Monday, January 24, 2011

Mega Review: Art Applewhite Catch-All

This post presents several additional Art Applewhite products:

Cone Rocket
Hourglass 24mm
Super Cinco
MicroMaxx Flying Saucer Plans

Cone Rocket

As the name indicates, this rocket is a simple cone that flies on 24mm motors. This seems to be the next logical step after the Delta saucer design, which is sort of a hybrid between a classical saucer and a cone.


* Two sheets of cardstock for the shrouds
* One piece of foamboard for the nosecone base and bottom plate
* One 2.75in 24mm motor mount
* One 3in 29mm motor tube (this was a beta-test version, the 29mm tube has been replaced with Totally Tubular T-24+, which telescopes over the 24mm motor mount)
* A 36in thin tubular elastic shock cord

Tools and supplies required:

* Scissors
* X-Acto knife
* White glue (I used carpenters glue)
* 5-minute epoxy (brand is not important as on the 29mm and 38mm saucers)
* 150 grit sandpaper

The materials and assembly techniques are all similar to Art's saucers. The instructions are detailed with lots of photos.

You start by cutting out the cardstock nosecone shroud. This is double layered and you have to cut two launch rod holes with an X-Acto knife. The main issue here is you have to make sure these holes are aligned. During assembly, I slipped the end of a disposable chopstick through the holes until the glue began to set. The base of the nosecone is a foamboard disc. As with the Delta saucers, the edge is beveled so it mates nicely with the paper cone. The center of the disc is removed to accommodate the upper body tube along with a launch rod slot. The cone, disc, tube, and one end of the shock cord are then dry fit. To strengthen the cone and add some nose weight, you next fill the tip of the cone with 5-minute epoxy and mix it in-situ. Some is spread thinly over the inside of the cone and on the beveled edge of the foam disc. These components are all slipped together and set aside to dry. (Did I mention the launch rod holes must be aligned?)

The bottom disc is cut, beveled, and slotted just like the bottom of the nose cone. The center hole on this component holds the 24mm motor mount, which you glue in with white or carpenter's glue. I used the plastic bag that held the kit as a work surface, to make sure the tube was flush with the bottom disc and keep stray glue off the wife's table.

The shell of my saucer was on a second sheet of cardstock that in my case was mirror gold. A small seam strip is glued onto one end of the shroud. Make sure you measure its position properly and have the pointed edge inward. The shroud is then wrapped onto the other half of the seam strip. I found this step a bit difficult, but I am all thumbs. The epoxy-reinforced nosecone was a great help in forming this outer shroud. There are two reinforcing strips on the same sheet of colored cardstock and these are glued to the bottom inside of the shell.

At this point the nosecone is glued into the shell. And as before, make sure the launch rod slots all line up. I'd give this a yadda, yadda, yadda, but, this potentially the biggest D'OH in the assembly of the kit. BTW this warning strategically located in bold throughout the instructions.

The final step is attaching the other end of the shock cord to the bottom assembly with a 3-fold paper mount. The shock cord is slipped between the two sections, and the bottom is slipped into the nose cone section, which is now basically the entire shroud.

No finishing is required on the mirror gold saucers, but the printed ones should have at least 2 - 3 coats of clear enamel to protect them from moisture. Since we are in an outdoor hobby, there is a good chance it will drizzle on your saucer. Been there done that.

Some observations on the mirror gold cardstock: First, it really does look great. It is also forgiving with glue smudges, as you can wash it off with a moist paper towel. This is good because I got a lot of glue around the seam. However, I found it harder to form into a cone than plain cardstock, probably because of its stiffness.

The recommended motors include the C11-3, D12-3, E9-4, and any Aerotech 24mm SU or RMS. The motor is held in with masking tape and the rest of the prep is sliding it together with the shock cord out of the way of the launch rod holes. No wadding is needed.

I flew my cone rocket on a D12-5 and then on an E9-4. The D12 flight was quick and straight in light gusty winds. Ejection was very late, but this wasn't an issue. The E9 flight was long, high, and smoky, with some weathercocking. This is a great motor for this small cone.

After ejection, the saucer falls nose section first with the motor tube end following behind. This plate dangling behind the cone does a good job making up for the somewhat heavy epoxy-filled tip. There was no damage on either flight, with the nose sticking in the soft, moist dirt. I didn't have the recommended stand-off distance (6in) from the pad, so my foamboard had a few small holes burned into it. I merely filled them with blobs of white glue. More importantly though, the thin elastic cord has started to break through and will have to be replaced. The ejection charges on the SU motors were quite energetic for the short tube and in both cases, the motors were spit out. If this is a concern on your field, make sure you use plenty of tape to hold it in very tightly (this may also save your RMS casing).

Hourglass 24mm

The Hourglass rockets resemble spool rockets. They have top and bottom circular plates with two cones between the plates providing the hourglass shape. This review is for the 24mm versions. The shorter version uses Estes D12 length motors and the longer version uses the E9 length motors. Both will fly on most anything that will fit.

Short Version Long Version
Diameter = 3" Diameter = 3.75"
Height = 2.75" Height = 3.75"
Weight = 0.5 oz Weight = 0.8 oz

These use the same paper and foamboard construction like the rest of Art's products. Both sizes include:
* 1 sheet of pre-printed cardstock
* 1 small rectangle of foamboard
* 1 24mm motor tube
* 1 steel motor hook
* 2 pages of instructions

Tools and supplied needed include:
* Scissors
* A new #11 X-Acto blade
* Elmer’s white glue
* Cellophane tape
* Spray-on clear coat

Construction was simple as expected. You cut and form the cones, glue the plate patterns to the foamboard, cut them out when dry, install the motor hook, and glue all the pieces together. That’s it. The only two things to watch out for is to keep the plates parallel to each other and to make sure the launch rod holes are all aligned.

My Hourglasses used colored cardstock so no real finishing is needed. The short version is day-glow orange and long is day-glow green. If you want to paint them, Art recommends sealing the exposed edges of the foamboard with white glue. He also recommends sealing the whole thing with clear enamel to make them moisture proof. I used clear acrylic. The clear coat also gives them a nice shiny finish.

I flew the short version on a D12-0 and the long on an E9-P. Both had the same flight profile but of course the E9 version went higher. Both tore off the pad like the proverbial bat. After burnout near the top of the flight, it was clear that they were spinning wildly end-over-end. Since the boost was fast and straight, I assume the tumbling started after burn-out, but I can’t be sure since they were so quick. In either case, the flights headed upward and the crowd loved them! Both tumbled in nice and slowly.

Super Cinco

This is an upscale of Art's 13mm Cinco flying saucer. I built this after Art's Ultra Delta and couldn't believe it has even fewer parts: three total. That's it! The kit is all cardstock and can be built with either an 18mm or 24mm motor mount.

It consists of two sheets of cardstock, containing three parts that need to be cut out.

Materials required are scissors, X-Acto knife with new blade, Elmer's white glue, new or used engine casing, ballpoint pen.

This kit involves cutting, folding, and gluing. It has three parts, what else do I need to say? Tips for this one: 1) don't use too much glue. 2) In the last step when you insert the motor tube into the shell, insert the mount with a motor in it. This will make the mount's insertion a bit easier.

As usual, finishing involves a few coats of clear coat.

The recommended motors are:
MMT size Recommended motors
18mm A8-3, B4-2, B6-0, B6-2, C6-0, andC6-3
24mm C11-0, C11-3, D11-P, D12-0, and D12-3

Flight prep includes friction fitting the motor. Unlike the Ultra Delta, this kit is intended to only fly on Estes 2.75" motors.  I flew the 24mm version at the 3rd Annual TRF Reunion at Whitakers, NC on a D12-0 alongside a standard saucer, a Delta saucer, and an Ultra Delta Saucer. If flew great but fought the wind and weathercocked more than the others.  I have flown it numerous times since on D12-0's and even an E9!

MicroMaxx Flying Saucer Plans

The name is the description. This is a simple rocket constructed entirely of card stock. Since I got mine, the design had become a free download.  However, I just checked Art's site and couldn't find the plans, so I guess it's totally out of production.

This rocket consists of a single page of printed card stock and includes a page of instructions. To assemble the rocket, you need scissors, an X-acto knife, white glue, and crazy glue (CA). The major components include: upper and lower cones, an inner core section, a single piece fin unit that is folded into shape, a motor tube, and a motor block. As I noted above, these are all card stock. Pretty neat! A little snipping, a bit of glue and you're done. This is a good project to assemble while watching TV.

No finishing is required since the card stock is pre-printed.

A slot between the fin unit and the motor tube provides the 'launch lug'. Prepping requires only a small amount of masking tape for motor retention. I have flown the saucer many times. There are spin tabs on the fin unit that cause the saucer to spin on the way up. However, the coolest part is that instead of turning over and coming down nose first, this saucer backslides, spinning the whole way down. It doesn't fly very high, but it is great fun.