Giant Leap Tower Launcher

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Well-Known Member
Apr 2, 2003
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I was looking at the Giant Leap Tower Launchers and was wondering; what prevents the three stainless steel rods from marring the finished on a rocket? Do you have to do a combination of lubricating the rods and not tightening them too much onto the rocket? Does the absence of rail or rod guides really help performance a lot ?
You don't tighten them down too closely, plus sort of picture the rocket 'gently' bouncing off the rods. It will seek the path of least resistance and center out quickly.

As far as performance improvement, you get it both from the elimination of friction between the rod/rail and lug/buttons AND from the greatly decreased drag of nothing protruding off the side of your rocket.

The drag introduced by lugs or buttons is much more than you might realize. I had a discussion with someone who had actually seen double-digit percentage improvement in altitude with the elimination of launch lugs, although I don't remember the exact numbers.

It would be pretty inexpensive to do your own tests. Try building 2 models about like LOC Lil Nukes exactly the same, one with a launch lug, one without. Include a place to put a simple 'altitude only' altimeter. Make a simple tower out of 3 pieces of 5' long electrical conduit, a bucket, and some ready-mix concrete. Fly each model 3-4 times on an E-16 or similar motor and record the altitudes. I think you will see consistent performance improvement from the tower launcher.

I might just do this myself and report back in a few months.

I am assuming that there is a size limit with this "tower launcher"..... Anyone know what the limit is?
Thanks for the info llickteig, although I am sort of maxed out on projects for the time being, that does sound like an intriguing experiment.

Rocketmaniac, it says that their most expensive model can handle up to 4" diameter rockets. From the looks of it it could probably handle some pretty good sized HP motors.