Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Estes Crossbow SST #7207, Build Part 5, More Fins!

The instructions just say to glue on the Main Wings (Part J)
It doesn't say how far from the rear.
All the other measurements are in inches. After looking at the illustrations, I can assume the rear edge of the Main Wing is 2" from the rear end of the tube.

The Main Wings are glued on at an angle, the outside edges are lower than the root edge line.

For a better fit and gluing edge, an angle was sanded with a sanding block.

Here's the fin layout viewed from the rear.
You can see how the Main Wings are angled.

Estes Crossbow SST #7207, Build Part 4, Fins!

The fins were filled with CWF and sanded smooth off the model.
After that, a shot of primer filler and sanding.

Above is a stabilizer fin (Part G) sprayed with primer filler.
Below is the other stabilizer after the primer filler was sanded down.

Here we go again! 
Another kit fin marking guide that didn't quite match up.
I made up my own guide. The Stab fins and Vertical fin are at 9, 12 and 3 o'clock.

The two sub fins spacing will be visual.

I could still see the notch fill pieces at the root edge.
That gave me a good reference to glue the notch on the vertical fin 1" from the back end of the tube.
The rear of the dorsal fin (Part K) is glued 2" from the rear of the tube.

Monday, June 29, 2015

PSII Kits on Sale

This is the lowest price I've seen on the PSII kits.
All the originals - the Leviathan, Ventris, Patizon and Argent are now -

$22.50 !!!

CLICK HERE to go to the Specials/Clearance page.

EDIT: Estes just added more kits to the Specials page, MIRV, Cosmic Explorer, Super Neon XL, Chuter 2, Flutter-By. Phoenix Bird, Photon Probe and Xarconian Cruiser.
Oh boy! More kits on the build pile.

Estes Crossbow SST #7207, Build Part 3, Body Tubes & Coupler

The tube cuts weren't perfect.
Joined by the coupler inside you can see some gaps.

The ends were sanded flat. The inset picture shows the better fit  after truing up the tube ends.

The coupler was dry fitted to see where the engine hook would sit. That's a pencil mark on the lower white tube showing where the notch would go. The coupler would slide in halfway and butts up against the top bend of the hook.

I punched the top side of the coupler for a Kevlar line.
(In the inset picture the coupler is flipped over, the top is at the bottom)

A shallow slot was cut from the punched hole to the top of the coupler for the Kevlar tie.
The slot has to be deep enough so the Kevlar won't bulge out the upper tube. Don't cut the notch too deep or weaken the coupler.

The tube joint got a coat of CWF and was sanded flat.
There was a little sand through and some fuzz.

CA was wiped on over the joint and the hardened fuzz sanded smooth.

Sunday, June 28, 2015

Estes Crossbow SST #7207, Build Part 2, Changes & Fin Prep

The engine hook is outside the minimum diameter BT-20 main air frame. I never cared for this look. I'll leave off the hook and retaining ring for a friction fit of the engine.

The picture at the left shows how the notched fins fit over the retaining ring.

On these three fins you can see the notches on the root edges.
Without the retaining ring on the tube the notches aren't needed.
The square corners of the leftover balsa sheet were super glued into the notches.
On the two sub fins (Part I) I didn't cut out a filler piece, it was glued onto the corner of the sheet.
After the glue dried the filler corner was cut oversize and sanded to the sides of the fin.

The three fins with the filler pieces sanded.
The center fill piece on the Vertical Fin (Part H) had a piece cut to size before gluing.

No More Decals From Excelsior

From Gordy of Excelsior Rocketry, posted on the forums:

The time has finally come. I am closing my web site down, I guess, permanently.
After wearing out 8 Alps printers I have one left with some but not much “print” left in it.
My “repaired” printer lasted one month. My latest printer purchase lasted two months.
I have no desire to purchase another printer.
I have a lot of decals pre printed. Email me to see if I have the decal you want left in stock.
I may be able to print a few more but not all of them.
If anyone is interested in purchasing about 900 decal files I’m open for offers.

Sorry, everyone, it was fun while it lasted.

On the up side. I'll still make custom nose cones.

Saturday, June 27, 2015

Coming Soon from Estes

Estes has some new kits unveiled in their Coming Soon page - CLICK HERE 

A larger Maxi-Brute sized HONEST JOHN was shown at a past NARAM.
This one is smaller, BT-60 based. To me, a more manageable size.
The website copy adds: "More scale kits and this is just the beginning."
Let's hope so!

Skill Level 3
Length: 22.9 in. (58.2 cm)
Diameter: 1.64 in. (42 mm)
Estimated Weight: 4.4 oz. (124.7 g)
Laser cut Wood Fins, Waterslide Decal, 15 in. Parachute Recovery
Recommended Engines: C11-3, D12-5 (First Flight), *E9-6, *E12-6
Projected Max Altitude: 1400 ft. (427 m)

The SKY WARRIOR is BT-55 based.
The landing leg dowel placement reminds me of the old Starship Vega.

Skill Level 2
Length: 19 in (48.3 cm)
Diameter: 1.33 in. (34 mm)
Estimated Weight: 1.9 oz. (53.9 g)
Laser cut Wood Fins, Waterslide Decal, 
12 in. (30.5 cm) Parachute Recovery
Recommended Engines: B6-4 (First Flight), C6-5 
Projected Max Altitude: 850 ft. (259 m)

The most impressive new design is the SLV.
Does anybody else see some of the old Enerjet Athena?

Skill Level 4
Length: 34.2 in. (86.9 cm)
Diameter: 1.33 in. (34 mm)
Estimated Weight: 6.4 oz. (181.4 g)
Laser cut Wood Fins, Waterslide Decal, 
18 in. (46 cm) Parachute Recovery 
Recommended Engines: C11-3, D12-3, D12-5 (First Flight), *E12-4 
Projected Max Altitude: 1000 ft. (305 m)
Also returning is the BT-55 GOBLIN and the NEW mini engine SEQUOIA. 
Thanks to Estes for continuing to produce new builder's kits.

Thursday, June 25, 2015

Alaska Update - Trip Home

I'm in the Juneau Airport awaiting the long flight back to Orlando.
The internet is FREE here, I'll take advantage of it while I can.
Hopefully when I get back home the blog posts will be regular again.

I ran into fellow entertainer Mike Robinson when leaving the ship. Mike is a great magician, comedian and ventriloquist. I apologized for not emailing him when I got on the ship. We sere supposed to meet for lunch on June 17 when I replaced him for the week. His response: "I wouldn't pay for that overpriced ship Internet either!"

I did have the chance to do some drawing, that's a feather I picked up while walking around.
I've started a major re-write of the "How To Build Model Rockets" feature now on the NAR website. New pictures will be taken to better match the new copy.
The fins for a new Carded Downscale were made. The body tube skin will be rolled on and test flights will be make when I get back to Orlando.

Update: It's 6:00 p.m. at the airport in Seattle. With a four hour layover I wanted to stop by the nearby Museum Of Flight to see the Model Rocket display. Great idea but I'm too late. They closed at 5:00 p.m.

Estes Crossbow SST #7207, Build Part 1, Parts

Estes is reissuing the Crossbow SST kit. This is a downscale (sort-of) of the Satellite Interceptor without the short tubes on the main fins.

I'm building a boxed kit version I picked up at WalMart in 2008. While this one is kit #7207, the new kit will be number 7234.

I was surprised by how much extra space there was in the box!

Here's all the parts. All are high quality.
The BT-20 tube is two parts, the yellow coupler also acts as the engine block.

The white parachute is from the lead ink period. No printing!

The specs are on the side panel of the box.
The new kit is 15" long. This version is 14.6" tall.
I don't think I'd ever fly this one with a C6-5.

The box picture of the fin sheet have the parts named. There is no printing on the supplied laser cut fins.

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

3 or 4 "Starters" (Igniters) In Each Engine Package? Part 2

Years back Estes did package four NWI-1 igniters in a 18mm three engine package. These NWI-1 (blue or brown coated) igniters were better than bare nichome but not as reliable as the newer Starter igniters.
Mini "T" engines had five NWI-1 igniters in a four engine package.

From the 1972 catalog:

On the next page of the same catalog:

The NEW Solar Igniters!
(Check out the price - 6 for 30 cents!)
When Estes started inserting these into the engine packages, the "extra" igniter was gone.
3 Igniters were in a 3 engine (18mm and 24mm) package.
4 Igniters were in a 4 engine (13mm) package.

And a final post from Fred Shector:
"I loved the NWI-1 igniters. They came in at least two versions.
The original was around 30 ga with a smashed section that was coated with the blue flexible pyrogen. you bent it at the smashed spot and that spot had higher resistance and heated a bit faster than the rest of the wire.
The later version was 31 ga and had no smashed section.

The original solar igniters were not so great and would break apart - even when new. They improved the tape strip and the weld of the bridge wire to the lead wires and they got better. Except for a bad period with the reddish pyrogen that would corrode the lead wires after sitting around. I think the lead wires are more of an iron-based wire and they would rust if exposed to the elements, but that red pyrogen would just decompose itself and the lead wires.

The last 20+ years of black tipped solar igniters were superior - especially when used with the plugs.

But I still love nichrome wire with a little loop formed around a straightened paper clip. I pre-load hundreds of motors a year with those so we can have faster club launches. The newbies alos love the demo I do where the loop of nichrome turns to molten metal when I hit the launch button."

3 or 4 "Starters" (Igniters) In Each Engine Package? Part 1

From YORF, I had an interesting exchange with Fred Shector:
My first post:
All of the recent engine packages I've purchased now have the clear tip starters.
I've been using those at the club launches where they have a 12 volt system.
I've still got a pretty good supply of the old Estes igniters and Q2G2s.
Most of my solo schoolyard launches use my older 6 volt Estes controller and the old black pyrogen tip igniters.
The new "Starters" remind me of bare nichrome. They take a moment longer to ignite.
Interesting to note, four of the Starters are included in each three engine package, like Estes used to do. Maybe anticipating ignition problems?
In the end I still might buy some dip and make my own.

Fred Shector's response:
"They have always packed 4 igniters in the 3 packs of motors because they packaged them for stores that did not sell igniters. This continues with the starters.
4 packs of mini motors also have 4 starters, not 5.
The new twin packs of 24mm motors have 2 starters . . ."

My reply:
The pictures show what I meant -
Most all the engines I buy are from Hobby Lobby with the 40% off coupon.
First picture: Older 3 engine package with 3 igniters (black pyrogen tips) and four plugs.
Second picture: Newer package with four starters and four plugs.

As long as I have gone to Hobby Lobby, they have sold extra igniter packages next to the engines.
These engine packages were sealed and opened to take the pictures.

Fred Shector's reply:
"Yes, I was not clear.
Estes sells/sold two version of the 18mm motor three packs;
One for hobby shops and other online retailers (including Hobby Lobby) who sold igniter packs as well as motor packs. Those have (or had) 3 igniters.
Another for mass merchandisers who do not sell igniter packs because they do not have room or they will just be stolen (Wal-Mart, Target, Fred Meyer, etc.). Those had 4 igniters and now have 4 starters. These also had the mini packet of wadding since these stores did not sell wadding, just like they did not sell igniter packs.

Of course, things change. The same packaging may now be multi-purposed. I think the current 3 motor 18mm motor package is now deeper so it can also be used for the twin packs of 24mm C11 and D12 motors. I have not checked to see if the hobby shop version now has 4 starters instead of the 3 igniters they used to have. your photo clearly shows the hobby shop version (no wadding) and it has 4 starters, so perhaps they are now doing this for all the 18mm motors. Interesting.

I am positive that the Wal-Mart packages currently sold have the wadding and 4 starters for the 18mm and also for the 13mm motors. Michaels now sells these as well, but they used to sell the hobby shop versions with separate wadding bags and igniter packs sold as well. not any  more..."

Sunday, June 21, 2015

Alaska Cruise Nonsense!

I joined the HAL Zaandam in Skagway, Alaska on June 17th. I spend a LOT of time preparing for these shows. My band books are very involved. I packed for the standard Holland America five piece band - Piano, Bass, Drums, Guitar and Sax.
When I checked in at the Cruise Directors office I was informed that the band format has changed.
No Sax! The band now has a second keyboard, a synthesizer.
I have a synth book but didn't bring it.

The show length had also changed. Six months ago there were three 35 minute shows. Now there is two 45 minute shows. It took three hours and a few cups of coffee to change and write up some "get-by" charts for the show the following night.

There's a good reason why there hasn't been any posts over the last four or five days.
The HAL Corporate office has changed how you buy internet time.
Before you'd pay $20.00 for 200 minutes, enough to get you through a seven day cruise.
Now you pay $55.00 for 500 minutes!
No unused time can be rolled over to another cruise or different ship. I refused the offer.

I'm in Seward, Alaska today at the National Park Office using the free internet.
I'd rather make a donation to the park service for their help.
Rant Over!!!

Rusto 2X Cottage Cheese - TIP

A forum post from Rich Holmes:
"Most of my rockets I paint with Rusto 2X, and mostly it works out fairly well. But the white sometimes is fine and sometimes isn't. Sometimes it's rough, sometimes an orange peel or cottage cheese texture. I'm thinking it's not a clogged nozzle, because in fact it seems to occur more with a new can, and because I haven't seen convincing evidence that changing nozzles helps (though I haven't been systematic about studying that.) I'm painting over Rusto primers. I paint in temperatures above 60F and humidity below 50% if at all possible. I shake the can for about 2 minutes before starting. I've had the same can, same nozzle, similar surface prep, give me cottage cheese one day and smooth gloss texture the next. Other colors same brand seem to be less susceptible.

Are there better gloss white rattle can paints that don't cost an arm and a leg? (If you want to propose non rattle can paints go ahead, but in another thread, please, I want to focus on rattle cans here. And let's not get too verbose about paint that is no longer on the market, either, OK?) Am I missing something in my technique? What works for you... if anything?"
Rich Holmes

I've drawn some conclusions after spraying many models with Rustoleum 2X:
  • The only color I seem to have the orange peel or "cottage cheese"results with is the 2X Gloss White. Sometimes I may see a small glob when using red or orange, but not the cottage cheese rough finish I can get with the gloss white.
  • The cottage cheese spray happens most often when the can is new. Newly purchased, right off the shelf. The can may have been sitting idle in the store for a while. Some of the thick pigment might be stuck up in the interior straw, the solvents have separated to the bottom. The first spray out of the can (or after being stored for a few months) could be rough.
  • While I do recommend shaking the spray can before spraying, no amount of shaking is going to move that pigment out of the straw.

Lonnie Buchanon came up with a good suggestion:
Hang on to the interior cardboard tubes from paper towel rolls.
Spray the scrap tube before spraying your model to clear any thick pigment from the interior straw. 
After the thick pigment is clear, then spray the rocket.
Sometimes you can hear a difference in the spray "hiss" sound.

Why stay with the Rusto 2X paint?
Most Krylon is crap, Valdspar takes too long to dry and WalMart Colorplace takes too many coats to cover.
I'm used to the Rusto 2X and pretty much know what to expect.
The Rusto 2X is reasonably priced, easily found and comes in many colors. So far it seems to be compatible with other colors in the same line.

The Rusto 2X paint will build up on the nozzle quicker than other brands. You can't turn these new cans upside down and press the nozzle to clear them. Before spraying I usually chip off any caked on paint with a fingernail. Just don't press down on the button and spray the paint!

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Centuri Draconian Marauder #5336 Build, Finished

It's finally done!
I'm not a big fan of this kit. All the thicker pieces of die-cut card stock had pressure bulges on the underside. It took CA glue and sanding to get every edge smooth and flat.

I don't think the average builder would have felt good about the finished model. Many later Centuri sport kits and the Fighter Fleet had "fibre" fins.
This model has four sheets of the die-cut card stock. The way they are glued together, it would be impossible to get spray paint coverage inside the wing, missile and tail ring surfaces.

It's interesting how Centuri took a television space fighter and converted it to a flying model. We'll see how well it flys.
EDIT: It flew once on June 6 at the monthly Orlando R.O.C.K. launch. Like many winged designs it wanted to fly like an airplane. After leaving the rod it went off at a 45 degree angle which led to a long recovery walk. Heavy and draggy.

Here's the Monogram plastic kit box art.
The plastic kit was molded in coral. The Centuri instructions said to paint it brown.

Enlarge the picture and you could see the layered overall details.
The Centuri kit is closer to a "profile" model, a nice break from the ordinary.

Cruisin' in Alaska

I'm off to Alaska on the Holland America Zaandam from June 17 - 25. I bring this up as blog posting and comment replies might be interrupted. Internet connections on a ship can be spotty.

I join the ship in Juneau and go North to Seward. New passengers join and then travel South where I disembark back in Juneau.

I don't get hired for ships as often as before. Cruise lines continue to lure younger audiences. Producers try to make smaller shows appear bigger, but in the end are tacky and insipid.
On my down time, I'll be working on Odd'l projects and another carded downscale model.

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Centuri Draconian Marauder #5336 Build, Part 21, Missile Launchers

The missile launchers were fitted to the wings.
Some sanding was required to get the wing edges to contact the round body of the launchers.

The inset picture shows the glue lines.

The missile launchers were painted off the model.
I did some careful scraping down to the body tube for the glue contact lines.

More Wire Hook Pull Tools, TIP

Lonnie Buchanon made a simple wire hook to pull shroud lines through the small metal ring on the end of a snap swivel.
The blog post is CLICK HERE

Chris Gonnerman commented:
"I have several rolls of cheap "safety wire" which I use for a broad variety of rocketry tasks. For instance, I use a long piece folded at about the one-third mark to fish shock cords through mounting eyes or loops deep inside a rocket; by using such an anchor, I don't have to keep adding glue every time a shock cord needs replaced, and I can put this kind of anchor in a rocket that isn't shaped well for the "replaceable Kevlar" anchoring system. I put such a loop in my FSI Sprint clone last year, and I pointedly did not attach the shock cord until it was done, just to prove I could make it work."

I made a Kevlar pull tool from a length of coat hanger wire.
It's probably used on every other build.

One end is a "U" shape, the other side an "L" bend.

Here I'm fishing the Kevlar out the back of the engine mount to check it's condition or tie on some new elastic.

Monday, June 15, 2015

Centuri Draconian Marauder #5336 Build, Part 20, Decals

The old decals with the MicroScale clear coat transferred easily.
TIP: Instead of using a wet brush or paper towel to work out bubbles, use a damp Q-tip to set the decal into place.
Work the air bubbles out by rolling from the center to the edges.

After the decals had set up for a day they got a coat of Future.
I used the Q-tips again. Dip the tip in the Future, wipe off the excess and lightly "roll" on an overcoat.

A canopy decal side is made up of two pieces.
The larger center "B" piece probably wouldn't easily fold over the ridge down the middle. I cut the decal in two.
Set the "B" sides down first.

After it dries set the "C" piece down as an overlay.
Do your best to "mirror" the two C pieces getting an even fit over the top and raised canopy.
After everything dries a new razor blade trimmed down the overhang.

Stiletto Design Inspiration?

In 2009, Bob Sanford made a visit to Quest Aerospace.
Lots of great information and pictures in these YORF posts: CLICK HERE

Douglas Shrock (Shrox Rocket Designs) showed some of his prototypes.
He's holding the SHX-3 Stiletto, one of my favorite models.

Yesterday on RocketReviews.com I ran across this: CLICK HERE.
Geof Givens did a plastic model conversion of a Lindberg kit in 2009.
Where does design inspiration come from?
I never knew the Douglas X-3 Stiletto even existed until I saw the plastic kit. You can see the similarities.

Here's my Quest SHX-3 Stiletto, modified for 24mm  engines. It's usually flown with a D12-5.

The build posts are HERE

Sunday, June 14, 2015

Launch, NEFAR, Bunnell, FL, June 13, 2015

How you feelin'? Hot, Hot, HOT!
These Summer launches really wipe me out.

The Civil Air Patrol joined us today so a second LPR rack was set up.
Good call and Thanks guys!
Most of the CAP flights were fine until the two stage Loadstars were launched. A few too many had the engines reversed, B6-6 in the booster and the B6-0 in the upper stage. The rockets were on the ground when the B6-6 ejection charges would ignite the B6-0 in the upper stage.
The CAP Alphas and Patriots had great first flights.

A few had questions asked about my Estes R2D2, today flown with a C6-3.
Boost was straight to about a 275' apogee. I was concerned about the parachute, it had been sitting idle too long around the rear eject engine mount.
There was a lout "pop" at ejection and the chute opened without problems. R2 landed without damage.

My Odd'l Rockets LITTLE GREEN MAN had a textbook flight until it touched down. I waited for the "All Clear" to pick it up and found it in the only water in the field.
The water was poured out of the body!
It is drying now and so far no swelling or distortion of the tube or fins.
The older German Quest B6-4 was sooty but got it to an estimated 325' up.

I'm really tempted to produce a kit of the Odd'l Rockets SPOOL. Today flown with a C6-0 to about 275'.
After the propellant wall broke through a very fast spin brought it back close.

Here's the rebuilt and refinished Estes V2 awaiting launch with a D12-3 engine.
Great boost to 450' and full eject of the 18" Odd'l parachute with spill hole.
The wind was picking up and it landed near the flight line.
A fin was split when the nose cone snapped back and hit it at ejection. More repairs!

On the next pad is Cris Morris' Odd'l Rockets Pigasus, flown today with a C6-5. Thanks Cris!

Phil Brodman made this "Harbor Freight" rocket from the pages of a Harbor Freight catalog!
I know what time that goes into making a rocket just from printed book pages. The body tube and nose cone were hand rolled with many layers of paper.
The Harbor Freight was flown twice with D12-3 engines.
Very strong and stable!

My fifth and final flight was the clone of the Estes MINI SHUTTLE.
With another sooty Quest B6-4 in the tail it rose to 350' before a soft parachute recovery.

Five up, Five recovered.
One to repairs.