Saturday, August 31, 2013

Estes Mini Shuttle Build. Part 2, Wing Gluing

The engine mount was already assembled from another build that didn't get finished.
The assembled mount is nothing out of the ordinary and should work fine in this model.

I wanted the root edges of the wings to be square.
My straightedge was taped down and one wing was glued up on each side.

Enlarge the picture and you can see the front fairings don't quite match up to the larger wing piece.

After sanding for a better fit of the fairing the pieces were pinned down.

Pinning from the outside edges puts pressure towards the center pushing the joints together. Don't press the pins against the balsa too hard, they can leave small notches in the edges. Pin with just enough pressure to keep the joints tight while the glue dries.

You can't use a book on top of the pins so two glue bottles were set down on the glue joints.

New Engines and Kits at Hobby Lobby

The new Estes black powder E16 and F15 engines were at the Orlando Hobby Lobby yesterday.
The Majestic and Ascender boxed ARTF rockets were also in stock, only one of each.

I was most interested in the new STARTER igniters. You could see them in the blister pack.
They resemble the standard Estes igniters with the thin bridge wire.
The "pyrogen" dip is a silver gray color, not black. There is less coating on the tip, you can make out the bridge wire on the outside of the centered silver coat.

Sorry, no pics! I couldn't get them off the phone -

Friday, August 30, 2013

GONE! September 1 - 30

Last January I was promised three Summer months on a cruise ship in Alaska - that didn't happen! 
Oh well, more time for rocket building.

But, bookings are picking up again.
I'll be doing the act at resorts in Cancun, Mexico from September 1 - 30. There'll be a few days of transit before and after those days.
I've already been warned that internet connections can be spotty.

So with that in mind - 
Bear with me on daily posts. I have plenty in draft form ready to be dropped in. I might be down to only one post per day, though.
Last year while cruising in the Caribbean, I did get a negative email. Somebody complained about a missed day or two on the blog.
I emailed back - "It's free, it doesn't have to happen every day!"

Estes Mini Shuttle Build. Part 1 Parts

Here's another one that can be made from parts from the Baby Bertha kit.
This was the Estes kit #1391.

Check out the instructions at the JimZ plan site HERE

This will be a spare parts box build.
The red nose cone did come from a Baby Bertha kit. It was painted red when it temporarily sat on my Ranger. A shot of primer and some white and it'll work on the Shuttle.
All the patterns were copied and printed from Ninfinger's.

The instructions say the clay is 1/2" square. I'll have to check the weight.

The wings and rudder were cut from 3/32" scrap balsa.
The wings are made from three pieces of balsa.

The decal sheet will be drawn up on Corel.

Thursday, August 29, 2013

LAUNCH! Schoolyard, August 28, 2013

I'll be gone for the month of September, this was probably my last chance to get in a launch for a while. For August, the weather was mild, cool enough that the engine smoke was clinging to the grass after a launch.

This clone will be featured on the blog when I'm away.
The Estes MINI SHUTTLE has a first flight on an Estes A8-3.
(It's really more of a Goony style Shuttle.)
Arrow straight and full deploy of the Apogee parachute. It was recovered with no damage.
Estimated altitude 175'.

Another reason why I rarely fly boost gliders - 

The SAI MINI-BAT was launched with an Estes 1/2 A3-2t.

I did a half hour of hand thrown trim glides and added some weight to one wing so it would gently turn on a long glide back to the area. I never saw that.

It boosted to about 30 feet, did a log loop coming within 3 feet of the ground. It started to rise up again and ejected the engine. The glide lasted a second more.

WARPED flew again with an Estes A8-3 to an estimated 250'.
This was a Custom kit, the nose cone was melted and looked more like a jalapeno pepper. The body tube was zig-zag cut to match the nose cone curve.

Perfect flight, full deploy of the Custom 12" parachute.

Without a doubt, the best flight of the day.
The Estes SUPER ALPHA was up with an Estes B6-4.
Low and slow gave me the only good launch picture of the morning.
Altitude was probably about 300'.
This is how they all should land -
The rocket wasn't set down for the picture, the landing was stuck this close to the range box.

Also flowns:
FlisKits HONEST JOHN with a MMX engine.
This one just keeps on flying high. Nose blow recovery, the streamer didn't eject. Estimated 125' up.
Carded SENTINEL with a 1/2A3-4t engine. This model originally had a MMX engine mount. Who says 1/2As can't be fun? A HIGH flight to 450' and streamer recovery.

Cherokee Goon Build, Finished

The 12" red and white Baby Bertha parachute is a good color match.
1/4 oz. of clay was pressed into the nose cone. This one should be good up to a B6-4.
I have plenty of the Quest B6-4 engines to work through. The smaller Quest ejection charges will be fine in this short rocket.
Anybody who grew up flying the Estes classics would appreciate this Goony twist.

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Estes PSII Kits on Sale!

From the Estes website - HERE
Through September, Estes Pro Series II kits are on sale.
The Pro Series engines are still at the same price.

Interesting to note -
The new Pro Series E2X kits (Ascender, Majestic, Trajector and Prowler Starter Set) only recommend the upcoming 29mm  (E16 and F15) Black Powder engines. The composite engines aren't listed.
The new 29mm black powder Es and Fs are packaged as Pro Series engines.

I know Hobby Lobby won't be carrying the PSII composite engines.
What does all this mean? Maybe nothing.

Cherokee Goon Build, Part 6, Decals

I scanned the Semroc Cherokee D decal sheet and drew up another one with some changes.
The original kit had decal wraps to fit the BT-55 tube. This Goony is BT-60 based. The roll wraps will have to be a bit wider. I eliminated the logos from the large wrap decal.

At the middle of the sheet is the missing bolts for the rebuilt Raptor.
At the bottom are the Honest Goon decals. This is another model that I'm refinishing.
The fit of the full wrap decals wasn't perfect.
I overcompensated for a small overlap and ended up with it too wide.

TIP: Put the mismatch seam (or most seams on sport models) over and in line with the launch lug. When it's on the launcher the seam will be covered up when pictures are taken. Taking a tip from Roger Smith, shoot "on the pad" pictures with the launch rod behind the model.
The wrap width will be fixed before another decal is printed.
After trimming the joint it came out better than I had thought it would.

Be careful cutting out the fin "Swoosh".
TIP: The inside angle border should be cut round to prevent tearing.

It looks like Estes had this design before Nike got the logo copyright.

Cherokee Goon Build, Part 5, Wet Sanding

I did do some wet sanding on the Cherokee Goon.

Here's how the fin looked after the last heavier final coat of white.
The gloss is good but there is some slight pebbling on the surface.
Wet sanding should be called "damp sanding". You don't want any water to get in or on a unpainted, unsealed surface. Don't let water run down and inside the body tube!
Dip the sandpaper in water and shake off the excess. Sand lightly.

When I wet sand I don't take it completely down to the surface.
I sand with 400 grit just dulling the sheen.
I sand enough to rough up the surface knocking down the spray "pebbles".

I was careful not to sand off the final coat of color. Be careful near the edges,  you don't want to sand off the paint and primer down into the raw balsa.

TIP: If you have complete even color coverage you can use a clear coat right now!
I'm still having great success with the Americana Clear Sealer / Finisher.

Spray it on a little wet, not heavy enough to run.
When spraying try to get an even gloss cover. Hold it up to a bright light to check for an even coverage.

The only downside to the Americana Clear Sealer is heat and humidity. At an August launch the clear finish got a little tacky in the heat. But then again, I've had other paints do the same thing.

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Cherokee Goon Build, Part 4, Assembly

Here's the engine mount with the replaceable Kevlar loop around the rear centering ring.
This was an earlier example where I used a launch lug as a tunnel for the Kevlar. You should use a smaller plastic tube from a cheap Q-Tip. A smaller tube won't allow as much of the ejection charge to escape out the back. This lug should be okay, though.

A TIP I picked up when building the Sirius Interrogator -  

Before gluing in the mount, set it beside the main air frame body tube to gauge the Kevlar length.
The loop (elastic tie point) should be just below the upper body tube lip.

The fins were sprayed with gray primer filler off the model.
The root edges were taped off for a better gluing and fillet edge.
Jumping Ahead:
Most construction is pretty standard. Here the fins have been glued on and fillets applied using Titebond Molding and Trim Glue.

TIP: Take a close look at the top of the root edge where it ends at the body tube. There is always some "glue boogers" at that point. Using Titebond M&TG you can be as careful as you can and they will still show up.

Titebond M&TG can be sanded fairly easily, white glues don't sand well.
To sand in the fillet ares, wrap some 400 grit around the end of a Q-tip for a rounded, cushioned sanding tool.

Rust and Chalk? TIP

Will this help keep rust of micro clips and blast deflectors?
Keep tools rust-free!
You can eliminate moisture and prevent rust from invading your toolbox by simply putting a few pieces of chalk in the box. Your tools will be rust-free and so will the toolbox.

From the Reader's Digest Web Page HERE

Monday, August 26, 2013

Cherokee Goon Build, Part 3, Pieced Fin Shaping

Sand the pieced fin sides flat without losing too much of the 3/32" width.

Here's all three Goon fins next to the Semroc kit fin.
The corners on the new fins are still sharp.

The corners were rounded to match the Semroc fins.

The fin grain will be filled before gluing onto the body tube.

SAI MiniBat Trim Drawing

The SAI MiniBat looked pretty plain.
I wanted to add some easy trim on the underside fro easier tracking.

Felt tip pens are used on competition gliders, they don't add any weight.
Take an extra moment before using a permanent pen, you only get one chance.
Use a straightedge and a finer point pen for outlines.

Fill in the outlined areas with a wide point pen.
Be careful when you get close to the border lines. The wider tip pen ink can bleed over the outlines.

After filling in the wide areas two forward fine lines were added.

It looks better than the naked model did. The pen lines will help it be seen overhead.
I followed up with a light spray of clear to seal the lines. If they get wet they can bleed.

Sunday, August 25, 2013

Cherokee Goon Build, Part 2, Pieced Fins

My Cherokee Goon fins will be the same size as the BT-55 original kit fins.

I've only got 3" wide balsa on hand, the root edge is a bit longer.
I'll piece it together from scraps.

This old, shelf worn balsa was picked up cheap at the local hobby store. Both the edges were a little banged up.

The edges that are to be glued were sanded square with a block and 220 grit.

Be sure the balsa is on a flat surface, the gluing area covered with some waxed paper.
While pressing the edges together some medium CA was dropped on the seam. Let the glue drop run down the joint.

Model Profile - SAI MiniBat

From the Space Age Industries catalog is the MINI BAT boost glider.

I built this one a few years back but have yet to launch it.
Hand thrown trim glides were done, there was a ding in the nose cone. The plans are HERE

It's a short, chunky boost glider.
The wing is large and a long rudder is on the underside.

The view from the back -
There are small raised aerilons on the rear edge of the wing.
And straight on - 
First launches will be with a 1/2A3-2t.
The engine mount tube is a BT-20 so the 13mm engine will be friction fit into an empty 18mm casing. Before flying there will be a few test tosses and clay weight triming.

Saturday, August 24, 2013

Cherokee Goon Build, Part 1, Parts

This isn't my idea, I wish it was.
I saw the Cherokee Goon on TRF, HERE
John Bergsmith (Boosterdude on TRF) posted the first pictures I'd seen of this Gooney.
He got the decals and fin pattern from a post from Blades HEREGo to the second post for the decal art.

I've got pieces and parts from a Baby Bertha kit, the nose cone was painted red from another project that never got finished.
The engine mount was built for pictures from the Apogee article on replaceable Kevlar.

The decal art was lifted from a Semroc (full size) Cherokee D kit. I'll redraw the decals to fit the BT-60 diameter and print up a new set.

This Cherokee Goon uses the same sized fins as the original BT-55 kit. I'll use the Semroc kit fins for a tracing pattern. EDIT: After the model was built, they could have been a little smaller!

The Baby Bertha is still one of the best deals in rocketry.
Buy it with a Hobby Lobby 40% discount coupon for $6.00.

TIP: Change out to a 18" BT-60 and make a Big Bertha - OR -
Add and 11" length of BT-60, a nose block and three BT-20 engine mount tubes and you can make a 3 engine cluster Ranger -OR-

Go to Excelsior Rocketry HERE and check out all the Goonies. Most can be made from the parts in the Baby Bertha kit, some require additional parts, usually just 3/32" balsa.

Estes Constellation Finished

A real classic, available from Semroc as an X Kit.

I finally got the landing pods right this time!
I was never happy with my first attempts carving them out of balsa layers.
The white edged "1" decal looks good against the single black fin. It was worth the extra effort.

The nose cone shoulder is well hidden behind the black bands.

There are a few decals left over, some black rounded rectangles. I'll save them for another build. This model shared many of the same decals as the two-stage Shrike kit, HERE

Friday, August 23, 2013

Estes Constellation Build Part 18, White Trim on the "1" Decal TIP

Before soaking the trimmed red decal -
Have a sheet of decal paper sprayed with gloss white paint. This will be used for the white edge. Spray a clear sheet with white getting full coverage.
Let dry thoroughly. No clear coat is needed on the white sheet, the white paint seals the surface.
You'll be making a composite decal, the red "1" set on the white base.

On the left is the two trimmed red "1"s.
You'll need tweezers to hold onto the decal when soaking.

Dip the decal for 15 seconds and remove from the water.
Change the position of the holding tweezers so the entire decal is soaked.

Set the decal on the sprayed white decal sheet.
Use you rotary punch to get the upper left round edge cut.
This punch sets the thickness of the white border.

On the left is the trimmed decal with the new white border.
On the right is the second decal being trimmed.
Be sure your straightedge is perfectly positioned before cutting the white border.
You get one chance to get it right. Use a new blade. 

I was surprised how well the red stayed on the white backing during the re-soaking. It didn't shift when sliding off the backing paper.

The "2" and "3" decals are wider than the "1".
It was set between the pencil lines.

And finally, the engine hook was scraped clean of paint and polished with some 400 grit.