Friday, October 23, 2015

Current Rocketry Projects

In most of my blog posts, I put a little note with a link to my Facebook page. I'm currently adding lots of photos and stuff to the Facebook page, including a launch photos album and a current projects photos album.

The advantage of this, for me, is that I can put something up quickly. Since I try to keep the blog both entertaining for experienced rocketeers, and informative for rocket n00bs, a blog post can take me more time. Posts are longer and require more writing, editing, and photos. On Facebook, I can post a quick picture or five, a link, or a news item or thought. (There's also a Twitter feed.)

If you "like" the Facebook page, you can get updates on your newsfeed.

Of course, not everybody does Facebook, so I'll eventually add a current projects page to this blog ( differentiates between blog posts, such as this one, which show up in reverse chronological order, and pages, to which you have to post a link). And build series will still be a part of the blog, as long as they have something informative for n00bs.

For now, though, here are a few of the current rocketry projects I'm working on:

Estes Astron Sprint XL

This nice, big model rocket is one I've had my eye on for some time now, and finally got one. With three, elliptical fins and a conical boat tail, at the aft end, it's meant to be a high-performance design. A boat tail may reduce aerodynamic base drag (if it's fit correctly), and elliptical fins, if properly airfoiled, may also help reduce induced drag, which is caused by the fins correcting the trajectory of the rocket in flight.
But I like it because the shape is different from rockets I've built in the past, and it's a long rocket which takes a long-burning E9 motor.

Filling in the seams on the plastic parts is important for a nice finish.

Long-time blog readers know I like to shape my fins. In particular, I love to sand fins into airfoils. This takes some practice, but isn't too hard to do on most fins, with a straight leading and trailing edge. But on elliptical fins, I was worried it would be impossible to get right. So I cut some copies from scrap balsa, and gave it a go. Turns out not to be so impossible after all, if you've had a little practice shaping things with your sanding block.

After I cut a few more scrap fins and figure out exactly what I want them to look like, I'll have a go at the kit fins - and use the scrap fins to make a bunch of clones. I have a ton of Astron Sprint XL nose and tail cones, because of a huge purchasing debacle I'll tell you about another time.

Estes Goblin

This is a classic Estes kit which disappeared years ago. Semroc brought out a clone in more recent years, and Estes finally re-released it.
It's smaller than I had imagined, but a cool little rocket which flies on those fat, 24mm D motors - which will take it pretty high!

I did make a boneheaded, n00b mistake on this one...

Ripped off a fin right after installing it, causing some damage
But I came up with a decent fix.

Estes Nike Smoke plus a Rocket Cradle

Both of these will become blog posts. A rocket cradle is a useful, easy-to-build tool, and I already started a series on the Estes Pro Series II Nike Smoke, which is nearing completion. I have discovered a few things for the inexperienced builder to watch out for when building this rocket. At least, they're things I wish I had known when I started!
Estes Optima Clone

Today in the mail, I got a large, 2.6 inch diameter nose cone, which fits a BT80-sized tube. This is so that I can build a clone of the Estes Optima, a large Estes model from the early 1990's. I'm excited about this one. It's a simple rocket to clone, but I think it's beautiful. And with a rocket so large, you can put one of those long-burning Estes E9 motors in it, yet it won't go so high you'll lose the rocket!

* * *

More posts for n00bs on the way. Topics shall include basics, such as
  • Picking your first rocket
  • Building your first rocket (the really basic basics)
  • Expanding your toolbox
  • Rocket safety
  • Part 3 of the rocket stability series (this one will take a while)
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