This site designed by Andrew C Cooper 07.01.2011
Updated On 07.17.12
Launching Micro Maxx Rockets Without A Micro Maxx Launch System!
The following is NOT approved by Quest. Quest will not warrant this action. You do it on your own. Be responsible and use your greatest tool, your brain. It works for me.
OK, I admit it I have little fat fingers! (say that ten times!) Because of this I had always blown off Quest’s little motors the Micro Maxx. At least until I was given a few packages. They sat in my rocket motor drawer till last month. I got this wild hair to build a boost glider using the Micro Maxx motor. But what to do? I didn't have a Quest launcher. My buddy Jeff Vegh did but he wasn't going to be able to make it to the launch.
Jeff is THE GURU for anything Micro Maxx. In fact he has designed and kitted a couple of streamer competition Micro Maxx rockets. (If you want to know more about what Jeff is doing check him out at the Rocket Forum!) Jeff had explained that if I carefully disassembled the Micro Max igniter it would work with our regular club launch system. His suggestion used a tooth pick to hold the igniters in place. I found out quick that the Quest igniters were to say the least very fragile. After three tries using the tooth pick as I thought Jeff meant I finally got my boost glider, the Jet-Lag to fire. It worked really well with about a 35 second glide time (I will post the plans on my web site soon).
I haven't talked to Jeff in a while, but I knew there must be a better way, so I started thinking, how could I do this better. And I stumbled on an idea. I knew ahead of time that any igniter for the Micro Maxx motor had to be very fine and that an Estes igniter just would not work. So, I looked in all my old rocket info and found a suggestion for making igniters for Estes engines from back in the sixties. It is where you take a small piece of Nichrome wire about the same gauge as an Estes igniter make two wraps around a pencil point and if your battery is up to snuff it will ignite the black powder. I did this dozens of times back in the day when Estes was stingy with the igniters. You really don't need a pyrogen if your battery will make the wire glow for a second before burning through. Also for all you young folks. Estes didn't make those nice plugs back then! We used toilet paper or flame proof wadding, rolled it up small and shoved it up the nozzle to hold the igniter in!
I thought, why wouldn't this work? I just needed to find some really fine Nichrome wire. But where could I find some so fine? I looked at McMaster-Carr, but it was expensive. I was about to forget the whole idea until my loving rocket babe reminded me that didn't I use some fine wire to make the bridge for my composite motors. (I think she has found some of it in the carpet!) Well I sure did and I had quite a bit of it. So I started to experiment and this is what I came up with.
Take about a two inch piece of very fine Nichrome wire and a round tooth pick. Bend the wire in half. This will leave you a very small bend in the wire. (See picture 1) After you have this small bend, gently squeeze the bend almost shut leaving a very small space between the sides of the loop. (See picture 2). Gently insert the loop into the nozzle of the Micro Maxx motor as far as you can with out bending the loop. (See picture 3).
Now comes the hard part. Take a round tooth pick and gently push the igniter wire in as far as you can without breaking off the tooth pick. (See picture 3) Now comes the REALLY HARD part. Take a VERY small piece of toilet paper and roll it between your fingers till it is smaller than a head of a pin. It needs to be very, very small. (See picture 4) I have found that a pencil is excellent in pushing the toilet paper into the nozzle.
That’s about it. The igniter wire stays put even with alligator clips like my club uses. Using this method I get 100% ignition. Out of five tries I got five ignitions.
While I was developing the above method my loving rocket babe suggested I try square tooth picks as a plug for these tiny motors. So I did. Ignition wasn’t quite as good but not bad. Something like 85% ignition. I had to try twice to get one motor to ignite.
Using the same method as above for the wire, insert the wire into the nozzle. Using a square tooth pick push the wire into the nozzle as far as it will go. At this point break off the tooth pick. Use the remaining tooth pick to push the “plug” in as far as it will go. There you have it!
Hope this helps for those of you with out the Micro Maxx launch system. Just remember that Quest probably doesn’t approve of this method so you are on your own. I am not responsible for anyone but me.