Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Mercury Little Joe Auction Almost Over

The Mercury Little Joe I EBAY Auction
finishes up Tuesday, Tonight!

This model was built from plans from the 1973 Enerjet News.
It uses the Centuri Mercury Capsule now in the Mercury Redstone kit from Estes.
A clean build with custom decals and extra upgrades.
Stop by make a bid and support the blog!

Estes Galactic Taxi #1914, Part 12, Ends and Edges

The underside of the model is too plain - just yellow! It needed a second color.

I had some extra decals (I always print more than needed for occasions like this) and added the orange trim to the bottom of the wings. It's just enough to give the underside some interest.

The top picture is the top side of the rocket, the inset picture is the bottom view with added decals.

The shock cord was attached to the Kevlar.
The elastic is tied to the screw eye with a Duncan Uni-Knot.

The 12" parachute snap swivel is joined to the elastic on a overhand loop knot 1/3 the way down from the nose cone tie.
If you are new to the blog - Why tie the parachute 1/3 the way down the shock cord and not to the base of the nose cone?
This stops the nose cone from swinging in and out of the shroud lines during recovery and prevents tangles.

Monday, January 30, 2017

Estes Galactic Taxi #1914 Build Part 11, Nozzle Trim

The back end of the fairings didn't get paint on the inside corners.
Some of the same yellow used on the body was sprayed into a small cup. I went back with a brush and  hit all the light areas.

The nozzle was also yellow. I wanted to add a bit more trim.
I pulled out the old roll of Contact blackboard material. It's an adhesive backed flat black vinyl.

A strip was cut and rolled around the exposed engine tube.
TIP: Lift the engine hook and start the trim strip under the hook. After rolling around the tube, the end of the wrap was pressed under the engine hook hiding the joint seam.
Once in place, the engine hook pressure will keep the ends stuck down.

Sunday, January 29, 2017

New Orlando Area NAR Section, ROAR #795

The newest Central Florida NAR Section #795 had a launch scheduled for Saturday, January 28. A burn ban postponed the actual launch but an informational get-together was held. I took a trip over to the site near Christmas, Florida to say Hi and check out the launch site. I got the grand tour from Adam Nehr, his wife Barbara and Matt Fonseca.
While the ROAR Section will host LPR launches, the original focus was directed towards future aerospace engineers, SEDs, teachers and enthusiasts. Larger rockets can follow a launch protocol with extensive data analysis.
Without a doubt this is the most sophisticated launch control I had ever seen.

That's Adam in the launch control center. This is an interior shot with everything built into his pickup bed.
A former experimental pilot, Adam has done photo and film analysis for NASA. His past work as an engineer and machinist came into play constructing controllers, launchers, video, a weather system, radio network, data tracking and even a remote fire extinguishing sprinkler.

The low power pads have baking pans serving as blast deflectors. Each launcher has flight angle control.

The inset picture shows an extended wire "first activation switch". When the rocket leaves the pad the switch activates the flight timers in the L.C.C.

The gantry on the mid power tripod launcher is interesting.
When remotely pulled back before launch, a string is pulled, a magnet released and the video camera is started. (See inset picture) No more long still videos or dead batteries while waiting on the pad!
Matt demonstrates a tool for freeing a rocket stuck high up in a tree.
The slingshot launches a lead weight tied to the fishing line and reel.

The next R.O.A.R. launch is scheduled for February 25.

Saturday, January 28, 2017

Estes Galactic Taxi #1914 Build Part 10, Yellow Paint and Decals

The model gets an coat of bright yellow.
That's it! All yellow, no masking.

I always shoot the inside areas that might not get full paint coverage first. Then shoot the entire model overall yellow.

I printed up the decal scan that was on oldrocketplans.com. That print is on the left, the new version is on the right.

I wasn't happy with how they printed up. The scan picked some yellowing and that showed up on the home print decal.
Some of the edges were blurred so I did a re-draw.

The decals were green and orange! A green canopy window?
I did add some black to the mix, just a little.
It's not an exact match, but who cares?

Here's a closeup, the first print on the left, the new print on the right.
On the left you can see some of the slight scan discoloration. I was concerned the border areas wouldn't be clear.
Again, not exact but the transfers will be cleaner.

Friday, January 27, 2017

Estes Galactic Taxi #1914 Build Part 9, Cleaning Up The Undercoat

When the white undercoat dried I could see the glue fillets when held up to the light.
These would show after the yellow color coats. All the shiny glue fillets got a light sanding with 400 grit.
Any fuzzies on the card stock were also lightly sanded.

There were still glue blobs on the fillet areas. This shows how it looked after sanding.
The whole model got another white undercoat to even out the white.

There are lots of nooks on this model. Some areas didn't get full coverage of the white undercoat.
Rather than re-spraying (and adding more weight -)
I sprayed some white in a small mixing cup. A Q-tip was dipped in the paint and a bit of excess wiped off. The paint was rolled on by spinning the Q-tip between my fingers.

Thursday, January 26, 2017

Estes Galactic Taxi #1914 Build Part 8, Trim and Antenna

There may have been some different shaped toothpicks in the original kit. I've never seen flat, curved toothpicks. I'll use the rounded ones I already have.

The toothpicks were cut a little long so when glued on the end could overhang the back of the "post".

The overhang was sanded even matching the angled cut of the post.

The instruction illustrations didn't really match the shape of the kit fins.

The launch lug was glued even with the front end of the low fin.
I was afraid this might happen.
Sometimes when you redraw from a sketchy scan, slight changes can effect the fit.

Here the front end of the fairing is too long leaving a gap at the leading edge of the wing fin. I'll have to redraw and print new fairings.

Wednesday, January 25, 2017

Mercury Little Joe I for Sale on Ebay

The Mercury Little Joe I Build
is up for Auction on Ebay

This model was built from plans from the 1973 Enerjet News.
It uses the Centuri Mercury Capsule now in the Mercury Redstone kit from Estes.
A clean build with custom decals and extra upgrades.
Stop by make a bid and support the blog!

Estes Galactic Taxi #1914 Build Part 7, Primer and Sanding

The balsa pieces were filled with CWF and sanded smooth.
Here they were taped to cardboard for a shot of primer/filler.

Shoot one side and let dry.
You can flip them over and stick them down to the same piece of tape to spray the other side.

Here's the body tube and nose cone after the primer/filler was sanded to surface. You can see where the primer/filler is left in the seams and small recesses left after the CWF filler.

The fin positions are marked.
The primer filler will be scraped off where any gluing will be done.

Tuesday, January 24, 2017

Estes Galactic Taxi #1914 Build Part 6, Forming Cardstock

To pre-emboss the folds in card stock I use the back side of a single edge razor blade. The rolled over metal is tight and rounded.

Tape over the blade side with a few wraps of masking tape.
TIP: Set the back embossing side of the blade down on the dotted line first. Then slide the ruler up to the blade. This will compensate for the thickness of the embossing tool.

The backside of a Sharpie pen was used to make a sharp fold over the already embossed lines.

The fairing support pieces are scored first.
Start the fold over the side of your straightedge (upper right).
Finish and sharpen the fold with the Sharpie barrel.

The canopy looks pretty strange before scoring and folding to shape.
While the glue dries, the tabs are held down with long tweezers.
You need very little glue on card stock shrouds or canopy tabs.

Monday, January 23, 2017

Estes Galactic Taxi #1914 Build Part 5, Engine Mount Fitting

Both ends of the main tube got a wipe of medium CA glue.

After it dried the hardened ends got a light sanding with 400 grit.

The kit instructions have you glue in the mount so both tubes are even. On a 20/50 mount this doesn't allow enough space for engine hook movement without pressing against the outside tube. (On left)

I decided to let the mount tube extend 1/4" beyond the end of the main tube for more hook flexibility. (see inset picture)

Magazine Article Submission

I just submitted a new short article to Sport Rocketry Magazine.
If accepted (and looking at the submission deadlines) it might end up in the May/June issue.

Why not post it here or submit to the Apogee Newsletter?
Apogee was concerned it could hurt sales of a certain product.
I would reach a larger audience in the NAR Sport Rocketry magazine.
This simple technique could make for faster, more reliable LPR ignitions.

Why am I being vague about the submission?
It's a magazine article and the content is first reserved for the customer.
If the article isn't accepted and published it'll be posted here.

Sunday, January 22, 2017

Estes Galactic Taxi #1914 Build Part 4, Engine Mount

Anytime you get the black Letramax centering rings be sure to wipe down the laser burnt sides. Otherwise the black ash will get on everything it touches.

Two 20/50 rings were laminated together to form a single thicker ring.

Slide the rings down the engine mount tube for perfect alignment while they dry. Be sure they aren't glued to the tube - yet.

The rings were slotted for an easier fit over the engine hook.

The Kevlar got a small loop knot and was slipped under the upper bend of the engine hook before the upper ring was glued in place.
This is the way many Semroc kit engine mounts are assembled.

The top end of the mount also got an engine block.
Here's the finished mount.

Saturday, January 21, 2017

Estes Galactic Taxi #1914 Build Part 3, Fins

I didn't have any 3/32" balsa so I glued up some scraps to make a full sheet.
Two of these pieces were leftover sides from some Estes kit laser cut fin sheets.

After the glue dried the new flat sheet was sanded flat with a block.

The low "Ventral" fin grain surprised me. That extension on the lower left looked too easy to break off. I cut a separate piece with the grain going in a better direction.

Here's all the fins cut out.
Some strange shapes here.

The instruction drawings of the fins aren't accurately drawn.
Pay very close attention to the leading edges, they are the only edges that are rounded.
The fins are confusing to glue on correctly. It helps that some leading edges are rounded for forward positioning reference.

Friday, January 20, 2017

Estes Galactic Taxi #1914 Build Part 2, Parts

All the parts were assembled from my spare parts stash. I didn't buy anything new.
The only new parts will be the printed card stock and decal sheets.

Above you can see the new drawn fin pattern, shroud and canopy printed on 110 lb. card stock.
The balsa fin stock should be 3/32" thick. The sheet I found turned out to be 1/8" thick. Presently I don't have any 3/32" balsa. More on that later.

The kit used the 1/4" thick green 20/50 centering rings. I couldn't find those but had plenty of the BMS Letramax rings. These will be laminated to make two complete rings.
The red 12" chute was one of the transition parachutes Estes included in kits while the print ink problem was worked out.

The body tube I used is BT-50H or heavy walled BT-50 tubing. I hate regular thickness BT-50 tubing, it's just too weak and prone to crimping.
While the kit used a plastic blow molded nose cone I substituted a balsa Alpha style nose cone. The lip was wide enough to evenly cover the outside diameter of the thicker BT-50H tube.

Here's a test fit of the original online fin fairing around the BT-50H tube. This is not my redrawn pieces.
Before forming the fold line was scored. It's difficult to fold a sharp tip like this. It's a little easier creasing it over a straightedge.

With the rear former glued in place the fairing sits neatly around the BT-50H tube.

Bill Cook's Engine Test Stand

Bill Cooke built his own engine test stand.
Check out the great article on his blog - Rocketeer's Corner,

He got some pretty interesting results on his first tests using A8-3 engines.

Thursday, January 19, 2017

Estes Solar Warrior (#3225) Builds, Comparison

I had a few blog followers ask to show the two Solar Warrior builds side-by-side.
I like the looks of the metallic red Solar Warrior a bit more.
The top of the other rocket on the right is actually purple. My camera photographed it as blue.

Look above the launch lug on the red model. I usually start wrap around decals in line with the launch lug. The wrap around decal was slightly longer than the circumference of the body tube. The spacing of the downward facing "nubs" is closer where the decal ends meet.

TIP: Start a wrap-around decal at the launch lug line and any incorrect spacing won't be noticed when a picture is taken on the launcher.
That wrap around decal is actually centered above the launch lug. The model is slightly turned out to the left.

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Estes Galactic Taxi #1914 Build Part 1, Background

Here's a rare one produced from 1983 - 84.
I thought it would be different because of the card stock fin fairings. That rear canopy is another feature.
For a while Estes had a few models with card stock flared ends like the Delta Wedge, #1931.

After looking over the instructions on oldrocketplans.com, I came up with these parts and measurements. To see the instructions, CLICK HERE

1  Engine Mount Tube (type BT-20J) 2 3/4" long
1  Engine Hook (type EH-2)  2 3/4" long
2  Centering Rings (type AR-2050)     thick style
1  Body Tube (type BT-50B, heavy)  10.25" long
1  Set Balsa Fins 3/32" thick
1  Launch Lug  (type LL-2A)
3  Flat Tapered Toothpicks
1  Cardstock Details          110 lb. Cardstock
1  Nose Cone (type PNC-50KA)  2.75"? Long
1  Shock Cord
1  12" Parachute, Shroud Lines, Set Tape Disks
1  Decal

The card stock fairings and canopy were roughly hand drawn.
I used these to test their size, there was no reference measurement.
This is a picture of the printed stock, I set a ruler beside it.

The formed pieces seemed to be the right size. I did redraw them, The online pattern shown at the right had a very rough, thick line.
The online decals looked pretty clean and could probably be printed as is.

Video of Quest 18mm Composite Engine Test

Posted by Daniel Petrie, the Rocket N00b, on TRF -

"AeroTech sent us a tweet at The Rocketry Show podcast twitter account - video of a static test of one of the new Quest composite model rocket motors!"
This test doesn't look like much but this could be very big.
To see the short video clip: CLICK HERE

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Estes Solar Warrior (#3225) Build, Finished

This should be a favorite with D12-5 engines.
Big with big decals. I'm a little surprised they weren't more popular and ended up part of the closeout sale.

The second build was painted Metallic Red on the upper body. With this half-half decor most any other color could have worked. Orange, yellow, green or silver could have been used.