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Launch pads for bigger rockets

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David Schwantz

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Did a search but came up zippo. Looking for pads that will do bigger rockets. I have a 16" dia one and our pads did not like all that weight hanging off to one side. Show me what you've got. Thanks.
 

David Schwantz

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Hey Rich. that looks very nice. Do you know how much it weighs? Did you build it or is it available from someone? Thanks, Dave.
 

rharshberger

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Hey Rich. that looks very nice. Do you know how much it weighs? Did you build it or is it available from someone? Thanks, Dave.
I built it, and its .083 wall (iirc) 3"x3" steel tube, weighs about 75lbs and is very stable. If I were to use longer rails I would use a guy line system for stabilising the longer rails, but 12' rails are stiff enough. I built a system that uses the 10' Unistrut rail as a receiver and the 1515 and 1010 rails a fitted with "shoes" that slide into the Unistrut and a single pin holds the rails in place (Unistrut is bolt to vertical arm). The pad is entirely no tools required (or to loose in the dirt). It has +/- 15° vertical tilt adjustment.

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Eventually it will get a blast deflector.
 

tfish

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I've modified a few Coker pads and have made 20 (?) of them for Spaceport America. The ones I modified for Aeropac have 1515 on one side and 1010 on the other side. All the pads for Spaceport have just 17' of 1515 on them. https://www.rocketryforum.com/threads/modified-john-coker-pads.138634/

A couple years ago I made myself a 'big' pad. The legs are made from 1/8" 2x4" aluminm 6 foot long. The rest of the pad is made similar to the others. Using aluminum makes them corrosion proof but the lite weigh is not the best thing for a pad for big rockets. I filled the legs with lite weight concrete. The base now weighs 130 pounds. I'm not sure what the 20' rail assembly weighs. It too has 1515 on one side and 1010 on the other. I figured out how to add unistrut to the 1515 by just sliding the special nuts into the 1515. Below are some not so good photos.

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Tony
 

David Schwantz

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Rich, is it anchored to the ground? Looks like spikes on the ends of the legs?
 

David Schwantz

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Those are super Tony. Our pads allowed a tilt when the rocket was installed. I am looking for ideas on how to either change the pad or build a new one.
 

rharshberger

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Rich, is it anchored to the ground? Looks like spikes on the ends of the legs?
Yep, each leg has a 3/4" x 18" long concrete forming stake that a washer has been welded too it driven through a hole in the tab that put there for staking. For leveling I have some 2x4 wood block with a 1" hole drilled in them that can be stacked (visible on left side front) to get the pad level.
 

David Schwantz

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We fly off a sod farm.
Would have to check if driving stakes would be ok.
 

rharshberger

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We fly off a sod farm.
Would have to check if driving stakes would be ok.
So do we, driving stakes is usually not an issue, normally we would not have put the pad in the location we did, but the farmers had harvested the sod a few days before. We use stakes on many of our pads, as long as the sod has nothing more than a stake shaped hole in it there isn't an issue, of course our farmers happen to be about as awesome as we could ask for. They even burned the area between the sod circles off for use on a bad fire hazard year (we had asked if we could mow the area), they got it done by the local volunteer FD as a "practice" wildland fire.
 

David Schwantz

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Ours are pretty good also, but yours sound great. Guess I'm moving to WA.
 

rharshberger

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Ours are pretty good also, but yours sound great. Guess I'm moving to WA.
We do have some nice pads, and yes I am biased as the majority of them were built by me! 😀
We always like to welcome new fliers here, and we dont have near the drama of the other side of the state.
 

David Schwantz

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I am sure your pads are great, but I was meaning your land owners:)
 

rharshberger

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I am sure your pads are great, but I was meaning your land owners:)
In that case buy a lottery ticket, a lot farmers out here aren't necessarily that receptive to hobbyists and most areas are dryland wheat the ladt place rockets are wanted. The lottery ticket would have better chances of winning than finding supportive host landowners.
 

profmason

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I am reviving this thread to talk big launch pads. I made a 30ft unistrut launch rail out of a 20ft piece of 6"x4" rectangular tubing with a separate 12ft piece that could be bolted on with the unistrut riv-nutted to the tube. There is 2"x4" square tubing for legs with a 350lb counterweight and a manual screw jack to lift (I wanted hydraulic and it will be swapped now that we have a powerpack)
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The pad is on two 4" diameter machinery leveling feet in the rear and bolted down in the middle with a 3/4" threaded rod into the 6" concrete slab.

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There person is quite a bit in the foreground so not good for scale, but the booster in the background is ~9ft long.
While this rail handled our last 330lb experimental project fine, the next project is looking like 850lbs. I had only planned this rail for 500lbs so am looking for any input on how much weight we can put on unistrut (really just side loads since we are not hanging the rocket from it) Currently using two nylon unistrut rail buttons attached to 5/16 shoulder bolts that are threaded into the 1"+ wide retaining rings on the forward bulkhead and nozzle.
I know that unistrut rail trolleys are rated to 600lbs(With the load hanging off the trolley). What are the biggest projects that have been flown off unistrut rail?
 

cwbullet

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I am going to build a larger Coker style pad that is bolt together. My plan is to be able to disassemble it and being able to replace parts without welding.
 

High Desert Rocketry

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That pad withstood our 8" sugar CATO that sent the rocket up to 1,498' off the pad...230 pounds of propellant, kudos to the $15 EggTimer 'Apogee' altimeter that survived the ~100G 'liftoff'
What I think was really impressive was the prep table 25' away was undisturbed except for an empty red coffee cup that fell over.

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In case you're wondering why there are boulders and craters in the 6" thick concrete pad, it was made for this challenge years ago; it was impressive seeing them fly.

 
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High Desert Rocketry

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I am going to build a larger Coker style pad that is bolt together. My plan is to be able to disassemble it and being able to replace parts without welding.
I like my pads 'portable' that fit in my car. This pad fits on the passenger seat of my Honda Civic.
photo with Citrus College NASA USLI two-stage rocket for the year the competition was held in Utah.
 

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cwbullet

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I like my pads 'portable' that fit in my car. This pad fits on the passenger seat of my Honda Civic.
photo with Citrus College NASA USLI two-stage rocket for the year the competition was held in Utah.
You must be a pro-packer.
 
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