(Contributed - by Lance Alligood - 07/01/04)
This is a spool very much in the vein of those like
Spool Rocket and Dick Stafford's
Bobbin except it has a 24mm motor mount.
Recently I was in the electrical department of my local home improvement store
where I inquired as to what they did with their empty wire spools. Believe it
or not, they just throw them away! I politely asked if I could have some. The
sales associate guided me to the back of the store where he pointed to a large
box and told me to help myself. And I did!
The spools were all made of plastic. While they were all about 6.5" in
diameter, there were 2 different widths: about 3" and 5.5". Helping
myself to a few, I took them home. Once I got them into my workspace, I took
some 24mm and 29mm tubing to help gauge how far I was going to need to open the
A Dremel made quick work (in fact, too quick in the case of the one I
wanted to use for 29mm tubing) of opening up for a snug fit of the 24mm tubing.
Opening up only one end, the unmodified hole made for an excellent thrust ring.
I cut the tube to fit and used some Devcon 5-minute epoxy to hold it in place.
A 3/16" drill bit was all I needed to create holes for a launch rod.
No finishing was necessary. I kept it the black plastic as is.
I loaded up the Live Wire Spool with an Estes E9-6 and friction fit it into
place with masking tape, leaving about 3/4 of an inch of the motor sticking
out. My club's mid power pads sit close to the ground so I practically had to
lie down on the ground to attach the clips to the ignitor...but that's the not
the rocket's fault. The Estes E9 is a super motor for this rocket as it
provides a pleasant 3 second burn. While the spool didn't leave the pad with
amazing authority, it did manage to continue a steady ascent during the entire
thrust phase of flight to about 300ft.
This rocket could easily handle higher thrust motors but I have learned
that long burn motors (regardless of total thrust) provide the best flights
with spools and other high drag designs.
I love spools because they do not require any wadding and/or lengthy
preparation. Recovery comes from the gentle tumble that they go into after
motor burnout all the way to the ground. I would go so far as to describe it as
simple elegance. Because of the low altitude, it didn't get very far away from
the pad during recovery. Unable to modify the motor to remove the ejection
charge, the ejection charge went off comfortably about halfway back to the
Spools rule! Best of all, it was practically free and only took a matter of
minutes to modify it for flight. Combined with plenty of Estes E9s, you will
always be entertained while flying this all day long on even the smallest
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