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Thread: Vendors

  1. #1
    troj's Avatar
    troj is offline Wielder Of the Skillet Of Harsh Discipline, Potentate of Perilous Pans TRF_ADMIN.png
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    Vendors

    As everyone should've noticed by now, we've posted a policy regarding Vendors, and how everyone is expected to behave on TRF, in regards to them.

    There's no one incident that caused us to post that policy. Rather, it's something that has been building over time.

    That said, I often see posts asking where to buy things. I've said it before, and I'll say it again -- buy from the vendors who support you, and support your club. In other words, if there's a vendor showing up at your launches, encourage them to continue to do so by buying from them.

    Also remember that customer service costs money. Buy from folks who give you great customer service, at a fair price.

    What I'd love to see folks post is who they do buy from, and why. I'll start. My list of regular purchases is pretty short:

    Wildman/Wildman Kentucky - Tim hooked us up with Darryl Hankes several years ago, when we were trying to get a vendor to come to our field. Darryl has been there since, and is one of us.

    Off We Go Rocketry - Started by Tim Melody, who passed away, and picked up by Gary Stroick. Tim and Gary have both been great about coming to our launches, and Gary is one of us, as well.

    Giant Leap - I've always had good luck with Ed & Kent, and they're a regular in Argonia, which is my field away from home. Last year, I needed some components from them, and was attending a launch in Argonia. A quick email to Kent, and he delivered it to me at the field, saving me on shipping...and that was a launch he wasn't vending at.

    Featherweight Altimeters - I love how supportive Adrian is of his customers and his products. He's also one of the nicest guys you could ever meet. Most of my electronics that I fly on a regular basis come from Adrian.

    There's a whole list of other vendors I've purchased from at least once, all of whom have treated me well. I know I'm going to miss some, but I'll list the ones I can think of...

    Squirrel Works
    K & S Rockets
    Semroc
    FlisKits
    Uncle Mike's Rocket Shack
    Pratt Hobbies
    Missile Works
    Liberty Launch Systems / Rockets Magazine
    Aerocon Systems

    In addition, please don't forget the fine folks who advertise here - they're the ones who keep the lights on, and the site up and running. They give us the ability to do things we otherwise might not be able to, like run the occasional contest.

    So let's hear it -- who do you like, and why?

    -Kevin


  2. #2
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    I'm sure I won't be the first to mention the super helpful people at Estes!! Their customer service can't be beaten. I've had a few occasions in my short career to interact with them and have been impressed each time.

    I won't go into details, but to have a company go out of their way like they have to ensure their customers are happy is something I don't see much of anymore. It means a lot.

    I'll be buying Estes kits and accessories without worry. Good job guys.

    *******************************************
    All I want is a kind word, a warm bed, and unlimited power.
    *******************************************
    Estes ROCKS!
    *******************************************
    Voted #266,917th Best Rocket Builder of the Year - 2012
    *******************************************

  3. #3
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    Amen.

    Free plug:
    I see that Jim Amos has the new WRC radio control up for sale on the Missileworks website. I appreciated the customer service I got from him when I bought the original one, and I hope to see some of the news ones flying soon. If you've never tried pushbutton deployment, you've really missed something.

  4. #4
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    YES

    Quote Originally Posted by troj View Post
    As everyone should've noticed by now, we've posted a policy regarding Vendors, and how everyone is expected to behave on TRF, in regards to them.

    There's no one incident that caused us to post that policy. Rather, it's something that has been building over time.

    That said, I often see posts asking where to buy things. I've said it before, and I'll say it again -- buy from the vendors who support you, and support your club. In other words, if there's a vendor showing up at your launches, encourage them to continue to do so by buying from them.

    Also remember that customer service costs money. Buy from folks who give you great customer service, at a fair price.

    What I'd love to see folks post is who they do buy from, and why. I'll start. My list of regular purchases is pretty short:

    Wildman/Wildman Kentucky - Tim hooked us up with Darryl Hankes several years ago, when we were trying to get a vendor to come to our field. Darryl has been there since, and is one of us.

    Off We Go Rocketry - Started by Tim Melody, who passed away, and picked up by Gary Stroick. Tim and Gary have both been great about coming to our launches, and Gary is one of us, as well.

    Giant Leap - I've always had good luck with Ed & Kent, and they're a regular in Argonia, which is my field away from home. Last year, I needed some components from them, and was attending a launch in Argonia. A quick email to Kent, and he delivered it to me at the field, saving me on shipping...and that was a launch he wasn't vending at.

    Featherweight Altimeters - I love how supportive Adrian is of his customers and his products. He's also one of the nicest guys you could ever meet. Most of my electronics that I fly on a regular basis come from Adrian.

    There's a whole list of other vendors I've purchased from at least once, all of whom have treated me well. I know I'm going to miss some, but I'll list the ones I can think of...

    Squirrel Works
    K & S Rockets
    Semroc
    FlisKits
    Uncle Mike's Rocket Shack
    Pratt Hobbies
    Missile Works
    Liberty Launch Systems / Rockets Magazine
    Aerocon Systems

    In addition, please don't forget the fine folks who advertise here - they're the ones who keep the lights on, and the site up and running. They give us the ability to do things we otherwise might not be able to, like run the occasional contest.

    So let's hear it -- who do you like, and why?

    -Kevin
    Owning a small business, I will tell everyone personally, we dont get rich, We do it because we love it.. I for one read everyones posts and take from them there learning experiences.

    Adrian will soon be getting a bunch of my money for his works of art.....Im honored to acually be ABLE to purchase items from one of the smartest guys ive ever run across.. Personally I dont know him, but from reading his post... Yup.. that dude is SMART !!!!

    The vendors listed above by the admin are all "Certified" and to me that fact in itself is all I need. They are the right people to buy from..

    I could care less if it costs $1.00 more...

    Its more of supporting the people who support MY hobby...

    Let me be the first to mention Performancehobbys.. Ken is great and if you need anything a phone call is all it takes.... Yes.. Ken acually Answers the phone...

    That one fact in itself.. is....

    PRICELESS

    Tom

  5. #5
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    I'll also post my appreciation for Dr. Zooch. I built his Vostok and had the opportunity to interact a couple of times via email with him, and he was always very nice.

    I've read where a lot of other people have gotten great customer service from him and this led me to buy two other rockets recently.

    I'm always willing to buy more from someone that other people have good service with.
    *******************************************
    All I want is a kind word, a warm bed, and unlimited power.
    *******************************************
    Estes ROCKS!
    *******************************************
    Voted #266,917th Best Rocket Builder of the Year - 2012
    *******************************************

  6. #6
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    I have a few vendors that I always use, either because they are the only ones who sell a product, or because they sell at the lowest price. If a person is charging more money for the same product, I will not buy from them. Such is business. If they were such a good friend to me, or such supporters of the hobby, they would sell at cost. 100% markup is not your local friendly vendor anymore! If we are the ones spending hundreds of bucks each year in the hobby, or thousands in the case of some hpr flyers, we are the ones supporting the hobby...

    I have been buying from Giant Leap for 14 years now. So they have to get my first vote. Always innovating and never stopping the search for new products or ways to enhance scratch built rockets.

    Hobbylinc is the choice for anything they have in stock, because the prices are lower than other sources. The website for rocket motors was never properly designed, however. Someone should take a look at that.

    Art Applewhite: There is a unique pleasure to be found in making a rocket out of only paper. It is good therapy to make a paper rocket every now and then, and I usually save an Applewhite kit for last after my HPR has launched. An hourglass on an F12 is a nice way to end the day.

    And then would be all of the rocket designers, too numerous to list here, who come up with all of the different kits. It requires a ton of effort. Just look at the lineup at Fliskits for example... That keeps the hobby vibrant and interesting.

    PS: and thanks to LOC Precision Rocketry - keeping the dream alive for 25 years, and for making the best rocket ever built by man or machine.
    Last edited by New Ocean; 10th April 2012 at 10:39 PM.

  7. #7
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    Wildman Rocketry primarily...kits, CTI reloads, LOC build components, misc.
    Hobbylinc - great deals on single use motors and igniters. Scratch build components.
    PML - Airframe, nosecone, motor tube, centering rings.
    Uncle Mike's Rocket Shack - LPR scratch build components
    Apogee - One off things my regular haunts don't have...GREAT service!
    StickerShock23!!! - Need I say more
    Jeff Pummill
    Fayetteville, AR
    TRA 13095 L2
    Tripoli Tulsa
    Tripoli Kansas "Kloudbusters"
    ----------
    Largest Motor Flown: 5 Grain "K" Research Motor
    Highest Alt Reached: 7128 ft.

    Fly 'em high or blow 'em up spectacular!

  8. #8
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    The folks at Balsa Machining Service have earned my respect and my business.

    I am privileged to have Art Applewhite as a local vendor at the launches I attend, he's a great guy and always ready to share his knowledge.

    Hobbylinc is a great vendor for all things hobby. I always know that I can get kits, parts-n-pieces, glue, paint and motors in one stop.

    Jon Rocket, Uncle Mike and BRS have been a source for me in the past and they all have given me excellent and timely service. Highly recommended!

    Estes has always had a special place in my heart and always will. I love their kits and their customer service is exceptional.
    Jeff Vegh
    TRA# 03011
    NAR# 92403

  9. #9
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    I'll second several of the above for having given me great service (Fliskits, BMS, Hobbylinc, SEMROC!, to name a few) and I'll add in Gordy at Excelsior for waterslide decals and other stuff (responsive, awesome service and artistic talent!), as well as Brian at BRS Hobbies (super nice guy, gives great value, and honorable!). And I'll add in ACSupplyco because several orders to them have turned out perfectly, shipped quickly, and given excellent value.

    Way to go vendors!!

    Marc
    Thou shalt not violate causality within my historic light cone. Or Else.
    NAR member 92906

  10. #10
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    I have a long list of vendors that I buy from here are the most stand outs.

    SEMROC. The largest variety of parts for LPR that I know of Flawless customers service fair prices and the fastest shipping I have ever seen (I usualy receive with in 2 days of shipping).

    Hobby Link. Great prices and large inventory.

    LOC Precision. Some of the Greatest Mid and High power kits you could ask for while still using traditional materials. Also some of the best customer service going.

    Apogee. Yes I like them inspite of their HIGH shipping costs they are still a favorite of mine. That Saturn 1B allone puts them in my top ten.

    Tango Papa, Excelsior, Sticker Shock. Love all three excellent products and quick shipping never been disappointed with any thing I have bought from any of these three.

    Giant Leap. Great products and customer service will keep me going back to them even though they are new to my list.

    PML. I have only one of thier kits, the Ariel but I LOVE it. Quality!!!

    And last but not least "North Coast Rocketry" ( pre Estes). My first mid power kits came from them. Whish you were still here guys.
    Mike J

    Parachute Rigger


    There is no such thing as a "parasheet".

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by troj View Post
    That said, I often see posts asking where to buy things. I've said it before, and I'll say it again -- buy from the vendors who support you, and support your club. In other words, if there's a vendor showing up at your launches, encourage them to continue to do so by buying from them.

    Also remember that customer service costs money. Buy from folks who give you great customer service, at a fair price.

    -Kevin

    Greater words were never spoken. We have gone through several vendors at our local launch because they do not make enough money to even pay for the gas to make the trip. Always buy what you can from them or you will lament their leaving. When I hear people say they can find it ten dollars less on the web, I have to remind them of the service they get right where they need it.

    Our current vendor, ROCKETS-R-US, is relatively new to the business, so their inventory is not very large, but they are growing quickly and they will go out of their way to make something work for a flyer. And for motor heads, they carry a whole line of items for the research guys. That is something I have not seen at a local launch before.
    Have fun,
    Harold

    No sparkies Donald!

  12. #12
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    I've always had fast service from Apogee and good advice on my RocSim questions. On occasion when I had accumulated bonus points the final bill for a new order was substantially reduced. I wrote an article for Tim's e-zine last year and was very pleased with the paid compensation.

  13. #13
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    I can't allow this thread to reach apogee without shouting out for Cosmodrome Rocketry. Wonderful subject matter, the quality is outstanding, and the service does not get any better. I'll take one of each, thank you!

  14. #14
    My hats off to people I buy from:

    Via Retailers:
    Estes (kits and motors)
    Custom (parts, usually)

    Online:
    Semroc - Best source of Centuri goodness
    Jonrocket - Newly discovered, great selection
    Fliskits - cool kits from Jim the master of oddrocs
    Pratt hobbies - Supplies
    Apogee - Kits, Rocsim, and good information.
    Kevlar Store - Newly discovered, supplies

    At launches:
    What's Up Hobbies - You rock Jack! Thanks for making the looong drive.
    Discount Rocketry - newly discovered, excellent new kits and parts
    Recovery Technologies (rocketparachutes.com) ALL my chutes are from Deby.

    These people are all the very best in the business!
    Last edited by Zonie; 12th April 2012 at 04:28 PM.
    -Chr$
    NAR 79536 TRA 15040 L1
    2014 Secretary - Superstition Spacemodeling Society Section 506 www.sssrocketry.com
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    "Prefers Plastic Nose Cones"

  15. #15
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    95% of my motors I get from Jack -Whats Up Hobbies, at the launch sites. Always has a good selection at reasonable prices.

    The rest of my supplies I get from Apogee. Very happy with their service!
    NAR #79354
    Tripoli# 9102
    Level 2
    2012 flights-27 =5137 NS

  16. #16
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    North Coast Rocketry

    jazzviper1,

    Matt Steele owns the rights to NCR and is bringing the company back. He will be displaying the first four kits at NARCON this weekend in Hutchinson, KS. He has a blog at the site below.

    www.northcoastrocketry.com

    Chas
    NCR alumn '93-94
    Chas Russell, MSgt
    Retired AF Missile Technician
    NAR 9790 Sr

  17. #17
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    My first kit was an Estes, and they remain the backbone of my fleet. My wife and I have both had warranty claims that were taken care of very satisfactorily by that company. I discovered Apogee the second year I was in the hobby and still make orders with them, but mostly for stuff I can't get elsewhere, like the F10-8 long burn motor. Last year when I discovered the Superstition Spacemodeling Society, I started buying motors and other supplies from Jack at What's up Hobbies. I still buy smaller BP motors at Hobby Lobby, and some of the reloads for my 24/40 hobbyline cases at Hobbylinc (Jack doesn't carry them). Last year when I started my HPR Cert. rocket, I got it at Apogee. Yeah, I paid a little more, but I'm a firm believer in that Great Karmic Wheel, what goes around comes back to you. Tim has helped me in so many ways, not only through email conversations, but his webpage in general, that I will still use it for some of my stuff.
    NAR 92675 L-3 TRA 14800 KG7IUN
    I may be getting older, but I refuse to grow up.

  18. #18
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    My list of "the good guys" - from whom I've purchased stuff, had great service, and got my money's worth:

    * Apogee - Yep, the pricing is kinda high, and the shipping fees could definately be lower, but you know what? - I've placed more orders with Tim/Apogee than all the other vendors I deal with. Why? - great product/selection/information, RockSim, excellent customer service, fast shipping, stuff is in stock, and in the end all those "VIR" benefits are actually worth something. I'm sure I will continue to purchase from them (even though I wish the prices were better).

    * Performance Hobbies - lots of folk around here have touted Ken and with good reason. GREAT prices, good communication, fantastic selection, and good/fair shipping (prices and timing). Yep, Ken is definately one of the good guys and I'm sure he will be getting much more of my money in the future.

    * Giant Leap - mostly for their excellent product, but also their pricing/shipping is pretty good. They ship fast, have great communication, and they seem to really support the hobby.

    * Quickburst - good product, and David definately goes out of his way to make sure his customers are treated right.

    * Hobbylinc - prices that can't be beat - literally. Yes, there ARE times when it all comes down to price (both product and shipping fees), and if HL has what you need, this is THE place to get it cheap.

    * Wildman - I've only purchased once from Tim, but the experience was a good one. I think it's pretty obvious that WM is a major favorite around here, and it seems well earned. They are VERY engaged with the community, especially the TRF portion of it. One of the best motor selections out there, very cool kits/rockets, and of course then there's that certain sales event (hint: happens late in the year).

    * Featherweight - although I have yet to actually give Adrian any of my money directly, I'm SO close to doing so, and I'm entirely confident it will be a good thing. Adrian's involvement here on TRF is a major high point of the forum imo, and I've heard nothing but praise from his customers. I WILL be flying a Raven soon.

    s6

  19. #19
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    Here's my list of vendors and what I ordered:

    Hobbylinc - Lotta MP reloads and the occasional LOC kit. Good followup on orders.
    LOC Precision - Tubes, centering rings, more tubes, nose cones, retainers, adapters...the list goes on. Barry (Doctor of LOC) answers the phone when you call.
    Apogee - Great followup on orders
    Wildman (Tim) - What more can anyone say? Jackie answers the phone when you call.
    Aeropack - Retainer order, quick delivery/
    Sandman - Water slide decals! Just about every classic decal set in a variety of sizes.
    Stickershock - Vinyl decals! Excellent to work with Mark on custom vinyl.
    K&S Rocketry - Chutes, av-bays, Dr. Rocket motors/cases. Excellent products and good communications.
    FruityChutes - Swivels, the best nomex blankets in the world! Good communications.
    Rocket Chutes - Very nice flat parachutes. Well made, not terribly expensive. SoCal vendor.
    Quest - Shipping can be a bit high.
    Performance Hobbies - Dr. Rocket parts central! Ken answers when you call. He''l even call you back if you don't leave a voicemail! LOL!
    Kevin Troj - Dr. Rocket cases and closures. Good communications.
    Fuddrucker - The braided kevlar dude! Quick shipper and good communications.
    Top Flight Recovery LLC - Chutes, swivels, blankets...ships almost as quickly as Semroc...Oops. Forgot another vendor.
    BRS Hobbies - Nice assortment of rocketry supplies. Good shipping, too.

    I apologize if I have forgotten anyone. It was unintentional. I've had no problems with anyone here not holding up their end of a deal.

    Oops. Here are some I forgot:

    Jack Garibaldi of What's Up Hobbies - Reloads, cases, chutes, my LOC Onyx kit, the list goes on. The traveling rocket shop is a fixture at most SW and West Coast launches.
    Red Arrow Hobbies - Reloads and SU motors. Communication is a weak spot but the orders get filled.
    Uncle Mike's Rocket Shack - Parts, tubes, motor mounts.
    Semroc - The order ships before you place it. Seriously. They feel like family.
    Last edited by o1d_dude; 13th April 2012 at 05:02 AM. Reason: Looks like I DID overlook a few vendors
    Kit (AKA Cranky Kong)
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    The future sure isn't what it used to be...we were promised Jet Packs!

  20. #20
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    LOC PRECISION

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    GIANTLEAP

    TOP FLIGHT RECOVERY

  21. #21
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    The rocketry community in a whole is the BEST group of people I have ever dealt with (for the most part).. there is pretty much not a single VENDOR I would not use..

    I have tried most out there at one time or another and have always been treated well..
    Custom Vinyl decals,
    STICKERSHOCK23.COM


    Stickershock23@gmail.com

    No matter how much you push the envelope.
    it'll still be stationery.

  22. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by stickershock23 View Post
    The rocketry community in a whole is the BEST group of people I have ever dealt with (for the most part).. there is pretty much not a single VENDOR I would not use..

    I have tried most out there at one time or another and have always been treated well..
    Mark has even used me!
    "I'm a sandman. I've never killed anyone. I terminate runners when their time is up." Logan from "Logan's Run"

    http://excelsiorrocketry.com/

  23. #23
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    I have wanted to add my 2 cents but have not because I fear to leave somebody out. I have dealt with most of the vendors here on TRF and many that are not represented here. This represents literally hundreds of transactions. In all that time, I have had exactly 2 bad experiences, one from a company that is no longer around and the other from an Ebay vendor that misrepresented an item (but he eventually made good).

    I thought about going through the list of who I have dealt with but decided not to do so. One reason is a genuine fear that somebody might construe my lack of endorsement as something bad; its much more likely that I simply never got around to dealing with that company before I lost my job.

    The bigger reason is that the forum software limits the amount of text I can put in a post... and I cannot say enough great things about the people I have dealt with.

    In my book, the rocketry community has a much better service record than any other association I have dealt with and that includes church supply companies.

    Thank you to all of you. You (probably) know who you are. You have helped to make rocketry a joy for me.
    __________________
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    I used to tell Mom, "...I want to fly rockets when I grow up!"

    She said, "Make up your mind, you can't do both!"

  24. #24
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    Quote Originally Posted by sandman View Post
    Mark has even used me!
    And I will again ANYTIME! I'm thinking about that Nova Payloader nosecone..
    Custom Vinyl decals,
    STICKERSHOCK23.COM


    Stickershock23@gmail.com

    No matter how much you push the envelope.
    it'll still be stationery.

  25. #25
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    Jack at What's Up Hobbies seems to be the "local" vendor for a lot of clubs! Anyone who's willing to spend that much time and effort gets my money every time.

    Mike

  26. #26
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    Quote Originally Posted by JAL3 View Post
    snip... In my book, the rocketry community has a much better service record than any other association I have dealt with and that includes church supply companies.
    I'll second that. I haven't gotten to a lot of vendors (looking forward to meeting Mr. Flis this weekend), but it's been a rare instance when I've heard anything bad. Very rare.

    However, I have done business with:
    Semroc. I'm a fanboy. Super quality and I like what they sell. Service is the best ever. "The answer is almost always Semroc." -quote, I forget who, but it should be their tag-line.
    Hobbylinc. They have most everything and good prices to go with it.
    Excelsior. High-fidelity decals, easy to work with and a good egg all-around. A talented decal maker.
    Uncle Mike's Rocket Shack. Great service, parts and BMS clones.
    CATO Chutes. Great product and service. If you don't have one or two or three—you should consider them. Worth it.

    The longer I'm in the hobby, the more vendors I'll use. I haven't had a bad experience yet—knock on wood. Rocketry vendors are the best businesses I've ever run across and had the pleasure of dealing with.
    Last edited by foamy; 13th April 2012 at 04:12 PM.

  27. #27
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    Well, I hate to break the mood but I have one big complaint about TRFers when they purchase from me.

    I have no way of knowing who you guys are!

    Sometimes it's embarrassing especially at events like NARAM. Like I should know...but I don't.

    Rarely do I get your TRF handle. Putting the name to the handle is a head scratcher.

    May I suggest TRF badges with your name and TRF handle at NARAM, NARCOM, LDRS and NSL, etc.
    "I'm a sandman. I've never killed anyone. I terminate runners when their time is up." Logan from "Logan's Run"

    http://excelsiorrocketry.com/

  28. #28
    troj's Avatar
    troj is offline Wielder Of the Skillet Of Harsh Discipline, Potentate of Perilous Pans TRF_ADMIN.png
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    Quote Originally Posted by sandman View Post
    Rarely do I get your TRF handle. Putting the name to the handle is a head scratcher.

    May I suggest TRF badges with your name and TRF handle at NARAM, NARCOM, LDRS and NSL, etc.
    You'll have to educate me a bit, as I don't know what the norm is at NARAM, NARCON and NSL...

    Do the registrants normally get name badges like they do for LDRS?

    If so, what we may be able to do is come up with a TRF sticker that attendees can add, that they write their username on.

    Would something like that help?

    -Kevin

  29. #29
    Join Date
    18th January 2009
    Location
    hurricane utah
    Posts
    3,234
    Quote Originally Posted by sandman View Post
    Well, I hate to break the mood but I have one big complaint about TRFers when they purchase from me.

    I have no way of knowing who you guys are!

    Sometimes it's embarrassing especially at events like NARAM. Like I should know...but I don't.

    Rarely do I get your TRF handle. Putting the name to the handle is a head scratcher.

    May I suggest TRF badges with your name and TRF handle at NARAM, NARCOM, LDRS and NSL, etc.
    you mean like this??

    Custom Vinyl decals,
    STICKERSHOCK23.COM


    Stickershock23@gmail.com

    No matter how much you push the envelope.
    it'll still be stationery.

  30. #30
    Join Date
    18th January 2009
    Location
    North of Detroit
    Posts
    10,512
    Quote Originally Posted by troj View Post
    You'll have to educate me a bit, as I don't know what the norm is at NARAM, NARCON and NSL...

    Do the registrants normally get name badges like they do for LDRS?

    If so, what we may be able to do is come up with a TRF sticker that attendees can add, that they write their username on.

    Would something like that help?

    -Kevin
    Yea, that would work.

    Ignore Mark.

    "I'm a sandman. I've never killed anyone. I terminate runners when their time is up." Logan from "Logan's Run"

    http://excelsiorrocketry.com/

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