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Old 04-07-2021, 02:14 PM
tbzep's Avatar
tbzep tbzep is offline
Dazed and Confused
Join Date: Mar 2005
Location: TN
Posts: 10,580

At home, 36" two piece aluminum 1/8" and 3/16". I never take them apart, but I did sand them ever so slightly at the joining ends to prevent a lip that the lugs could hit.

For my rack launcher used at schools, it's 1/8" x 36" steel one piece rods. I just wipe them and coat them with grease so they won't rust for the next year's launches.

When I did HPR it was usually 1/4" x 4' and 1/2" x 5.5' or 6' stainless. I still have them, but haven't flown HPR in a long time. For my largest rockets, I used my buddy's big rail pad. It was probably 8 or 10 ft long. I don't remember now.

Just FYI, a lot of the 1/8" Estes rods in more recent times are only about 32" long.
I love sanding.
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Old 04-07-2021, 02:21 PM
samb samb is offline
spirit of 72
Join Date: Aug 2006
Location: Plano, TX
Posts: 278


4 foot lengths of 1/8th and 3/16th steel rods are readily available at my favorite big box home improvement store. No joint to fail and a extra foot of guidance are my reasons. Get a small diameter pvc pipe with some end caps for storage, clean with a scotch brite pad after each use and you have a lifetime of launches.
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Old 04-07-2021, 02:31 PM
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Earl Earl is offline
Apollo Nut
Join Date: Dec 2006
Posts: 3,203

For anyone who has never tried stainless for their launch rods, give it a try sometime. I think once you do, you'll never want to go back to steel. Of course, it is a little more expensive, but cleanup is well, basically a one-wipe deal. Actually, not even that if you don't want to.

Earl L. Cagle, Jr.
NAR# 29523
TRA# 962
SAM# 73
Point 39 Productions

Rocket-Brained Since 1970
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Old 04-07-2021, 02:45 PM
Joe Wooten's Avatar
Joe Wooten Joe Wooten is offline
Master Modeler
Join Date: Aug 2010
Posts: 1,040

1/8" - ~24" brass welding rod
3/16 - 4' aluminum that came with Old Estes high power pad
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Old 04-07-2021, 03:53 PM
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Bluegrass Rocket Bluegrass Rocket is offline
Pickin' and launching.
Join Date: Jan 2008
Location: Indianapolis, Indiana
Posts: 245

I only fly low power on my own and for several years I have used a 40” carbon fiber rod. Purchased at the local hobby store. Light weight and doesn’t bend.
Rick Randol
NAR #28062, ROCI Section #625
“NewWay Space Models-We Cornered Model Rocketry”
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Old 04-07-2021, 04:23 PM
SEL's Avatar
SEL SEL is offline
Officially Middle-Aged Rocketeer
Join Date: Mar 2005
Location: Portland, OR
Posts: 1,313

I have a couple each of the 2-piece 1/8 & 3/16 Estes rods,
A few single length 3 foot 3/16”, a 4 foot 1/4”, a two piece 6 foot
1/4” rod that I bought from North Coast years ago, and 2 or 3 6 foot
1/4” “stainless” that aren’t.
SAM #0031
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Old 04-07-2021, 04:44 PM
Neal Miller Neal Miller is offline
Master Blaster
Join Date: Aug 2011
Location: South Florida
Posts: 400

Granger, sells 72" X 1/8" Stainless Steel. A quick cut with the Dremel tool and you have 2
great 36" launch rods. I chuck the rod into a 1/4-20 collar that screws on to my Bi-pod , I keep all my rods in a PVC tube capped on the bottom and threaded end cap on the top.
I have 4 & 6 MM X 1 meter Stainless Steel Welding rods to use as 3/16"and 1/4" rods.
Neal Miller
Master Blaster NAR# 58296
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Old 04-07-2021, 05:30 PM
shockwaveriderz shockwaveriderz is offline
rocket dinosaur
Join Date: Mar 2005
Location: My Old Kentucky Home
Posts: 1,076

I hope to be able to try out a 1/8" , one piece 4 ft pultruded carbon fiber tube that has a .072" carbon fiber rod epoxied internally. If it ever gets here from CA. Was ordered a month ago, and it's in USPS in Bakersfield CA
"Old Rocketeer's don't die; they just go OOP".....unless you 3D print them.
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Old 04-07-2021, 06:27 PM
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Gus Gus is offline
Join Date: Sep 2005
Location: North of Detroit
Posts: 2,024

Most of the low power I fly comes out of towers.

Still my favorite is my old Medalist tower. Very flexible, but doesn't travel well. Hopefully someone will make them again some day.

For FAI flying I use one of several home made 40mm towers. The one in the photo uses single piece aluminum tubes but I've switched to aluminum tent poles. Shorter pieces so they travel more easily but two of them stacked are longer than the aluminum poles.

For my yearly flying out in Arizona I have an Apogee tower which I store at my Mom's. Very nice tower with carbon fiber rods. Really easy to change diameters, works great.

Finally, for low- or mid-power egglofters I've recently started flying off a rail using Apogee's fly-away rail guides. Egg lofters are kind of a pain to fly out of towers so this is a great improvement. Absolutely wonderful.
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Old 04-07-2021, 06:38 PM
Blastfromthepast Blastfromthepast is offline
'nother Old Fart BAR....
Join Date: Dec 2011
Location: Castle Rock, Colorado
Posts: 307

I've always used a single piece rod for LPR.. 1/8 and 3/16. For boost gliders I use a 1 piece 48" rod. It's long enough to accommodate front engine gliders while still having at least 36" travel length. I've also got a launcher for my Carlisle Mark II Rock-A-Chute replica that uses a 5/16" wood dowel.
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Just remember...G. Harry Stine's first ever model rocket was an RTF !

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