Clip Whips

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To light multiple motors at once, such as in a cluster, you need a "clip whip." You can make clip-whips for two, three, or four motors, more if you dare.


For each ignitor, you will need:

  • 2 copper micro-clips (with flat jaws; they grip ignitors better than alligator clips); Radio Shack sells these in packets.
  • A length of 20 or 22 gauge 2-conductor speaker wire. I use the kind with one copper and one nickel lead in clear plastic insulation.  The exact length is not important, 10-18" is good;  all whips in a set should be about equal. Because this is a small gauge of wire, excessive length is excessive resistance.
  • Solder.
I use "match-point" or "tape" solder, which can be melted in a match flame. (Heat the wire in the flame and slowly add solder by touching it to the hot part so that it melts into the connection.) If you have a soldering iron, then use what suits you.

Split each end of each lead about 2" at each end, and strip about 1/2" of insulation off every wire end. Refer to the illustration above.  Crimp and solder a pair of micro-clips on one end of each set.  Then gather all the loose copper ends; twist and solder together.  Do the same with all the loose nickel ends.

Using Them
On the pad, hook a pair of micro-clips to each ignitor.  (If there are more leads than ignitors, such as if you are firing a two-engine cluster with a three-lead clip whip, just make sure the extra set does not short out.)  Hook your regular launch system clips to the free twisted, soldered ends.  Countdown and launch!

Submitted by Peter W. Clay (

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