At my first club launch in April, I flew a newly-finished, scratch-built rocket: The Ceres B booster with the "ICU2" camera payload bay.
The original design is from Mike Westerfield's book, Make: Rockets: Down-to-Earth Rocket Science. It's a largish, BT-60-based rocket (about 1.637 inches in diameter), with four trapezoidal fins and a fatter, BT-80 (2.6 inches) payload section. The payload houses a hidden camera, with plenty of room left for an altimeter - and even an egg or two if you want to launch that.
|The camera view port|
|The hidden USB spy cam tucked inside. The camera only cost about $5.|
You can tape a miniature camera to the side of most rockets and get some fun video. What I like about this rocket is that the camera is part of the design; it's hidden from view and isn't just stuck on the side.
The rocket, as designed, is a basic model rocket with a 24mm diameter motor tube, and can fly on either D or E black powder motors.
I had quickly built a 3-finned version some time ago, and lost it on its first flight with an Estes E9-6 motor. I lost the payload earlier than that, on an ill-advised flight of another rocket I'd designed. The payload was on its own, far too large parachute, and the wind carried it away.
I decided to soup up the design a little, replacing the traditional motor hook with an Estes Quick Release screw-on motor retainer, and leaving out the engine block or thrust ring. With a nice, long motor tube and no hook to get in the way, the rocket is now very versatile, and can fly on anything from a D12 black powder motor up to F and even a few G composite motors, giving it an altitude range of 440-3100 feet.
The fins were built up from three pieces of material, making them nice and strong, and have a fin root tab for through-the-wall construction, firmly attaching them to the rocket.
The fins also have beveled leading and trailing edges, and are radially-tapered, meaning they get thinner toward the tip as they radiate out from the body of the rocket. At the roots, the fins are about 1/8 inch thick, and about 1/16 inch thick at the tips. This not only makes them more aerodynamically efficient, it also looks really cool on the finished rocket.
Apart from a couple problems with the finished paint job, I'm really pleased with the way this rocket turned out, and plan to try flying it on many different motors.
My order of AeroTech composite motors did not arrive in time for my first launch, so I had to use an Estes E9-6 for the first flight. I still got a really good video of it, and the rocket came back with no damage.
Jolly Logic has even put the video on their website, because I used both the Altimeter Two and the new Chute Release in this video.
I'll show some of the things I did to build this rocket the way it is in a future post. If you're interested in building the design, check out Mike Westerfield's book - even built as a basic model rocket, it's a good one.
For now, here's the video:
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