While they cost a bit more than the paper tubes, Blue Tubes are a durable alternative to those phenolic and carbon-fiber tubes. Used by the military in tank ammunition, this material is abrasive resistant and will not crack. They are great for high power rockets where you need super durability.
Due to the length and larger diameter of these tubes, additional shipping fees may apply, especially for Alaska, Hawaii, US Protectorates and International locations. We will contact you with any additional costs before shipping.
Blue tubes are a shatter-proof alternative to phenolic airframe tubes that always seem to crack every time your rocket has a hard landing. Blue tubes have been used for military operations in tank ordinance. It has far more resistance to abrasion and has no cracking, or brittleness. AND, it costs less than those expensive carbon fiber tubes. This is the tubing you have been waiting for in your next high-power rocket project!
Blue tube is available in standard diameters to fit 29mm, 38mm, 54mm, 75mm, 98mm motors, as well as 2.56 inches, 5.5 inches, and 6.0 inches in diameter. All the tubes are 48 inches long, and can be cut, sanded and shaped with typical modeling tools.
How often has it happened to you? You built an awesome high-power rocket using phenolic tubes, and it performs flawlessly. But then, the rocket starts to sway a little bit as it descend under the parachute. And when it touches down on the ground, it lands on a fin tip. The full landing load travels up the fin and is transferred right up to the tube of the rocket, and it cracks the tube. The tube isn't bent or creased, it is cracked!
You know what we're talking about, right?
The horror stories of cracked or shattered phenolic tube abound. That is the reason that everyone puts a layer or two of fiberglass over the top of them.
But what a mess fiberglassing is. You spend twice as much time strengthening the tube, and the stink and resin mess is everywhere. You begin to wonder if it is worth it. And once you put fiberglass over the tube, you have to take precautions not to breath the dust as you sand down the tube. If you have children in your house, you have to send them out to the movies while your exercising your muscles sanding down the fiberglass.
You want the strength of phenolic, but you can do without the brittleness. Right?
Blue Tube from Always Ready Rocketry is exceptionally durable. As the photos above show, hitting it with a golf club shows some denting, but for the most part, the tube is still usable for your rockets. If you hit a phenolic tube with a golf club, the game is over. The tube shatters and is pretty much useless
What Features Make This Tube Worthy To Be In Your Fleet?
Strength-wise, Blue Tube is nearly as strong as fully cured phenolic tubes. Where it exceeds phenolic is its impact resistance. It absorbs a hard landing with ease. You can say goodbye to shattered tubes forever.
Blue Tube is also Mach capable right out of the box. You do not need to increase its strength by wrapping it with epoxy/fiberglass like you would with paper tubes. So that saves you time and money, right? Plus the mess of fiberglass and epoxy is pure torture for your family to deal with. They'll love you if you switch to Blue Tube.
Another great feature of the tube is that it is made from a paper fiber. So you can cut, glue, sand, paint, and shape the material like you would an ordinary paper tube. Where phenolic requires epoxy, you can actually use wood glue on Blue Tube.
Finally, Blue Tube is constructed with a very thin outer layer wrap. That means that the depth of the spirals in the tube are tiny. You do not need to fill them with bondo like you do with phenolic tubes. A thick coat of paint primer will fill them, and after a quick sanding, you're ready for the final coat of paint.
Finally, Blue Tube is constructed with a very thin outer layer wrap. In the photo to the right, (A) is four layers of thick paper to provide strength, and (B) is the application of the thin paper to cut down on the depth of the spirals.
That means that finishing these tubes will be less work. You do not need to fill the spirals with bondo, like you do with phenolic tubes. A thick coat of paint primer will fill them, and after a quick sanding, you're ready for the final coat of paint.
What are the disadvantages of it?
The big difference in Blue Tube is its higher price. It is a bit more expensive than paper and phenolic tubes. But if you shatter your phenolic based rocket on the first flight, then using Blue Tube would have saved you quite a bit of money. Additionally, you don't have to over-wrap it with fiberglass cloth, so you actually will save money by using Blue Tube.
Weight: Blue Tube has a higher density than phenolic tube. So your rocket is going to be a little bit heavier. For your everyday sport models, this is probably acceptable. The higher weight will slow down the rocket a little bit, and give you that slow-realistic lift-off that everyone loves to see. If you are going for all out performance, like a record-setting altitude attempt, you'll probably need to switch to fiberglass or carbon-fiber airframe tubes.
Strength: As mentioned above, the strength of Blue Tube is slightly less than phenolic tube. But strength of phenolic tube has never been it's issue. The brittleness of phenolic tube is the problem. To get around some of that, many manufacturers have gone to a semi-cured phenolic tube (called flexible phenolic). Blue Tube is MUCH stronger than flexible phenolic and vastly more durable.
What Is Blue Tube Actually Made From?
While Blue Tube is a proprietary creation of Always Ready Rocketry, we have a strong suspicion that it is some sort of vulcanized cellulose fiber. We've been selling 18mm tube couplers since 1989 that are made from something that looks very similar (see our Airframe Couplers page).
Other brand names for vulcanized fiber products are Fish Paper, and in Europe: "Leatheroid." Vulcanized fiber is a hard, durable, chemically pure cellulose product that contains no resin or bonding agents. It has high mechanical strength, excellent resistance to heat and cold (superior to most plastics), excellent electrical properties, tear resistant, and can be machined with standard tools.
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