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Need ideas/plans for a low power launch rack

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emckee

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Hi folks,

I am the rocket launch coordinator for our local Cub Scout pack, and run the pack launch each year.

Since I took over, I have migrated our setup away from a bunch of un-coordinated Estes launch pads and started running launches using the GSE from my local club. This works great, so long as I stick around to borrow the equipment each year. But, as all parents know, those darn kids keep growing up, so eventually, I won't be around to support the launches in that fashion.

So I am looking for ideas and plans to build a 6-8 rod launch pad. Ideally, it should use inexpensive and readily available materials, be easy to assemble, disassemble, and repair as necessary, and it would be great if it were an appropriate complexity for older cub scouts (Webelos level) to build as a den project.

I am not looking for launch controllers at this point. Just the pads.

So what designs can you suggest?

Thanks!
 

GlenP

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http://www.rocketryforum.com/showthread.php?135011-Launch-Pad-Gallery&p=1642945#post1642945

A five rail launcher was about the right size for our small pack, and we decorated it with cub scout hiking stick medallions of each rank badge, available at ScoutShop. Webelos can load their rockets on it, but Tigers are not quite tall enough to reach the top of the rods.

Here is the plan for a ten rail launcher that was my inspiration.
http://makezine.com/projects/10-rail-model-rocket-mega-launcher/
 
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emckee

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http://www.rocketryforum.com/showthread.php?135011-Launch-Pad-Gallery&p=1642945#post1642945

A five rail launcher was about the right size for our small pack, and we decorated it with cub scout hiking stick medallions of each rank badge, available at ScoutShop. Webelos can load their rockets on it, but Tigers are not quite tall enough to reach the top of the rods.

Here is the plan for a ten rail launcher that was my inspiration.
http://makezine.com/projects/10-rail-model-rocket-mega-launcher/
Thanks, I saw the one in Makezine, but didn't get past the controller construction before I moved on. I'm interested in setting up something with two-axis adjustment capability so that we can keep the launch platform facing the scouts no matter which direction the wind attacks us from. I do like the simplicity of the setup, however.
 

Nytrunner

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HARA uses a few of those lightweight folding sawhorses for lo-power. 4 small cheap drill chucks mount in holes in the top and allow quick rod size changes.
 

BEC

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There is a clever adjustable angle pivot which can work in two axes in this design: http://archive.rocketreviews.com/reviews/all/scratch_el_cheapo_pad.shtml

You do need a 10-32 tap and drill to make the rod holder in this design - that's the only slightly specialized tool required.

At least one club I've flown with has a sawhorse-based rack with these eyebolt-based rod holder/pivots and I've recently built (but not yet put into use) some single pads using this basic design. I've also been thinking about making something using multiples of these to replace our club's aging 5-pad rack.
 
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Bat-mite

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Two sawhorses, an 8' 2x4 cut in half, eight steel (or even aluminum) rods, eight small terra cotta flower pots for blast guards. Then you'll need something to clamp the rods that screws into the 2x4.
 

Bat-mite

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http://www.rocketryforum.com/showthread.php?135011-Launch-Pad-Gallery&p=1642945#post1642945

A five rail launcher was about the right size for our small pack, and we decorated it with cub scout hiking stick medallions of each rank badge, available at ScoutShop. Webelos can load their rockets on it, but Tigers are not quite tall enough to reach the top of the rods.

Here is the plan for a ten rail launcher that was my inspiration.
http://makezine.com/projects/10-rail-model-rocket-mega-launcher/
Nice to see those kids following the safety code and staying fifteen feet away from the launch pad. :facepalm:
 

bguffer

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+1 on folding sawhorses.

I would mount each rod with a 'poolball sandwich'. See attached image.Launcher 12.4.10 009_WEB.jpg
This is not my photo. I'm attaching, as i could not find a way to link direct to the image.
 

UhClem

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The DARS standard model rail is based on a 2X4 and folding sawhorse legs. A 1/4' threaded rod coupler nut is recessed in the top for the heads which can be as simple or as complicated as you like. Internal wiring includes a per pad continuity check. The current design uses a single piece of aluminum angle across the bottom rather than the recessed cups.

A set of two is stored in a bag for easy carrying/storage.

This old photo shows one with the PVC rod storage tube resting between the legs: http://www.dars.org/gallery/dads2005/p6180696.htm
 

JJSR

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This is what we use at RadRocks


JJSR 003.jpg JJSR 004.jpg 2.jpg
 

hcmbanjo

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+1 on folding sawhorses.
I would mount each rod with a 'poolball sandwich'. See attached image.View attachment 308630
This is not my photo. I'm attaching, as i could not find a way to link direct to the image.
I think that might be a picture I took from the Orlando ROCK launches. Launchers were made by Tom Dennon.
The billiard ball swivel is a great idea and works very well. It doesn't take much to tighten the top plate down over the ball.
Sometimes younger flyers like to tighten down the wing nut too many turns. You don't feel much resistance or an end stop.
 

TangoJuliet

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Of course an end stop could be added simply by adding a sheath to the threaded bolt, limiting the travel of the top plate under the wing nut.
 

Exactimator

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Our local LPR club used to use saw horses. They worked okay, but there's a pause in the action while 5 kids at a time load-up. They recently changed the set-up to steel fence posts with keyless drill chucks attached to the top. https://www.zoro.com/value-brand-fe...KnMVj2sBVX_Jot_7536TAaArDn8P8HAQ&gclsrc=aw.ds They typically set-up 6 of these pads in a semi-circle with the launch table at the center of the radius. Each pad has an orange cone with the pad number on it.

For set-up they just pound the stake into the ground with a small sledge, install the rod and blast deflector. Each pad is far enough from the others that any pad can be loaded while the others are launching. When we have big scout groups, someone will roam the pads to help the kids load up and hook-up their rockets and keep them from wandering into the safety zone of a pad that's launching (if they do, they just hold that launch until it's clear). They can run a line of scouts through in no time. It's pretty impressive to watch. It's like alternating catapults on a carrier so they can launch an aircraft every 45 seconds. Except in this case it's 6 pads.
 

emckee

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Lots of good ideas here, thank you everyone!

-e
 

Handeman

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The previous posts are all great, but you might want to consider non-adjustable launch rods. Just for ease of use and less issues and problems with young scouts. Just shoot everything straight up and let the kids run after them in whatever direction the wind blows. The kids seem to be very good at running like that. It also tends to tire them out a little which calms them down some. That can make everything easier too.

We use a folding saw horse with a 2" x 2" piece of hardwood attached. There are 1/4" holes drilled through the piece for the rods to drop into. There are threaded inserts that come in from the side that use wing bolts to screw through and tighten the rods in place.

Of course using all SST hardware makes the maintenance less, but....

Even Webelos should be able to drill holes and put the inserts in, with den leader help. The saw horse is open for design.

If you want the dens to be building projects then you might not want a permanent design. Something they can use that they built and can be used as an emergency pad for the next year might be all you are looking for. Cheap and disposable might be what you want if you want each den to build launchers each year.
 
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