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High Power "Fill a clear tube with a LED and EL wire light show" build. What body tube material ?

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For a level 2 build that we want to install a light show inside, acrylic or polycarbonate body tube?

  • acrylic

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Susan Sakimoto

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I am starting the design of a level 2 rocket build with a friend who wants to help stuff it full of arduino-run LED's and EL wire for a fun night launch to be filmed with high speed film. Does anyone have experience with acrylic versus polycarbonate clear body tube builds? Or do you have a suggestion for another material? This thing needs to fit onto an L motor or smaller, including payload.

And, incidentally, our laser cutter will cut acrylic. Are acrylic fins plausible for L2? We've been using one for baltic birch fins for mid-power and L1 for quite a while, and he just cut me a set of acrylic ones for a level one design as an experiment. I have seen them in low power kits. Not sure how well they will sand to an aerodynamic edge, or how brittle they are, or how well rocketpoxy holds under L2 stress.

And yes, we know we will need special FAA permission. Working with the local club on that.
 

dhbarr

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One of 'em scratches more easily, the other one shatters more easily. One of 'em lasers, the other one doesn't.

I don't remember which is which, we just glued the can-be-scratched one inside the easily-shattered one with uv-resistant glue.

Disclaimer: it was for a tooling shield, not a rocket body.
 

mikec

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Polycarbonate is stronger. I've seen HPR rockets with acrylic fins have the fins rip off ("speed of plexiglass") though it depends on the speed and geometry, of course.

You may be pretty challenged to get a waiver for an HPR night launch. At our site we've never gotten approval and just fly Class 1.
 

mikec

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Wow, leave it to John to make the rest of us look like amateurs! I can only imagine how painful the lawn dart was.

Note that he says there's no point in making the fins clear, which I would agree with.
 

Susan Sakimoto

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Woo hoo! John's approach is awesome. I think we can get the night launch approval--so says the local club contact. And the Adafruit neopixel line is exactly what we were looking at. I do like the acrylic or polycarbonate over a core tube approach. Thanks! I see we have a little more machining in our future that I anticipated, but more time with power tools is always a plus.

sticking with birch or fiberglass fins is definitely simpler, so thanks for that suggestion as well. Y'all rock.
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