Designing Patrioony

I have in my spare parts what’s left of a Patriot kit, pretty much just the fins and decals now (having used the nose cone on my Patriot, the thrust ring on my Loadstar II, and most of the rest on my Test to Destruction), and an entire Baby Bertha (which I bought for what turned out to be dumb reasons, for what turned out to be a dumb price, but let’s not get into that now). I’m considering turning the Baby Bertha into a goony Patriot, or Patrioony.

It’d use the Patriot fins, but they’re smaller and less swept back than the Baby Bertha’s, so I’d have to stick some weight in the nose cone. On the Patriot the fins’ trailing edge sits slightly forward of the end of the body tube, but to improve stability, on the Patrioony I’d want to offset them the other way, past the body tube end.

I can’t use the decals directly, but I scanned them and scaled them to get a design for the Patrioony decals. I figured out the scaling as follows.

On the Patriot, the body tube lengths are: Yellow, 8.25 cm; White, 2 x 16.8 cm. The fin root chord is 7.62 cm and the offset from the back of the body tube is 0.64 cm toward nose. So body tube length from back of nose to front of fins is 8.25+(2*16.8)-7.62-0.64 = 33.6 cm.

On the Baby Bertha the body tube length is 19.0 cm. For the Patrioony I’m going to offset the fins 1.0 cm away from the nose. So body tube length from back of nose to front of fins is 19.0-7.62+1 = 12.4 cm.

The ratio of these nose-to-fin lengths is 12.4 / 33.6 = 0.37. This is the amount by which I scaled all remaining longitudinal dimensions except as noted. So:

  • Red stripe goes from 2.5 cm wide to 0.9 cm.
  • Yellow part goes from 5.75 wide to 2.1 cm.
  • White part goes from 33.6 – 2.5 – 5.75 = 25.4 cm to 9.4 cm = 12.4 – 0.9 – 2.1.
  • Decal rectangles get scaled in length (but not width) by 37%. So do black decal stripes.

The space between the two black stripe decals on the Patriot is about 14.5 cm but “U.S. ARMY” is only about 9.5 cm. The text doesn’t need to be scaled down by the full 37% if I use a larger fraction of the space available. On the Patrioony that space will be about 14.5 * 37% = 5.4 cm. If I use 80% of that then I can make the text 5.4 * 0.8 = 4.3 cm long. So I scaled the text by 4.3 / 9.5 = 45%.

So here’s what I did:

  1. Note that the black stripe decal graphic extends beyond the die cut edges. I marked these edges (away from the stripes).
  2. I scanned as JPEG, 600dpi, greyscale.
  3. I opened the JPEG in GraphicConverter. Went to Picture > Levels… and raised the black level (black triangle on left) above the left peak, then lowered the white level (white triangle on right) below the right peaks.Screen Shot 2013-08-30 at 8.19.47 PM
  4. I touched up the edge marks.
  5. I cut “U.S. ARMY”, the copyright text, and the nearby rectangle and pasted them into a new document.
  6. In the first document, I copied the remaining rectangle and pasted three new copies. I copied the stripes and pasted one new copy. I scaled this document by 37% in height (100% in width). Screen Shot 2013-08-30 at 9.23.53 PM
  7. I scaled the second document by 45% in both directions. I cut “U.S. ARMY” and pasted two copies to the first document. The result looks like this:Screen Shot 2013-08-30 at 10.00.50 PM
  8. I checked everything by printing this out on paper, cutting out individual elements, and taping them to the Baby Bertha body tube along with pieces of paper showing the areas painted red and yellow and the area occupied by the fins. Here it is along with the Patriot:IMG_1958I think that works. So should I try to make these decals myself, or get them done by Excelsior Rocketry? Doing it myself would be much cheaper, but I see my printer’s idea of black is much less dark than the Patriot’s decals. I’m afraid the results would not be satisfactory. I’d like some decals for Test to Destruction too. I should think about this before spending money on decal paper.

One thought on “Designing Patrioony

  1. I printed the graphics in high quality mode on glossy photo paper and they looked a lot darker… enough so that I think I’m going to try making my own. From what I’ve read I don’t expect them to be as good as what I could get from Excelsior but my guess is they’ll be good enough.

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