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Ikaros
06-16-2008, 07:32 PM
Can I use this Estes launch pad to fly E-series rockets too, besides rockets using a 1/8" rod? All I need is a longer 3/16" rod for E-series rockets like the Interceptor E right, or do I need the Porta-Pad E Launch Pad instead? I guess I'm hoping there is a system I can use gfor both A-D and E series rockets. Oh, are there any restrictions for flying E-series rockets from a school field for example? I've been out of rocketry for 30 years and want to return. I used to have a launch pad with a parabolic shaped ceramic blast defector that sat over the regular metal blast plate. Do they make that anymore?

Anyway, here is the launch pad description from the Estes website:

Porta-PadŽ II Launch Pad
Product Number: 302215
Sturdy, plastic tripod design with tilt adjustment (up to 30 from vertical). Easy to set up and take down - no tools required! Comes complete with blast deflector and standoff, two piece 1/8" (3 mm) launch rod and safety cap. Porta-Pad II can accommodate a 3/16" (5 mm) Maxi launch rod (#302244) - not included.

JRThro
06-16-2008, 08:13 PM
Yes, the Estes Porta Pad can hold a 3/16" launch rod. I used mine with a 4 ft. 3/16" rod a little over a week ago.

From the model rocket safety code, which you should read in its entirety (http://www.nar.org/NARmrsc.html), when launching rockets with E engines, you have to be a minimum of 30 ft. from the pad. Also, flying E, F, or G engines requires a launch site with 1000 ft. minimum dimensions.

Ikaros
06-16-2008, 08:16 PM
From the model rocket safety code, which you should read in its entirety (http://www.nar.org/NARmrsc.html), when launching rockets with E engines, you have to be a minimum of 30 ft. from the pad. Also, flying E, F, or G engines requires a launch site with 1000 ft. minimum dimensions.

Thanks for this link! Based on measurements from Google Maps, the high school field that I used to launch from 30 years ago is around 1000x750 feet. I'll check other fields in the area to see if there is something larger to use.

Shreadvector
06-17-2008, 09:38 AM
The regular Estes porta-pad and the porta-pad-E are similar, but the E version has a wider stance and is more resistant to tipping over. You can make your regular pad act as stable by simply placing a heavy object on one or two of the legs to stabilize it. A jug of water or a brick will work fine. The regular pad will accept 1/8" and 3/16" diameter rods, but not the 1/4" rod.


I strongly recommend a steel rod from Home Depot as they are longer than the Estes rods and will allow your rocket to build up more speed before it leaves the pad.

JRThro
06-17-2008, 11:20 AM
The regular Estes porta-pad and the porta-pad-E are similar, but the E version has a wider stance and is more resistant to tipping over. You can make your regular pad act as stable by simply placing a heavy object on one or two of the legs to stabilize it. A jug of water or a brick will work fine. The regular pad will accept 1/8" and 3/16" diameter rods, but not the 1/4" rod.

I strongly recommend a steel rod from Home Depot as they are longer than the Estes rods and will allow your rocket to build up more speed before it leaves the pad.
Yep, I used a 4 ft. stainless steel 3/16" rod with my Porta-pad. Weighing down one of the legs with a heavy object is a good idea. I didn't do that myself, though I probably should have.

Not all Home Depot's or Loweses (??) have 4 ft. steel rods. Some just have 3 ft. rods.

sandman
06-17-2008, 02:06 PM
At my age laying down in the grass on my belly is just way too much of a pain and very undignified.

I got a cheap $19.95 camera tripod that works much better as a launch pad. You can prep rockets at eye level. The big handle loosens the top to tilt it down for loading the rocket.

Infinately adjustable.

You do have to "make something" to hold the launch rods but that's not hard..

I used a piece of hardwood with different size holes drilled in it and a saw cut through the center of the holes with a bolt horizontally through the wood block to "pinch" tight on the rods.

Ikaros
06-17-2008, 02:40 PM
I got a cheap $19.95 camera tripod that works much better as a launch pad. You can prep rockets at eye level. The big handle loosens the top to tilt it down for loading the rocket.

I have a $20 tripod that I could adapt just like you did. That would save me money and I would just have to buy the E launch controller and maybe a blast plate and/or ceramic parabolic blast deflector cone that the rod went through like I had in the 70's!

JRThro
06-17-2008, 02:42 PM
At my age laying down in the grass on my belly is just way too much of a pain and very undignified.

I got a cheap $19.95 camera tripod that works much better as a launch pad. You can prep rockets at eye level. The big handle loosens the top to tilt it down for loading the rocket.

Infinately adjustable.

You do have to "make something" to hold the launch rods but that's not hard..

I used a piece of hardwood with different size holes drilled in it and a saw cut through the center of the holes with a bolt horizontally through the wood block to "pinch" tight on the rods.
I didn't actually lie down in the grass on my belly, but kneeling down is really hard and kind of painful, too. So yeah, a taller tripod would be great!

Are the launch rod holes in your hardwood block all lined up with one another? I'm trying to visualize exactly how you did it.

jadebox
06-17-2008, 03:39 PM
The regular Estes porta-pad and the porta-pad-E are similar, but the E version has a wider stance and is more resistant to tipping over. You can make your regular pad act as stable by simply placing a heavy object on one or two of the legs to stabilize it.

I used to use U-shaped stakes made from clothes hanger over each leg of the launch pad. They were almost identical to the stakes you buy at a home improvent store for holding down weed barrier cloth in your garden. Stakes are easy to carry in your range box.

-- Roger

sandman
06-17-2008, 03:56 PM
I threw this drawing together.

I think it shows what I mean.

A ceramic flower pot makes a good blast deflector.

stefanj
06-17-2008, 07:18 PM
Three foot-long pieces of PVC (the non-plumbing variety)

Three T connectors

One "corner" connector per supported rod size.

Holes in the T connector to thread a light-duty stake through.

Corner connector stuffed with epoxy clay; appropriate sized hole drilled straight down into the hardened epoxy.

Everything fits together into a long tube you can carry your rods in.

http://home.comcast.net/%7Estefan_jones/launch_light_rocket.jpg

Ikaros
06-17-2008, 07:26 PM
Cool :)

I found this website for how to build your own too for $20:

http://launchpad.hofle.com/Dsc04972-small.jpg

http://launchpad.hofle.com/

jadebox
06-17-2008, 07:44 PM
I used to use U-shaped stakes made from clothes hanger over each leg of the launch pad. They were almost identical to the stakes you buy at a home improvent store for holding down weed barrier cloth in your garden. Stakes are easy to carry in your range box.

Coincidentally, I just stumbled onto this:

http://estes.aptinet.com/images/meanmach.pdf

The instructions describe using stakes to hold the launch pad.

-- Roger

Doug Sams
06-17-2008, 10:40 PM
Well, since we're showing pics of our launchpads, let me post a couple :)

Here's the head. You can see the 3/16" hole on top, the 1/8" in the middle with all the ablation, and the 3/32" below that. In addtion, there's a MicroMaxx hole and a 1/4" hole.

The holes were drilled (radially) with the two halves of the wheel sandwiched together. The wing nut allows rotation of the wheel and clamps the rods in place. It's pretty much an enhanced, wooden knockoff of the plastic Estes head.
http://home.flash.net/~samily/launchpad/head2-2p.jpg

Below is a shot of the wheel disassembled. You can see the matching, mirror image cuts on each side. The pin keeps the two halves from rotating away from each other.

The material is either aircraft or hobby ply. Doug.
http://home.flash.net/~samily/launchpad/wheel2p.jpg

.

JRThro
06-18-2008, 11:16 AM
Three foot-long pieces of PVC (the non-plumbing variety)

Three T connectors

One "corner" connector per supported rod size.

Holes in the T connector to thread a light-duty stake through.

Corner connector stuffed with epoxy clay; appropriate sized hole drilled straight down into the hardened epoxy.

Everything fits together into a long tube you can carry your rods in.

http://home.comcast.net/%7Estefan_jones/launch_light_rocket.jpg
Stefan, that's about the simplest home-made PVC launch pad I've seen. I like it... and can see that I'd want to use longer pieces of pipe. Why do you say "the non-plumbing variety"?

stefanj
06-18-2008, 12:51 PM
Stefan, that's about the simplest home-made PVC launch pad I've seen. I like it... and can see that I'd want to use longer pieces of pipe. Why do you say "the non-plumbing variety"?

FYIage, the pad is from an article I wrote for MAKE Magazine. It appeared in issue #5.

Quest once sold an even simpler PVC pad. My design is a handier, larger, more flexible version of that. Here is a picture of it in "travel mode" in the back of my Civic:
http://home.comcast.net/%7Estefan_jones/launch_light_car.jpg
There are many grades of PVC pipe. At the time I wrote the article the local ACE Hardware stores carried a special line of non-plumbing grade PVC especially intended for making shelves and enclosures and racks and such. The local supply seems to have dried up, but you could buy the pieces online.

You can use the plumbing grade stuff, however the simple corner connector isn't available. The ones I've seen in Home Depot have two sockets and a threaded connector; you need to get a threaded end fitting to fit in the third leg.

Shreadvector
06-18-2008, 04:56 PM
My Ace has the tinker-toy PVC that you described, but you can indeed find the 3 corner PVC plumbing connectors at some Home Depot or Lowes or Ace stores. Probably only the larger ones and the ones where there is a lot of irrigation sales.


Definitely available at real plumbing and irrigation supply houses.

I prefer the flat on the ground cruciform PVC pad using a 4 way connector in the center. Lower c.g. and less "dancing" for large models. Tripods, however, are easier to tilt.


FYIage, the pad is from an article I wrote for MAKE Magazine. It appeared in issue #5.

Quest once sold an even simpler PVC pad. My design is a handier, larger, more flexible version of that. Here is a picture of it in "travel mode" in the back of my Civic:
http://home.comcast.net/%7Estefan_jones/launch_light_car.jpg
There are many grades of PVC pipe. At the time I wrote the article the local ACE Hardware stores carried a special line of non-plumbing grade PVC especially intended for making shelves and enclosures and racks and such. The local supply seems to have dried up, but you could buy the pieces online.

You can use the plumbing grade stuff, however the simple corner connector isn't available. The ones I've seen in Home Depot have two sockets and a threaded connector; you need to get a threaded end fitting to fit in the third leg.