Thursday, October 23, 2014

Quick Update on Rocket Stuff

I've been working on the most recent post in the Skill Level 1 building tutorial series, Building the Big Bertha, but it's taken me longer than I'd thought. For one, needing to finish something makes me procrastinate. But mostly, I've realized I need to take some pictures for this post.

I'll just give you a quick update as to what's to come later.

First, I am working on several projects rather furiously at the moment. I'm nearly finished building my first cluster rocket - that's a rocket that uses more than one motor at a time, making tons of smoke and noise! It's also my first non-Estes kit, by Quest Aerospace. It's called the Magnum Sport Loader, and will use two motors at once, and carry a payload of two eggs!

Motor mount for the two-motor cluster rocket
Magnum Sport Loader, by Quest Aerospace

Magnum Sport Loader ready for priming and painting

Second, I've started my first scratchbuild - that's a rocket you design and build completely yourself, without a kit or instructions. It's a two-stager I'm hoping to launch next week.

Janus I, a two-stage rocket, and will be my first scratchbuild from my own design

Along with this scratchbuild, I've come up with something really exciting. I have come up with a method of creating perfectly symmetrical trailing edge tapers for airfoiled fins - something I think lots of rocketeers have trouble with - which are consistently the same from fin to fin. This means you get a better look and better aerodynamic performance from your fins, and don't have to make a ton of extras and eyeball which are the best ones. I'll show you how I do that later - and make a video.

I've also been working on what I'll call a semi-scratchbuild: the Ceres B booster which will carry a camera payload - that's right, this rocket will carry a tiny video camera which will shoot POV launch videos! I got the plans for this rocket booster/payload combination from a book I've mentioned before - Make: Rockets: Down-to-Earth Rocket Science by Mike Westerfield.

Motor mount for the Ceres B booster,
made from bulk parts. This mount is
for a D or E class motor, and will fly high!

Rocksim file of the Ceres B booster with the ICU2 mini video camera payload bay (the fat section up top)

The camera is taking forever to get here - I just checked the Amazon tracking on it, and it's currently in Shenzhen, China. So, I'm putting that rocket on hold for now.

I bought a TON of stuff from - and as a thank you, they sent me a free parachute!

Now I have to figure out what I'm going to do with all these bulk tubes and nose cones!

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