HPR tilting pad head [long]

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Nov 3, 2004
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Our fledgling NAR section in Savannah is trying to get together some launch equipment. We have plenty of LPR options, so I'm trying to get together some MPR/HPR equipment. (If you live around Savannah, Ga please contact me for info on our next launch, we have a nice field out near Newington. SHARC would love to have you over for launch ;) )

I'm working on a HPR pad for the eight foot rail I just bought from McMaster-Carr. I'm using a rail adapter to adapt it to a 1/2 inch rod. That rod is held by a drill chuck so we can chuck up and use other size rods for MPR as well. Now I'm trying to come up with a simple, heavy-duty "head" that will allow a 20 degree adjustment and also drop all the way to horizontal for easy rocket loading.

I've looked at other pads, and I really like the QuadPod design. Unfortunatly, my budget for this part is less than $50, so I'm under a good deal of design constraints. It needs to be strong for heavier rockets. I am trying to adapt other technology rather than scratch build, but will do what I have to if I can't make some sort of other equipment work. I was trying to avoid welding, that way I could make the whole thing myself.

I've looked at drum stands and am going to scour stores for used parts that I could use to make it work. Unfortunatly, drums tend to be sorta light. This might work well for LPR, but for LPR I think I'd just make a PVC pad like I've seen plans for. I've figured out how I'm going to make my tripod out of parts I already have, it's just the tilting/elevation mechanisim that has me stymied.

I've also looked at camera tripod heads, and the ones that handle heavy cameras are out of my budget.

Thanks for any advice, maybe I'll get the inspiriation from your ideas! Please respond with any suggestions, I haven't ruled anything out yet.

John Gordon
The most common tilting mechanism I have seen is two eye bolts with a carriage bolt and wingnut. People also tend to grind one side flat so a better friction surface is created.

80/20 also has a hinge that attaches to the end of an extrusion that costs about $10 at McMaster-Carr. You could work around that part with the only tricky part being how to hold the rail vertical.