Saturday, October 24, 2020

Blog Builds In Order -

I know the blog search function isn't perfect - Eleven years and too many posts might make a certain build hard to find. And when you do find it, the build goes from finished model to start!


Roger from Rocket Reviews reminded me in a comment: includes an index of rocketry blogs including the Model Rocket Building Blog. 
The index makes it easier to find articles on specific topics and lists them in the correct build order

For example, to see a list of the posts in order for the Estes Honest John build,
type: Honest John Blog in the Search window on the upper right side of the home page.

Hit Search and you'll see this:



down . . .

Down here - 
Look for the little red rocket and the words Honest John and "Model Rocket Building Blog"

Click on that title and you'll get a listing of all the steps, in order.
The title descriptions should take you to any steps where you might have questions. 

It 'ain't perfect, but this could help you find what you are looking for!

Estes Starliner #0863 Build, Part 7, Decal & Template Draw

I redrew the deals and fin patterns.
The decals are available online but I wanted a cleaner original print.

Interesting to notice the canopy decal is the same used on the Orbital Transport. It was also used on a few other kits.

The decal PDF is available to Patreon support members. Email me at: and ask for the Starliner Decal PDF.

Friday, October 23, 2020

Estes Starliner #0863 Build, Part 6, Wing Fitting

The sides of the intakes are glued onto the vertical stabilizers. I used my angle to be sure they were 90 degrees to the stab.

In Step 11 of the instructions show the wing dihedral. With one half of the wing on the table, the wing tip is raised to 1" high. 

For a good fit of the wing sides, you'll need to sand an angle 
into the root edges.

To better see what I was sanding, the root edge was marked with a soft pencil. Keeping an eye on the pencil marks as you taper the edge with a sanding block.

I used a pencil under the wing, raising the tip up to a height of 1".

After the glued dried, the joint was filled with some CWF.

Thursday, October 22, 2020

Estes Starliner #0863 Build, Part 5, Fin Fitting

My fins were hand cut from 1/16" balsa.

I used the corner of my metal ruler to be sure the inside angle was at 90 degrees.

The illustration from the old instruction sheet shows how the wing and intake sides are glued up.

Double check the rudders and engine sides to be sure of the front angle orientation. You should have two assemblies a mirror image of each other. 

I slide a scrap piece of 1/16" thick balsa into the slot to be sure the spacing was correct. Remove the scrap so it doesn't get glued into the slot.

Here's the two rudder and engine side pieces glued up. Like I mentioned, be sure the side pieces have that front angle correct.

Wednesday, October 21, 2020

Estes Starliner #0863 Build, Part 4, Slotting For The Engine Mount

The older instructions show how to sand the "flats" into the centering rings. I don't remember ever seeing this any other model rocket kit.

The Wing Saddle Template is cut out and wrapped around the BT-20 tube.

Trace around the outside top and mark the arrow points with a pencil. Connect the arrow points with a straight line using an aluminum angle tool.

Using a new sharp knife blade - 
Carefully cut out the slot. I used the aluminum angle again for a blade guide cuts down the long sides. 

The instruction drawing (above) shows a sheet of sandpaper set down on the work table to sand the flats into the centering rings. I find more control using a sanding block.

Notice the flats are sanded directly opposite the engine hook.

Sand a bit and check the centering rings. You don't want to sand into the engine tube. 

Stop when you see the tube starting to show through when the rings are reduced down.

Tuesday, October 20, 2020

Estes Starliner #0863 Build, Part 3, Engine Mount

The upper ring is slotted for the Kevlar line to pass under.

The original instructions have you use a tri-fold mount, but I find them too thick on BT-5 and BT-20 based models. A Kevlar line tied to the engine mount won't block the ejection of the parachute.

Note the wrap of electrical tape, the pictures are out of order - this engine hook retention is explained below.

This is the top of the mount.
The kit didn't include an engine block, I feel better about the mount with a block inside.

A glue ring was set in using a Q-tip.
An expended engine was used to push the engine block squarely into the tube. Sometimes an engine block can go in crooked when it hits one side of  the engine hook.

There was no engine hook retention ring in the original kit. The engine hook doesn't sit flat against the tube.

I added a wrap of electrical tape to hold it down.


Here's the finished mount with the three upgrades - Kevlar, engine block and hook retention.

Monday, October 19, 2020

That New Blog Format!!!!

I've been complaining about how difficult it is to input pictures and text in the new blog interface.

It's taken me a few weeks of trial and error to figure this much out.

Here's some of the hoops I have to go through to make the pages. 

First thing you have to do is go to HTML and get rid of the two paragraph command symbols. 

Otherwise, you get double spacing (shown above) every time you hit the ENTER key
Now return to the COMPOSE view.

Add some pictures, size and temporarily position them on the left or right sides.
Now, try to add copy to the side of the first picture:

If there isn't much copy needed, the software sticks in a big space gap before the next picture is seen. I usually try to close it up for a better visual flow.
I set the cursor to the last word of copy, in this case, it's the word "flow". 
Hit delete a few times and the next picture should walk up below this  copy. Like this:

But, the cursor and the next copy block ends up below, down here, not at the right side of the second picture. You can't place the cursor and set copy to the side of the picture.
So . . . go back up to the second picture, click on it and move it to the right side (shown below). 

(The "I" above represents the cursor - you can now add copy.) 
We have fooled the software!
After all the new text is entered, 
Click on the picture again and shift it to the left, which is where I wanted it in the first place, the result shown below:

"The "I" above represents the cursor - you can now add copy.
After all the new text is entered, 
Click on the picture again and shift it to the left, which is where I wanted it in the first place."

Now the copy from the previous step should shift to the right side and the picture will be on the left.

These are the steps I now have to go through to input every single picture and text.
Sure, I could go the easier route - Center every picture and center all text underneath each picture. Letting the blog software handle all the spacing leaves a lot of open gaps.
I like it to be more visually interesting. I find myself swearing at the software a little too often.

SAVE often, check the PREVIEW to see what it looks like - 
Then make more adjustments - What You See Is Not What You Get.
Setting up a blog page before wasn't simple, but now it's stupid.

I almost forgot - 
After everything is on the page, go into HTML again and delete all the "Div" commands at the end of your text. If you don't you'll have another big gap at the bottom before the Labels and Comment areas.