Sunday, November 30, 2014

Estes Equinox Build Part 13, Jet Tubes and Sub Fins

Here's the Centuri Scram Jet version Jet Tubes.
The mask and paint scraping was hard to line up.

It was easier to spray the tubes and body tube separately then glue the painted parts together.
I didn't use much glue and no fillets were added.
Scraping off the paint and lightly roughing up the body tubes made a very strong dried glue bond.

This is the Estes Equinox Jet tubes with the added sub fins.

The inset picture shows the alignment from the back end.

Kevlar Loop Knot

When you put a tight loop to make a knot in three strand Kevlar it tends to unravel. (On left)

Before tying the overhand knot, over twist to tighten the line to overcompensate where the line wants to separate. It only takes an extra half twist the same direction as the three lines are turned.

Here's how the overhand knot should end up after tying.
There is no unraveling  at the top of the loop.

A little white glue is applied to the knot to prevent unraveling.
Some on the forums say not to use glue on knots. I don't use glue down the length of the Kevlar or shroud lines, just on the knot.

TIP: Never use CA or Super Glues on knots!
Super glues will run up or down the line making it stiff and brittle.
Use a small drop of white glue or Titebond.

Saturday, November 29, 2014

Odd'l Rockets T-Shirts!

Just in time for the Holidays!

The Little Green Man and Pigasus are now on T-shirts from Cafe Press:
CLICK HERE to go to the store.

There are some other appropriate products available . . .

Friday, November 28, 2014

Estes Equinox Build Part 12, Balsa Filling and Tube Trim

Tung wood problems again!
This is the fin unit from the Estes Equinox.
Even after primer/filler I had to fill the new open wood pores with some CWF.

This is getting ridiculous!
The tabs are still showing after gluing, filling, priming, sanding, filling, priming, sanding, white undercoat and gray color coat.

The new jet tubes got color coats of Testor's Master Modeler Gunmetal Gray.
I've learned with the Testor's spray to use many light coats, without a final heavier coat.

The open ends still show the brown interior.

The ends and some of the reachable interior got hit with a Sharpie pen.
This just finishes things off so the brown inside isn't so noticeable.

Why You Need Wadding . . .

I haven't seen this one for a while, it's worth a re-visit:

This is another video from Roger Smith - He explains:
"This video shows what happens inside a rocket when the ejection charge fires. Captured at 1200 frames-per-second, this high-speed video illustrates dramatically why you need recovery wadding (or some other system) to protect the rocket's parachute."

Roger has other videos to see: CLICK HERE

Thursday, November 27, 2014

Apogee Christmas Ornament

Apogee has a Christmas ornament for the 2014 season.
Through Monday, December 1 it's free with your Apogee order.
After that, it's just $2.00.

From the Apogee webpage:
"There is a limit of one per customer, and you have to add the item to your shopping cart when you order, as well as pay for the shipping fees."

I actually like this one better than the plastic Estes ornaments.
You put this one together and paint it the color you want.
And - it's 6" tall. (Mini engine conversion anybody?)

Estes Equinox Build Part 11, Balsa Warping?

Backtrack: These pictures were taken a few steps before the sub fins were painted.
Some builders won't use the water based Elmer's Carpenters Wood Filler, or CWF. They say it warps balsa fins. Well, it does.

Here's the replacement sub fins for the Equinox jet tubes. They are only 1/16" thick.
One side of the fins got a brushed coat of CWF. The picture shows the curve after the CWF has dried on one side of the fin. The raised warp runs right down the grain line.

The other side of the fins also got a coat of CWF.
The second side counteracted the warp on the first side.
These two fins dried in the open air, not under a book or other weight.

The pictures at the right show the root and outside edges of the fins after sanding. The warp is gone!
Both fins are flat and ready to be glued on the jet tubes.

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Estes Equinox Build Part 10, Paint Problems and Success

I've been doing any spray painting later in the day, right after sunset.
It's just too hot and humid in Central Florida, that effects the spray painting. (This was painted in August.)
I will assemble the Equinox in sub assemblies.
The jet tubes were sprayed with Testor's Master Modeler Gunmetal.
I've had great luck with the Testor's spray paint before, but not this time!
The jet tubes and fins are beyond hope and will be thrown away.
I'll cut new 4" long BT-5 tubes and sub fins.

On the other hand, the Rusto 2X gloss white came out great!
On the left you can see the card stock cover over the engine hook.
It came out very smooth.

The inset picture shows the previously crimped area of the tube. The crimp indentation is gone and can't be seen.

Custom P.O.N.G. at Seattle Museum of Flight

Bill Stine referred my name to Custom Rockets about building a Custom PONG kit for the Seattle Museum Of Flight rocketry display. I had one upstairs, finished and never flown! CLICK HERE
The is the same model that was built on the blog. It was to sent to Custom Rockets for consideration.

At the last NARAM, submitted models were voted on to be included in the Model Rocketry display. CLICK HERE 
Along with the chosen NARAM models, each major rocket kit vendor will have a model from their product line. This PONG model will represent Custom Rockets.

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Quest Response to "Out Of Stock"

After much speculation about igniters and supplies, Bill Stine posted this on TRF: 

OK, here's an official response from Quest:

First, NO, Q2G2 igniters are NOT gone forever and you will be able to purchase them again soon (both shorts and longs). The version that comes packed with the motors will not have any difference at all from the "originals" you guys love! But due to new pending BATF regulations, the ones sold as accessories are going to have a slightly different pyrogen on them - but you likely won't notice any difference.

And yes, we have been out of stock on A's, and then B's and then C6-5's. New production was completed in September and was expected to arrive via ocean freight then. Some regulations on shipping HazMat materials have recently changed in China - and we had to test new shipping cartons. Unexpected after unexpected delays just keep happening, and therefore I won't announce a "solid" arrival date now. but it will be soon...

We appreciate your patience and loyalty.

As to quality, the Quest China motors are very bit as reliable and safe as Estes BP motors (NAR MESS reports certainly support this). They are not made in a fireworks factory and the AQL process and testing is every bit as tough as it was in our own US factory years ago. In fact they are made from military grade BP - it just has a slightly slower burn rate than the US BP does. Most folks love our slightly slower burns, especially the C's. Teachers especially like the slower burn times because the kids get a bigger thrill out of slower boost that they can see...

The merger with AeroTech has been great, but of course there have been some "bumps". Running out of motors certainly was the biggest one...

We hope to have some new product announcements soon that I think the rocketry community will get a big buzz out of.

Bill Stine

Estes Equinox Build Part 9, Fin Assembly Mask and Undercoat

Here's the two fin assemblies.
Half of the Centuri Scram Jet is on the left,
The Estes Equinox on the right.

The slots on the top of the Equinox fin unit have been filled with CWF and sanded smooth with 400 grit.

Before spraying a white undercoat, the gluing surfaces were masked off with strips of masking tape.
The lower inside and root edges were taped off.

This is the Equinox sub fin after the first coat of gloss white.
The grain pores in the Tung wood are raised and will have to be sanded down.
You can't smooth sand too much, you might open up the pore beneath the raised pore wall.

Monday, November 24, 2014

Estes Equinox Build Part 8, Fin Assembly and Sub Fin Gluing

The small sub fins were still showing some open fin grain after the primer dried.
Again, this is the Tung wood. The CWF doesn't stay in like it does with balsa.

Here's the Estes Equinox fin unit.
It was glued together now and will be painted a darker gray before the model is glued together.
It actually friction fit together without needing the alignment guide piece.
Fillets are applied now. You couldn't get underneath it if it were glued onto the main body tube.
CWF filler was brushed onto the slots in the top.

There is a "gotcha" in the instructions at the "Sub Fin Attachment" section.
The instructions say the fins are glued even with the end of the tube. The illustration shows the trailing edge is forward of the tube edge.

I glued the sub fins forward by 1/4", like the instruction drawing shows.

Model Profile B.A.R. FLY

This was one of the first models I built after getting back into the hobby around 2005.
This was supposed to be an "All-In-One" BT-60 based rocket. It has a 24mm mount for D engines and an added 18/24mm adapter mount.

Looking back on it now, I would have made it differently.
The balsa grain was well filled, the body tube and lug seams weren't. The fin edges are square.
The elastic shock cord is only 1/8" wide and way too short.
The 12" mylar parachute is probably small, but has a Nomex protector threaded through the shock cord.
Two different lugs, a 1/8" and 3/16".
The name and trim stripes were cut from vinyl at the Sea World sign shop.
I would have set the type differently. To me it looks like "Barf"-ly, not Bar Fly.
It was probably painted with the old formula Krylon.
This one has never been flown.

Sunday, November 23, 2014

Estes Equinox Build Part 7, Tube Primer and Tube Reinforcement

Here's the rear of the main body tube after primer filler was shot.

I didn't bother with Titebond M&TG fillets on the launch lug sides.
This area will be covered by the jet tubes.

The bottom of the jet tubes didn't get primer.
The bottom was left "naked" for gluing later.

When the primer was sanded down I noticed a shallow crimp in the body tube.
The crimp wasn't bad but might get deeper after a hard landing. I decided to reinforce the tube with an internal coupler.

I can't insert it from the rear, there's already a coupler joining the two tubes.
It will be slid in place from the top using and engine casing over a dowel.

Glue was applied in the tube using a dowel.
After the coupler was in place the excess glue was picked up with a Q-tip taped to a dowel.
Hopefully when the next coat of primer is sanded down, you won't see any crimp.


Looking for some "Future Build" inspiration?

Stop by the BARCLONE website

I haven't been to the website for a while -
Craig McGraw (and friends) are busy designers!
Ever feel like your original designs have started looking the same? Scroll through the Barclone designs to jump start creativity.
There are plenty of upscales, downscales, sport scale, fantasy designs and clones.
If you ever wanted to stage a Cherokee D or Red Max this should be your first stop!

Saturday, November 22, 2014

Estes Black Friday Sale!

Estes is having a Black Friday Sale! CLICK HERE
The Mega Mosquito aren't shown on the Clearance pages, but do a search and they show up on sale for $8.29. All four of the original Pro Series II kits are only $26.99
Free Shipping on orders over $29.95!

Estes Equinox Build Part 6, Tube Fix and Fin Primer Coat

Before strengthening the tubes with CA glue, check to see if any of the inside spirals are lifting.
You should use white glue to set the lifted inside edge down. For some reason, CA glue doesn't hold down any lifting wrap end very well.

Sneak some white glue under the lifted edge with the tip of your knife.
Roll the end down with a clean dowel.

The outside of the tube (over the interior lift edge) can be strengthened some with some medium CA.
A drop was set down and the excess picked up with a Q-tip.
Sand with 400 grit after it dries.

Here's some of the fins set down on a piece of cardboard for primer spraying.
They are set down on masking tape, sticky side up.
The root edges are butted against each other to keep the primer off the gluing surfaces.

Friday, November 21, 2014

Estes Equinox Build Part 5, Engine Hook Retention

The marking guide didn't make it around the body tube!
It's not really needed anyway. The launch lug is glued directly opposite the engine hook. The jet tubes glue beside the lug.
The wing assembly glues over the tube ad onto the jet tubes.
You can pretty much do this by eye without marking the tube.

A Mylar lock ring is provided to go over the engine hook.
I've never liked Mylar rings over the outside of a minimum diameter model. After that ring is glued over the engine hook, you are supposed to glue two jet tubes, a launch lug and upper fin assembly over the raised Mylar ring! Nothing will sit flat against the body tube with the ring in the way.

I decided to use a rectangle of 110 lb. card stock instead.
I drew what I though was the right size on the body tube. The rectangle hold down piece ended up being larger at 1 1/8" x 2".
Cut to this size it won't interfere with any fin or tubes glued to the body tube.

A thin coat of white glue was applied to the back and the card stock piece was smoothed out with my Sharpie burnisher.

LPR "Bat" Rockets

There have been plenty of Bat themed models over the years,
There was the Centuri Acro-Bat in 1964 and the SAI Min Bat Boost glider, but the models shown below have the scalloped fin or bat wing designs.
Here are some of the Batman themes:

Centuri BatRoc
NUMBER: KB-8 or #5038
Only available as a kit in 1968

This was a design contest winner by Ron Maggiano
Original Centuri Instructions are HERE

I built a Semroc repro and painted mine gray, black and yellow trim reflecting the Batman comic book costume.
It was lost, drifted over the fence and into a back yard.

This is the Estes - THE BAT (Kit # 1362) 
available from 1981 - 1984.
Not my favorite design.
John Bergsmith did a review of this clone on
Photo on right by John Bergsmith.

Most recently:
The Estes HYPER BAT (KIT # 7217)
It's a two stager. The fins remind me of a more recent Batman movie logo.

None of the kits are titled "Batman".
The rights to the name would have been very expensive.

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Estes Equinox Build Part 4, Fins and Tube Fill

I'm doing two different versions of the ScramJet / Equinox.
The Estes Equinox version is on the left, the Centuri Scram Jet on the right.  
The "H" piece (upper left) in the Estes Equinox goes across connecting the vertical fins. The small rudders (Part I) were added to the Estes kit.

On the right the Centuri Scram Jet pieces are fewer and simpler.
I cut these out of 1/16" thick basswood.

CWF was brushed over the body tube joint seam.

The inset picture is the filled joint after sanding.
After assembling the model, that joint is almost covered by the jet tubes (Part F) and the upper fin assembly.
You probably wouldn't even see the joint if it wasn't filled.

Wrong! Rant

Sometimes I cringe when watching rocket construction videos on YouTube. There's a LOT of interesting information out there.

I rarely post on the forums anymore. My posts were sometimes followed by somebody saying I'm doing it wrong. That's one reason I started the blog.
On rocket forums I usually only post now complimenting a great build or some rocket trivia or history.
After 45 years of rocket building and flying I'm still trying to figure it all out. These blog builds are just how I build rockets. Do what works best for you.

Some forum and video posts are produced by inexperienced modelers.
I've got to give the video builders credit though. They have taken a lot of time to shoot, edit and post their work.
But that's part of the problem - too much information and too many cooks.
On the other hand, I wish this much information was available to me when I was first starting out building rockets. We only had "The Idea Box" in the Estes MRN or the occasional TIP on a catalog page.

How do you know what's right or wrong?
On a forum, check the number of how many posts the writer has. If there are only four posts, chances are the builder is just starting out and may not know what he is doing - yet. But, new hobbyists can bring new ideas and techniques from outside the normal rocketry sources.
What's the NAR membership number?
If the NAR number is low they've probably been around for a while
Just take it all in and come to your own conclusions on building technique.

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Estes Equinox Build Part 3, Screw Eyes

The included kit screw eye is on the left. The threads aren't very deep and could pull out of the balsa shoulder.

I'll replace it with the screw eye on the right. I feel safer with the wider, higher threads.

TIP: To insure the screw eye goes in straight, 
First mark the center with a pencil.

Pre-drill the hole with a small file. When pressing in the file go slow, check to be sure it is going in straight by turning the nose cone.
This small rat tail round file is very thin, thinner than the thread diameter of the screw eye.