A day of NYPOWER, and a planned Eclipse

Sunday Kenny and I went to our first out of town rocket event, NYPOWER in Geneseo, NY; the event ran from Friday to Sunday, but we just went for the one day. I thought I had three rockets with me, but one was sort of jointly owned with Kenny and he laid claim to it, and another I’d forgotten to check and, oh yeah, it needed surgery, didn’t it? So I only got one launch for my $15 but Kenny got five for free so it works out, sort of. My launch was good and so were most of his, aside from one lost nose cone and one non-surviving eggstronaut. Could’ve been worse.

I have a 3D Rocketry Lunar Eclipse Jr. kit coming in the mail. Which is kind of silly. I have enough other projects to do, rockets and otherwise. That PongSat, for instance; it’ll be October before we know it, and it’s been stalled for months waiting for me to get back to it. So I don’t think building the LEJ is in the cards anytime very soon.

Nor are some of the scratch-built and kit mod ideas I’ve been noodling around with in OpenRocket. But one idea I had tonight might get built before the LEJ. I decided I’d like to build the LEJ using some different, and I hope better, techniques than what I’ve used so far, but then it occurred to me it might be better to try out those techniques on a rocket I care less about — something mostly built out of stuff from the spare parts box. So I’ve started drawing that up; I call it Test To Destruction. So far it looks a lot like a Big Bertha, which is okay with me, though if I come up with something more distinctive that suits my needs I’ll do it.

Some things I think I want to do differently:

  1. Adhesives. So far I’ve used yellow wood glue almost exclusively, and it’s what Tim Van Milligan advocates, but I’ve gotten burned by its tendency to grab when doing things like gluing tube couplers or installing motor mounts. You spread glue, start pushing the part into place, stop momentarily, then try to fine adjust… and you can’t. It’s immobilized. A search of rocketryforum.com reveals I’m not the only one who’s had that problem, and a variety of opinions about it. Some people prefer white glue for motor mount and coupler installation. Some advocate epoxy. (And right now I’m looking for a pun on the word “adherents”, but I got nothing.) I’d like to experiment with both.
  2. More adhesives. Some people really like Titebond Molding and Trim Glue (apparently now renamed Titebond No-Run, No-Drip Wood Glue) for things like fin fillets. Some like epoxy. They say yellow wood glue gets too many bubbles and runs too much. And I guess it does. I think I’ll try the Titebond.
  3. Baffle. I’m considering turning the LEJ’s body tube coupler into a baffle.
  4. Fin lamination. I want to try laminating fins with paper.
  5. Filler. I’m not very happy with the Elmer’s wood filler I’ve been using, and reading online suggests a different Elmer’s filler might be preferable. If I can find some I’ll try it.
  6. Painting. I’m not sure what I want to do as far as painting goes. I’ve used some various Rustoleum and Krylon spray paints so far, with okay results, but I’d like to do better. Of course opinions are all over the map. Chris Michielssen likes Duplicolor Filler Primer and Rustoleum 2X, though at one point he had trouble with some Rustoleum white and got better results with Duplicolor. Some prefer paying extra for Testors or Tamiya, and certainly those brands offer some possibilities not available with Rustoleum. When I do the LEJ I would like to give it as nice a paint job as I can; it’s a beautiful design and deserves it. I just don’t know yet what approach I’ll take. It won’t be in Sascha Grant’s league, though, trust me.

So I want to try out all those ideas on the TTD and I’m designing accordingly. For instance I’m going for a plastic nose cone, because the LEJ has one, and I want to be sure I can paint it.



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