Initiator & Mantis starter kit? Thoughts before purchacing

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dr wogz

Fly caster
Feb 5, 2009
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Land of Poutine!
I'm curious..

Is this worth it? Any good? A waste? Both the pad and teh rocket; the Initiator?

Opinions? any and all comments are welcome (and encouraged!)

I'm curious to know what others feel about this set-up. The launcher does look cool and neat. But is it worth it? Or is it 'over engineered with inferiour materials'? Or shoudl I jsut keep my original Estes launch pad, and the occasional launchrod shoved in the ground..

I typically build low powered 'Estes' kits, but I do have a few LOC rockets, and would like to 'branch out' from the 'low power' Estes kits, and start getting into the larger 'mid power' [E, F, G] rockets. My local supplier sells Aerotech as well as LOC/Precision. How is the Initiator? I'll assume it is a decent rocket, as there are few out there that aren't!!

Does teh kit come with engines or not. The box says yes, but teh blurb under it (on the Aerotech website) says they are sold separately..

Will / can the Mantis launch pad be used for the range I've listed above? Using 1/8", 3/16" and 1/4" launch rods? I under stand it does. I also understand that I will need to modify the wires, to have clips as well as the 'copperhead' igniter clip.

(If and when I get into hi powered, I'll probably be looking at building my own launch pad..)
The rocket was good before it lawndarted, and the pad stinks. The launch control if it is in the set isn't that good, but it will fire the Copperheads and that works for me.
Originally posted by Dr Wogz
I'm curious..

Is this worth it? Any good? A waste? Both the pad and teh rocket; the Initiator?

Opinions? any and all comments are welcome (and encouraged!)


(If and when I get into hi powered, I'll probably be looking at building my own launch pad..)

The pad doesn't suck. I built one and watched it for an hour and nothing got pulled into it.

Seriously folks, if there's a problem with something and someone asks about it, it's only polite to tell them what the problem is.

The Mantis is for MPR. Your Estes pad will be easier to handle for small birds. For HPR you'd either have to extend the legs so it was more stable or move to a bigger pad. The parts look cheap but they're not, they're perfectly adequate. There were extra parts in mine.

I keep my 2 Estes pads handy. I've built a 2 foot square base 3 rod tower for big birds and lugless sport/competition birds. I'll use the Mantis for most everything from AT and things of that size. Except the Mirage. 87" long is a bit much for the Mantis. Too likely to tip off. Needs an 8 foot rod, or the tower.

I've got some old plastic tent pegs. If the Mantis is a little unstable in the field, I'll jam these in the ground over the legs. They held a tent down in a 50 mph wind, so I think they'll probably keep it from wobbling.

I *am* building another pad for smaller birds. You remember the old Gilbert Erector Set Rocket Launcher kit? You turn on the motor and the launch arm swings up into the air? heh.
The rocket is a great bird. Flies like stink on an F50,

I like the swept back fins. Sorry Joel. ;)

The pad needs help.

1) The point of attachment of the rod is weak. Even though the capability of using different rod sizes is kind of neat.

2) The adjusting mechanisim is a rather low grade plastic toy. Way below Areotech's standards.

3) The way the legs secure to the base is something I would not lay claim to as an engineer. They fit into an opening where the retention is a small bump of plastic that creates friction. It's a real pain to insert and remove them. Once it gets easy -> the legs will fall off.

4) On the plus side -> it looks kinda neat. It makes a real nice display stand if you want to take pictures of your fleet.

There were two versions of the Mantis one molded in all white the other is colors.

I've only used it twice -> the club has pads

There were two variants of the kit. One included two SU motors, one an RMS starter set. Strangely I have never actually seen one that included the motors, regardless of whether they were supposed to be there.

The controller is OK, sort of a Estes Electron Beam on Steroids.

You can start a Jihad here with respect to Copperheads ant the funky clip.
i think it's a great deal.
the initiator is nice and chunky so it doesn't just whoosh out of sight on smaller motors.
the pad seems fine to me.
i angle the legs on insertion so as not to erode the retention bumps.
i also like the launch controller, though i soldered a clip whip with normal clips in addition to the copperhead clip which also works fine for me.
the *beep* continuity check is great for getting the attention of my not-so-into-rocketry companions so they'll stop the chatter and watch the launch.
The Mantis pad is ok ,,you just cant tighten things up too much or exert a lot of force on the components,,,
the only trouble I've had with the legs is accidentaly stepping on one and it cracked the mounting hole plastic..a little epoxy fixed that.. as far as the controller..mine works fine,,it's nothing fancy but seems to get the job done again and again,,

on the other hand you could build a more robust pad with multipule rods for less
Two of my Mantis legs broke on its third use. I did not feel it was worth repairing, far too much plastic.

I have been using the Tri Pad from Holverson Designs:

It comes with three launch rods - 1/8", 3/16" and 1/4". It is all wood construction, very sturdy and it folds up quite nicely for transport - it even includes a transport rod holder for all three rods. The leg tips are chisel shaped so you can easily jam them into the ground to keep the pad steady on windy days. It is a great pad IMHO.
Great!! thanks all for the generous replies!

I guess I'll put my 'work' away and 'Autocad' something...

PVC pipes seem to be the ticket...

Any launch rod retention ideas?! I've seen a modified turn-buckle with eyebolts..

Anything else?

plans? Ideas? Ideas that seem / look really cool, but are a pain in the ...
Here is a pic of a pad I built for Shockie, now I just have to get to a launch to get it delivered to him. It's a down scaled version of a PVC rail pad I built. Total cost, not including rods was around 20-25 dollars, and it'll hold anything up to a 3/8" rod. The only tools I used, were a hack saw, hand drill, and a dremel.

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