Sunday, December 11, 2016

N.E.F.A.R. Launch, Bunnell, FL, December 10, 2016

Months go by, things are good, and then you have one of "those" launch days.
Nothing disastrous, it's just some flights weren't stable or vertical.

The winds were up, gusts from 15 to 20 mph. We all did out best to angle the launch rods so the rockets would drift back to us. Mine never seem to land close.

I figured I had better launch my most powerful first before the winds got any stronger.
My Estes MEGA MOSQUITO was first in the air with a E9-4 engine. After a good boost to 700' the 18" spill holed parachute caught the breeze. It landed near the mid-power pads.

Here's where things got screwy.
After leaving the launch rod, the Semroc LASER X went unstable!
With a C6-5 in it's tail there were two tight loops then went horizontal with the chute ejection 30 feet up.
This model had flown three times previously and was stable with B6-4 engines. No damage except for a missing fin toothpick that broke off right before it was slid down the launch rod.

My Quest AEROSPACE ONE had it's eighth flight using a D12-5.
Boost was vertical but starting spinning during the coast phase.
I would estimate the altitude to be around 650'. Again, another long walk to pick it up.

On the next two rockets I placed a wrap of tape around the shroud lines close to the canopy so the chute couldn't fully open.
Here's the Estes GBU-23 PAVEWAY III.
This one hasn't flown for over two years. Today launched with an Estes C6-5 to 600'.
One fin was broken at the root edge, an easy fix.

Last up for me was the kitbash KOKOPELLI flown with another C6-5.

Most all models were turning into the wind, this one was no different.
I would guess altitude was around 500'. The reefed parachute set it down without damage.

Too much wind for me but I got everything back. A pretty good day.

Saturday, December 10, 2016

Estes Long Tom #3016 Build, Part 11, Screw Eye Install

To the left is the screw eye supplied in the kit. The threads are too small to effectively lock into the balsa adapter.

On the right is the screw eye I replaced it with. It's the same length but the threads are wider.

At club launches I see ejection separations where screw eyes pull out of balsa.

TIP: For a straight screw eye install - go slow.
Screw the eye in one full turn, stop and check for straightness.

If it's crooked (like on the left) push it up straight then continue screwing in another full turn. check again.

As normal, remove the screw eye and squirt in some glue. re-inset the screw eye.

The pictures show a straight, strong install.

Logo Decals?

Estes logo decals are usually included in their kits. I rarely put them on a rocket.
I'm the type of person who refuses to buy designer clothes or shoes with predominantly displayed logos. If they were to pay me for being a walking billboard I would probably display their name.
I feel the same way about rockets. If you've been in the hobby for a short time you pretty much know who sells what without the name stuck on the model.
In the past I've pulled off the dealership logo from the back of the car before the sticker sets into the paint. Why should the car dealership get name recognition? They didn't design the car.

What really bugs me is to see a scale model with an Estes logo decal on it.
In the past I have cut off an Estes logo and replaced it with a Centuri name. This picture is the Payloader II, from when Estes brought back classic model kits. Some were Centuri designs. I added the Centuri logo in tribute to the original.

Friday, December 9, 2016

STM-12 Kitbash? Maybe Not!!!

EDIT: I did this post before I had a chance to see the STM-12 kit parts. As it turns out, it isn't a good candidate for an AMRAAM kitbash.
Sure it looks a bit like the AMRAAM, but the STM-12 kit only has three fins! The AMRAAM has four.
The STM-12 body tubes are already slotted for three fins. You'd have to buy new BT-60 body tubes - and maybe a shorter nose cone so . . . forget I ever brought it up!
Unless . . . you wanted to build a sorta' scale three finned AMRAAM.

The Estes STM-12 is on clearance right now on the Estes website for $6.99: CLICK HERE
I like the looks of the STM-12 but it could be kit bashed into an sport scale AAMRAM pretty easily.

Here's the Peter Alway scale data I found after a search:
Let's see -
The STM-12 body tube is a BT-60 at 1.637" diameter.
The AAMRAM is 7" diameter.
Divide 7" by 1.637" to get a 4.27 scale factor.
Simply divide all the measurements in the Alway drawing by 4.27 to get the build sizes needed.

Divide 144.25 by 4.27, the model will be 33.78" tall.
The STM-12 kit is 44.4" tall so you could use the tubes supplied in the kit. (No, you can't use the kit tubes)
New fins might have to be cut out, the trailing edges of the STM-12 fins aren't flat. (You could cut scale fins from the kit supplied balsa)
That nose cone looks long, but for a sport scale model it'll be close enough.
Those blue bands could be done with a strip of Monokote trim. Decals look to be all black, so home decal printing is easy.
With the forward fins, the OOP Estes AAMRAM kit had two pats of clay to go into the nose cone. THE STM-12 kit doesn't require any clay.
A little time with a calculator and you'd be good to go! Sure there would be some cutting and adjustments. but for $6.99 it's a good start for a semi-scale rocket!

Before you order the STM-12 kit on clearance, bear in mind many bagged kits have had malformed body tubes. The kits are bagged up in China. The tubes are packed tight in bags that are too small.

Estes Long Tom #3016 Build, Part 10, Black Paint

To be sure paint doesn't get in the back end of the sustainer-
first small pieces of masking tape are set inside and around the tube end.

A strip of paper towel is rolled up and pushed into the recess.
Tweezers are used to push in and position the paper. Try to get coverage over the engine holder tube.

On the left is the mask before painting.
On the right is after the masking tape is removed.

I used the Rustoleum Metallic black. This paint is a favorite. I goes on smoothly and has a very small metal flake.

Uh-Oh! Paint problems!
Florida is cooler now and painting should be easier. Today is overcast and looks like it might rain.

TIP: The paint dried cloudy not shiny!
I let the paint fully dry and used polishing compound to buff out the haziness.
Look at the top fin in the picture. For comparison, the top outside of the fin was left hazy. The lower root half has been polished and is much shinier.

Thursday, December 8, 2016

Estes Long Tom #3016 Build, Part 9, Sustainer Paint Mask

On the forums, some builders do three or fours coats of primer / filler, sanding between coats. I don't think that's necessary and adds quite a bit of weight to the rocket.

After filling the wood grain with one application of CWF and sanding, I only need one wet coat of Duplicolor Primer /Filler. The picture shows how it looks after sanding. Most all the primer is sanded off. Any grain pores that remained are now leveled off with the primer.

Here's how the instructions lay out the masking.
Most all the rocket is gloss white. The low end of the sustainer and booster fins are black.

I used a 3/8" wide Scotch tape strip for the horizontal white band.
The end is slightly tapered so the squared end won't mask a small corner tick at the end of the wrap.
Note that the launch lug is below the mask. The lug was glued on lower than the instructions showed so it wouldn't have to be in the mask area.

1/2" to the right will be another tape wrap. The rest of the upper body is masked off.

The BIG Fix, Estes Honest John, Part 2

I'll have to make a coupler that will fit around the TTW fins tabs right above the cut engine mount tube.

A short segment of BT-50H was cut into quarters. The sides were trimmed more to allow space to fit between the sides of the TTW fin tabs.
These were glued around the new extension piece with equal spacing between the pieces.

Look close at the bottom left and you can see the lower open space around the fin tab.

A D engine was slid in to make sure the tube ends were aligned.
Remove the engine before the glue starts to set.

The centering ring was pressed into place and rested against the back of the interior tube segments. Here I'm applying a glue fillet with a Q-tip.

The middle ring of the retainer was glued over the end with epoxy.
Perfect? No. Launchable? - YES!