Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Estes Nike Apache Old Unfinished Build Part 2

Now that I have new BT-55 tubes for replacement, the old tube was peeled off and the engine mount removed.
27 (or so) years ago masking tape was wrapped over the engine hook.
When the hook was lifted the old tape easily tore!
Electrical tape is a much better retention wrap.

The left over tape adhesive was brittle and easily scraped off.
The tube was pretty clean after light scraping.

I decided to add a replaceable Kevlar loop to the lower centering ring.

The rotary punch tube wouldn't reach with the ring already glued on.
A small hole was drilled by spinning the tip of a #11 X-Acto blade into the ring.
The hole was widened and better rounded using a sharpened dowel.

Here's the repaired and improved mount.
(I probably should have rolled the black tape over the Kevlar tube)

An engine block was added, there wasn't one in the original kit.

Quick Chute Reefing With Tape

Reefing a parachute can slow down the opening of the canopy. Instead of opening with a "pop", a reefing ring allows the parachute to open gradually.
Check out the video from the Air Command Water Rockets website HERE

At the flying field, sometimes I'd rather not cut a spill hole in a parachute.
Reefing a parachute with masking tape allows the model to fall faster but still slower than a streamer. The parachute isn't allowed to fully open.

Before applying masking tape to a parachute, stick the tape on your pant leg and pull it off. This leaves cloth fibers on the tape making it less sticky. Repeat this three or four times. You'll see the cloth fibers left on the tape.
Now when you remove the tape it won't pull, stretch or tear the parachute.

I use two different reef positions.
1. Below The Canopy -

The tape is doubled over the shroud lines right below the edges of the parachute.

2. The Hillbilly Hat -

Tape around the chute, halfway down from the top.
Taping this way it can be harder to remove the tape.

Before anybody corrects my use of the term "Reefing" - I know - this is just what I call it.
It's simply another recovery method.

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Odd'l Rockets Website Gone?

While I still own the domain name, I didn't renew the Odd'l Rockets website. Why?
If I sold products directly it would be worthwhile to keep the website. All kits and accessories are sold through vendors.

The Odd'l website will soon end up as an Odd'l Rockets blog.
Believe me, doing a blog is much easier than updating and maintaining a HTML website.
The Odd'l blog will be started and developed when I am in Mexico in June and July.

I have some new ideas for Odd'l products. 
The new Odd'l Rockets (generic) parachute is getting good reports from vendors.
Models like the BreakAway are being redesigned using BT-50H heavy wall tubing. With Semroc leaving, it's getting harder to buy the older ST tubing. New BreakAway instructions will be drawn up on next weeks cruise.
A new design to follow the popularity of the Pigasus kit is being explored.
The Flic Shuttle in the Combo Kit will be replaced with a conical stability model. It's a better match next to the Corkscrew design.
The FinTool might finally be available!
Revisions and improvements to the Odd'l kits and instructions.

Odd'l Rockets is still around! Things are just in "flux".

Launch! Schoolyard, April 28, 2014

Yesterday was my last chance to sneak in a launch before working a cruise from May 3 - 15. I took the short walk to the soccer field a little after 7:00 a.m.

An old reliable, the ORANGE flew with a Quest A6-4 to about 200'.
Landing was a little close to the one lone tree so the launcher was moved to the south east.
Ejection was right after apogee. The parachute took a second to fully open.

I just can't seem to retire this one - 
The Quest AS-1 ESCORT was flown with an Estes A8-3.
It's 14th flight got up to 250'.
The Odd'l Rockets red and white 'chute brought it down easily.

I should have pressed the retaining tape ring around the engine before launching the FlisKits MMX CRAYON!
Altitude always seems higher on rockets this small, probably 100 feet.
The engine ejected and the crayon nosed in.
The small launch lug was gone and (strangely) one internal centering ring.

I was curious to fly the Estes TECH ROCKET.
On this stretch Alpha style model you roll your own body tube with gummed tape. The body tube is soft, it feels like you could crush it with two fingers.
Flight with an A8-3 got it to 200'.
Enlarge the inset picture to see the burn marks on the two closest fins.
The engine hook is centered between the burn marks, no burn mark is on the opposite fin.
This suggests the extended bend in the engine hook can deflect the flame. (Remember the too large mini-engine hooks?)

This was interesting!
I picked up a MPC B6-0 engine at a club launch.
It was a tight fit in the FlisKits FEORD X150.
(That should have been my first clue that the casing had swelled.)

Boost was only to 10 feet before the nozzle blew out! No damage to the Feord saucer.

My last launch was the textbook flight of the morning.
The sixth flight of the re-finished Estes DER RED MAX clone was to 325' with a B6-4.
Winds were just starting up so the middle of the old Centuri parachute got a wrap of tape. Reefing the 'chute kept it close.

Also flown:
Estes GYROC clone with an A8-3 engine.
Boost showed a spiral with a loud pop at ejection nearing 300'.
The engine casing came in fast with a high pitched whistle. It landed close with a thump and bounce.
I was reminded why 18mm engine eject models are no longer in fashion.

Seven flights in total - that's a lot for me in a single session.

Monday, April 28, 2014

Estes Nike Apache Old Unfinished Build Part 1

I bought this one years ago at a toy store.
The Semroc Classics list says the kit was produced from 1986 - 1989.
It was bagged up in Penrose.

I had started the kit but stopped when I couldn't find a replacement BT-55 tube. This was before there were many online vendors.
The tube from the kit was bent on one end.

I had added glued in a BT-55 black coupler hoping it would form the crimp back to a round shape.
It still would need some filling.

I had also installed the tri-fold shock cord mount.
This was prior to Kevlar ties at the engine mount.

MPC USS Enterprise Finished

Sometimes a build without painting is a nice break.
This was a quick build, most of the time was spent converting it for 24mm engines.
Considering the finished model weighs 4.25 oz., a 18mm C6 engine isn't much power. The box specifications say the empty weight is 3.67 oz. Considering all the plastic I cut out of the engine mount it should be closer to the spec. weight.
The 18" parachute will be replaced with a smaller generic chute.

The model feels sturdy, I'm a little concerned about the front strake area of the fins. They aren't attached and just "float" above the main tube.
At the picture at the right you can see how the rear of the fin is glued in. The top half of the root edge isn't touching anything.

Sunday, April 27, 2014

MPC USS Enterprise Build, Part 9, Parachute

The 18" parachute seems big. This model should have a 15" parachute, or cut a spill hole in this one.
The print is pretty cool, I wouldn't want to cut a hole in the center of it.

The poly sheet is hefty, it feels like 2 mils thick.

The tape disks are round and clear.
The instructions have you go old style, with a looped shroud line under the disk.

The disks were stuck down and a hole punched in the center.
Use some card stock behind the chute for a cleaner punch.

If looking at a clock face - 
Shroud lines were tied on from the 1 - 3, 5 - 11 and 7 - 9 positions.
With a D12-5 engine installed the C/G was found and a 3/16" lug glued on.
The lug was glued behind the Star Trek logo and to the side of a fin root.
It sounds stupid, but think about how the model sits on the launch rod for better pictures.
The kit supplies two 1" long lugs to be glued in line. The placement in the instructions didn't make much sense.

Estes Dummy Engine

I'd always seen these in the catalogs, but never in person. These pictures came off an Ebay listing HERE.

Here's a dummy engine from the Estes Astron PHANTOM model, the first clear bodied cutaway display rocket.
While the cutaway engine was listed for sale separately from the Phantom model, this one looks like it was installed in the model. On the exterior you can see some clear white glue still stuck to the surface.

I was surprised by this interior picture - it's rough!
The half started out as a whole casing and was loaded with a non-combustible filler of some kind.
You can clearly see the band saw marks from when the engine was cut in two. The entire paper cap, not a half piece, was glued on whole after the casing was cut in half.

From the Ninfinger website is the 1969 Estes catalog picture.
This BT-20 diameter version was listed from 1962 - 1971.
A larger, clear plastic version of the Estes Alpha replaced it under the Phantom name from 1971 - 1996.

Centuri had the Visible Astro for a short time.
It was sold for only one year in 1971.

Below that is a large Centuri Cut-a-way Engine Display.
This cutaway engine was 2 3/4" diameter x 10" tall.

FlisKits also makes a cutaway engine kit that is large enough to be seen from the far corner of a classroom.

Saturday, April 26, 2014

Estes Response to CP Question

On TRF, Performance Nut asked Estes about how they find a models Center of Pressure or CP: 

I received Estes's response:
There is no "calculated" CP for the rockets - glue, paint, engine use, etc....these all affect the CG of each rocket. However, there is a system we use here at the rocket ranch. First, measure the overall rocket length and place a mark at half the length. Next, load the rocket with a motor, stuff wadding/chute in the tube and mark the current CG. Ideally the CG will be forward (toward the nose cone) of the center of the rocket that you measured. For stable flight, the CP needs to be forward of the CG. You can add some weight (modeling clay works good) to the nose to move the CG forward."

Performance Nut added:
"So it seems that Estes assumes CP is somewhere below the center of the rocket so they play it safe and say the CP is the center. So my next step I guess is to perform a swing test and keep adding weight to the rear until it gets unstable. I'll measure Cg and call that my Cp. Will not be precise but might be better than center estimate."

MPC USS Enterprise Build, Part 8, Oh Boy - Stickers!

The instructions don't make any mention of the nose cone band.
It's on the lower right side of the stick on sheet.

You can be as careful as you'd like, but the nose cone wrap sticker won't lay flat!
This piece should have been die cut at an arc to fit the nose cone slope.
I cut some notches on the wrinkles and that helped it stay down. But by the next day more wrinkles had raised up.
I'll probably pull this off, the blue gray sticker doesn't match the gray on the body tube wrap.

You are given enough stickers for both sides of the fins.
For my tastes, there is too much going on graphically. I used the stickers on one side of the three fins.
It's easier to place the long, thin stickers before the fins are glued on. These were lifted off the sheet and placed on a knife blade.

The fins were slid in place and CA was run into the root edges.

Friday, April 25, 2014

Rocketry Items on EBAY

The finished 1969 catalog 
is up for bidding on EBAY HERE
this is the same Alpha built on this blog. 
No plastic, all balsa with custom decals to match the 1969 catalog illustration.

Also listed is the 
Centuri Contestant Packet from the 1976 NARAM 18
It's all there - 
Catalog, hobby store flyers, decals, iron on t-shirt transfer and the Centuri Design Manual.
(Sorry, the Sure Shot igniters can't be mailed!)
Check it out HERE
Both items are five day listings.
Stop by and make a bid!

MPC USS Enterprise Build, Part 7, Sub Assemblies

15 minute epoxy was used to glue the BT-50H tube in place.

Drops of epoxy were allowed to run down the sides of the ribs and tube.

The instructions show plastic glue being applied to the plastic connector and the tubes slid over the shoulders. This would allow the glue to ooze out onto the visible outside surfaces.
Apply the glue inside the tube and slide the connector in. This keeps the glue inside the sections.

TIP: Glue the fin can in place, center two fin ribs around the Enterprise illustration closest to the end of the tube.
The instructions don't specify a position for the fin can - why not center it!

Thursday, April 24, 2014

MPC USS Enterprise Build, Part 6, Connector and Nose Cone Adjusts

Over time, the built-up card stock end of the connector could unwrap.
I also wanted to round over the square end.

Some medium CA was applied and the edge rounded with 220 grit.

Inside the connector, here's how the shock cord was tied on.
The cord went over the "X" struts.
A Duncan Uni-Knot was used.

The top side of the connector was too tight going into the upper tube section.
These edges were also rounded for an easier slip fit.

On the other hand -
The nose cone cone was very loose!
A single wrap card stock was glued into the body tube.

I could have used wraps of masking tape on the nose cone shoulder.
On a larger body tube I'd rather build up the inside of the tube.

MPC USS Enterprise Build, Part 5, 24mm Engine Mount Part B

What I couldn't reach with the Dremel was trimmed back with my knife.

Here's the BT-50H tube in place. You can see the ribs against the tube.
Yes, the tube hasn't been cut to the final length yet.

The engine cap will need a notch for an engine hook.
Rough cut the notch with a knife and file the final shape.

The engine mount tube was cut with 1/8" extending beyond the engine cap.
The upper end extends 1/2" above the top of the ribs.

Look inside - there's a notch cut for a replaceable Kevlar line.

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

MPC USS Enterprise Build, Part 4, 24mm Engine Mount Part A

To make this a 24mm model, there will be a lot of plastic cutting and grinding.
The low end of the fin can (left side) will be widened and the interior ribs (right side) will be cut back.

The locking engine cap won't be locking when I get through with it.

If you cut through along the recess line you will remove the interior support tube, shown at the bottom of the inset.

Sand the new larger hole round with 100 grit wrapped around a dowel.
The inset shows the BT-50 heavy wall tube slid into the new hole.
After englarging the 18mm hole in the fin can to 24mm -
The interior ribs were cut back with a very old Dremel tool with a sanding drum. The plastic was more melted than actually sanded.
I removed only enough of the rib width for the BT-50H tube to slide in while still resting and being supported by the ribs.
I can't imagine a hot Quest engine beside the ribs. I would think they would melt! The BT-50H tube will give better insulation.