PML offers a variety of rocket airframe materials including Kraft Phenolic, Quantum Tube, and Pre-Glassed Phenolic to meet your requirements.
Carbon Fiber airframes, couplers, and nosecones can be found on the Composites Page.
PML QUANTUM TUBE!
The Quantum Tube (QT), is made from a special blended polymer that is extremely durable and easy to use. You will find this new material easy to work with and very forgiving. Most hobby type epoxies and paints will readily adhere to this material as well. The Quantum Tube can be squeezed, dropped, or even thrown and will not suffer any damage as can sometimes occur to cardboard or phenolic tube. The Quantum Tubes are molded in medium gray and have a glass smooth finish. The Quantum Tube does have one thing missing, the spiral groove! You will appreciate the fact that you no longer have to fill and sand the airframes to achieve the perfect finish.
All our kits in the 2.1”-3.9” diameter range (except Nimbus) now ship standard with Quantum Tubing. These kits are all available with phenolic airframes on request, though there may be a slight delay as they are considered a special order.
Some customers have thought that QT is a replacement for ‘glassed phenolic. This is not the case. Quantum Tubing is not intended for super-high-stress applications. It is intended as a replacement for standard phenolic for sport rockets. QT makes it easier and faster for flyers to achieve a nice finish, and to eliminate some of the problems of plain phenolic in high-impact situations like landing on rocks, cold-weather flying, etc. ‘Glass-wrapped phenolic is still the best product for high stress flights. See the FAQ Page on this site for more information.
KRAFT PHENOLIC AIRFRAME and MOTOR MOUNT TUBING
Our phenolic tubes for airframes and motor mounts are the nationally renowned Kraft phenolic tubes that are sold exclusively by Public Missiles, Ltd. Motor mount tubes are identical to the airframe tubing. Over FIVE times the compression strength of cardboard at a fraction of the cost of fiberglass. (And it won`t make you itch!) Easy to work with and can be finished glass smooth.
PRE-GLASSED PHENOLIC AIRFRAMES
(For Carbon Fiber Airframes and components click here)
PML offers a fiberglassing service for our phenolic body tubing. All tubing except 11.4" dia. is vacuum bagged. The fiberglassing service leaves the tubes with a smooth finish, ready for priming and painting with little if any prep work required. This pre-glassed tubing is perfect for super-heavy duty flights that will reach 0.85 Mach or greater, your L3 project, or also is just nice to have so you don`t have to fill the spiral grooves! If you`re scratchbuilding, see below for pricing for us to slot the glassed tubing for you. Also, any of our kits in these sizes can be "upgraded" to ship to you with pre-glassed tubing, all slotted and ready to go. Call PML at 586-421-1422 M-F 9-5pm EST for pricing details.
“So which airframe material should I use for my project?”
Many factors are involved when deciding which airframe to use in a particular application including strength, workability, heat resistance, cost, etc. Below are a few guidelines designed to help you make an informed decision.
Public Missiles Ltd. exclusive Quantum Tube airframes are the best choice for most sport rocketry applications. QT is very easy to work with and finish, with no spiral grooves to fill. It`s very strong and the best choice for most rocket flying. It is also very forgiving of rough handling and resistant to the impacts of harsh landings. However, QT is NOT a replacement for fiberglassed phenolic; it is simply an easier-to-use material in applications that will not be exposed to transonic or supersonic flight. QT should not be used in minimum diameter applications as the severe heat from the motor casing may adversely affect the airframe.
When to use Quantum Tube:
With any rocket 2.1" through 3.9" that will use an internal motor mount tube and will not fly faster than 0.85 mach.
For any rocket 2.1" through 3.9" that may encounter rough handling or hard landings.
Phenolic tubing is a resin impregnated, spiral wrapped, and heat cured tube. It is much stronger than cardboard tubing, with almost 5x the compression strength. It is also a very good base for rockets that will require the strengthening of fiberglass, Kevlar, carbon fiber, or similar materials. For this reason, we recommend phenolic as the appropriate tubing for rockets that are 6.0, 7.5, or 11.4" in diameter, or rockets that will require strengthening for the rigors of transonic or supersonic flight. We also recommend phenolic for transonic or supersonic flights in kits of 1.1" through 2.5" diameter, as phenolic can withstand those flights without strengthening in most instances. PML Phenolic tubing is very heat resistant and is highly recommended for motor mount tubes and minimum diameter applications.
When to use Phenolic Tube:
For all motor mounts and minimum diameter boosters.
For any rocket 1.1" through 2.5" diameter regardless of speed.
For any rocket 3.0" through 11.4" that will not exceed 0.85 mach.
For any rocket requiring extensive fiberglass, Kevlar, or carbon fiber reinforcing.
FIBERGLASS WRAPPED PHENOLIC AIRFRAMES
Fiberglassed phenolic tubing is extremely strong and able to handle nearly any flight profile you can imagine. It comes to you pre-glassed, initially sanded, and almost ready to paint.
When to use Fiberglass Wrapped Phenolic Tube:
For any rocket expected to exceed 0.85 mach.
For any rocket that may encounter rough handling or hard landings.
When a little extra weight is not an issue and a lot of extra strength is required.
NOTE: Due to production tolerances, CTF tubes (Full-Length Coupler Tubes) may require sanding to achieve a proper fit.