Rocket Launch Pads - 1/8" to 3/16" Diameter Launch Rods
Rockets: Impulse Reactor, Atomizer, Mutant Daddy, and Invader
This type of pad is available at local hobby stores, craft stores, and Wal-Mart as part of a starter kit. A popular pad is the Estes Porta-Pad that comes standard with a 1/8" Dia. x 36" launch rod. The optional 3/16" Dia. x 36" launch rod is sold separately. For better flight stability we highly recommend purchasing a steel 3/16" Dia. X 48" rod at your local hardware store (it may even be cheaper).
Tip: Always have a piece of steel wool with your launch supplies to clean the rod. Over time residue from the engine's hot gases tend to build up on the rod causing it to become sticky, so it's a good idea to clean the rod between flights.
Mid-Power and Mid-Size Rocket Launch Pads - 1/4" diameter rod
Rockets: Grave Danger, RDR I, RDR II, Integrator - 1/4" Diameter x 72" Length Rod Only
The larger pads are available through most hobby stores and mail order retailers. Two readily available launch pads are the Estes Porta-Pad E and the AeroTech Mantis. We have tested and used the Estes Porta-Pad E Launch Pad with great success by replacing the stock launch rod with a 1/4" Dia. x 72" rod. The rod that comes with this pad is not long enough for larger rockets, so if you decide to use this pad replace the rod with a 72" steel rod from your local hardware store or order online from McMaster -Carr (Part# Steel #8920K11 or Zinc Plated #9120K32).
Want to Build your own Launch Pad?
Click here for plans: Launch Pad
The launch controller provides safety interlocks and an electrical means to ignite the rocket engine. Of course, the only Launch Controller you will ever need is the Igniter Lighter. If you choose to use the Estes or Quest disposable battery type controllers, here some things to keep in mind:
1. 15' minimum distance from controller to launch pad is required for single A through D Engines.
2. 30' minimum distance from controller to launch pad is required for E and Clustered D Engines.
3. Clustered Engines require a 12-volt launch controller for proper ignition and safety.