Launch Pad

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Hi, Everyone!

Great forum!!!

I'm rather new to the sport (my 10 year old nephew wanted to try rocketry and now I'm hooked) and have an Estes starter kit and I've been launching Estes and Quest rockets without any issues. My question is, has any tried converting old camera tripods into launch pads? Good/bad idea? The reason for using a tripod, is the height flexibility. Please advise.


I haven't done it, but am considering it. I've seen plenty of photos in books and magazines. I imagine the best way to do it is to sink a threaded receptor into one side of a wood block- this you attach to your tripod head. Then on the other (top) side you drill a hole to hold your launch rod and attach a blast deflector.

Be aware of this: NAR regs stipulate that a launcher must be tilted no more than 30 degrees from vertical.

Oh - and welcome to TRF!
Micromister - you are the MAN!!! I love that pad.
If you use a relay ignition system, with a motorcycle or boat or even a car battery, the battery is going to be at the pad anyway, so why not hang the battery from the head of the tripod. The added weight will hold your launcher solid in any wind that it is safe to launch in (higher winds than that, you're on your own).
If i can get my hands on an old tripod i'd love to do this to... and i'd like to make something to hang the batt under the pad like powder said... shouldn't be hard, but what relay do i need? is there one i could trigger w/my estes controler, or would i hafta build a whole nother system? i'm planing on using a boat batt, b/c we have one (i hope it still holds a charge!).
I just finished one out of 1" pvc pipe using a cross fitting.. 4 45deg ells and one 10' joint of pipe and 4 caps...

launch rod attachment was with some eyebolts and a threaded rod adaptor..

total cost was about 12 bucks...

Originally posted by bsexton
How about these speaker stands:


These are used for launch pads by LUNAR in CA and they only cost about $30.
Originally posted by Astronut
has any tried converting old camera tripods into launch pads? Good/bad idea? The reason for using a tripod, is the height flexibilty. Please advise.

This is a great idea; I did that a few years ago! See the attached photo. You can find reprints of "Building the Tripod Mount Launch Pad" in Sport Rocketry, 42 (1999), 20, or in the NAR Member Guidebook, August 2001 Edition on page 19, or in the Leading Edge, Newsletter of the Northern Illinois Rocketry Association, Volume 21, Number 7, November/December 1998 on page 8. If you can't find any of these sources PM me for more details.

Bruce S. Levison, NAR #69055