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Launch Tower Plans?

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DynaSoar

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Anyone seen any good plans for a launch tower? I want to build one that'll handle my small stuff, up through say 4" dia.
 

shockwaveriderz

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shockwaveriderz

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heres a design I found on the web, uses a backbone aluminumm tube with 3 U channels for the fins.....you could make the U channels adjustable
 

Rocketjunkie

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Originally posted by DynaSoar
Thanks, shocky, but I was thinking more of the three-rod (or -rail) surround type tower.
This picture shows the tower I built for my high performance rockets I flew at Black Rock.
The rocket fits between 3 steel guide tubes. The base has a steel plate blast deflector mounted on a 48" square piece of 3/4" plywood and 3 plugs that fit into the tubes. The top is a piece of 1/2" plywood cut away so the fins won't hit and 3 more plugs that fit the tubes.
Assembly is easy, slip the tubes onto the base plugs, then the top piece slips into the top of the tubes. This is done in a horizontal position. Slide in the rocket and install the igniter.

Pic during igniter installation:
 

Rocketjunkie

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Once the igniter was installed, the whole rig was tilted upright and stakes were used to make sure it was secure.

Just before clearing the range. This is Randy Thomas (Paratech) and I with the rocket in 1992.
 

Rocketjunkie

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I didn't mention above, but the tower is not adjustable, you beed a base and top piece for each diameter rocket.
 

DynaSoar

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Originally posted by Rocketjunkie
This picture shows the tower I built for my high performance rockets I flew at Black Rock.
WOOWOO! Now THAT is what I'm talking. That's a mighty fine hack. I was thinking of something like that, with drillings for a couple different sizes of rods/tubes so it could fit any size of vehicle. I'd thought of using solid rod, but with tube you could extend them if necessary.

What thickness of tubes would you suggest for mid- and large-size rockets?

Was it necessary to have the top piece that large to prevent shimmy in the tubes, or was that over-built?

I saw someone mention using PVC for stand-offs and found they were fairly flame resistant. Any thought on whether PVC would work for the guide tubes?
 

Rocketjunkie

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Originally posted by DynaSoar
WOOWOO! Now THAT is what I'm talking. That's a mighty fine hack. I was thinking of something like that, with drillings for a couple different sizes of rods/tubes so it could fit any size of vehicle. I'd thought of using solid rod, but with tube you could extend them if necessary.

What thickness of tubes would you suggest for mid- and large-size rockets?
I used 1/16" wall steel tubes, but the rocket was O powered and the tower was only used 4 times. I'd recommend 1/32" wall stainless for a tower you will be using for a longer term. Use fairly large tubes, they can be as large as the diameter of the rocket and still work well.

Was it necessary to have the top piece that large to prevent shimmy in the tubes, or was that over-built?
The cutout in the top piece is just large enough to clear the fins of the rocket no matter if it rotates. The cutout is shaped so the fins miss even if the rocket is rotated against the tubes in either direction. As you can see in the picture, the top piece is just large enough for the cutout. You need something to keep the tubes aligned so a solid edge around the top is required. I could have made the piece round but it wasn't necessary. Don't forget you need to clear the fins of the rocket with the greatest span.

I saw someone mention using PVC for stand-offs and found they were fairly flame resistant. Any thought on whether PVC would work for the guide tubes?
PVC is not very rigid, your tower would be quite flimsy. Also, there is quite a bit of blast at the base of the tubes. I expect PVC would work for a few launches before requiring replacement.
 
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