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TOPIC: Lighting Rapiers on the Flying Field

Lighting Rapiers on the Flying Field 4 years 9 months ago #570

  • rogersimmonds
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One of the perennial questions I and others are asked on the flying field are:

1 Did you make it yourself mister?
2. I was told you couldn't get Rapiers now?
3. Surely Rapiers could be made in the UK - it would be easy?
4 : how can the Rapiers I've got be fired up as there isn't any fuse?

Only question (4) deserves a detailed answer as (1) can be answered by a grunt, (2) by a sigh and (3) by 'please go on to our website and explore this topic and come back with informed comments /questions!' :woohoo:

So, to answer (4), years ago Dr John Emmet developed a Jetex igniter which is also suitable for Rapiers:





These do occasionally appear on eBay but they are rare and need a really high power Ni-CAD battery to work well and they drain even a 2500 mAh 'D' battery quite quickly.

Clever rocketeers have been using a 'Bovie' cauterizer for years now - I think there is a blog about it somewhere.




But there are problems with this useful tool:

1. they are quite expensive and will not be sold in bulk to a non-medical person.

2. They are quite tricky to modify when the batteries run out or the element breaks - which happens all too soon.


But now there is a better answer: Tony Butterworth found this neat device recently:





This 'non medical' product is about 10-15 pounds and, being for multiple, rather than single, use, rather better made than the Bovie. .





It also has the advantage that the end can be unscrewed, old batteries removed and two new ones popped in.

The element it comes with is rather too short for our purposes, but the supporting electrodes can be filed and the ends cracked off to reveal a convenient hole (which some Bovie tools do not have) to for a new 28 SWG Nichrome element to be pushed into.














Above: modified Cord Zapper. The 28 SWG element is bent so as to fit the Rapier orifice ( those of the L-1 are slightly narrower than the L-2) but do leave a gap between the wires! Broken elements are easily removed and replaced.

Two AA batteries appear to give a quite healthy glow, adequate to ignite most Rapiers, but I would guess one would have to go to the flying field equipped with a goodly supply of batteries (at least eight) and 5-6 2" lengths of Nichrome wire.

I bought mine on eBay (inevitably) but I'm sure there are other sources.

See you on the field - do not hesitate to ask for zapping! :dry:

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Lighting Rapiers on the Flying Field 4 years 4 months ago #598

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Hi Guys, a very happy rocketeering 2017 to you all. :)

I was putting a package together for a modeller recently. This consisted of a batch of Rapier L-1s and a batch of L-2s and, of course, as he is new to the game, an igniter.

As you can see from previous posting on this thread,one favoured means of igniting Rapiers is the 'Cord Zap' discovered by the estimable Tony Butterworth.

So I tried to buy some Cord Zaps, not thinking there would be a problem - after all, I bought several last year.

However, it seems the only readily available 'Zapper' is now the 'Thread Zap'. :unsure:




Above: the Thread Zap is smaller than the Cord Zap


OK, Ok, you say, so? :huh:

Well, the 'Thread Zap uses only one, not two AA batteries like the more powerful 'Cord Zap' and therefore may not ignite a Rapier, or if it does, not when the Rapier is 'oldish stock' and needs a lot of heat to get going (but is otherwise OK) and not when it's cold and windy. :(

Now I'm sure the Thread Zaps ali body can be modified to take two or even three AA batteries, but it's a shame we can't now get the original (or not easily and cheaply, as before - I don't really want to deal with a seller in Canada) and it's enough to put any new Rapier flyer off. Which is a pity.

Any ideas?
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Lighting Rapiers on the Flying Field 4 years 4 months ago #599

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Howard has replied,
"Hi Roger,

This site shows three types available:
jewelsinfiber.blogspot.co.uk/2015/04/com...zappers-sealers.html

The Max wax appears to have only one AA! Could find a UK source but didn’t look hard.

The Cord Zap seems to be still available but looks a bit dearer now and without registering I couldn’t find out where it is posted from:
www.cjbeaders.com/mega-thread-zapper

The Ultra Thread Zap is on sale here at Etsy but the tip may be a bit too short for our use:
www.etsy.com/listing/228833859/ultra-thr...with-retractable-tip
or here:
www.beadsdirect.co.uk/ultra-thread-zappe...npudECFUOdGwodZaoPsQ

How about an old cigar tube or plastic tube to extend the Thread Zap ll?"

This is all good stuff, :) but I note the first website is dated 'March 2016' and things may have changed since then.

The cigar tube idea is good, but note the internal diameter of the cigar tubes would have to be 17 mm to be a snug fit . The tubes I've seen are 19 mm. Anybody know of a source of suitable metal tubing?

Any engineers out there - perhaps we need to craft our own igniter?

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Lighting Rapiers on the Flying Field 1 year 3 months ago #864

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Regarding the John Emmett Jetex igniter. It works very well with the new high capacity, 5000mAh, rechargeable C cells. The tip glows red. And it's quite hot enough even to light some rather ancient Rapiers that must be at least 15 years old.
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Lighting Rapiers on the Flying Field 6 months 3 weeks ago #1259

  • DaveL
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I was interested to read about the electrical ignitors, especially as I have a bunch of assorted Rapier motors but few fuses, ditto Jetex. Having looked closely at the photo of the D celled Jetex ignitor, I can't quite see how it works as it appears to have only a single wire???

Like any modeller involved with electric motored models, I have many batteries that are past their best - they won't provide enough power for flight, but are too nice to chuck out and, having read the comments about the 'Cord Zap' being an eater of alkaline cells, took up the challenge of a DIY effort.

In the video at the below link, you will find the widget - this uses a retired 7 cell 1100maH NIMH flight pack. Power is set by a trimmer which may be adjusted for different batteries (6v-12v). The 1100 maH pack should run it for around 40 minutes or so, before recharging or swapping out.

This prototype might look a bit Heath Robinson as I changed the wiring a few times, but it is pretty simple. It uses a microcontroller IC to control power to the 28swg filament. I printed the handle, but this could easily be cut from plywood or similar. Other than the battery, the cost of the components is around £6 or so (most came from my junk box).

I have not yet actually tried to light a motor, but as you can see the filament glows bright red, so I guess that it should work. If someone can tell me a bit more about the Jetex type, I should be able to come up with something similar.
Now, if someone can arrange for a fine day....

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Lighting Rapiers on the Flying Field 6 months 3 weeks ago #1260

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Hi David,

you need to provide the link ....:dry:

The Emmet igniter (to repeat) works well with Jetex motors. As to your Rapier igniter, a photo or two would be a god idea.

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