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Shipping a built rocket

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TKnox

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I would think some of you have shipped your rockets before, so I am looking for any suggestions or advice. I need to ship my Wildman Extreme Darkstar out to Nevada from the east coast. Any suggestions on who to use to ship? How to pack/crate it? Anything else I need to know? Thanks.

Trey
 

dixontj93060

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Obviously best to get quotes, but I have shipped a lot of rockets. Most of my mid/high-power go UPS Ground.
 

TKnox

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Did you pack it yourself or did you let them pack it. Either way I'll definitely be insuring it.
 

75Grandville

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Just my $0.02: Make sure that the box/crate is strong! I've seen too many boxes bent in the middle, whether my complete rocket (thank you fedex), or tubes/parts I've ordered (thank you usps - multiple times.

Looks like you are going to need something that is 5 feet long and 18-24" in diameter for the bottom section (just a guess - no idea of fin span). I wonder if sonotube would work? I think you'd probably have to go to a commercial building supply place to find it large enough for that purpose. You could even fill it with dog barf as padding.
 

Flyfalcons

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Check your local RC airplane club, some of the larger kits come double-boxed or with plywood reinforcement. Someone in the club may have a box they are willing to part with.
 

farsidius

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I just recently had a friend ship 7 of his rockets to me from the east coast so he could come fly with our waiver. He built a crate that looked very similar to this, just longer (sorry, didn't get a picture of it with the lid).

shipping crate.jpg

There are a lot of videos and instructions online for making crates like this. It might be overkill for just one rocket, but his rockets and tools all arrived safely. Throw a few eye-bolts in it, strap everything in place, put a few "DO NOT STACK" stickers on it and you're set:

WP_20160714_15_14_00_Pro.jpg

He shipped FedEx Freight because that's what his company uses and he used their discount to get it here. His loaded crate weighed ~180 pounds (he had tools and casings in there too) and I think he said it was ~$400 to get it here. I imagine a single rocket and supplies would be much lighter and cheaper.
 

dixontj93060

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Crate is great but it's gonna cost you tons. No need. Look at all the rockets in this thread: http://www.rocketryforum.com/showthread.php?67419-The-Great-Built-Kit-Sale&highlight=built+kit+sale. All of them went out in 12"x12"x36" or 12"x12"x48" cardboard boxes. Nearly 50 built rockets shipped and no TRF member had any complaints, instead praise, see: http://www.rocketryforum.com/showthread.php?67419-The-Great-Built-Kit-Sale&p=745309#post745309. What you have to be careful to do is wrap the nose in bubble wrap, a padded box or other decent protection, same with fin tips. Then tape the rocket together and or wrap tightly with paper so sections do not come apart. Then finally when you put it in the box use packing tape to attach the rocket to the sides of the box (two or three directions) toward the fore and aft to keep the whole assembly from moving much. Finally I then added a bit of "coarse" packing material (think chunks of styrofoam, other small boxes, an old parachute, etc.) all around, but especially toward the fins. Using this method, I think the highest shipping charge was like $25 (most much less) for one or two rockets in a box including paying a prorated box cost.
 
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SaturnV

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Do not forget to pour the liquid oxygen :)
 

stealth6

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I recently shipped a ton of built rockets. Cardboard boxes are just fine if you pack them well. Especially if the rocket in question is a fibreglass one and built well.

Here's a few tips:

* "Make your own box". By this I mean..find a box that's close to the dimensions you need, and cut it down to fit just right. Rockets are odd sized items, and it's hard to find a box that's long enough that's not overly huge in terms of width/height. And shipping companies (FedEx, UPS, etc.) charge by size as well as weight. So it behooves you to have a box that's big enough, but not not any bigger. So, "make your own" and make it exactly the size you need. DO use good packing tape (don't skimp on this detail, it's worth it to buy better quality here).

* A great source of boxes that are close is bike shops. The boxes that bikes are shipped in (to dealers) are usually very strong, good quality cardboard, and all that. And they are often a really good size in terms of length and width. Just cut down the height, and chances are you can end up with a box that's really close to ideal in many instances.

* Stuff the box really well with bundled up newspaper or some other "packing material". Bubble wrap and foam sheets are excellent as well IF you can reuse some that is cast off from some other project....otherwise it's very expensive stuff.

* Here's the real tip.....I found an excellent source for cheap(ish) shipping rates. Go to www.bikeflights.com and ship through them. They are an online shipping agent that's focused on folks shipping bikes (which are by design expensive items to ship because of size). I don't know how they do it, but their rates are WAY cheaper than any other method I've found, by far. They are super simple to use, just follow the online instructions. For size, go to "custom size" (instead of using one of their pre sized choices), and plug in your actual dimensions/weight. They will ask what you are shipping...just write in "bike parts". You pay online, can arrange for the truck to come in and pick up at your door (for five bucks extra), and you print out the label at home. Easy.

* Another way to get cheaper rates......see if your destination address can be a business (as opposed to residential). The rates are cheaper then (usually saving about five bucks or so). So, whoever you are shipping to, see if they can use their business address to receive.

* Another way to get even cheaper rates......UPS and FedEx give special rates to businesses that ship often. Sometimes the rates are MUCH cheaper (like 30 percent of what you'd pay regularly). If you work for a company that ships stuff, or know someone who does, inquire if they'd let you ship your package through them. It's worth asking at least.

* It's not a bad idea to buy insurance for the delivery. Even the best packed boxes get crushed sometimes, or more often lost in transit. FedEx and UPS usually include insurance up to $100 or so free, and then it's like $1 for every $100 above that. This is usually worth it.

good luck with your delivery,
ssix
 

stealth6

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Oh, and if this isn't obvious.......

Don't ship the rocket fully assembled....meaning full length.
It will pack much better/easier, and be a lot less expensive to ship, if you separate the fincan, payload, and nose cone and pack them side by side.

ssix
 

EXPjawa

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I've used the BikeFlights site a couple of times - to ship my bike to the west coast and back. Definitely would recommend. Basically, its a company that is set up to facilitate making shipping arrangements of bikes, which typically ship by dimensional weight rather than actual because of their size. They ship mainly with FedEx, as far as I can tell, and must have negotiated one hell of a good rate. I borrowed a bike case, broke down my Pacer, packed it, printed out my shipping label, and dropped it off at FedEx. They even have common bike boxes already selectable in a pull-down menu. When I saw this topic, that was the first thing I thought of - that, and Dave McCann's recent comments about it being on the shipper to pack survivably. I've also toyed with buying something like a long Pelican case, the type normally used for rifles, and outfitting it for rocket shipment. They are expensive, but when you factor in what might go into an L1-L2 size/class rocket, it might be justified. At this point, however, I haven't had a need...
 

TopRamen

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UPS can shatter a single brick into a million pieces from one state to the other, so whatever you do, keep that in mind.
They love getting there filthy hands on stuff marked fragile or things long and narrow, as those are actually shipped via giant catapult, through airspace that is pummeled by anti aircraft artillery.
I once bought a small gas powered four wheeler for my son when he was like six, and regardless of the steel frame around the crate, the UPS guy had to use a broom to sweep a bunch of the parts out of the back of his truck, which included parts that did not even go to the four wheeler, meaning other folks had been (Insert bad word here) by them in similar fashion.
If the SHTF, those brown clowns are first on my list of seek, destroy and re-purpose people and vehicles. I'de really hate to be one of those guys, as they probably are not really autonomous, and have families and such.
Hopefully S does never HTF, but if it does, I'm going brown clown huntin'. I know what they carry, what I need, and can reliably count on half of it being waste or damaged, meaning they are smaller than they look from the outside, so the lightweight truck chassis can be scrapped too and the motor kept for use in generators.
I even see them frequently on their Cellphones while they are driving, which also guarantees them the number one spot on my list.
The "Next Day" Items are priority one, as those are all mostly Handguns being shipped between FFL's and other priority items like medical and scientific. Rich folks impulse buys are kept there as well. These Items are the least frequently damaged do to their small size and insured value.
Anyhow, I won't buy stuff from folks that use UPS exclusively, even if I cannot get the item anywhere else. This limits the stuff I can get, but that's ok, as I like to make stuff I can't get.
I'de see about paying someone that does stuff for car dealerships driving one car to a place and a different car back to do it.
 
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TopRamen

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I hate this actor with a passion that guarantees him a spot on my list, but he nails it here, and he's just an actor so enjoy:):

[video=youtube;2Q6_9A90cUk]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2Q6_9A90cUk[/video]
 

stealth6

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UPS can shatter a ....snip.
Assuming you are joking (at least a bit).....it's hard to imagine a post more deserving of this in response:

[video=youtube;C6cxNR9ML8k]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=C6cxNR9ML8k[/video]

Or, assuming you're actually serious......I guess the best response would be.....ummm, well, quite frankly this again:

[video=youtube;C6cxNR9ML8k]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=C6cxNR9ML8k[/video]


jeez,
ssix
 
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TKnox

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Thanks for all the ideas. I had thought about making bulkheads out of foam sheets with holes cut out to insert the airframes. I could even slot one to accept the airframe and fins to stabilize it. Then fill the voids with newspaper or peanuts. I'll check the bike shipping site also. Thanks again all.

Trey
 
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