“Portal of Asgard”
Published onApril 27, 2021

So why design my own launch pad?

Well, I simply couldn’t find one that met all my specifications:

  • The launchpad had to be “tripod mounted”. This does several things: 1) it reduces the risk of fire (especially if launching near tall grass) by getting the launchpad off the ground, 2) it makes prepping the rocket MUCH easier on my middle-aged back, and 3) the fluid head makes adjusting the “angle of attack” super simple and smooth!
  • A drill chuck to hold the launchrod. This make changing the launch rod quick amd easy. Also, a drill chuck will hold the rod very securely even with just hand cranking.
  • A deflector plate to protect the chuck and tripod. Deflector plates are cheap to replace. The chuck and especially the tripod are NOT!
  • Built like a tank. I wanted something SOLID! No more bendy, fidgety, wobbly launch pads! Someone needs to start an ad campaign that say, “Just say ‘NO!’ to flimsy launch pads!:”
  • Has multiple attachment points to mount thing like this camera arm or this clamp or other 1/4″ accessories!
  • Standoffs that are easy to remove. This allows for quick setup and breakdown on the field.

So that started a frenzy of designing! The following photo is version 1.0 of my launch pad. And it was GREAT! Sturdy. Functional. Virtually indestructable! BUT…

  • IT WAS BORING AS SNOT!!!! Actually, it was more boring than snot. Sure, it was a JOY to use! But for something that I had to stare at with every single launch, I knew that I could do better! So  what you see now is version 2.0…

How much did this thing cost?

Here’s a rough breakdown:

  • $10.06 Estes 1/8″ Launch Rod
  • $13.86 Estes 3/16″ Maxi Rod
  • $27.39 Estes Porta-Pad E Launch Pad (to get the 1/4″ rod and deflector plate)
  • $16.00 Ryobi A10KC31 Drill Chuck on eBay
  • $13.25 1/2″-20 x 1″ UNF Hex Head Cap Screw
  • $17.99 Metric screw and nut set
  • $21.99 NICEYRIG Camera Cheese Mounting Plate

So what’s the damage? About $120 (not including the tripod). Not too bad (especially considering that I can spend that much on a single rocket)! And I get a significant upgrade from my flimsy Estes launcher, I get some extra parts (like the metric screw and nut set), and I can repurpose my camera tripod!

How do I get one?

There are TWO options:

  1. First, for a nominal price (and assuming you have a FDM 3D printer like my Prusa MK3S), you can download the STL files with instruction on how to slice and print this bad boy. The benefits of this is that you can reprint this for yourself in the future (honestly not sure why you would need to do this since it’s built like a tank).
  2. Second, you can have me print one for you. The benefit of me doing it is that I have figured out how to print with PETG without destroying my build plate. PETG sticks VERY strongly and removing the print can sometimes cause damage to the plate or the 3D print or both! Also, slicing this part is a little tricky. Around each bolt and screw hole the infill needs to be increased to about 80 percent (otherwise the tension of the bolt/screw will crush the plastic).

Anyway, that’s it for this blog post… except to say I LOVE my new Asgard Launch Pad!!! Designing it and building it was just as fun as making a rocket!

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