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A custom launch pad
By: Jake Alexander

Jake Alexander brings to us the first ever launch pad design to the Design of the Month contest.  In fact, this is the first ever non-rocket entry made.  Jake has done an excellent job in coming up with a simple yet functional launch pad that should be easy to build for anyone.

Jake had this note included with his entry:

Mr. Flis,
This is my entry for the Feb. 2005 DOM contest. Unless there is another one this month, this is the first launchpad, and the first non-rocket entry. I had the idea for this pad a while ago, when my 3-5 year old Port-a-Pad had been broken (or, at least not strong enough for a D rocket, and I had lost the blast plate) for awhile, and I had to borrow a friend's every time I wanted to launch. I also wanted to be able to expand it if I wanted to (Larger rockets, larger rods. I had no desire to purchase Estes pads or rods again. After all, I could have bought a Maxi Rod for the same price it cost to build this.). So... I went to Lowes (or Home Depot) and bought a 3/16 inch rod (Electrical section, I didn't need a 1/8 because I still had my Estes one), 2 solid electrical plates (Blast plates), some 2x4 lumber (a total of 30 inches), and bolts and nuts to hold it all together.First, I cut (Or had my dad do the cutting, as a matter of fact, he did most of the work while I "supervised" and planned it. I would have changed that, but he is my dad, so...) the wood into 2, 12 inch sections, and 2, 3 inch long blocks. I then bolted the 2, 12 inch planks together at a 90 degree angle, and drilled holes in the blast plates for the bolts. I then bolted the 3 inch blocks to the bottom of the 12 inch planks (to keep it steady) with the blast plates on top. I then drilled a 1/8 inch hole in the middle of one plate and put the 1/8 inch rod in. I repeated the process for the 3/16" rod, and if you wanted a 1/4" rod, you could do the same, but in the middle of the pad. If you want larger rods, you will want I hope to have some photos tomorrow, and I will send the as soon as I get them on my computer.

Jake Alexander

I asked Jake to provide some additional information with his entry and he was able to provide me with the following parts list along with several photographs which should be adequate for anyone to duplicate this pad.

The parts are;
1-1/8 inch metal rod
1-3/16 inch metal rod
1-1/4 inch metal rod (optional)
2-solid, metal electrical plate (3 if you want the 1/4
inch rod too)
8-1/4 inch by _ bolts (need 2 more for 1/4 inch rod)
2-12 inch sections of 2x4 lumber
2-3 inch sections of 2x4 lumber

Thank you for the opportunity to enter this. I should have some sketches or drawings (I have Appleworks, but I will also send it as a PDF file).

Thank you again, and good designing (and flying) to you!


The links below will provide you with instructions and patterns for this design.  These links will open a new window.


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