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Old 04-07-2021, 09:44 AM
BobP_in_Nevada's Avatar
BobP_in_Nevada BobP_in_Nevada is offline
Skill Level 2.8 (Nearly Advanced)
Join Date: Aug 2012
Location: Sparks, Nevada
Posts: 81
Default 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.

Bob Portnell, Sparks, Nevada
NAR #87762, NARTREK Silver, Not an actual Silver Snoopy awardee

"Flying Like It's 1980"
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Old 04-07-2021, 10:09 AM
TigerHawk TigerHawk is offline
Model Rocketry - The Good Ole Days
Join Date: Sep 2019
Posts: 1,188
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Single piece launch rods. 36” long for 1/8” & 3/16” rods, 48” long for a 1/4” rod.
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Old 04-07-2021, 10:14 AM
mojo1986's Avatar
mojo1986 mojo1986 is offline
Old Canuck Modeller
Join Date: Mar 2005
Location: Kingston, CANADA
Posts: 2,136

36" 2-piece from Estes. Never had a problem with it.
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Old 04-07-2021, 10:24 AM
barone's Avatar
barone barone is offline
Master Modeler
Join Date: Apr 2005
Location: Bartlett, TN
Posts: 3,337
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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.
NAR 53455
"Carpe Diem"
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Old 04-07-2021, 10:30 AM
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Earl Earl is offline
Apollo Nut
Join Date: Dec 2006
Posts: 4,463

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.

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, 11:17 AM
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ghrocketman ghrocketman is offline
Join Date: Jul 2005
Location: Nunya Bizznuss, Michigan
Posts: 13,108

I use 1-piece stainless steel rods in 1/8, 3/16, and 1/4".
Have never used those flimsy 2-piece aluminum things.
When in doubt, WHACK the GAS and DITCH the brake !!!

Yes, there is such a thing as NORMAL
, if you have to ask what is "NORMAL" , you probably aren't !

Failure may not be an OPTION, but it is ALWAYS a POSSIBILITY.
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Old 04-07-2021, 12:00 PM
Scott_650 Scott_650 is offline
Master Modeler
Join Date: Sep 2015
Posts: 645

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...
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Old 04-07-2021, 12:18 PM
BEC's Avatar
BEC BEC is offline
Master Modeler
Join Date: Feb 2009
Location: Auburn, Washington
Posts: 3,483

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.
Bernard Cawley
NAR 89040 L1 - Life Member
SAM 0061
AMA 42160
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Old 04-07-2021, 12:19 PM
BRS Hobbies BRS Hobbies is offline
Intermediate Rocketeer
Join Date: Jan 2009
Location: USA
Posts: 76

A and B. Both options work fine.
__________________ - Full line of model rocket products! Free shipping offer! No backorders or delays!
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Old 04-07-2021, 02:03 PM
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LeeR LeeR is offline
Retired with Way Too Many Kits
Join Date: Jun 2007
Location: Colorado
Posts: 3,145

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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Lee Reep
NAR 55948

Projects: Semroc Saturn 1B, EAC Firecat (Mini HoJo bash), Scorpius, DBRM
In the Paint Shop: Nothing! Too cold!
Launch-Ready: Farside-X, Maxi Honest John, Super Scamp
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