Tuesday, July 25, 2017

Mercury Redstoned rework

I have added a forward launch lug and have selected a new nosecone. I will rename it for the flight card but will keep the old name in tags, folders, etc to keep the variants together.

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Here is what I considered (L-to-R):
  1. Plastic Frankenstein head. The name would be Mercury Fankenstone. I liked the name but it was a bit small.
  2. Soft foam cone that I made for a boink water rocket. If history repeats itself, a squishy cone might be a good thing. However, it is a bit big and would require even more launch lug work. Plus, if history repeats itself, this is going in the trash bin.
  3. Harder foam cone with a plastic tip, also made for a water rocket. It was never used. It fit well and I liked the look. It isn't well finished but seems to fit this oddroc well enough. It might be damaged even on a nominal recovery. Oh well, there are other options after this.
  4. A plastic Apollo LEM that I build for some reason.  I decided there were too many small pieces that would be guaranteed to break off even if the flight was otherwise successful.
So, this was my selection:

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Saturday, July 22, 2017

Mercury Redstoned post-flight analysis

Here is a poor video of the flight:

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It appeared that it hung on the rod. There was some twisting, but I'm not sure if that was a root cause or a symptom.

The hang could have been due to: A misfire (but all motors lit); delayed ignition (possibly), misaligned motor mount(s) (possibly, but they are as straight as my three other forward canted motor rockets).

One interesting observation is that the First-Fire igniter tube that I used as a lug is a bit loose on a 1/4" rod. I've successfully used many of them. However, this one is shorter than the other lugs on my forward canted clusters. It is also well behind the motors. On my other similar rockets, the lug extended past, or was well ahead of, the canted cluster. I have experienced a rod hang on a loose, short lug. So, I'm thinking the angled (and possibly asymmetrical) thrust of the canted motors caused a bind.  There is one other factor that I think came into play. On the next flight, I loaded a rocket with a 'real" 1/4" lug. Before it reached the tape stop from a previous launch, it stopped. I found that the two inches or so above the stop was *very* sticky. There was probably tape there at the previous launch and the nice hot weather made sure the remnant adhesive was quite gooey.

I think I'm going to retrofit a second lug at the top of the body and come up with a new nose. I have a plastic Frankenstein head, so I could call it the Mercury Frankenstone (?)

Launch Report 2017- (MDRA)

Location: Central Sod Farm, ESL-228
Weather: partly cloudy, until the thunderstorm; 93 and felt like 106; wind 0-5 
Total flights: Today - 4; YTD - 24
Total motors: Today - 7; YTD - 28
Motors by class YTD:  A-1; B-3; C-12; D-2; E-4; F-3; G-2; I-1


By all rights, this could be counted as a bad day. Except for the fact that ROCKETS were involved.

It was really hot, a huge thunderstorm cut the day short and two of my three rockets failed miserably. I did get to chat with some old friends, see some nice HPR flights including a YUGE Bullpup, and I got my motors from Kenny!

My Flights:
  1. Apollo Command/Service Module on an F44-4 - When reporting on TRF, I mused that this model would benefit from more airspeed. Nope. It wiggled and then took a fast right turn. It survived but will be cannibalized. I sure had a rough time getting the motor lit. Luckily the F44s have a wide throat.
  2. Transparent Rocket on a D12-3 - Nice flight. The outer tube is fine but you can see the inner one was slightly melted/warped.
  3. Transparent Rocket on an F15-8 - Another good flight. The outer tube is still pristine. The dual fishing line shock cord tangles badly but works well enough.  Someday, I will try to clean the inside but, for now, it has a shiny silver finish.
  4. Mercury Redstoned on 4  xC6-5 - It barely got off the pad. Only the paper capsule perished. This will be the subject of a separate post.

MDRA ESL 228 7/22/2017

Friday, July 21, 2017

Mercury Redstoned ready to fly!

I could use some trim, but time has run out. The important thing is that is can fly this weekend! I found two spots where the paint attacked the foam. I refilled those and a bunch of rough spots and touch painted them.

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The only expected problem is the loss of the paper capsule. I am already losing interest in replacing it. If it doesn't survive, I'm thinking that I will find some other nose section and give it a new name.


Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Mercury Redstone in the buff

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Here it is with everything but paint and recovery components.  It is actually flat black at the moment. I'll snap a photo tomorrow.
Aside: Often, whenever I bitch about not being able to get something completed, it gets done. Conversely, when I think I have plenty of time, other things try to suck up all my time.
I didn't intend to give this a great finish, however, I find a few spots that don't meet my admittedly low standards. I also have to inspect the edges of the fins to make sure the Rustoleum paint didn't eat up the foam.  It doesn't look like it but when the paint is dry and it is bright out I may find out differently.  It now looks like I'm short of time so I don't plan to do much. Except for adding the recovery harness. Tri-fold mount, baby :)

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

I HATE photoless posts...but...

...here's another one. I am building up good fillets using the gooey trim and molding glue so I haven't had much opportunity to set it on end when I had my phone with me. Hopefully, tomorrow.

Fins are almost done, the lug is on, and recovery components have been identified. I dry fit some parts and stability looks good so far. I want it stable with the burned out casing as well as new motors.

So, tomorrow I hope to take a photo or two, lay on some flat black, and get some more photos. I may have one round of sanding and touch filling. Then the recovery stuff can go in and it can be prepped for the weekend!

Sunday, July 16, 2017

Build fever (WARNING: photoless post)

Summer plans have shifted and it looks like I may miss all the launches in August. So, I suddenly feel compelled to finish up the Mercury Redstoned before next weekend. All the mounts are in and the final filler is drying. As I was weighing signboard vs. balsa for the fins, I spotted some sheets of foamboard. So, that's what I'm going with. It seems fitting to have cheapo fins on a model with what may be a single-use paper nosecone. I have tweaked the capsule a bit and have some plans to make a beefier version. I could build it now but unless I get more time and motivation, that won't happen this week. Worst case is the fins and the cone are single use and I'll have my next project lined up.

Saturday, July 15, 2017

Launch Report 2017-5 (NARHAMS)

Location: Mt. Airy
Weather: sunny, high 80's, wind variable and gusty 5-15mph
Total flights: Today - 11; YTD - 31
Total motors: Today - 11; YTD - 32
Motors by class YTD:  A-3; B-4; C-11; D-4; E-4; F-2; G-3; I-1


The wind was higher than I would have liked but, between the empty ball fields and the Chute Release, I didn't lose any. The wind also kept you cooled off a bit.

My Flights:
  1. New Way Mini Higgs Farm Square Rocket on a C11-3 - Nice flight.
  2. T255 on an A10-3 - Very high flight and, even with the tiny chute, it snagged a branch at the edge of the tree line. The NARHAMS recovery pole made short work of the dead branch.
  3. Hostile Projectiles Delta X-15 on a D12-5 - Nice flight with lots of weathercocking. I need to repair one of the wing tip winglets. (That doesn't sound right but is accurate enough so I'm not rewording it!)
  4. Estes Leviathan on a G74-6 - CR@200 - Nice flight.
  5. Art Applewhite 13mm Stealth on an A10-PT - Nice flight.
  6. Art Applewhite Stealth D5 on a C6-0 - Nice flight
  7. F-in-Rocket on an F15-6 - CR@200 - LOTS of weathercocking. The Chute Release worked too well and I had a long walk in the unexpected direction.
  8. SpaceShipSqurt(-1) on a D12-5 - The tangled chute saved this one from the trees. One fin needs repair.
  9. Sirius SS Cestris on a D12-5 - Nice flight.
  10. 2nd Half on a C6-3 - It still backslides ;)
  11. Independence Rocket on a C11-3 - Nice flight.
My photos:

NARHAMS 07/15/2017