Safe, Secure Rocket Engine Storage ideas

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Kirk G

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You'll probably laugh at me, but my initial 17 packages of Estes Motors, of various impulse ratings, were all stored in a cardboard box a bit larger than a check book storage box...but smaller than a shoebox. They stand upright, wedged in tight enough to hold each other up. (They are all in original blister packs.)

As I broke open a pack, I laid the package down in the top most tray of a plastic fishing tackle box that was sold back in the 1970's. Back in the day, I bought one of these mustard & tope colored tackle boxes at the local Yankees brand discount store, and began packing my electrical/soldering "things" in it, connectors, wire, solder, etc. And I still use it. But last year, against all odds, I found an identical box for a buck at the goodwill store, with the original packaging stickers still on it. :clap: I bought it for my son for Xmas, but he turned his nose up at it.

So, now I use that secondary tackle box as a jump kit for rocketry, with CA, ignitors, batteries, ruler, sand paper, masking tape, wires, etc... all ready to go when I want to go fly.

However, I am extremely concerned about the flammable nature of those rocket engines, even though they are in shrink-wrapped cardboard mounted blister packs. I am sure they are dry and secure, but it makes me nervous to have that number of flammable engines all together and in a non-metal box. :no:
Am I right to be concerned? Is there a better way to store them?

Right now, I have them out in the open, on the stone hearth of an UNUSED fireplace that CANNOT BE USED. I figure that's the safest non-flammable surface in the house, and if they DO go up, :y: it's barely a foot to shove them into a fireplace.

Am I being unreasonably concerned?:sad:
 
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Cl(VII)

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I think you have found a safe place, but I doubt there is much to worry about. All of my motors (A-G) are in a plastic toolbox in the closet. Not much to set them off there. The only thing with pop/fizz/boom potential that I segregate is my pound of "ejection powder". Do what makes you comfortable though.
 

kjohnson

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However, I am extremely concerned about the flammable nature of those rocket engines, even though they are in shrink-wrapped cardboard mounted blister packs. I am sure they are dry and secure, but it makes me nervous to have that number of flammable engines all together and in a non-metal box. Am I right to be concerned? Is there a better way to store them?
What is your specific concern? That they will suddenly catch fire, or that you might have a fire and are concerned about them adding fuel to the fire?

kj
 

JeromeK99

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Rocket motors do not spontaneously combust. There are so many flammable things in your house and everyday life. The 16 gallons of gasoline in the tank of your car has more chance of catching on fire on your drive to work than a box of rocket motors in your closet. If there is enough heat to worry you about motor storage, your house is already on fire and it wouldn't matter much anyways.


Jerome
 

Kirk G

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What is your specific concern? That they will suddenly catch fire, or that you might have a fire and are concerned about them adding fuel to the fire?

kj
I don't think anyone ever intends for their house to catch fire. Virtually all fires are accidental.
Keeping that in mind, I'm thinking how to eliminate or limit the risk that:
1) the motors ignite
2) that they go off in a house fire

[no, my house doesn't get above 75 F if I can avoid it.]
 

rocketgeek101

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I don't think I've ever heard of a motor spontaneously igniting when in storage before...

I'm not too concerned; I store all of my motors (Aerotech, CTI, Estes) in plastic boxes (longer reloads go in my range box) that are then placed in a drawer under my bed along with a lot of my other rocketry supplies. I don't store my stuff in the workshop (which is just a small unfinished room on the basement), as it's crowded enough already with tools, and before we had new heaters put in a few months ago, the temperature in the basement could get pretty chilly in there which wasn't very good on my epoxy (I've only recently re-started storing my epoxy in the workshop now that it stays warmer).

Do what gives you piece of mind; but IMHO, I think it's overkill.
 

GregGleason

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Black Powder has a autoignition temperature (> 800° F), which is comfortably (if one can say that) above the autoignition temperature of paper and gasoline.

As long as you keep sparks, flames, or other chemicals away from it, there shouldn't be a problem of it ever just going off spontaneously.

Greg
 

blackbrandt

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I keep my motors/lighters/BP in a WWII ammo can with a few desiccant packets in there.
 

10fttall

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Realistically, I don't think it matters. If you've got a fire, one of two things will happen. You will notice it in time and smother it with an extinguisher, bag of flour, or pitcher of water...or you will see it it beyond your ability and you get the heck out of there. The potential worsening of the situation is pretty small if an engine goes up, compared to an inferno that is already at work. Two engines or 200, if there is a fire that reaches your box and lights them, you are already up a certain creek. If they are on your bedside table with the nozzles pointed at you, you are still in deep trouble if they experience conditions that would light them-if you're still lying beside them at that point, you would already be on fire.

The only thing I can think of that could possibly do any good is to not store them in rooms where children sleep. These rooms have the potential for you or others to actually enter WHILE the fire is closing in. And you don't want anything that could go off while you're trying to rescue a kid from a half burning bedroom.
 

ThirstyBarbarian

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It seems like unless you are going to invest in some kind of fireproof safe, any kind of metal container you might use would probably be just as vulnerable to the same kind of fire that would pose a danger to engines in your tackle box. In other words, if the fire is big enough to light up engines in a tackle box, then it is probably big enough and hot enough to light them off inside a metal box too. Also, as already pointed out, if the fire is that big, you've got even bigger problems than you rocket motors to worry about. Mine are inside their original packaging in cardboard boxes in my garage.
 

Maxx Mayhem

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If they are in a metal ammo can, and they do catch fire, they are not going to go anywhere anyhow. You could put them in your "shelf" rockets, so in the event the worst does happen, at least you will get to see your most carefully painted rockets take to the air...:wink:
 

harsas

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Black Powder has a autoignition temperature (> 800° F), which is comfortably (if one can say that) above the autoignition temperature of paper and gasoline.

As long as you keep sparks, flames, or other chemicals away from it, there shouldn't be a problem of it ever just going off spontaneously.

Greg

I am glad to know that since I have stored several hundred black powder motors in thin plastic containers that just sit in my workshop for years...
:wink:
 

RocketT.Coyote

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I store my BP motors in wooden ammo chests and in plastic ammo cans originally made for the Bradley AFV. Organized by size and class.

A pair of plastic MTM ".50 cal" ammo cans/dry boxes hold an assortment of motors for use at the launch site.
 
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stonc024

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Rocket motors do not spontaneously combust. There are so many flammable things in your house and everyday life. The 16 gallons of gasoline in the tank of your car has more chance of catching on fire on your drive to work than a box of rocket motors in your closet. If there is enough heat to worry you about motor storage, your house is already on fire and it wouldn't matter much anyways.


Jerome
No offense to anyone but this response had me on the floor laughing.
 

hball55

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In the garbage, right after using them. Imagine what the authorities would say when your house burned down because the Fire Department had to back off because a load of single-use rocket motors caught fire. There’s people in here, no doubt, who are storing high power motors without a LEUP. Hate to be that guy, let alone losing your home.
 

harsas

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In the garbage, right after using them. Imagine what the authorities would say when your house burned down because the Fire Department had to back off because a load of single-use rocket motors caught fire. There’s people in here, no doubt, who are storing high power motors without a LEUP. Hate to be that guy, let alone losing your home.

Huh? LEUP? I have not heard that acronym in many years. Thankfully, ancient history, so lets leave it that way...
 

CoyoteNumber2

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Huh? LEUP? I have not heard that acronym in many years. Thankfully, ancient history, so lets leave it that way...
The court ruling is even older than this thread!
 

jqavins

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As many have said, there's no such thing as Spontaneous Motor Combustion. The only thing I can think of that might give one pause is the possibility that a small fire, like a tipped over candle, could get help from the BP is becoming a bigger fire. I wouldn't even worry about that, as these motors are harder to light than you might think; flame from a small fire would have to enter from one end or the other.

Many people, it seems, use ammo boxes, mainly because they're waterproof. They'll also keep small flames away. I wouldn't know, though; mine are all in a plastic tackle box.
 

jazzviper1

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Realistically, I don't think it matters. If you've got a fire, one of two things will happen. You will notice it in time and smother it with an extinguisher, bag of flour, or pitcher of water...or you will see it it beyond your ability and you get the heck out of there. The potential worsening of the situation is pretty small if an engine goes up, compared to an inferno that is already at work. Two engines or 200, if there is a fire that reaches your box and lights them, you are already up a certain creek. If they are on your bedside table with the nozzles pointed at you, you are still in deep trouble if they experience conditions that would light them-if you're still lying beside them at that point, you would already be on fire.

The only thing I can think of that could possibly do any good is to not store them in rooms where children sleep. These rooms have the potential for you or others to actually enter WHILE the fire is closing in. And you don't want anything that could go off while you're trying to rescue a kid from a half burning bedroom.
Flour dust is HIGHLY FLAMABLE! don't use it on a fire!
 

hball55

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Huh? LEUP? I have not heard that acronym in many years. Thankfully, ancient history, so lets leave it that way...
You saying a LEUP isn’t still required to store hpr motors? Or that you’d rather ignore that requirement.
 

harsas

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You saying a LEUP isn’t still required to store hpr motors? Or that you’d rather ignore that requirement.
I guess your question has been answered. Thanks Number 2. But in case you have not read the document, APCP has been off the explosives list for like 12 years now. No more LEUP requirement for them.
 

Cnorm

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Some people are perfectly fine with submitting to government control even when unnecessary. Sad.
 

harsas

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Politics? really? We were talking about motor storage...
 

afadeev

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Imagine what the authorities would say when your house burned down because the Fire Department had to back off because a load of single-use rocket motors caught fire.
I don't know about your town Cali, but everywhere I've lived the fire departments policy towards house fires has been:
1). Get people out.
2). Surround and drown.

Garages are a no-go area due to the overabundance of multiple flammable substances: paint cans, paint thinners, gas tanks, ammo, mowers/snow-blower tanks, car tanks, etc., etc.
An accidental rocket motor, or a few dozen of them, is the least of FD's concerns.

There’s people in here, no doubt, who are storing high power motors without a LEUP.
Yeah, all of us.
LEUP does not apply to APCP or BP motors. Hasn't for a decade plus, by now.


Cheers!

a

P.S.: FWIW, I store and transport my APCP and BP engines/motors in amo cans that are selected for size to fit the motors transversely, with minimal slack. Primary objective is keeping everything organized, dry and prepacked for transport. HF has a few to choose from: https://harborfreight.com/search?q=amo box
Longer motors are either positioned longitudinally in amo cans, or otherwise packed into larger transportable storage containers.

Both types are stored on shelves in the corner of the basement that is furthest away from the living parts of the house (under kitchen), where they are kept free from exposure to moisture, critters, and temperature fluctuations.
 
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