Sunday, July 31, 2011

Dressing Up Launch Lugs

Here's the 1/4" diameter launch lugs on the Apogee Saturn V kit.
This 3" long lug was cut in two for two 1 1/2" lugs.
Standoffs are already glued on both pieces.
Even though these are larger 1/4" diameter lugs, you can also finish up 1/8" and 3/16" lugs as shown here.

I usually will sand the ends of the assembly so the end of the lug and standoff are square. This will leave paper rolled over the inside and outside of the lug end.
This could leave your rocket hung you up on the rod at launch.
To remove this (rolled under paper lip), I use a sharpened dowel to lightly lift out the rolled paper above the edge of the lug end. Now it can be sanded off with 400 grit sandpaper on a block.

After it is sanded off, another wider dowel is used to clean up and re-round the lug opening.

Be sure to lightly sand the outside edge to remove any of the outside Mylar that might be rolled down on the outside of the lug wall.

Quest AS-1 Escort Build Part 12 Mitre Tubes Fit

Here’s a test fit into the nose tube. You can see in the picture it is too large for a slip fit. As explained in the previous step, applying CA glue will stiffen it up enough to be sanded with 400 grit on a block.

It did take a little sanding to get a good fit. The CA coat did help make the gap caps strong enough to be hit with a sanding block.

Step 13
And finally, the fit of the two tubes together.
I was surprised how well they lined up. When glued together it should be plenty strong.

Before gluing, I’ll fill the exposed seams and be sure all the tube ends are squared up and smooth.
Here I’ve masked off a body tube with just the seam exposed.
While the picture just shows the one tube, both tubes were seam masked at the same time. I’ll lay on a thick coat of gray primer, directed in the seams between the masking tape lines.

Saturday, July 30, 2011

Quest AS-1 Escort Build Part 11 Gap Caps

Step 12
The instructions have you mark the front end of the center tube 1/8" from the top of the miter cut.
Without making this miter cut, I have no reference to make this mark. Using the center tube miter guide I found this mark point to be 7/8" from the front of the center tube.

Wrap a straight strip of paper around the center tube at the 7/8" mark. Draw a pencil line all the way around the tube.

This gap cap piece is thin, flimsy and frustrating. You’ll need that line around the circumference of the tube for better alignment.

I found it easier to tack the gap cap ring in place with thin CA.
Tack it in place with small drops of CA to get it in good position for a white glue fillet to follow. If you use too much CA, the white glue fillet won’t stick very well.

Apply a white glue fillet and let dry.
Then, after the white glue is dry, apply some CA to the gap cap ring. This will stiffen it up for sanding. You will have to sand this ring for it to slide into the nose tube.

Quest AS-1 Escort Build Part 10 Gap Caps

Step 11
TIP: Make a center mark on the gap caps before cutting them out. You’ll need it as a reference to get it on the center tube center line.
I wish the gap caps were die cut from heavier card stock. This thin card stop was to floppy. You are given a spare though. I should have cut out both and laminated them together.
A single thickness gap cap was cut out as directed.

After reading about a build of this kit on YORF, the builder mentioned there was no reason make a miter cut on the interior tube. It’s under the cover of the nose tube, it would never be seen! So I didn’t bother making the additional cut.

Edit after build: The inside tube mitre cut would give you a little more room for the wadding and parachute. There is enough room to pack the parachute the parachute the way I made it (without the cut) but the extra 1/2" of room would help.

Friday, July 29, 2011

Odd'l Rockets Now Available from Apogee Components!

I happy to announce that Odd'l Rockets and Odd'l Accessories are available from Apogee Components.

At present, the Birdie and Squatty Body kits are listed and for sale.
In the Accessories, the Raise Springs and Adeptor are available.
Click on the names for pictures and full descriptions.

If you've enjoyed this blog, experience the difference in Odd'l Rockets kits and accessories!

More Odd'l Rockets products will be added to the Apogee website soon!

Quest AS-1 Escort Build Part 9 Tube Gluing

Steps 9 and 10
Here's what you should have after gluing. While the instructions say to feed the shock cord and Kevlar through the front of the tube, again set it out the back, away from any glue and so it won't bind between the tubes.

The motor mount tube is marked and glue applied. In the picture the glue line has been applied.

A side view of the finished step.

Quest AS-1 Escort Part 8 Engine Mount Gluing

The seam still showed after the CA treatment. I applied some Carpenter’s Wood Filler and sanded smooth. Ideally, I should have did the seam filling before the coat of CA for better adhesion of the CWF. Still, it stayed in the seam.

Step 8 has you apply the glue ring, then thread the Kevlar and shock cord though the front of the tube. Then -
You are told to use a “twisting motion” when sliding in the motor mount assembly.

By the time you’d thread the shock cord through the body, you’ve got white glue all over the shock cord. The glue is already starting to set up. You’d be lucky to get the mount all the way into the center tube in time.

You’d be better off feeding the Kevlar and shock cord out the back of the motor mount tube. Don’t worry about lining up the engine clip on the center line. Just get the mount in and up to the ½" pencil mark.
Here’s the CA treated motor mount tube glued in place with the tape wrap already removed.
After the motor mount was glued up to the ½" line, I wrapped the tube wrapping guide and lined up the center line with the motor clip.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

TIP: Doing Paint Touch Ups

For the longest time I would spray some paint in the spray can cap, dip my brush and touch up a mistake.
But after a few sprays in the same cap, new paint could dissolve some of the previously dried paint. The brush could pick up the old paint and it was transferred to the model.

I tried spraying directly into some small mixing cups, but the paint ate right through the plastic cup!
I lined the cup with a plastic snack bag. Be sure to press the bag all the way into the bottom of the cup and roll the edges over the top of the cup.
Spray right into the bag in the cup and paint.
When finished, pull out the bag, seal closed and throw away. You can reuse the cup.

I recently bought cheap brushes with a 40% off coupon at Michaels crafts.
These are not great brushes, but are good for touch ups.

Even with a good thinner, then water and soap, some residual paint remains. If you were to use that brush for a white touch up after using the same brush with black before, your touch up paint could come out gray!
These real hair brushes were cheap enough, I now have a single brush for different colors. I mark the rear of the handles so I will only use them for one color.

Quest AS-1 Escort Part 7 Engine Mount

Jumping ahead to Step 8
Don’t glue the mount in place yet!
Here’s what the engine mount looked like when trying to slide the mount in with the tape wrap. I use black electrical tape. Believe me, this wouldn’t work with a wrap of masking tape either. The tube sizes are just too close.

I carefully removed the tape and still pulled off some of the yellow outer layer!

As mentioned earlier, these yellow tubes are thin with a rough outside yellow layer. I wanted to smooth and strengthen the tube.

A drop of the cheap Dollar Store CA was set on the back of scrap sandpaper. A cotton Q-tip was dipped into the CA and “painted” on the back ½" of the engine mount tube.

I also put a line of CA on the around inside back end of the yellow tube.
After drying, it was sanded down with 400 grit. It’s now much smoother and stronger. I only put a coat of CA on the last ½" of the yellow tube that will be exposed out the back of the model. This way, white glue will still permeate and stick to the paper inside the 20mm tube.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

LAUNCH! July 26, 2011, Schoolyard Soccer Field

Only three flights early this morning, but all were new fliers.

Even though the blog build continues, I have finished the Quest AS-1 ESCORT kit.
Today was the first flight using the recommended Quest A6-4 engine.

I opened and re-packed the 14" Quest parachute, they are known for being a little stiff.
After it cleared the rod, it went into target mode (away from vertical) and flew to the West.

Enlarge the picture and you can see the glowing igniter falling away.

The four second delay is one second too long, it was nosing in fast when the parachute blew. An A8-3 would be a better choice.

I was expecting the worst when I heard it hit the playground fence, but there was no damage.

Here's a recent build and a future blog entry.

This design came from an old Centuri American Rocketeer magazine, the FINLESS.
It's long and lean with a 3" long conical shroud at the bottom for stability.

It was VERY stable with a 13mm A10-3t engine in an adapter. There is .40 oz. of clay weight in the nose for stability so the altitude wasn't stellar.
Still, a great first flight with 12" parachute recovery. It should be good to go with B6-4 and C6-5 engines.

Last up could be my new, small field favorite -
This was a scratch build, one of those "guess and cross your fingers" odd-ball models.
Two CDs, two 2050 centering rings and a 3" length of ST-7 tubing.

With a Estes C6-3, it was stable! Good altitude for a spool, I'd guess it peaked at 300'.
Recovery was a tight, fast spin that landed close by.

Quest AS-1 Escort Part 6 Tube Cutting

Step 7
The only tubes that require a miter cut are the two outside exposed tubes! The center tube (motor mount tube) is under the two other larger tubes. Why bother cutting an angle in the front of it?

Wrap, pencil mark and cut with a sharp knife.

I’ve read where builders have had problems making these angled cuts. If you have a block with 220 grit sandpaper, you can always clean up a rough cut.
Look at the top of the tube and you can see the white tube edge pushed up and hanging on.

Roll this edge over with your finger and sand down to remove it.
Follow up with 400 grit.
I’d also recommend some thin CA around the edge to strengthen the tube ends. With the CA on the edge it’ll be stronger and smoother after a little light sanding.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Quest AS-1 Escort Build Part 5 Tube Marking

Step 6
Don’t mark the center tube (20 mm engine mount tube) for the fin lines yet!!!
Wait until after the motor mount is glued in place. This way you won’t have to worry about lining the engine nook up with a drawn pencil line. It seems you never have enough time to get a mount in place while the glue is setting up!

These two steps (6 and 8) should have been reversed. Glue the mount into the center tube up to the pencil line, then mark the tube using the engine clip to line up the center tube marking guide.

You can cut out the tube marking guides and mark the other tubes now.

I would recommend marking the names of the center line and fin locations on the tube with pencil for identification later on.

The wing and fin layout on this model is different. You'll find it easier to pre-mark all the locations for later gluing.

Quest AS-1 Escort Build Part 4 Engine Mount

The Kevlar and elastic shock cord is tied together with a simple overhand knot.

Step 4
The Kevlar is tied to the blue thrust ring.

I’d recommend notching the blue thrust ring before tying the Kevlar to it. The kit includes some thick Kevlar. Without cutting a notch into the ring it would bulge out the side of yellow motor mount tube when glued in place.

Step 5
Here’s what my engine mount looked like with the instructions recommended tape wrap, before I realized that tape wrap wouldn’t fit in the rear tube!

Monday, July 25, 2011

Quest AS-1 Escort Build Part 3 Engine Mount

Before getting into Step 2 -
I am not a big fan of the thin Quest yellow motor mount tubes.
I understand the history behind them. Harry Stine used this yellow motor “sleeve” so 18mm engines would fit into the 20mm metric MPC tubing. They are strong when glued into a 20mm tube. But when they are used as an exposed tube (hanging out the back of a model) they're too thin and have a rough surface.

NOTE: Do not use a wrap of tape as suggested in Step 2!!!
The yellow motor mount tube WILL NOT fit into the 20mm tube with the tape around it.

I bent the motor clip to the correct curve before using it.
The bent end of the motor clip is set into a pre-cut slit in the yellow tube.
That small “stab” in the tube was crooked and too small for the motor clip end.

Setting the blue thrust ring even with the end of the tube you can see the slit is a little off. If I were to use that slit, the thrust ring would extend beyond the end of the tube end with the clip in place.
The parts supplied (as is) would certainly make a flyable model. I just like my builds to be closer.

I marked the correct location for the hook end and used my hobby knife to make a slit the right width and location.

Quest AS-1 Escort Build Part 2 Engine Mount

In Step 1 you mark the engine mount tube.
You are instructed to place the yellow motor mount tube over the square in the instructions, right over a printed ruler.
The ruler is wrong!
The drawn square is smaller than the enclosed yellow engine mount tube.

I extended the printed ruler lines with a pencil and set my metal ruler against it. At three inches you can really see how much off it is!
I drew a ½" mark with a pencil using my metal ruler.

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Quest AS-1 Escort Build Part 1 Parts

I bought this one on Ebay.
I'd read about a build by JeffyJeep on YORF and there was problems. I was interested to see if I got one of the older kits. I understand corrections have been made.

It's a Shrox design and looks like a downscale of the Dynastar Firefox SHX HERE. Shrox designs are always a fun build.

The model is much smaller than I thought it would be. The face card shows the first discrepancy. While the advertised height is 17.3" tall, my finished model is only 13 3/4" long! Unless I made a big mistake in gluing, something is really wrong.
My kit was dated 8/26/2010. I checked a newer bagged kit dated 6/3/2011. All three body tubes were the same length in both old and new bagged kits. There is no way this all adds up to 17.3" tall.

Here’s the pieces of interest.
There’s a reverse bend in the motor hook, it should curve the other way, an easy fix. If a new builder installed it as shown, you could lose the engine at ejection. The bend on the forward end of the hook is very small.

The yellow motor mount tube is flimsey and the exposed end will have to be strengthened.

The gap caps should have been printed on a thicker stock. It'd be a good idea to laminate them with something like cereal box carboard. For the purpose of this review, I'll build it stock.

The fins are laser cut from some pretty good balsa stock.
At the upper left, Note the corner of the tail fins. It is off the balsa sheet.
On the lower right are the “Wing Fins 2". There is no laser cut down the middle to separate this into two triangles. It’s another easy fix, but should have been taken care of when the balsa was cut.

Get ready - This is going to be a bumpy ride!

Semroc IRIS Finished!

Here's the finished Semroc IRIS

I did have to hit the model with a dull clearcoat to match up the dull surface of the rear black decal. Before hitting it with the dullcoat, the rear Monokote aluminum trim piece was masked and the nose cone was left off.

TIP: A dull clearcoat (or any clearcoat for that matter) will turn a shiny silver finish to a dull gray!

Saturday, July 23, 2011

100% Cotton Shroud Lines

Earlier, I'd found a good shroud line thread before HERE. This was a 76% polyester, 24% cotton blend.

Recently, I found this at a JoAnne's Fabric in Orlando Florida.
It's the closest thing to the old style Estes/Centuri shroud line material.

I've always searched in the general thread section for better shroud line string, not in the embroidery section of a craft store where I found this.

It's strong, the right diameter for LPR and 100% cotton.
It's manufactured in France by the DMC company. It's designation is: DMC Pearl Cotton Balls, #12, #219659.

In the same section, larger spools of 100% cotton string were available in size 10. The size 10 is slightly thicker. There wasn't any larger spools of the Size 12 cotton string.

From the DMC website:
* Size 12 (Art. 116/12) is available on a 131 yard ball in 40 solid colors.
It was $2.79 for 131 yards or 393 feet.
Do the math and it comes out to $.007 a foot, less than a penny a foot!
Some rocket vendors charge from $.04 to $.15 a foot for shroud line.

Semroc IRIS Build Part 23 Decals

Between the IR and the IS is a very light pencil tick mark. This is the measured center of the IRIS decal.
The body tube also has a very light pencil tick at the center of the upper white rectangle.

This makes it easier to center the decal by matching up the two tick marks. Sometimes a drying decal doesn't give you much time to move it around or check the center with a ruler.

After the rear black decal was set in place, a line of the white background showed around the edges.
A little touch up with a fine point Sharpie covered up the white line.

You can clearly see the difference between the gloss black painted surface and the matte finish of the decal. I'll have to give the model a clear coat to even this out.

Friday, July 22, 2011

NARAM 53 Live!

NARAM will be live again at:
Once again Chris Taylor will be covering the NARAM.

I've attended three NARAMs back in 1975, 76 and 77.
For those who can't be there in person, NARAM Live is the next best thing.

I always looked forward to the Scale viewing. This year's Scale competition is Scale Altitude.
A favorite is the Manufacturer's Forum where all the vendors unveil new products. This forum takes place on Saturday night.

Semroc IRIS Build Part 22 Fin Fix and Decals

After the filler was sanded just the side with the dent was hit with gray primer.

Then the obligatory white undercoat. Red followed and the two fins were re-glued again.

Looking ahead at the decals:
I didn't realize it, but the rear decals don't have a clear background, but are black printed on a white backing. I would rather of had white lettering on clear, but I can see why Semroc did this.

When cutting out this decal, cut inside the black sides. Otherwise, you'll have a white border around the black box. You want to have the black decal to "meld" into the painted black rectangle.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

TIP: 13mm A10-3t vs. 18mm A8-3

Jason (Blackshire on YORF) came up with a great two-part 13mm engine mount adapter.

This adapter breaks in the middle. The engine slides in, nozzle down, in the lower half against a lower engine block. The upper half slides over the exposed top of the engine. In the upper top half of the adapter there is a longer engine block. Both halves of the adapter are taped together. The adapter and 13mm engine are slid into a standard 18mm engine mount.
I've used mine on occasion to fit a 13mm engine in an 18mm mount for the schoolyard launches.

Blackshire's conclusions are simple and valid:
Three 18mm A8-3 engines for $7.99 OR
Four 13mm A10-3t engines for $7.99

The thrust curves on these different diameter engines are pretty close.
The A10 has a higher initial peak and burns slightly longer.
The A8 has a lower initial peak, slightly higher sustain and shorter burn time.
The A10 thrust curve is HERE
The A8 thrust curve is HERE
I wasn't using the 13mm adapter as often as I should have. I figured the extra weight of the adapter with the engine installed would weigh far more than an 18mm A8-3 would. Boy, I was wrong!

An A10-3t engine in the 13mm adapter weighed .42 oz.
The A8-3 engine (alone) weighed .56 oz!

I guess I'll make a few more adapters and save some money while I'm at it.

Note: Jason sent me a message at YORF and added a few new pieces to the 13mm adapter history:

Hello Chris,
Thank you! I had never compared the weights of the two. Tim Van Milligan is partly responsible for the design. My original design called for peeling off the outer layers of the centering rings so that the adapter would fit inside a yellow engine spacer tube (to give the adapter the same shape as an 18 mm engine, mainly for its aerodynamics). Tim simplified (and no doubt lightened) it to create the variant that appeared in the "Peak of Flight" newsletter.
-- Jason