Sunday, September 25, 2005

009 Areobee

I really liked the look of this rocket and the fact that it is a semi-scale model a real sounding rocket. Building rockets that look like something real rather than a toy are more interesting for me to build. This is the first rocket that I filled the spiral groove in the airframe. After sanding, a couple coats of primer, and a couple coats of paint it looked perfect.

Then I applied the decals. The instructions on every Quest and Estes rocket I have built tell you to apply a clear coat over the decals, BIG MISTAKE! The "Krylon Clear Gloss" enamel looks milky and dull when applied. It really took away from all the hard work I put into the finish of this rocket. It's not ruined but it looked better before the clear coat.

Manufacturer - Quest
Stages - 1
Weight -
Length - 15.98 in.
Diameter - .984 in.
Fin Material - Balsa
Recovery - 12 in. Parachute
Current Status - Active

Sunday, September 18, 2005

Fun In Rockford, IL

this is an audio post - click to play

Wednesday, September 07, 2005

010 Mongoose

This is a modified version of the Estes Mongoose 2 stage rocket. I had to modify it to a single stage 17 in. long rocket because on the first launch I lost the booster stage and the body tube sustained damage. After making the modification I performed a swing test to endure the stability of the rocket. It's good to go!

Repairing rockets to keep them flying is part of the challenge of model rocketry. Before you scrap that crashed rocket try to repair it. If a repair is impossible strip every single part off of it you can. That way you will have spare parts to fix your next rocket, and there will be more crashes to repair.

Manufacturer - Estes
Stages - Modified to Single Stage
Weight - ?
Length - 17 in. originally 26 in.
Diameter - .98 in.
Fin Material - Plastic
Recovery - Streamer
Current Status - Active

Tuesday, September 06, 2005

Body Work

As I build more and more rockets I am starting to pay more attention to the finished look of the airframe. It is pretty simple to build a rocket kit but it is an art to make it smooth and authentic looking. Body tubes are my biggest probelm. They have sprial lines running down the entire thing which make them a pain to get smooth. Here is my solution that I learned from John Coker who has one of the best sites dedicated to model rocketry I have come across. The building a kit section of his site has many finishing ideas.

First get some Elmers Fill and Finish wood filler. Put some in a little cup and add just enough water to give it the consistantcy of cake frosting. Using your finger spread the filler in the groove on the tube. The fill and finish dries in 15 minutes and can be sanded to a smooth finish easiliy. I use a small orbital sander to take off a majority of the material and finish with hand sanding. The first image is after sanding and the second is the application.

Monday, September 05, 2005

Launch Report 9/5/05

I just got back from a 7 day cruise in the Caribbean. It was a great trip and lots of fun but I'm home now and I am ready to launch some rockets. It is Labor Day and catching up on work seemed sacrilegious or something so I went out and launched some rockets.

To test the wind I started off with 012 Lucky Seven. The rocket is small and uses a Estes Micro Motor, perfect gauging the wind. The small airframe soared into the air quite nicely and the ejection charge popped the nose off easily. It was a perfect flight! The second flight of the day for this model was also flawless.

After the small rocket it was time to move up. I next launched 008 Shuttle Express. This rocket has two small shuttles on the sides that deploy at apogee. The rocket took off perfectly and at apogee the shuttles deployed, and shot straight down to the ground. The rocket returned gently back to earth. I am not sure why the shuttles did this but I will try to work out the kinks before the next flight.

The final launch of the day was 010 Mongoose. This is my first two stage rocket. The flight path was way off and I lost sight of the rocket immediately. I had to drive to around to look for it and finally found it near the fire station. The airframe landed on the sidewalk and was bent and I lost the booster section. The rocket is effectively destroyed.