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DANLK66
11-15-2007, 06:29 PM
Just wondering what your thoughts are on using alternate wadding and home made igniters compared to store bought. How do you make your own igniters? What do you use for wadding?


Thanks
Dan

tbzep
11-15-2007, 06:57 PM
Just wondering what your thoughts are on using alternate wadding and home made igniters compared to store bought. How do you make your own igniters? What do you use for wadding?


Thanks
Dan

We use cellulose insulation in large rockets. A few bucks will get you a bale that will last a lifetime. Some of the guys use it for smaller rockets too, but I switch to Estes wadding for small stuff because it's messy and doesn't work well unless you have it at least five or six inches deep. I've been planning on making some "toilet paper wadding" similar to Estes stuff, but I just haven't gotten around to it yet (just like all those unbuilt kits hidden under the pool table).

Igniters can be made using plain old bare nichrome wire. You can make fancier igniters by using the wire as a bridge between two larger wires and dip them into pyrogen. It's all according to what motors you plan to use. It's a bit of a chore to make pyrogen dipped igniters small enough for Estes/Quest motors. Considering the cost of Estes igniters, it's not worth the trouble. The dipped igniters are great for larger composite motors.

CPMcGraw
11-15-2007, 08:12 PM
Just wondering what your thoughts are on using alternate wadding and home made igniters compared to store bought. How do you make your own igniters? What do you use for wadding?


Thanks
Dan

When I started flying, I used the Estes wadding religiously, buying several packs at a time. But when I learned about using the shredded newspaper (cellulose insulation), I picked up a bale from the local Lowes. That was four or five years ago, and I've just barely scratched the surface. I'll still have some of this bale ten years from now. It cost me no more than three packs of Estes wadding, and probably not even that much.

Even if it were just for the price alone, I'd recommend it. Tim's comment about it being a little messy is true, but it's a small issue to put up with; and just a few minutes with a shop vac at the end of a flying session will take care of any bits that scatter in your car.

As for igniters, I've had plenty of success with Estes' igniters over the course of the last fifty packs or so of motors. I have not bought a single pack of spare igniters in over fifteen years, using exclusively those that come in the motor pack. YMMV, of course.

Gus
11-15-2007, 09:20 PM
I, too, use the cellulose insulation ("dog barf") for everything except competition rockets where I use foam plugs. At our group launches we prefer folks use dog barf because it is biodegradable and blends in to the grass immediately so as not to be an eyesore on the field we are very grateful to be using.

I have also found Estes ignitors very reliable. If you wish to use nichrome like we did in the old days Shreadvector (on this forum) sells a variety of sizes at very reasonable prices. Fred can also explain the difference in the sizes to you. I bought some from him a couple of years ago, just to have as a backup, and found him a pleasure to deal with.

Bob H
11-15-2007, 10:10 PM
I also use "Dog Barf" (cellulose insulation) except for Micro Maxx and small 13mm rockets. For those I still use Estes wadding but I never buy it separately.

I buy a lot of Blast Off flight packs and there is a pack of Estes wadding in the box.

Estes igniters are very reliable and there is an extra 6 pack of igniters in the Blast Off packs. I use a lot of B6-4's so I supplement the Blast Off pack with extra flight packs that I get at Target which have 4 igniters for 3 motors plus wadding. 2 stage flights use 1 igniter for 2 motors so I probably have at least 100 more igniters than I have motors.

I usually keep a dozen of the igniter 6 packs in my range box to give to beginners who show up at a launch with a rocket and a pack or two of motors and have misfires and no extra igniters.

JoeLaunchman
11-15-2007, 10:26 PM
I've also seen someone use leaves of iceberg lettuce as wadding. I suppose Romaine lettuce would work also. I don't know about other vegetables.

LeeR
11-15-2007, 11:33 PM
Just wondering what your thoughts are on using alternate wadding and home made igniters compared to store bought. How do you make your own igniters? What do you use for wadding?


Thanks
Dan
Firefox in Idaho sells materials to make igniters. Look under "Rockets", and you will find a product called "Liquid Element". It is a conductive pyrogen, so you do not need nichrome, or any bridge wire. I've used it mainly to replace Copperheads for Aerotech reloads, but if the wire is small, you could make small igniters for Estes motors. Firefox has been the subject of much scrutiny in the past year or so -- so I am not sure how difficult it is to order from them. I last ordered from them several years ago.

I've used 24 ga. twinlead (left over by the bushel from the high power flyers). I have also used twisted pairs from CAT5 LAN cable. This is a really cheap way to go if you must buy wire, since you get 4 pairs out of any piece of cable.

The basic construction method is to strip the wires, leave a tiny gap (~ 1/32"), and dip in the conductive pyrogen. One dip would be enough for Estes Ds, and two is usually fine for 24mm composites.

You can seal them in clear lacquer, clear dope, Ambroid glue -- to toughen them up if desired. And these coatings all burn well!

Shreadvector
11-16-2007, 08:30 AM
I bought 30+ pounds of a mix of rolls of 30, 31 and 32 guage nichrome wire a couple of years ago. I've been using it and selling it. I include a 2 page sheet that explains how to make an igniter by simply taking 2 inches and coiling a loop in the middle. This is how standard bare nichrome wires were made in "the old days".

Centuri sold 32 guage nichrome wire bare.

Estes sold both 30 and 32 guage wire. 30 is thicker and will generate a massive amount of molten metal heat energy if you use a powerful battery like a car battery or a rechargeable 6 or more volt battery. 32 guage is thinner and will heat up fast with a 6 volt alkaline lantern battery or even a Quest 9 volt controller. 31 guage is in the middle.

I've also got a few dozen Centuri battery clip packages that I bought from someone on eBay. They are great for rew-ring an exisiting controller for external power or for building your own. If anyone buys a 25 foot of nichrome wire from me for $5 I will throw in a set of the Centuri battery clips for $1. Postage is $1.88 and I accept PayPal. fredeshecter at hotmail dot com

DANLK66
11-16-2007, 09:16 AM
Thanks for all of the quick responses. What about using Crepe paper?

Solomoriah
11-16-2007, 09:32 AM
I use crepe paper. I get it from Hobby Lobby; it used to be $0.98 per package, but now it's more like $1.47... but since they don't reprice in-stock items, you can often get it for $0.98 per pack (so long as you don't care what color it is, and I don't). I take the folded sheets out of the package as they are, cut the flattened roll into four segments, and finally slit them apart. I don't recall how many sheets I get... I posted it around here somewhere... but it works out to be a fraction of the cost of either Estes or Quest wadding, and it works fine.

I'm told that dog barf is the preferred wadding for group launches, since it degrades faster (and so leaves less lasting litter). I've met exactly one other rocketeer in my entire life (not counting those I've indoctrinated myself) so group launches aren't much of an issue for me.

Earl
11-16-2007, 04:32 PM
[QUOTE=Solomoriah]I use crepe paper. I get it from Hobby Lobby; it used to be $0.98 per package, but now it's more like $1.47... but since they don't reprice in-stock items, you can often get it for $0.98 per pack (so long as you don't care what color it is, and I don't). I take the folded sheets out of the package as they are, cut the flattened roll into four segments, and finally slit them apart. I don't recall how many sheets I get... I posted it around here somewhere... but it works out to be a fraction of the cost of either Estes or Quest wadding, and it works fine.
QUOTE]

I have used crepe as well since my first Centuri starter set (Screaming Eagle) in '76, except for my high power stuff, where we used fiberglass for quite a while in the late 80's and early 90s then switched to the 'dog barf', as it is called.

But as stated above by the poster, the crepe paper in the large packages (Hobby Lobby or many other party supply or department stores) is incredibly cheap and works fine. It was one of the cost cutting methods of my early days that allowed me enough money to buy the motors to fly (late 70s inflation rates were terrible!).

CraigF
11-16-2007, 04:59 PM
I use crepe paper too the times when I can't easily get a Nomex shield to fit. And we're coming up to the time of year when you can often easily grab it for free... Can't buy dog barf here since the building code doesn't allow it.

Edit: this is made in USA crepe paper I'm talking about. I bought a cheap pack from the $ store (made you-know-where) and it was not nearly as fire resistant by the BIC test. I didn't use it, but it might be OK.