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BobP_in_Nevada 04-07-2021 10:44 AM

Launch Rod Poll
Hi! Quick question. Do you ...

a) use the two-piece launch rods provided with most launch pads?

b) use a single-piece launch rod?

c) use a launch tower because you're really old school?

d) shun rods entirely in favor of rails?

Please assume this is for low-power (D and below motors) launching.

Details about your choice would be welcome. How "dangerous" actually is that mid-rod joint on the assembled rods?

Yup, it's the old "portability vs. utility" question. I don't necessarily mind hauling around a length of pipe to keep my one-piece rods in, but I'd just as soon not if there's no real value in it.


TigerHawk 04-07-2021 11:09 AM

Single piece launch rods. 36” long for 1/8” & 3/16” rods, 48” long for a 1/4” rod.

mojo1986 04-07-2021 11:14 AM

36" 2-piece from Estes. Never had a problem with it.

barone 04-07-2021 11:24 AM

Single piece 36”. Carry in a PVC tube. In addition to keeping the rods from getting bent, the PVC helps prevent rusting. I wipe them down with WD-40 before storing.

Earl 04-07-2021 11:30 AM

I have a single piece stainless steel 3/16" and 3/8" rods. My 1/8" rods have all been two piece for 45 years.

Never had an issue with a two piece rod.


ghrocketman 04-07-2021 12:17 PM

I use 1-piece stainless steel rods in 1/8, 3/16, and 1/4".
Have never used those flimsy 2-piece aluminum things.

Scott_650 04-07-2021 01:00 PM

Single and two piece launch rods. Single piece 36” long for 3/16” rods, 48” long for a 1/4” rod and a 1/8” two piece rod. Someday I’ll probably have a rail - when I can pick one up rather than have it shipped...

BEC 04-07-2021 01:18 PM

I generally use one-piece rods....back in my first rocketry period (1968-1974) I used 1/8 inch music wire from the hobby shop. I still have a couple of those. Today the 1/8 and 3/16 rods are stainless (3 foot 1/8 inch, 3 and 4 foot 3/16ths).

My current PVC tripod pads and three-pad rack are set up to carry launch rods in a case which uses two legs of the pad.

The two-piece rods (which haven’t been aluminum for a long time, GH) are usable but subject to easy bending at the roll pin joint. Carefully handled, they are certainly usable. If I was planning on using one I’d probably try to chamfer the socket end a little bit before assembling it so that the joint is as smooth as possible once assembled.

For PSII stuff I have a six foot steel 1/4 inch rod from the hardware store, which needs to be de-rusted before every use. I will probably cut it down to 4 1/2 or 5 feet now that TARC pretty much requires a rail. I do have a six foot 1010 rail pad as well. But all that stuff is beyond the “D and below” scope of the original question.

BRS Hobbies 04-07-2021 01:19 PM

A and B. Both options work fine.

LeeR 04-07-2021 03:03 PM

2 Attachment(s)
I have switched most new builds of rockets that used 1/8” and 3/16” to MakerBeam 10mm rail. I have both 900mm and 1500mm lengths (roughly 36” and 60”). Larger, including most mid-power, I use 20mm rail from 8020 (1” rail is essentially 25mm rail, so 20mm is a bit smaller). My 20mm rail is 48”. I have used a friend’s 96” rail for my Super Orbital Transport. I get my micro and mini buttons from The new minis have flathead screws that fit flush into a countersunk button recess.

Here is a picture showing MakerBeam and 20mm rail, with their micro and mini buttons. A 1/8” launch lug is in picture for comparison. Also shown is my Rockwell JawStand with 20mm rail. My longer MakerBeam rail is silver, which is better in hot, sunny conditions.

I have flown an Estes V-2 using micro buttons, but would normally use minis.

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