Sunday, May 1, 2016

New Kit Prototype - Odd'l Rockets F-17, Part 1 Decals and Canopy

This won't be a full build thread but a quick insight into making a prototype.

I'm playing around with a new Odd'l Rockets kit based on the old Centuri fighter Fleet series. To see the Fighter Fleet, CLICK HERE

I had to draw decals from an online scan. After this first attempt there were four revisions. No matter how you try, the first decal print will be thrown away. Most details end up too large.
The Centuri kit was the F-16, mine will be an F-17.
You can't sell a decal with the name "US Air Force" without paying for the rights so I settled for "US FIGHTER FORCE".

The Centuri kit had a clear canopy, this one will be card stock.

There's no real trick to drawing a canopy, you just have to dive in knowing it'll take a few revisions to get the shape to fit.
On the left is the first try.

After cutting it out the glue tabs were held down with long tweezers while the glue dried.
TIP: One trick to gluing small tabs like this is to use very little white glue.

Two Different (But Alike) Model Comparisons

These two ARTF rockets struck me as similar.
I doubt Estes got their design from the MPC (Sky from China) rocket, or vice versa. Still, they do look alike.


Length: 26.25 in. (66.7 cm)
Diameter: 1.64 in. (42 mm)
Estimated Weight: 3.3 oz (93.6 g)
Plastic fins, self-stick decals, 18 in. (46 cm) parachute
Projected Max Altitude: 500 ft. (152 m)
Recommended Engines: B4-2 (First Flight), B6-2, C6-3

Length: 29 in. (73.6 cm)
Diameter: 1.58 in. (40 mm)
Estimated Weight: 2.2oz (60 g)
Plastic fins, self-stick decals, 18 in. (46 cm) parachute
Projected Max Altitude: 260 ft. (152 m)
Recommended Engines: C6-5

If the MPC Red Giant had a black nose cone and fins they'd be very close.
Interesting that the Estes Black Diamond gets 500 feet on a C6-3. The MPC Red Giant is taller, weighs less and only reaches 230 feet!
I like the looks of the MPC Red Giant better. They are on sale everywhere.

Saturday, April 30, 2016

Estes Mystery Parts Design Guess

From the Estes website, here's the parts that were shown for the upcoming Nike Smoke kit.

There's a lot of centering rings, two shrouds and an Honest John style nose cone. I assume that's the Mini Honest John nose cone.
There are three crescent shaped pieces that might fit the end of a tapered body tube piece.
Three trapezoid pieces could fit between the two tapered shrouds.

I played with the pictured pieces. Finding a place for all the centering rings was the challenge. Eight centering rings might be used to join the three tubes together. The upper cutaway drawing shows some of the centering rings.

The low end tube looks like a BT-60, the smaller tube in the center taper area is a 50, the upper overlapping tube is a 55.
Having the nose cone sit farther into a 55 tube would cover up the spin motors molded into the low end.
The tapered and capped outside tubes are cut from the second BT-55.

The fin grain dictates the shape position.

That forward tube has to be longer than what I drew. I'm probably WAY off.
Looking at this guess, I hope so!

Home Projects - No Rocketry Content Here!

Between music and rocketry projects I work on my house. Last year I started doing improvements.
When I bought my townhouse ten years ago, I was stuck with a lot of construction grade cheap faucets, lights and mirrors. I was ready for a refresh and upgrades.
I just added some back splash tile to my kitchen wall. The upper picture is the before.

Here's the after picture and a close up of the tile.
To my surprise the tile looked better in person than in the computer website picture. There are copper squares in-dispersed in each 12" X 12" piece.
I've still got to go back and touch up some grout. Considering it was my first attempt at doing tile, I was very happy with the final result.

Home Depot would have charged $400.00 for the install, not including the tile and grout. I only spent about $135.00 for the entire project.
Why didn't I completely cover the back center? I felt it would darken up the area too much. The wall needed a visual break.
It's a subtle change, but for me, a good one.

Friday, April 29, 2016

Mercury Engineering 3" Diam. School Rocket Build, Part 7, Launch and Follow Up

Here's a picture of the first D12-3 launch of the 3" School Rocket, before the chrome trim was added. The picture is from the December 5th N.E.F.A.R. launch. Boost was arrow straight all looked good until ejection.

The Kevlar loop broke through the upper centering ring and the rocket came down in two parts.
This was a fluke - how could a shock cord break through a 1/8" thick plywood centering ring?
The nose cone descended on the 18" parachute and landed softly. No damage to the nose cone.

The body tube nosed in and hit the ground!
I thought the tube would be crimped and probably beyond repair. THERE WAS NO DAMAGE to the tube, except for some very light scratches. This is a strong tube, it looks to be about 1 1/2 times the thickness of a BT-60 with a .070" wall.
Looking inside the tube with a flashlight, the centering ring had broken through between the two tie-down holes. I had hoped to fly it again with an E9-4 but couldn't with the needed repair.

I called Bill at BMS and told him what happened. He agreed that the ejection charge had to of been a strong one. He didn't have this problem with his prototypes. While this pre-production model had a lightweight ply centering rings, the production kits will get heavier plywood centering rings.
I used an Estes style tri-fold mount for the repair.

UPDATE: The 3" School Rocket has flown a few more times with the E9-4 engine. It gets to a good, but manageable altitude, perfect for demonstrations. Slow off the launcher on the longer burning E9. This model is now a favorite, I have to buy more engines!

Again, this kit retails for $14.95!
At 28 3/4" tall it's almost 10" taller than the Estes Big Daddy - at half the price!
This one is highly recommended. You'll find it on the BMS website, CLICK HERE

Thursday, April 28, 2016

Mercury Engineering 3" Diam. School Rocket Build, Part 6, Chrome Trim Comparison - Finished

Simple, tapered chrome trim strips were applied on the right side of the fins. For me, trim on both sides of the fins would have been too much.

On the left is the before,
on the right is after the chrome trim.

Monokote Trim is an easy alternative to complex masking and a vibrant way to trim a rocket.
Look back on some Centuri sport models in the 1972 catalog for ideas - CLICK HERE.
You can overdo it, though.

New Estes Kit?

I don't know what this is . . .
When you go to the Estes website and look at the Upcoming Nike Smoke kit, this comes up as the parts picture. CLICK HERE and go to "Additional Images".

That is a Honest John nose cone. I don't recognize all those centering rings. The name decal looks like the atomic symbol and the word "Express", but I can't be sure. Somehow this picture got slipped in the Nike Smoke kit description.
Anybody have a clue as to what is is (or was?)