So I'm moving on to my first more advanced project since becoming a BAR. Having built literally dozens of Estes and Centuri kits in the old days, and then quite a few "upscale" kits since returning, it didn't take me long to get to the point of wanting to do something "more."
This project is essentially an upgrade build of the TLP kit. I have to agree with the majority of the on-line reviews about the quality of the componentry included in the kit, generally speaking they are not top-grade parts, and for the asking price ($55 or so), I'd expect more, especially after getting kits from outfits like Hawk's, Q-Modeling, and similar.
About the only good thing in the kit are the plans, some of the detail parts and the balsa stock isn't as bad as it's made out to be!
So far, I've replaced the body tubes, engine mount (3x 4" vs. 3x 3"), and will replace the parachutes with more solidly built nylon examples.
For the multi-stage aspect of the project, I plan to follow the general guidelines as set forward in This Review.
I'll take pictures as I get going, but for now have a couple of questions (based on an image from that build):
Using the interstage as the "nose cone" for the first stage makes a lot of sense. I can even see how the whole thing can go together - at least using the components included in the kit.
The kit uses a BT-50 "keel" to hold the two stages together. This is held in place by two CR-5080s in the booster and two CR-5060 in the sustainer. The reducer is just a paper wrap that connects the BT50 "keel" with the BT60 sustainer tube.
If you use a BT80 coupler, the CRs and a balsa plug in the BT50, you can essentially make the base for the interstage "nose" cone.
From there a single CR5060 is used to anchor the wide point of the reducer, and a BT60 coupler goes on top to slide into the sustainer stage.
At least that's how I see this thing going together.
Question becomes, how to best anchor the BT60 coupler to the top of the interstage so that it's firm and can handle the load of the friction mounted (and likely friction mounted at that) sustainer stage?
I can see pooling epoxy at the bottom, but want to see if there are any other ideas here.
Some (actually most) of the replacement parts should be here this week, so I look forward to taking folks through a build thread here, not only to share my experiences, but to get commentary along the way. While I'm an experienced builder of standard and even mid-power kits, I know I still have lots to learn when it comes to electronics, higher power, and more advanced concepts like the staging here!
BTW - this will be "proof of concept" for a 1/5.3 scale high power version. In working through the scaling, I figured out that the LOC 75mm (3") and 54mm (2.26") tubes worked out PERFECTLY to scale for the proportions of the real thing. That model will finish out at a touch under 74" tall, and will fly on 2 38mm mounts.... But we'll save that for another thread.