Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Reuse, Recycle, Rethink

I seldom throw away or truly retire rocket parts. Here's a tale of some well worn, recycled fins.

Shortly after becoming a BAR, I developed a love of rockets build from recycled stuff. This is an old picture showing my post-BAR fleet. Some of these are kits and some have even been documented on EMRR. The larger rocket in the middle was named SR-1 (Scrap Rocket-1). The body was a wrapping paper tube and the payload section was a tennis ball tube topped with a plastic cap from liquid laundry soap and half of a L'eggs egg. The 24mm mount was centered with balsa rings and the large fins were thick 3/16" balsa.

It flew for a long time and underwent its share of repairs. On its last flight, it separated and the nose section and top of the tube was destroyed. Since there was no source for the odd diameter tube, I cut it off above the top ring and attached it to a 3" mailing tube. The nose was made from an M&M container that looked like a huge M&M. It's amazing what you can find to fit random tubes. I can't remember what I used for a shock tether but the chute was made from half of a large mylar balloon. The rocket was cursed. The first try on an F21 resulted in a CATO. Luckily the rocket wasn't damaged. Unluckily, it also separated on the next flight. The nose floated over to the next state and the booster was destroyed. The fins weren't even totally salvageable.

But they were reusable:

This iteration is named the 5th Generation and is partially built from 'real' rocket parts. When I named it, I counted that the fins had 5 lives. Now, I have to try to dig up photos of the other two!