# I broke down and ordered my own launch gear.

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#### Senior Space Cadet

##### Well-Known Member
TRF Supporter
What guy doesn't like things that go fast and shoot out flames? Other than that, my two goals, with rocketry, were to keep my mind active, now that I'm retired, and to make some new friends.
So I hadn't really intended to buy my own launch gear. I figured I'd be joining a club and using theirs.
Thing is, clubs aren't launching in Colorado. I don't see how fire danger is any higher this year than previous, but maybe they've just gotten more cautious. Not sure individuals can launch, legally, either. A couple years ago, a couple guys, out camping, started a forest fire that ended up killing some people. They got charged with murder. Burning down someone's house or, heaven forbid, causing someone's death, is something no one wants on their conscience.
What I'm hoping, what I'm thinking, is that after a good, overnight rain (rare in Colorado), the next morning might be a window of opportunity. I'm not sure whether to run the idea past the local law, who are going to be overly cautious, or just be sneaky about it. At the very least, the first snow will allow launching.
Anyway, I went ahead and ordered some launch gear. I figure it expands my options. I ordered a launch pad and electronics from Estes, but then it occurred to me that someone must surely make an adapter for camera tripods, which I have an abundance of, and sure enough, I found one at Apogee, so I'll be ordering that too. It only holds rods up to 3/16, so I'm still glad I ordered a pad with a 1/4 rod.
But now I'm thinking that, as my rockets get bigger and more powerful, I'm going to want to go to rails and buttons. I guess that's when I'll have to depend on a club.

#### prfesser

It only holds rods up to 3/16, so I'm still glad I ordered a pad with a 1/4 rod.
But now I'm thinking that, as my rockets get bigger and more powerful, I'm going to want to go to rails and buttons. I guess that's when I'll have to depend on a club.
Hi SSC, I'm a huge fan of rails and railbuttons, and strongly recommend them for every rocket. They are less obtrusive of the rocket's appearance; no rod whip; easily seen, so less likely to be sat upon or lost in the grass; no bent rods when sat upon; less chance of putting out an eye when approaching the pad. Check eBay frequently for the rail. Shipping is sometimes more than the rail itself, but occasionally one will come up for a reasonable price and with free shipping.

I'm also a fan of minimizing the number of rods. If the rocket is too big for a 1/8" rod, skip the 3/16" and go to a 1/4". (Too big for a 1/4? Definitely go with a rail.)

Best -- Terry

#### Steve Shannon

##### Well-Known Member
TRF Supporter
SSC
The reason the clubs are not flying may be related to injunctions against group activities due to the pandemic. In any case I would talk to the local fire marshal, to ask where model rockets are allowed. Of course anything larger than FAA Class 1 must have a COA anyway which usually is obtained by a club.

#### Joshua F Thomas

##### Well-Known Member
Doesn't the NAR liability insurance also cover you for damages, assuming you're correctly following all NAR guidelines?

#### Senior Space Cadet

##### Well-Known Member
TRF Supporter
Doesn't the NAR liability insurance also cover you for damages, assuming you're correctly following all NAR guidelines?
I guess I better join NAR.

#### Senior Space Cadet

##### Well-Known Member
TRF Supporter
SSC
The reason the clubs are not flying may be related to injunctions against group activities due to the pandemic. In any case I would talk to the local fire marshal, to ask where model rockets are allowed. Of course anything larger than FAA Class 1 must have a COA anyway which usually is obtained by a club.
I had assumed that covid-19 was the reason, but I was told it was fire bans. Maybe both. Yes, I should talk to the local authorities. I wasn't sure who to talk to. Fire marshal sounds like a good start.

#### Senior Space Cadet

##### Well-Known Member
TRF Supporter
Hi SSC, I'm a huge fan of rails and railbuttons, and strongly recommend them for every rocket. They are less obtrusive of the rocket's appearance; no rod whip; easily seen, so less likely to be sat upon or lost in the grass; no bent rods when sat upon; less chance of putting out an eye when approaching the pad. Check eBay frequently for the rail. Shipping is sometimes more than the rail itself, but occasionally one will come up for a reasonable price and with free shipping.

I'm also a fan of minimizing the number of rods. If the rocket is too big for a 1/8" rod, skip the 3/16" and go to a 1/4". (Too big for a 1/4? Definitely go with a rail.)

Best -- Terry
I suppose, if I'd been smart, I would have posted a question about launch gear weeks ago, but I hadn't planned on getting my own gear.
I'm not planning on building anything larger than a BT-80. Don't you need to be able to reach inside to secure the button?
Now, I suppose, I should start looking into buying or constricting what I need.
What do I need?

#### dhbarr

##### Amateur Professional
Rails are great, but I do all my low-to-mid solo stuff on something very much like
It's been good enough for everything up to a g76 so far.

#### AfterBurners

##### Well-Known Member
You could also build a pad that will adapt to both rails and rods.

#### Senior Space Cadet

TRF Supporter
I've been looking at 8020 10/10 extrusions. A six foot section would probably cost me around $30, with shipping, but I'm not sure how I'd make a base for it. The ready made rail launchers are ridiculously expensive. I've got a launch pad with 1/4 inch rod coming. I'll see what I think when it comes. 1/4" rod should be pretty stiff. I probably wouldn't be launching my D and E motor rockets, on my own, so I could use buttons on those and just assume I'll be using the club launch pads. #### rklapp ##### NAR# 109557 TRF Supporter I just use the regular Estes launch pad that fit 1/8" mostly for A through C motors (13 and 18 mm) and 3/16” mostly for D and E motors (24mm). It's easy to swap the rods (except the stupid wing nut keeps bending). Need the Porta Pad II for the 29mm motors (I believe). I've ordered the DIY parts for making my own launcher with a key and covered switch and lighted button. It will be awesome. If you let us know what county in Colorado you're in, we can help you look up local ordinances. For example, here's mine. Last edited: #### dr wogz ##### Fly caster 1/8" dia rod for small (18mm) builds, get one 3' long. 3/16" dia rod for larger (24mm) builds, get one 4' long 1/8" = .125" 3/16" = .1875" buy some 'piano wire' from the local hobby shop / hardware store. much better, and some #400 emery paper to get it silky smooth. (and to remove rust & crud) 1/4" rods are rare these days.. No need for a 1010 rail until you get into MPR. a mini rail is a good idea, but decide now, so you only need buy one rod rail system. Find out what the intended club has. Mine has both rods and a mini rail. nothing says you can't add both (I have a few with both lugs and rails: no waiting for a pad!) #### Greg Furtman ##### Well-Known Member TRF Supporter I built a wood tripod with adjustable wooden legs (originally designed for telescopes) and put a 1/8", 8" diameter SS disk on it. I had a rocket bind once on an Estes launch pad and it burned right through the aluminum disk! Having once been a stainless steel fabricator I know that SS endures hi temps much better than aluminum. I bought the disk on Ebay for around$10.

Here's a link to the tripod I made. And at age 69 and having back problems I like the height above the ground this gives me.

#### MALBAR 70

##### More Rockets Than Room
The Oddl' Rockets Adeptor is excellent for converting a camera tripod to rocketry use. It will hold 1/8" and 3\16" rods easily.
The Estes launch pad made for E engines holds a 1/4" rod, but the base is somewhat flimsy. The one I have fell over with my Estes Sat V on it... twice. I'd suggest either staking the legs down or at least couple of bricks to keep it upright.

My tripod converted to launch pad. The best part? No more kneeling down to attach the leads!
I also use one of Oddl' Rockets Raise springs to keep my rockets off the deflector.

#### rklapp

##### NAR# 109557
TRF Supporter
1/8" dia rod for small (18mm) builds, get one 3' long.
3/16" dia rod for larger (24mm) builds, get one 4' long

1/8" = .125"
3/16" = .1875"

buy some 'piano wire' from the local hobby shop / hardware store. much better, and some #400 emery paper to get it silky smooth. (and to remove rust & crud)

1/4" rods are rare these days..

No need for a 1010 rail until you get into MPR. a mini rail is a good idea, but decide now, so you only need buy one rod rail system. Find out what the intended club has. Mine has both rods and a mini rail. nothing says you can't add both (I have a few with both lugs and rails: no waiting for a pad!)
I stand corrected.

The standard rods are 32” and 35.5” long. I’ve been thinking of getting longer launch rods.

TRF Supporter

#### jrap330

##### Retired Engineer, NAR # 76940
TRF Supporter
What guy doesn't like things that go fast and shoot out flames? Other than that, my two goals, with rocketry, were to keep my mind active, now that I'm retired, and to make some new friends.
So I hadn't really intended to buy my own launch gear. I figured I'd be joining a club and using theirs.
Thing is, clubs aren't launching in Colorado. I don't see how fire danger is any higher this year than previous, but maybe they've just gotten more cautious. Not sure individuals can launch, legally, either. A couple years ago, a couple guys, out camping, started a forest fire that ended up killing some people. They got charged with murder. Burning down someone's house or, heaven forbid, causing someone's death, is something no one wants on their conscience.
What I'm hoping, what I'm thinking, is that after a good, overnight rain (rare in Colorado), the next morning might be a window of opportunity. I'm not sure whether to run the idea past the local law, who are going to be overly cautious, or just be sneaky about it. At the very least, the first snow will allow launching.
Anyway, I went ahead and ordered some launch gear. I figure it expands my options. I ordered a launch pad and electronics from Estes, but then it occurred to me that someone must surely make an adapter for camera tripods, which I have an abundance of, and sure enough, I found one at Apogee, so I'll be ordering that too. It only holds rods up to 3/16, so I'm still glad I ordered a pad with a 1/4 rod.
But now I'm thinking that, as my rockets get bigger and more powerful, I'm going to want to go to rails and buttons. I guess that's when I'll have to depend on a club.
You need to check AC supply and Hobbylinc........guys on this forum love them.. Prices are 20-30% less including the Estes Pad and Pro Controller. There was a good article 2-3 years ago about using a tripod and drill chuck which numerous poster on this site have made.

#### CoAz2k

##### Member
Thing is, clubs aren't launching in Colorado.
SCORE is flying southwest of Pueblo. I understand NCR is not flying due to fire risk.

I went to the SCORE site with the kids on 4 July to get some flights in. Joined the club and we'll be back.

Take water and shade. Bring mask(s) for RSO check-in and racking.

Looking forward to NCR to get flying again, but the SCORE site is closer to where I live near Colorado Springs anyways.

#### jrap330

##### Retired Engineer, NAR # 76940
TRF Supporter
A few years ago Sport Rocketry (NAR Magazine) had an article about converting old tripod with drill chuck to a launch pad. So JOIN NAR and get your magazine. You had to buy some hardware of course to mount drill chuck to tripod. So if anyone has it or can locate it..please provide for OP. OP- you said it, rails are expensive so don't worried until you have a Big Bird that may require it and by that time you will be launching with the club. 3/16 and 1/4 should be good for a while. And for all the good comments by members...my 3/16 rod is pretty stiff so I assume 1/4 would be even better. And as someone stated 2 weeks ago...stainless steel rods are no good...they bend more than non stainless. I assume you have you Estes starter set to launch all these small birds you build.

#### gna

##### average joe-overbuild member
Someone was throwing a tripod away at work, so I pulled it out of the dumpster. I had an old Makita drill that had died so I used the chuck for my launchpad. I used a piece of plywood, a 1/4-20 Teenut to attach to the tripod, and a bolt to hold the chuck. I think it was 3/8" but I can't remember. I bought 1/8" and 3/16" rod from the hardware store. Works fine.

I do have a 1/4" rod though I haven't tried it yet. I can splay the legs out, but I would probably weight them down, too.

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#### SCooke123

##### Well-Known Member
I built a wood tripod with adjustable wooden legs (originally designed for telescopes) and put a 1/8", 8" diameter SS disk on it. I had a rocket bind once on an Estes launch pad and it burned right through the aluminum disk! Having once been a stainless steel fabricator I know that SS endures hi temps much better than aluminum. I bought the disk on Ebay for around \$10.

Here's a link to the tripod I made. And at age 69 and having back problems I like the height above the ground this gives me.

Nice set-up for a tripod, looks pretty well made.

#### Joshua F Thomas

##### Well-Known Member
Someone was throwing a tripod away at work, so I pulled it out of the dumpster
This looks suspiciously like the tripod I bought several years ago and have never used.... might be time to see if I can retrofit that.