Article – The Tragedy of the Archer

On November 23, 2017, I was able to complete my North Coast Rocketry SA-14 Archer.

Final Build of my NCR SA-14 Archer
Final Build of my NCR SA-14 Archer completed 11/23/17

Sorry for the terrible picture.  I usually have better lighting.  Here is the IG link.

His maiden flight was with his brothers on January 7th, 2018.  You can see he’s the class clown as he’s the only one standing like a weirdo.  What a guy!

Launch Crew of the CRASH Launch on 1/7/18

This day turned out pretty good.  I was able to launch this kit on a F50-6T Estes PSII Composite Motor.  I’ll provide a video of this at a later date.

When the rocket landed, it showed no sign of any issues.  That’s usually the case right? When I picked it up, I noted the following damage.

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What appeared to be a Broken Fin upon maiden flight landing 1/7/18

If you look at the above picture, you’ll be able to tell that the fin itself did NOT break, but that the epoxy mended area cracked almost completely off.  The OTHER side did not look like this at all, which in turn ripped the tube on the bottom.

So at this point, we think about the future of our rockets that we spent around $60 to buy.  This kit is available directly from North Coast Rocketry and a few other places such as Apogee Components (my personal go to), eRockets.biz, eBay and Amazon sellers.

First thing we think about is time spent on creating the masterpiece.  I would like to think that I put some pride in my builds and try to go for flash appearances as much as possible to the box or card insert in the bag with the kit.  I was literally torn by what to do next, so I asked my friends on Facebook on the Model Rocketry Fanatics group.

Follow the link to see what my peers had to say! Also feel free to join the group if you’re not part of it already!

We decided that trying to take the fin OFF, was the best move.  I would like to thank Paul Wolaver for confirming my idea of doing the exploratory surgery on Mr Archer here.  Here was my process.

First… Cut the fin OFF, since its broken off at the joint line on the opposite side.

Hobby Saw cut line!
Use of a hobby saw to remove the epoxy to the opposite side that was not damaged.

So here is the thing.  This is embarrassing to admit, but here it goes…

This was assembled incorrectly.

For most mid powered and high powered kits, the whole reason a kit has TTW Fins (Through the Wall), is for strength and durability.  Well… if you DON’T use some type of adhesive reinforcement on the INSIDE of the body tube… this is what happens when your rocket lands perfectly on the TIP of the swept wing.

This fin came out pretty easy as a result of NOT reinforcing the inner joints with epoxy or even wood glue!

We can talk about how to do the reinforcement of the internal joints at a later time.

This isn’t a proud moment for me.  However, we all learn, and that’s the purpose of this post.  Moving on…

Taking a look at the tube damage after the fin is removed reveals a MESS of work.  Time to whip out some sandpaper and make this worthwhile.

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Damage to the fin can area noted after fin removal

Reshaping this was not too difficult. I was more focused on giving new epoxy a place to adhere to rather than worrying about the aesthetics at this point.  Decals are copies from the originals, so it was easy to scrape and sand them off as needed.  After cleanup of the affected area, I wound up with these results for the tube and bottom fin can.

Where the crinkle is… I’m not worried about… that’s nothing some model putty or even FixIt Epoxy Clay can’t help remold.  We will look at the re-finishing of this on a later post.

Next process was the fin itself.  I only took the below pic of me “sawing” off the old epoxy and paint from the fin.  I left it pretty clean, took it all the way passed the primer to the ply.

Cutting the epoxy and paint away from the fin itself!
Cutting the epoxy and paint away from the fin itself!

This photo below shows some accomplishment.  The fin now sits correctly in its location after sanding INSIDE and outside of the body tube/fin can!

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I decided NOT to glue this in just yet.  As per Paul’s advice per the Facebook Post on the Model Rocket Fanatics group, we are going to DRILL next to the fin tang on each side on the bottom centering ring, making an access.  I am using a 3/8″ drill bit so I have enough room to get a smaller wooden dowel in there to smooth out the fillet for internal reinforcement.

I did dry fit this fin AFTER I drilled the holes… just to make sure the fin tang would be able to be reinforced after the fact.  Below pics show that the fin will FIT in its original spot correctly.  Last photo is the fin glued in place with Wood Glue to the MMT (Motor Mount Tube).  This will hold it in place till I am able to get some epoxy in there.

I let this sit for approx 8 hours… the wood glue was dry at his point, so took the liberty of using my holes drilled and “pouring” epoxy from a wood stick into the opening.  I didn’t take a photo, but after this, I took a small wooden dowel and smoothed the epoxy where the fin connects to the MMT and the inside of the fin can.

Here… you can see the epoxy after it has dried a bit, shining through the fin can on the seam.  We are now ready to epoxy the fin on the outside.  I like to use 30 minute epoxy myself.

The clear epoxy peeking out between the fin and the body.
The clear epoxy peeking out between the fin and the body.

It’s these small victories we have to cherish and appreciate.  The fact that something literally comes back together.  I am 90% confident that the finishing of the damage will be almost as good as it was when it was completed in Nov 2017.

More to come on this! Thanks very much for reading.  Feel free to send me an email or leave me a message!

 

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Launch: Estes D-Region Tomahawk 01/07/18 – CRASH Group #482

Flight video of my Estes D-Region Tomahawk on Sunday January 07, 2018 at the Colorado C.R.A.S.H. (Colorado Rocketry Association of Space Hobbyist) group NAR #482. This was with an Estes E9-4 Black Powder 24mm motor.

This was a fantastic day to launch. Weather was 51 degrees for the high in January! Wind was an average of 5mph and it was a sunny clear blue day! That could also mean we will have a summer with tons of canceled launches due to the heat and fire bans! Either way we took advantage of the day and put some birds up. The HobGoblin stole the show this day, but this launch was awesome also.

During this flight I was also able to include onboard 808 keychain camera footage! Enjoy the video!

Thanks to Matt, Joe, Russel, Tim and everyone at CRASH for all the work put into these launches. The CRASH group launches at Bear Creek Lake twice a month in Lakewood, CO against the foothills of the beautiful Rocky Mountains! Non-members may fly with the group and all are invited to attend. You may learn more and visit the groups website at http://www.crashonline.org. The site shows when launches are avail with an online calendar!

Also, if you’re into Rocketry, please join the Facebook group “Model Rocketry Fanatics”. Members, new and old will give advise, show projects and talk about the sport of rocketry from all perspectives. It’s a great learning tool!

Follow me directly on Twitter and Instagram @modelrocketguy

My website, http://www.modelrocketguy.com will be launching in Early 2018 with projects builds, tips and advice.

Thanks for watching!

Launch: North Coast Rocketry HogGoblin 01/07/18 – CRASH Group #482

Flight video of the North Coast Rocketry HobGoblin on Sunday January 07, 2018 at the Colorado C.R.A.S.H. (Colorado Rocketry Association of Space Hobbyist) group NAR #482. This was with an Estes G40-7W Composite PS2 engine / White Lightning.

This was a fantastic day to launch. Weather was 51 degrees for the high in January! Wind was an average of 5mph and it was a sunny clear blue day! That could also mean we will have a summer with tons of canceled launches due to the heat and fire bans! Either way we took advantage of the day and put some birds up. The HobGoblin stole the show this day! Special thanks to Thomas Trans, Jeff Heward and George Barnes for the pics and videos that accompany this footage. Enjoy the video!

Thanks to Matt, Joe, Russel, Tim and everyone at CRASH for all the work put into these launches. The CRASH group launches at Bear Creek Lake twice a month in Lakewood, CO against the foothills of the beautiful Rocky Mountains! Non-members may fly with the group and all are invited to attend. You may learn more and visit the groups website at http://www.crashonline.org. The site shows when launches are avail with an online calendar!

Also, if you’re into Rocketry, please join the Facebook group “Model Rocketry Fanatics”. Members, new and old will give advise, show projects and talk about the sport of rocketry from all perspectives. It’s a great learning tool!

Follow me directly on Twitter and Instagram @modelrocketguy

My website, http://www.modelrocketguy.com will be launching in Early 2018 with projects builds, tips and advice.

Thanks for watching!

Build: Estes D-Region Tomahawk

Hey all.  Today I wanted to mention some steps done for my Estes D-Region Tomahawk and its build which started in January 2017.  This has been my favorite fleet flier and I would like to share its life up till now!

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#2037 Estes D-Region Tomahawk.  Out of Production, but available on Amazon HERE!

The parts laid out below show the plastic and paper parts used to assemble this kit.  I like this kit, because as a model car builder (hence my original moniker being “comodelbuiler”), I used to LOVE to build plastic kits.  This makes a transition to model rocketry pretty easy.  This kit is also rated a Skill Level 2 by Estes.  Anyone having any experience with builds can create this as a masterpiece!

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Parts laid out from the bag.  Simple and sweet!

One of the things I did not do during this build was detail the construction of the plastic components with the cardboard.  I apologize for this.  During those steps I used a combination of white Elmer’s Craft Glue and Testor’s Model Cement.  The stinky one!!

You’ll see that some of the first details as pictured above are relative to the flash card.  Body Tube was painted Rust-Oleum American Accents Ultra Cover WHITE primer.  Yes… White Primer.  I think it gives the model a good flat finish.  I would also recommend making any type of military or sounding rocket a flat finish for the aesthetic, however, its a model and build it how you want it.  The following other colors with links to them are below:

Of course, get paint where you can.  The Chrome can be purchased at Hobby Lobby or Michael’s if that’s available to you.  The other colors can be purchased at WalMart.

Here is more detail of the nose cone.  This is done before the color in on the rivets

D-Region Tomahawk Nose Cone - Pre Detail
D-Region Tomahawk Nose Cone – Pre Detail

I’m pretty proud of the lining up of the paint.  This can be done with painters masking tape for all intents and purposes.  I like to use Tamiya #87031 10mm Masking Tape.  Tamiya tape is a little thinner than normal size tape.  Think of a size mix of masking tape vs Scotch Tape.  You can get this in a various amount of sizes however, I use this size specifically.  Give it a shot and let me know what you think! You can also usually purchase this at your local Hobby Lobby or HobbyTown stores.

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Next part of this build was the detail for the “rivets”.  This became important because of the small details and potential chance to get paint everywhere.  I used the following products to create the silver painted attributes.

Paint:
Silver Testors Enamel Plastic Model Paint

Swab Applicator:
Testors Micro Sponge Set #287993

The small blue sponges make it easy to dab in the silver Testor’s paint and twirl the paint on the rivet location.  In this next pic is the detail of my nose cone!

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I know there is a regular Q-tip in the picture.  Thing about this is, you can use some paint thinner to quickly clean off your paint mistakes as long as the base spray paint is clean.  A trick I’ve adapted in a ton of builds.

Next thing on the list is the TIP of the nose cone.  For whatever reason, this is a solo triangular piece that has to be put on this nose cone mold with Model Cement.

0009

The easiest way to go about this, in order to NOT paint any of the areas where glue needed to be applied, was to attach it to some double stick tape.  In this case, just rolled-over blue tape, which stuck to a piece of paper, allowed me to spray paint it with the same brown I used on the Nose Cone.

This was glued with the stinky Testors Model Glue that I had mentioned before.  This rocket has been launched over 8 times since the date of this posting, and this part has NOT come off.

One of the final steps that I do is mount the shock cord after the model is painted.

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You can see on the inside of the tube, where the Estes Tri-Fold Shock Cord Mount is attached, there is a glossy glue.  This is better known to everyone as 30 minute BSI Epoxy.  I like to coat the tri-fold tab with this as now it won’t tear off with normal glue as its “sealed” around the edges.  This CAN be removed if pried off, but not as it currently sits. If a motor’s ejection charge would be strong enough to rip that off, I’d be surprised, however, I can bet the rubber elastic would have issues first.  Using a tri-fold with some Kevlar sounds like a pretty good plan! Maybe next time!

As we near the end of the build, I have a few things to say about his kit… In Review.

  • The kit is a model builder’s easy transition into Model Rocketry, which is exactly why I chose to build it as one of my first kits back into the hobby.
  • The kit is now Out of Production, so only a few vendors have it.  Search your local Hobby Shop, Amazon, eBay or even your local clubs as persons still have these for sale!
  • The quality of the parts is unmatched.  Estes outdid themselves with the detail of the plastic parts, the normal pieces and the decals.  Even for as small as they are, they are super detailed.
  • Do yourself a favor and reinforce the fin joints with a good setting epoxy.  The normal model cement will eventually break down as well as CA (super glue) and won’t hold into a few launches.  I have reinforces three of the four fins with epoxy, and on the last launch, the damn last fin I didn’t reinforce broke off.

The final result.  This was completed on February 13th, 2017.  

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This unit has been launched a number of times.
Enjoy the videos below of this same rocket in action!

The first launch was done 3 days after it was built on 2/16/17.  I first tried to launch it with a C11-7 which resulted badly.  It simply wasn’t enough power.  I then put a D12-3 in which gave it some go in the Cherry Knolls Park in Centennial CO where I usually launch smaller birds!

On August 11, 2017, I met a friend from the Facebook Model Rocket Fanatics page.  Rick Needham and I met in Thornton CO for the first “Mile High Air Assault” meet, with just him and I because we are cool like that.  This was the first time that I used an Mate 808 keychain cam on one of my rockets.  Rick was kind enough to let me use his to record the following UNCUT video.  Its long, so hopefully you have some time!  Rick’s son in law was nice enough to grab the fin that popped off on this video.  You’ll see that this happens alot in other vids posted.

The following launch was at the Local C.R.A.S.H. group’s launch at Bear Creek Park in Lakewood CO on 11/05/17.  This kit gets fantastic performance from an E9 series Estes Black Powder motor.  If you have the space, don’t be afraid to launch this with a E30 composite motor!

The latest launch was in January of 2018.  The following footage has normal view and another Mate 808 keychain view in the same video.  This one was done by me as I have purchased a camera to use on my launches.

 

Thanks everyone for checking out my post for my Estes D-Region Tomahawk.  Please feel free to leave comments or suggestions.  If you have any questions, please feel free to message me through the site or follow me on social media @modelrocketguy

— You must build them to fly them, so have fun doing so! —

Intro: Model Rocket Builds

Hi everyone. This is a blog I decided to write so I can archive the projects I’ve been working on. As most projects progress and get more elaborate, so do the learning steps!

I am by no means am experts or looking for critical acclaim, however I do feel that I’ll be able to share techniques I’ve learned.

After looking through tons and tons of photos on my phone, computers and multiple camera memory cards, the blog seemed like the best way to make this work.

Thanks very much for looking and I’m happy that you decided to stay!  Bookmark the address and also add me to Facebook, Twitter and Instagram @modelrocketguy.  I am also avail on Google+ and YouTube by my old name “comodelbuilder”.  Enjoy!