Introduction: Instamorph Ring to Test the Lift of a High Altitude Balloon

I made a device to make it easier for the Arch Reactor ground crew to detatch our balloon from the helium gas tank in order to test the lift for our High Altitude Balloon. But it needed an atachment ring somehow atached so we could hook up the fish scale and safety weights. Fortunately, it was instamorph night at Arch Reactor.

Step 1: Step 1: Assembling the Device

Note: This Instructable assumes you know your way around a weather balloon launch. Teaching you how to a weather balloon launch safely is beyond the scope of this article.

To make the device, I rummaged through the gas parts in the air tools section of the hardware store. Do not use parts rated for water. Helium is a very sneaky gas and you'll want something rated for holding contents under pressure. I chose the parts rated for 300 psi with 1/4 inch diameter.


1 quick connect

1 shutoff valve

1 Tee connector

1 pressure valve

Yellow thread tape (rated for gas)

about a tablespoon of Instamorph

Assemble the parts in the order shown. On Launch day, the quick connect end will attach to the hose leading to the Helium tank, The Tee end will connect to the hose leading to the balloon. The pressure valve will tell you the amount of pressure in the system.

Step 2: Step 2: Adding the Instamorph Ring

With the tail of the quick connect removed, find the balance point of the device. This is where you will put the ring.

Prepare about a tablespoon of Instamorph, following the instructions on the bag.

When the beads are malleable, wrap half of the Instamorph around the balance point. and form the other half into a ring. That sounds like I divided the Instormorph glob in half, but I didn't. This should all be one piece of Instamorph.

The idea here is that both the wrap around the balance point and the ring both have to be strong enough to hold up to a 6 pound payload that could be swinging, depending on the wind at launch day.

Let dry. Pay attention though, because the ring may stretch out of shape when it dries

Step 3: Step 3: Weight Test

We tested with a heavy wrench that weighed about 6 poinds

So far... so good.

Step 4: Step 4: How to Use

On Launch Day, with the tank regulator valve shut off, connect the tank hose to the quick connect end (with quick connect tail attached)

Connect the balloon hose to the Tee connector.

To fill the balloon, make sure the device's valve is open and begin filling the balloon

When you want to test the lift,

HOLD ON TIGHTLY TO THE DEVICE. If you let go, the balloon will fly away.

Close the devices valve, shut off the gas, and disconnect the quick connect (while still holding onto the device)

Attach one end of a fish scale or luggage scale to the ring on the device, the other end needs to go on a heavy weight that is stronger than you think the balloon will pull.

Read the weight on the scale and you know your lift value