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It's been a long time since I was flying rockets but when I was, I was looking for better ways to make the model rockets work. I was particularly interested in ways to deploy the parachute without using wading. Is anyone interested in finding alternatives?
You could certainly use an engine without an ejection charge and an altimeter like the PerfectFlite Stratologger to deploy the 'chute!
The PerfectFlite Stratologger sounds like an interesting solution but I wonder about the size and the cost. I'm going to assume that an altimeter is going take some space and would therefore not work with smaller rockets. I'm sure it would be great in larger high powered rockets.
I developed a method using plastic pistons which should work with all standard Estes body tube sizes. The piston protects the parachute from the hot ejection charge and slides out of the body tube deploying the parachute. Because it is connected to the shock cord, it is not lost like the wadding and is therefore reusable. the design is called Estes Rocket Parachute Ejection Pistons (http://www.thingiverse.com/thing:2756187 ).