Tuesday, October 25, 2016

Semroc (Estes) Starship Excalibur Build, Part 25, White Coats, More Sanding

You know how frustrating it is.
You think your surfaces are smooth and your fillets well rounded. The grey primer coats show things and you end up with more  sanding.

Now the white coats come. I thought I'd be finished with this one by now!

The more details, the more finishing problems.

There are still some areas that will need smooth sanding.
This build has slowed me up! I usually do blog posts in draft form two weeks in advance. I'm falling behind on this one!

Old MRN Cover with Starship Excalibur

In a recent comment, Naoto Kimura found a Starship Excalibur variant on an old Model Rocket News cover from August 1968.

I have seen this cover before but never associated it with the Excalibur.

That is definitely the Starship Excalibur with three added SRBs.

No, I'm not going to add this to the build.

Monday, October 24, 2016

Signed Estes Alpha on Ebay

A finished Estes ALPHA is for sale on EBAY.
This one is special, it has Vern Estes signature on it.
I know you're thinking - Why would I sell it?
I have Vern Estes signature on some correspondence when he worked at Estes. Rather than have this rocket end up as a shelf queen, I'd rather it go to someone else who'd appreciate it.

The Alpha is in the classic 1971 catalog and face card paint scheme.
For more information: CLICK HERE

Semroc (Estes) Starship Excalibur Build, Part 24, Dry Sand & Nose Weight

Some 400 grit was wrapped around a Q-tip for cushioned sanding in all the fillets.
There is a LOT of fillets and joints to be sanded.

A washer weight goes underneath the screw eye. I would think with all the fin area this one would be stable without the nose weight.
Be sure you have centered your screw eye hole before setting the washer in place.
The instructions don't mention it, but add some glue to the bottom of the washer.
Set and center the washer then follow with the screw eye. Turn the screw eye in until it butts up against the washer.

Sunday, October 23, 2016

Blog Ground Rules

It seems I have to set some ground rules every year or so -
This is not directed at everybody reading the blog -
Just a few who are treating it like a forum.

I used to post more often on rocketry forums. I got tired of people telling me I was doing things wrong. "That's not the way I do it" was one of the reasons this blog was started.

If the builds and tips shown here have helped out - great!
This is simply how I do it. My methods are not the only way to get a rocket built. If you disagree with my techniques, don't post a comment to tell me I'm doing it wrong.
This is what works for me. If you don't agree, you can start your own blog.

I do welcome comments - but -
If you make a comment, don't advertise or post links to another rocketry vendor.
The blog is not here to advertise products for another vendor. I'll occasionally let you know about a sale or clearance.
If you post a website address link it might be deleted. I can't promote your rockets, cosmetics or home siding. (This has happened!)

The blog is free! If you have learned something or were helped in a build,
Please CLICK on an ad. The only way the blog is paid for is through the advertisements.
You don't have to buy anything, click on then pause, then click out.

Second Stage Veering Off? TIP

A post from Hornet Driver on The Rocketry Forum:
". . . I gotta tell ya, I've never had a multistage rocket--no matter what type it is--track straight up . They always kick over at least a little when staging and the more you stage the more the problem. I'm personally convinced that it's caused by the sudden KICK when the upper stage lights off. I've gotten away from staging for the most part since my stuff always ends up in the next county over." --- H

My response:
I've had the same results with two-stagers.
Boost is fine but when the upper engine kicks in it'll veer off at an angle. I don't think it had anything to do with the wind.
That one inch (or less) of a coupler to guide the upper stage doesn't seem to help much.
I avoid flying staged models. I do like clusters, though.

Hans "Chris" Michielssen
Old/New NAR # 19086 SR

Response from John Boren of Estes: 
We've flown well over a thousand two stage models here at Estes over the past few years and I've found by having the booster fit super loose into the upper stage is the key to the upper stage not veering off course at stage separation. In fact the booster on our E2X lines of models will fall off if let go: They are that loose.

John Boren

Thanks John! So that was my problem all along?
Up until now I've never read that a booster coupler should be "super loose". 
I'm putting together a Long Tom right now. Right out of the bag, the red coupler was very tight. I've sanded it for a better slip fit, I guess I'll have to take it down even more! In the past I've tried for a slip fit on a staging coupler. Not too tight, not too loose.

This is probably why I fitted couplers this way - 
Looking back at the 1970 Estes Technical Manual: CLICK HERE
"Rockets using large diameter tubes (BT-50 and BT-60) require somewhat different methods but the same principles of tight coupling and straight line separation must be followed. The recommended coupling method for large diameter tubes is illustrated in figure 4."

That same copy is used in the original Estes TR-2 on Multi-Staging. To see the Technical Reports: CLICK HERE

Saturday, October 22, 2016

Semroc (Estes) Starship Excalibur Build, Part 23, Cleaning Up The Lugs

There was a rough edge on one side of the launch lug opening.
While the first white undercoats were not totally dry, a sharpened dowel was turned in the end, re-rounding the lug.

The front lug antenna housing needed some cleaning up. The sides weren't totally square.

The side of my knife was set against the flat opening compressing the balsa and paint.

Here's the cleaned up opening.
The picture is distorted, the antenna and square opening are centered.