My pad and launcher

The picture shows only the pad before construction of the launch control system began. A new picture will be posted as soon as the launcher is complete and tested.

The pad is made entirely of 1-1/4" PVC drain pipe. It is set up to handle 3 low or mid-power rockets. Each location can be equipped with a 1/8", 3/16" or 1/4" rod. It can handle rockets up to about 3 pounds and motors up to a small H. It is based on a design found in the rec.models.rockets archive. The URL for the original plan, called the Plumber Pad is The original is for a single rocket and is built somewhat like the North Coast pad. The three files found in the directory are text and encapsulated postscript. They need to be sent directly to a Postscript printer.

My pad is an outgrowth of the original, set up to handle 3 rockets and include storage for launch rods. The long rails are rod storage. I carry 2 each of 3 sizes (1/4, 3/16 and 1/8) so I can handle most small and mid-power rockets from this pad. The rods are standard 1/8, 3/16 and 1/4" steel rods purchased at a home improvement store. I brazed a bolt onto the end of each rod so they can be screwed into the pad. This also gives a good way to hold the blast deflectors in place. They were just cut from 16 guage steel so they should last for quite a while. The legs are filled with concrete to make the pad stable. The legs are not permanently attached which allows the pad to break down into a small package for transport. I will be buying a launch rail and adapting it for use on this pad. If you have questions about the design or construction of this pad, email me.

The launch control system is based on a design by Michael Moncur. Mine is basically two of these launchers built into a box on the pad. The handlheld contoroller is simple and compact, containing a key, buttons and lights. The controller is built in an old modem case that I found at a hamfest. The pad has audible continuity and launch indicators. The launcher is flashbulb safe and handles almost any type of igniter or clusters. The controller is a two-button type, requiring that you press the continuity key and the launch button before it will fire. It even incorporated a high security Medeco lock for a safety key. The whole thing is powered by a 12v 17 AH gel cell battery about the size of a motorcycle battery.