Launch rod lubricant.

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Senior Space Cadet

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Just in case no one else has suggested this, you might try bicycle chain lube.
Some of the better ones have wax or Teflon suspended in a solvent, that evaporates, leaving a film of lubricant.
I'd check someplace like Excel Sports, on line.
I haven't had a chance to try it myself, yet, but seems like it should work.
 

DaveW6DPS

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Lubricant is generally not used because it tends to collect dust and dirt.

I have never seen any need for lubrication.

If you are talking about your own equipment, feel free to verify the hard way. For club equipment ask before applying anything to their equipment.
 

Senior Space Cadet

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Lubricant is generally not used because it tends to collect dust and dirt.

I have never seen any need for lubrication.

If you are talking about your own equipment, feel free to verify the hard way. For club equipment ask before applying anything to their equipment.
Of course I wouldn't apply lubricant to someone else's launch rod. I have my own.
Apparently a lot of people do lubricate or wax their launch rods. I saw some discussion about it on this forum, hence my suggestion.
Obviously it's a personal choice, but the slicker the rod the better the launch. Even before I saw any discussion about it, it was obvious to me that reducing friction between the lugs and rod would be a good thing. I polished the heck out of my rods with super fine steel wool.
These are "dry" lubricants. After the solvent evaporates, they shouldn't attract dust, but if you were worried about it, you'd just dampen another paper towel or facial tissue, with chain lube, and wipe the rod. Takes about thirty seconds. Not a bid idea to clean your rod between launches anyway.
 
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NateB

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Finish Line Dry Lube is a good wax for chains. It doesn't attract dirt and flakes off. I could see it working on a rocket rod.

I typically use Tri Flow on my bike chains. Like Hoppes 9, it smells good. It doesn't havs any other benefits that would help a launch rod.
 

caveduck

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The static coefficient of friction for paper materials on steel is actually high - in the range of 0.6 to 0.8, see https://www.fpl.fs.fed.us/documnts/pdf1991/johan91a.pdf. By contrast, the static coefficient for PTFE (Teflon) is much lower, ~0.05 to 0.1 depending on where you look. This means that a Teflon+solvent lubricant could be pretty helpful with fiber based launch lugs.

In the era before pistons were widespread, everyone was lubricating launch rods in competition, and cleaning before every flight. For sport flying though, it doesn't really matter, though it might prevent some models from hanging up on the launch rod. In a club situation you probably want stainless steel rods and no lubricant.
 

Handeman

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All we do at our club is wipe down the rods with some emery cloth, nothing more.
We don't even do that. We use "green meanies and WD40" for our 1010 and 1515 before the season starts. We don't supply any rods except 1/4" and below for Class 1 but don't clean them.

For sport flying though, it doesn't really matter, though it might prevent some models from hanging up on the launch rod. In a club situation you probably want stainless steel rods and no lubricant.
In our club, all rods are Class 1 and we don't do anything to them. We clean the HPR rails with green meanies and WD40 before we put them in the field in October. They stay out until April.
In 15+ years, I've never seen a rocket hang up on a rod. I did see a hybrid K motor hang up on a 1515 and burn a hole through the 3" x 3" aluminum structure of the pad, but that was a BoD member and the only one since 2003 and we don't use those type pads any longer.
We do have SLI teams and others that bring their own tower launchers and pads and we have no problem accommodating them. We also have some teams that want to clean our rails before launching, and we don't have a problem with that either, especially in March and April. ;)

We have had discussions about making those smokie and sparkie fliers come back and clean their rails, but so far, it's only been minor arguments, we have way too many other things to worry about for that to really be an issue.
 

Blast it Tom!

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I can see both sides of this - you don't want anything that would cause dust to cling to it, but anything to make the transition from standstill to stable flight go more smoothly is good! On our cars, we use a product called Collenite's Insulator Wax no. 845. Compared to other waxes it leaves an incredibly slick, but completely dry surface. So that was what we were planning to try after a thorough steel wool polish.

* Says the guy who hasn't launched a rocket in 20+ years... But I hope to soon rectify that!
 

caveduck

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I have to say we have seen a fair number of TARC and other LPR/MPR rockets hang up on rods or leave at bad angles at club launches, especially if it's breezy. Seems less common since we went to stainless steel though. We put up a few thousand total flights a year, my unscientific estimate would be maybe somewhat under 1 percent. It's one reason they now require rail launches at the TARC finals (and we do too now for anything of that size). If you fly BG at a contest it happens much oftener.

At HPR launches if the pad and rocket argue, the rocket usually wins, occasionally with spectacular results.
 
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UncleJoe

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Since I was a kid just starting out in rocketry in the late 60's, I was taught baby powder does the job nicely. Just dust your hand and rub down the rod.
 

Joe_Shockcord

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I use a stainless steel 3/16" rod (purchased from Tom's Rocket Gear) and I clean it regularly with spray silicone. Keeps it clean, shiny and slick.
 

LydaRA

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We use car wipes once a year on both the rods and the alligator clips. If I see or feel anything odd, I apply naval jelly then re-wipe. Like with a sword in fencing, it pays to both look & feel the equipment--and to retire if there is _any_ doubt!
 

boomtube-mk2

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Burnish the rod with graphite "Dry-Slide".

You can do the same with the inside of your launch-lug/s, just make sure you do it AFTER everything is glued together and painted.
 

PayLoad

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Your goal is to never have the rod touch the lug at all, so no lube
 

RocketTree

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No lubricant.

Clean the launch rod with scotch-brite pad before/after use then wipe with a dry paper towel.

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prfesser

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Since I was a kid just starting out in rocketry in the late 60's, I was taught baby powder does the job nicely. Just dust your hand and rub down the rod.
Good one, I was about to suggest the same, though it should be real talc and not cornstarch baby powder. Wet cornstarch could make a mess of a launch rod.

Best -- Terry
 

SkyFire

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Good one, I was about to suggest the same, though it should be real talc and not cornstarch baby powder. Wet cornstarch could make a mess of a launch rod.

Best -- Terry
Johnson & Johnson quit using talcum powder in their baby powder due to cancer concerns.
Talc is a bit hard to find but you can get it on Amazon; https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07VJY92V...olid=2X6GUAG4PML6Q&psc=1&ref_=lv_ov_lig_dp_it

For launch rails CRC 2-26 works well and is safe for plastics but again, some clubs may not allow lubricants for dirt reasons.
 
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rbeckey

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I have used Remington dry lube spray on rails and rods after cleaning. It leaves a bone dry coat of Teflon behind on the metal. Works well in stiff holsters too.
 

trialsguy

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I have a can of silicone spray that I spray onto a wadded up paper towel, then wipe it onto the launch rod. It cleans and lubricates. And its dry, too.
 

ghostfather

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It's not so much lubricating the rod/rail as it is cleaning it after launches. Especially if someone has flown a smokey or sparky motor, there is some residue on the rod, which makes it less than ideal for launch buttons or launch lugs.
A combination of alcohol wipes and WD40 work for us, usually at the end of the day.
 

Voyager1

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The only time I apply any sort of lubricant to launch rods and rails is when I clean them after use. I will store then with a coating of WD40 to prevent rust and corrosion, but they get wiped clean before use.
 

Ez2cDave

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Powdered Graphite.

Dave F.
 

hball55

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I really really really hate being assigned a launch rail that the previous person used a sparky motor. My hands, my shirt if I accidentally rub against the rail, and even my rocket, end up filthy dirty.
 

tab28682

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Somewhere around here, I have seen a launch pad oddball rocket.
 

cwbullet

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I really really really hate being assigned a launch rail that the previous person used a sparky motor. My hands, my shirt if I accidentally rub against the rail, and even my rocket, end up filthy dirty.
Smokey motors are not much better. I absolutely hate when people fly sugar motors on a good rail.
 
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