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  1. #211
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    Neil, when I decided to bend some balsa for a past project, I considered what luthiers do. Although they use steam ovens and pressure plates, the idea of heat and water is where I went with it. Plus, I made some forming plates out of heavy duty tubes, My wood bending experiment was such, that the wood stayed bent. Not a dramatic bend like making a ring, but nonetheless, a bend that still holding up 4 years later. I've heard about using Windex as it allows the wood to bend better, but never tried it. I suppose you could say, "It doesn't keep it's shape so well?" Maybe using heat is in order.

    Thinking outside the box is normal for me. Went inside the box once and got claustrophobic.
    Can't never did!
    Inventions weren't created by skeptics.
    There's a bright side to every screwed up week.


  2. #212
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    RocketNoob did a cool experiment flattening wood with various methods. By his results, the windex soak worked best over steaming, water spritz, water soak, and just plain dry clamping (of course).

    "I'm at least 70% confident about whatever I say (90% of the time)"- college me

    NAR 101195
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  3. #213
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    Quote Originally Posted by Nytrunner View Post
    RocketNoob did a cool experiment flattening wood with various methods. By his results, the windex soak worked best over steaming, water spritz, water soak, and just plain dry clamping (of course).
    Flattening is another whole can of worms. I've tried many different methods of which only one seemed to work, and that was under pressure, dry, for an undetermined period of time. A little heat would have probably sped things up a bit, but no amount of water of Windex was helpful at all. Bending is surely, quite different.
    Thinking outside the box is normal for me. Went inside the box once and got claustrophobic.
    Can't never did!
    Inventions weren't created by skeptics.
    There's a bright side to every screwed up week.


  4. #214
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    Quote Originally Posted by neil_w View Post
    ...As for the engine pods... actually I'm not sure what to do in the back there. Stick a BT5 core in there (the pods are BT20) for support? Plug the back? What do folks normally do in the back of non-functional engine pods?
    Since those might contact ground on landing, a BT5 tube extending into the BT20 long enough for a couple of centering rings for support would be a good idea, probably don't need to plug it. Hopefully the engine will make first contact and take most of the impact.

  5. #215
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    Quote Originally Posted by Nytrunner View Post
    RocketNoob did a cool experiment flattening wood with various methods. By his results, the windex soak worked best over steaming, water spritz, water soak, and just plain dry clamping (of course).
    Yeah, and on the podcast he referenced my Avalon build. (not by name though).

    In any case, I think the issue here is that I'm asking 1/16" balsa to bend a bit further than it wants to. Which is fine, as long as I can get the lamination correct. That's where my biggest struggle is. If my current piece fails, I may try to find a large hose clamp that'll really grip the whole thing in a tight circle. In addition to a good clamp, I also need about five hands to wrestle with the pieces.
    Recently completed: Starship Avalon / in progress: Accur8 Trajector and Ragnarok Orbital Interceptor / planning: Alcubierre and Plasma Dart 2
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  6. #216
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    Hey, not bad.
    Click image for larger version. 

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    Feels quite solid. Needs plenty of cleanup, but a good start. I may make another just to see if I can do better, plus itís fun. Now I gotta concentrate on the decals (help!) and construction strategy for the wing/ring/pod assemblage.
    Recently completed: Starship Avalon / in progress: Accur8 Trajector and Ragnarok Orbital Interceptor / planning: Alcubierre and Plasma Dart 2
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  7. #217
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    OK, given how nice the ring came out, this is officially in the build queue. I won't post too much more about it here, since it's now almost (but not quite!) fully baked.

    There are some assembly challenges here regarding the ring, which I am mulling over. Should be an interesting build. I expect to suffer miserably trying to finish the paint and decal design; I am making only tiny increments of progress on that so far. Oh well!

    In the meantime I was toying with a different nose treatment, which would make the launch lugs an adventure. Opinions?
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    Recently completed: Starship Avalon / in progress: Accur8 Trajector and Ragnarok Orbital Interceptor / planning: Alcubierre and Plasma Dart 2
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  8. #218
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    Quote Originally Posted by neil_w View Post
    OK, given how nice the ring came out, this is officially in the build queue. In the meantime I was toying with a different nose treatment, which would make the launch lugs an adventure. Opinions?
    Oh yeah. With spiffy designs, comes the agony of placing a suitable launch lug. Your nose cone is responsible for that. Which btw, I'd like to know what you have in mind for that. Single turned like on the Tau Zero? Or are you customizing a conical nose to fit a transition?

    With LL in mind, The avenue I usually wind up doing is installing a structure/stand-off on the airframe to house a LL. Usually a disguise of sorts. A cockpit just behind the nose transition comes to mind. Then a 2nd one attached to the side of a fin hidden behind the ring. You'll prolly need 2 any way you look at it and it'll have to have a stand-off of sorts. Unless you are looking to run a hole through the nose cone.
    Thinking outside the box is normal for me. Went inside the box once and got claustrophobic.
    Can't never did!
    Inventions weren't created by skeptics.
    There's a bright side to every screwed up week.


  9. #219
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    Quote Originally Posted by Gary Byrum View Post
    Oh yeah. With spiffy designs, comes the agony of placing a suitable launch lug. Your nose cone is responsible for that. Which btw, I'd like to know what you have in mind for that. Single turned like on the Tau Zero? Or are you customizing a conical nose to fit a transition?
    Since I don't have a lathe, I was just going to place a couple of transitions at the top of the BT. I'm doubt I could achieve as perfect blending between the NC and the transition as the OR render shows, so I'm not certain it's really a great idea. Oh, I also want to use my existing nose cone, so that's another reason not to do a custom-turned piece.

    With LL in mind, The avenue I usually wind up doing is installing a structure/stand-off on the airframe to house a LL. Usually a disguise of sorts. A cockpit just behind the nose transition comes to mind. Then a 2nd one attached to the side of a fin hidden behind the ring. You'll prolly need 2 any way you look at it and it'll have to have a stand-off of sorts. Unless you are looking to run a hole through the nose cone.
    My plan, such as it is, would be to embed the aft lug into the ventral fin (which would be crazy and awesome), and then put the small second lug on a standoff, and try to do something to make it look OK (which would be less awesome but whaddya gonna do).

    Overall, though, I'm trying to start off with "which looks better?" and then proceed from there. So... which looks better?
    Recently completed: Starship Avalon / in progress: Accur8 Trajector and Ragnarok Orbital Interceptor / planning: Alcubierre and Plasma Dart 2
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  10. #220
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    Take a look at the Estes Asteroid Hunter launch lug standoffs. They worked them into the motif, and have removable cannons for display. Take that concept and run with it... you could also make a removable landing gear for display that insert into the standoff lugs. You can make a left-right symmetric pair of them, even though you only use one for fight.

    Appearance wise, I liked the other nose cone with the side strake fins, if you can add a healthy fillet, or cardstock fillet. And add a cardstock canopy.

  11. #221
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    Quote Originally Posted by GlenP View Post
    Appearance wise, I liked the other nose cone with the side strake fins, if you can add a healthy fillet, or cardstock fillet. And add a cardstock canopy.
    I'm not sure which I like better at this point, but if I can't form a strong preference I'd probably go for the version that involves less construction headache, which would be the one with the side strakes.

    I'm not sure about a canopy here, since I still haven't figured what kind or how big of a ship this is. Right now it has no guns, and I'm kind of liking it that way, so I'm leaning towards the original idea of luxury space yacht. I wish I didn't have to think about it, but it does at least somewhat dictate how the decor should look.

    I suppose either way you can never go too far wrong with a cockpit on the nose. I might just 3D-print one, if I can come up with something interesting that couldn't be done (readily) in paper.
    Recently completed: Starship Avalon / in progress: Accur8 Trajector and Ragnarok Orbital Interceptor / planning: Alcubierre and Plasma Dart 2
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  12. #222
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    Time for more feedback. I'm not sure about any of this. I am feeling like this one maybe doesn't need a ton of fine decaling to look good... but I would like more than is there now. No clue yet what it should be. Windows on the side? I suppose the whole thing could be a passenger transport of some type. Trying to find existing rockets to get ideas from.

    Probably want something on the dorsal and/or ventral fins.

    I put some blue plasma on the inside of the engines just for giggles... probably wouldn't bother on the real thing, looks good but way too much pain for such a small detail.

    Scale of the cockpit windows puts this at medium sized... much bigger than a single-person fighter but way smaller than a battle cruiser.
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  13. #223
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    I am so comically bad at this, can never tell if I'm making things better or worse. Also I have no idea what kind of unholy combination of masking and decaling this would take to do. But I think it mostly looks decent. Not sure about the saddle bags on the BT though.


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  14. #224
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    I'd make a "Needs more warp core" (or cowbell) joke, but that's a dead horse lol.

    This is looking good Neil, build it, paint it, and they will come!
    Although I wonder how it'd look if you turned those parallel top stripes into chevrons......

  15. #225
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    Quote Originally Posted by Nytrunner View Post
    I'd make a "Needs more warp core" (or cowbell) joke, but that's a dead horse lol.
    Actually I'm probably going to build the Plasma Dart II, warp core version. Paint scheme work on that comes next, I'm extra especially clueless there (other than the warp core )

    This is looking good Neil, build it, paint it, and they will come!
    It's in the queue. I'll be fabricating parts as time allows (already have the ring).

    Although I wonder how it'd look if you turned those parallel top stripes into chevrons......
    Answer: better!


    That felt like the finishing touch. Ready to go, although further minor tweaks are likely.
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  16. #226
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    Quote Originally Posted by neil_w View Post
    Answer: better! That felt like the finishing touch. Ready to go, although further minor tweaks are likely.
    NOPE! Stop right there! If you tweak this any more, you will walk yourself into more masking nightmares. I think it looks great just like it is.
    Thinking outside the box is normal for me. Went inside the box once and got claustrophobic.
    Can't never did!
    Inventions weren't created by skeptics.
    There's a bright side to every screwed up week.


  17. #227
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    Quote Originally Posted by Gary Byrum View Post
    NOPE! Stop right there! If you tweak this any more, you will walk yourself into more masking nightmares. I think it looks great just like it is.
    I agree. Thatís a terrific design.
    Steve Shannon
    L3CC, TAP, Director, Tripoli Rocketry Association

  18. #228
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    Fair enough.
    Recently completed: Starship Avalon / in progress: Accur8 Trajector and Ragnarok Orbital Interceptor / planning: Alcubierre and Plasma Dart 2
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  19. #229
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    Neil, if it were ever possible, you and I teaming up at an NSL launch would give those rocketeers something to talk about. I know I got my share of comments & compliments at the last two I attended. You carry a big ole box of these kinds of designs on that field, and you're sure to wind up as a centerfold in the"Sport Rocketry Magazine."
    Thinking outside the box is normal for me. Went inside the box once and got claustrophobic.
    Can't never did!
    Inventions weren't created by skeptics.
    There's a bright side to every screwed up week.


  20. #230
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    How I would love to go to an NSL launch. I just checked the 2018 schedule, got momentarily optimistic when I saw it was in NY, and then brought back to earth when I saw that it overlaps with my wife's birthday... so, not gonna happen next year.

    One day though, I hope. Give me a bit more time to build out my fleet.

    Wish I had time to build more of these designs...
    Recently completed: Starship Avalon / in progress: Accur8 Trajector and Ragnarok Orbital Interceptor / planning: Alcubierre and Plasma Dart 2
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  21. #231
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    Idle hands are the devil's workshop.
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  22. #232
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    I've been out of the loop lately, moving,,,

    Neil I can't believe these designs you keep coming up with,, LOL each one one seems to top the last!!

    I see this one as a "L2" size rocket J,K,L motors 54mm, maybe 6 or 7 foot tall, 14-16 inch ring.
    Man I NEED this one, wish I had time to dive into building it.

    Holey cluster was put on hold for now, still needs a test flight and paint.
    "Pointy end UP"
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  23. #233
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    Quote Originally Posted by JJSR View Post
    I see this one as a "L2" size rocket J,K,L motors 54mm, maybe 6 or 7 foot tall, 14-16 inch ring.
    I dare you. This rocket at that size would be jaw dropping.

    I suppose at that size you could use a slice of Sonotube for the ring, or something like that. Yikes. I'm nervous enough about keeping this thing intact on landing in a 3 oz model, can't quite imagine how you'd have to build it to survive a landing at that size.

    If you can successfully build and fly and recover this thing, then I'll... well at minimum I'd treat you to the adult beverage of your choice, but I'll probably come up with something better.
    Recently completed: Starship Avalon / in progress: Accur8 Trajector and Ragnarok Orbital Interceptor / planning: Alcubierre and Plasma Dart 2
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  24. #234
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    I'll hold most future discussion of Alcubierre for the build thread (don't hold your breath, have other things to do before I get that started.)

    To economize on part and vinyl acquisition costs I like to prepare at least two builds at once. And so the second one will be Plasma Dart II. Other than paint job, I have two significant construction questions on this one. Here is the current status:


    Firstly, I swapped out the green plasma for a blue plasma texture I found that repeats properly, so no seam is visible. It seemed like most "warp cores" in sci-fi tend to be blue, so I went that way, and I think it looks good. Plus it'll distinguish it a bit from Gary's green plasma PD1 (if he builds it). But I am still absolutely nowhere with the rest of the paint scheme.

    Construction issues:
    1) In the middle BT section, the intrusion of the BT50 stuffer tube at the rear and the shoulder of the balsa transition leaves me with only about 3.5" of space to pack recovery materials. That seems tight, even for a plastic parachute. I think it'd be quite difficult to try to pack anything into the BT50 hidden down in there. One option would be to bring the stuffer tube all the way to the top, so I just have a single long BT50 to work with, which would be annoying because it's BT50, but at least it's a known, workable solution. Another option would be... well I'm not sure exactly. Any suggestions?

    2) The CG will be right around the warp core, and that's also the widest portion of the rocket, so I thought I could mount the launch lug (geez, again with the launch lug problems) onto on of the spars that surrounds the core. Picture shows the LL in red just to highlight it; in the build it would be black to match the spar and I'd bevel the ends so it wouldn't stick out so much. Anyway, this type of mounting would demand a lot of strength from the mounting of the supporting spar to the centering rings on each end. This is complicated by the fact that I'd need to prepaint the spars and the rings (realistically there'd be no good way to do it after assembly.) I have some formative ideas but nothing where I've been able to work it out all the way from start to finish. I'd even consider doing the spar in metal if needed for additional strength, but that doesn't solve the mounting problem. Note: running the lug through the two transitions would be challenging, since it's taller than the transitions and so wouldn't properly fit "inside" them. Having it be partly embedded in the transitions and partly out seems like it would be very tough to pull off. Although now that I wrote that I'm wondering if I should thinking about that some more, since it would certainly solve the strength problem.
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  25. #235
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    Not awful for a first attempt.


    The pseudo roll pattern in the middle needs some help, wasn't sure what else to do there. Haven't decided if it should have any writing anywhere or not. Maybe something on the fins.

    Oh, I think I figured out how to do the launch lug, will describe it in the build thread. Should be fun. Biggest question remaining there is whether a piece of 1/8" basswood square dowel will be strong enough, or if I need to use something like a piece of metal rod instead or just figure out some way to reinforce the basswood.
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    Last edited by neil_w; 7th December 2017 at 02:49 AM.
    Recently completed: Starship Avalon / in progress: Accur8 Trajector and Ragnarok Orbital Interceptor / planning: Alcubierre and Plasma Dart 2
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  26. #236
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    Release candidate 1. Slight changes over previous, mostly in the fin can. Also changed the base color to white. Still not sure where if anywhere to put some text, either rocket name or nonsense markings. Feedback welcome.


    Oof, that picture is bigger than I intended, sorry. Just so happy to be able to upload photos again.

    Overall this is not quite as exciting as I had originally hoped for, but still neat, and should have some interesting construction aspects (like the unresolved parachute compartment...)
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  27. #237
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    Well, I've been thinking about a more aggressive design, so here's one shot at it. I like the look of the flame job, but I'm not sure how well it coordinates with the rear end treatment, particularly the fins. I'm pondering how to change the rear to make the whole thing hang together better. Any thoughts?

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  28. #238
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    You're having some fun with that plasma, aren't you. I admit, I like it too. With color balance in mind, all of your black & blue is toward the aft of the vehicle. I'd say, if you could incorporate the nose cone in blue and ease up a little on the center section a bit you might have it. You'd sorta need to loose something in the center to keep from overwhelming it in blue. MAYBE....take away the flames and bring something off of the blue nose cone stretching downward toward the center. Make sense?
    Thinking outside the box is normal for me. Went inside the box once and got claustrophobic.
    Can't never did!
    Inventions weren't created by skeptics.
    There's a bright side to every screwed up week.


  29. #239
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    Would that flame patter be a decal or vinyl type addition?
    I'm actually conflicted on the flame (not that I'm a stakeholder in any way whatsoever). I really like the idea of flames "leaking" from the core area, but the fact that they're licking Forward doesn't makes sense in my mind when flight would puxh flames rearwards.

    What would happen.......If you reinstated the Black/plasma nose and had the flames leak backwards from it?
    **edit: Apparently Gary agrees lol**

    It leaves some white space around the transition and middle tube, but that could easily be broken up with a couple simple panels (or if you feel adventurous, some sort of "core supports" lined up with the cage pieces around the core. Babylon 5 Cobra Bays spring to mind lol)

    The stern looks sweet with the white pylons contrasting the dark/plasma body and dins. Really adds texture and a sense of clean lines without requiring intricate masking.

  30. #240
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    Thanks for the feedback.

    Quote Originally Posted by Gary Byrum View Post
    You're having some fun with that plasma, aren't you.
    Yes.
    With color balance in mind, all of your black & blue is toward the aft of the vehicle. I'd say, if you could incorporate the nose cone in blue and ease up a little on the center section a bit you might have it. You'd sorta need to loose something in the center to keep from overwhelming it in blue. MAYBE....take away the flames and bring something off of the blue nose cone stretching downward toward the center. Make sense?
    Blue nose cone is not practical; I'm not going to try to wrap that small of a cone and I don't want to bring in a third paint color. There are some things I can do though.

    I do actually like the stark whiteness of the front contrasted with the darker back end... but agree that the whole thing is maybe not really balanced yet.

    Quote Originally Posted by Nytrunner View Post
    Would that flame patter be a decal or vinyl type addition?
    Stickershock vinyl wrap. After completing (well, almost) a build with Accur8 skins it makes me want to do more wrapping.

    I'm actually conflicted on the flame (not that I'm a stakeholder in any way whatsoever). I really like the idea of flames "leaking" from the core area, but the fact that they're licking Forward doesn't makes sense in my mind when flight would puxh flames rearwards.
    Interestingly that did not in the slightest occur to me while I was doing it, and I'm not sure that aspect bothers me, but I can see your point.

    What would happen.......If you reinstated the Black/plasma nose and had the flames leak backwards from it?
    I'll definitely try that, although I really like the white nose at the moment. Also I'll then have to work around the canards, which will look fine but will make the wrapping job harder.

    I have some more fiddling to do...

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