or gummy.

My guess would be, if you have gummy sticky plastic chutes, you could wipe them down with isopropyl alcohol to clean them. I would only put the alcohol on the towel, not sprayed directly on the plastic. Be sure to let the chute dry completely, then re-powder.

Also, use the powder SPARINGLY. A little goes a long way!
 

prfesser

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Hmmm... I don't think I would ever use talc. That stuff accumulates and becomes sticky/gummy. But I do see a purpose for "powdering".

Guess I found a use for the leftover gallon jugs of PTFE and Hex Boron Nitride (HBN) powders I acquired for other purposes. Both make excellent dry lubes.
That sounds like it might have been cornstarch powder, not real talc.
 

cautery

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That sounds like it might have been cornstarch powder, not real talc.
Maybe? If J&J was putting starch in their baby powder 20 years ago.

Just know that I have used PTFE and HBN successfully in a number of dry lube applications from bullets to bicycle chains, et al.

It is my goal NOT to need it on my rockets...
 

boomtube-mk2

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What's worse than the plastic chutes that are provided with so many rockets, is the growing trend of using thick cotton string for the shroud lines.
I mean this stuff looks like what my grandmother used to knit sweaters.
Really heavy sweaters, the kind that would keep you warm in sub-zero temperatures.
 

Back_at_it

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That sounds like it might have been cornstarch powder, not real talc.
I use to buy actual Talc powder from a distributor that worked with my fathers company back in the day. In humid or damp conditions it would get sticky. It also seemed to collect and trap the residue from the ejection charge which made handling the rocket so much fun afterwards. I'd always end up with the milky grey stuff all over my hands and eventually my shirt.

I've found that on cold days (below freezing) that keeping them in opened in my car right up until I move the rocket to the pad works without the mess.
 

prfesser

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Maybe? If J&J was putting starch in their baby powder 20 years ago.

Just know that I have used PTFE and HBN successfully in a number of dry lube applications from bullets to bicycle chains, et al.

It is my goal NOT to need it on my rockets...
Today virtually all "baby powder" is scented cornstarch, but I don't know when it was introduced.
 

shawn_rocket

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I use Trident super slick wet suit powder. I believe it has no corn starch in it, which can be pretty flammable. Hard to get pure Talcum powder. I also use the colored chalk for chalk lines if I want to see a plume of dust when my model rockets deploy. Works really well! But for cold weather, it's thin mil all the way!
 

cautery

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Today virtually all "baby powder" is scented cornstarch, but I don't know when it was introduced.
FYI:

1) J&J only quit selling its Baby Powder product in May of 2020.
2) Talc is NOT carcinogenic....
3) Unless the talc deposit was contaminated with asbestos.
4) The use of cornstarch as a substitute is due to the bad press that talc got because of the J&J lawsuit over supposed "contaminated talc" having detectable levels of asbestos. The standard for cosmetic/personal use talc products has been zero detectable asbestos since 1976.

Talc is demonstrably inferior to any number of other dry lubricant powders....
 

Sooner Boomer

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If you do use baby powder, don't just pour it on, rub it in. It will help lubricate more if the powder is in more intimate contact.

On a second note, I would NOT use colored line chalk. Yeah, it's slippery, but....just don't. I try to learn from other's experiences.
 

dr wogz

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Have you seen an issue with colored chalk?
it's meant to mark, to be somewhat permanent; a permanent indicator. I'm thinking the powdered chalk from chalk lines. that stuff stays! (How many of us have a spot in the garage or workshop where the jar spilt, back in 1984! still there!!)

gets on your hand, on your jeans, on your car seat, on your.... and you can't wash it off!!
 
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