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  1. #1
    Join Date
    29th November 2011
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    Am I a build snob?

    On Saturday's launch I found an old Baby Bertha in the woods that had obviously been lost in the trees many moons ago during a club launch and had fallen down. It was unusable to me (the nosecone and parachute were gone - probably still in the tree above - and the body tube was warped and ripped) but I did take a moment to inspect the construction.

    Whoever built it didn't use any filler at all on the tube spiral or the fins, they just painted it with one coat of black. The fins were rough as could be and the spiral stuck out like a sore thumb. It looked like no fillet was attempted in the glue that held on the fins, there was a lot of lumps of glue down the sides so it looked more like caulk than glue. It just looked like crap, and I'd never want to show anyone a rocket I built that looked like that.

    But then I thought... why am I being so critical? Why am I such a snob? I'd bet that whoever built it had a LOT of fun building it and flying it, and that's the only thing that should matter. I like it when people tell me that the ones I build look nice, but that's what I'm going for. Whoever built that one may have spent an hour sitting with their best friend, or maybe it was a father and son, each building a rocket as quickly as possible to fly with minimal regard for looks. And there's not a thing wrong with doing that.

    Maybe from now on I'll be less likely to look at someone else's rocket and judge how it looks. I should just enjoy watching it fly and do what I can to help them have fun.

    *******************************************
    All I want is a kind word, a warm bed, and unlimited power.
    *******************************************
    Estes ROCKS!
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    Voted #266,917th Best Rocket Builder of the Year - 2012
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  2. #2
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mushtang View Post
    Maybe from now on I'll be less likely to look at someone else's rocket and judge how it looks. I should just enjoy watching it fly and do what I can to help them have fun.
    Amen brother! I'm not the best builder, though I do try to do the right things on most builds (filling in spirals, fins, nose cones, having nice fillets, and decent paint jobs). But, I don't fault those who don't spend as much time as I do on builds...their priorities may simply be different.

    Hobbies, like anything else, can suffer from 'elitism'...the idea that your way is the 'right' way, and that once you become an 'expert', that casual efforts or interest is looked on with disdain. And I think that's wrong...for 2 reasons.

    One, the general attitude...period. What works for you may not work for someone else...or they just aren't that interested. There is nothing wrong with that.

    Two, and this is more concerning, 'snobbery' can push people who might have been interested in the hobby away. In my opinion, as long as someone is launching according to the local laws and the safety code, "It's all good". We try real hard at the club I am in, and in the club I run, to be all inclusive. You're safe, and you have fun...come on by and fly with us!

    FC

    I love the internet! All the whining and discontent of real life, minus the arrest record of administering 2x4s to the face.


    Green Bones and SRAM for me....
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  3. #3
    Join Date
    24th February 2009
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    Pasco, WA
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    I hardly ever fill the body tube spirals. Fillets are small and plastic nose cones stay white. Paint is one coat and chips show character. Works for me.

    I build planes that fly, armor that sits on a shelve and scale trains for display. All high part count endeavors. And the finish can take longer than the build.

    Rockets are low parts count and simple ( the ones I build are) and go fast. A nice break from my other activities!

    A great part of an organized launch is seeing all the beautiful craftsmanship on display. My own collection makes all the rest of us feel welcome! :-)
    Derek McGuckin
    Tri-Cities Rocketeers
    NAR Level 2
    www.TriCitiesRocketeers.org

  4. #4
    Join Date
    10th September 2011
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    I look at my rockets as learning tools. As my skills improve, I get more creative and build better stronger rockets. While learning to build these rockets better, I might slack a bit on finish and lean more towards function as the rocket will most likely get the snot launched out of it and after the first couple landings it will be all dinged up anyway.

    But those launches teach lessons that will get applied to future builds that will have better appearance and performance. I take it slowly and soak in the experiences from each launch. Ask lots of questions, and jot down the really good ideas I always get from the more seasoned builders.

    Some of the most seasoned rockets are the best flyers. Proven winners in my eyes.

    See ya,
    Rod

  5. #5
    Join Date
    18th January 2009
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    Needville, TX and Shiner, TX
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mushtang View Post
    On Saturday's launch I found an old Baby Bertha in the woods that had obviously been lost in the trees many moons ago during a club launch and had fallen down. It was unusable to me (the nosecone and parachute were gone - probably still in the tree above - and the body tube was warped and ripped) but I did take a moment to inspect the construction.

    Whoever built it didn't use any filler at all on the tube spiral or the fins, they just painted it with one coat of black. The fins were rough as could be and the spiral stuck out like a sore thumb. It looked like no fillet was attempted in the glue that held on the fins, there was a lot of lumps of glue down the sides so it looked more like caulk than glue. It just looked like crap, and I'd never want to show anyone a rocket I built that looked like that.

    But then I thought... why am I being so critical? Why am I such a snob? I'd bet that whoever built it had a LOT of fun building it and flying it, and that's the only thing that should matter. I like it when people tell me that the ones I build look nice, but that's what I'm going for. Whoever built that one may have spent an hour sitting with their best friend, or maybe it was a father and son, each building a rocket as quickly as possible to fly with minimal regard for looks. And there's not a thing wrong with doing that.

    Maybe from now on I'll be less likely to look at someone else's rocket and judge how it looks. I should just enjoy watching it fly and do what I can to help them have fun.
    There's nothing "wrong" with either attitude or approach...

    I know when I look at rockets "slapped together" with glue slathered everywhere and fuzzy fins cut from a slab of balsa and glued to the tube, poor paint jobs, etc... *I'm* certainly not impressed... I conclude that either the person doesn't know how to do a better job, or simple doesn't care to make it look and fly better...
    The first condition is amendable, if they want to learn better methods... the second attitude may change over time, or not... so long as they're having fun and spending their money, who cares??

    The thing is, not EVERYBODY are builders and enjoy building, and fewer yet are really craftsmen wanting to do the best possible job of building a flawless rocket that they can... There's a lot of folks who want to spend just enough building time to get the thing assembled to the point it can be launched, and no more... a lot of newbs fall into this category... (but not all of course). Some folks are just in it for the flying and detest building...

    I think it's a good thing that we have the choice, nowdays... there are RTF and ARF rockets nowdays, something which didn't exist 20-odd years ago when I started out... And thankfully we still have craftsmen-level kits and the materials available to make our own as we see fit. There's room for both approaches, I think... I know the old-time model airplane folks have gotten pretty upset by the fact that the RTF/ARF and foamies/electrics/park flyer end of the spectrum has basically taken over the market in model aircraft... They rue the fact that the building and craftsmanship aspects of the hobby are being lost... I'm not so sure... it opens up avenues to bring new people in that simply were overwhelmed before at the difficulties of building a plane from a box of balsa sticks and parts, ironing on coverings or doping tissue onto it, buying, installing, and learning the intricacies of nitro powered glow engines, installing all the radio control gear, etc... Electric foamy park flyers did away with all the 'hard stuff' and allows one to enjoy the actual flying part without having to work on a plane for months before its even airworthy... Craftsmanship is still around... and there's still kits and materials available for craftsmen to build planes "the old fashioned way" and really make it a "pride and joy"... just as with rocketry...

    I think it's up to us who are craftsmen to build rockets and planes that look SO good and are SO impressive that the "balsa butchers" and "foamy hacks", the ARF/RTF crowd, goes "how did you do THAT??" and we draw them into the more craftsmanship-specific end of the hobby... IF they want to come...

    If not, well, let them have fun flying... wish them well on their way to the pads... let them do "their thing" and we can do "our thing"...

    Later! OL JR
    The X-87B Cruise Basselope- THE ultimate weapon in the arsenal of homeland defense and only $52 million per round!

  6. #6
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    Generally speaking Mushtang:
    Our LPR model rockets are 15 to 50 feet away from Viewing while getting ready for flight. From that distance most any model will look just great. If it is built to hold together and flys well, all the owner will hear is the oohs and aah's as the model goes on it's way. it's only at the prep table or close up that fill and finish make much of a difference.
    You are absolutely correct! we all should be looking more the the Fun then the finish. Particularly with the younger model builders. I have a few totally unfinished models in my fleet that are used to demo and limited flight performance activities. I can't recall a single person even noticing my baby bertha flying naked.
    Keep em Flyin Micronzied
    John
    Mrcluster/Micromeister
    Nar-15731
    Co-moderator MicroMaxRockets yahoo group.
    http://groups.yahoo.com/group/MicroMaxRockets/
    Narhams Section 139 - ROMCC

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by FastCargo View Post
    Amen brother! I'm not the best builder, though I do try to do the right things on most builds (filling in spirals, fins, nose cones, having nice fillets, and decent paint jobs). But, I don't fault those who don't spend as much time as I do on builds...their priorities may simply be different.

    Hobbies, like anything else, can suffer from 'elitism'...the idea that your way is the 'right' way, and that once you become an 'expert', that casual efforts or interest is looked on with disdain. And I think that's wrong...for 2 reasons.

    One, the general attitude...period. What works for you may not work for someone else...or they just aren't that interested. There is nothing wrong with that.

    Two, and this is more concerning, 'snobbery' can push people who might have been interested in the hobby away. In my opinion, as long as someone is launching according to the local laws and the safety code, "It's all good". We try real hard at the club I am in, and in the club I run, to be all inclusive. You're safe, and you have fun...come on by and fly with us!

    FC
    +1

    In scale modeling, this is a big problem. You have the "rivet counters" who won't even consider buying a model because the nose profile of kit X is 2mm off or some panel line isn't on the surface of the model and the elitist builders who scoff if you didn't do (insert advanced building technique here).

    All it does is scare new hobbyists away....and these days with the advent of all manor of electronic device, do we really want to scare off new comers when they are so few already?
    http://www.rocketreviews.com/widgets/flights-1369-6522.gif

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by luke strawwalker View Post
    I know the old-time model airplane folks have gotten pretty upset by the fact that the RTF/ARF and foamies/electrics/park flyer end of the spectrum has basically taken over the market in model aircraft... They rue the fact that the building and craftsmanship aspects of the hobby are being lost... I'm not so sure... it opens up avenues to bring new people in that simply were overwhelmed before at the difficulties of building a plane from a box of balsa sticks and parts, ironing on coverings or doping tissue onto it, buying, installing, and learning the intricacies of nitro powered glow engines, installing all the radio control gear, etc... Electric foamy park flyers did away with all the 'hard stuff' and allows one to enjoy the actual flying part without having to work on a plane for months before its even airworthy... Craftsmanship is still around... and there's still kits and materials available for craftsmen to build planes "the old fashioned way" and really make it a "pride and joy"... just as with rocketry...
    I know a captain I've flown with a few times at my airline who is a big R/C airplane enthusiast. And he basically said the same thing you did. He grew up doing everything the 'hard way' and now marvels at what you can get for relatively little money or time (and he almost lured me into the hobby with those 'gateway' kits). And with less time now then he used to have, he gets to do more of the 'fun' stuff...yet, he still has the option to do the more detailed, craftsmanship stuff if he wants.

    FC
    I love the internet! All the whining and discontent of real life, minus the arrest record of administering 2x4s to the face.


    Green Bones and SRAM for me....
    You might be a Freight Dawg...
    Got 'White Rocket' Hours?
    NAR #92568

  9. #9
    Join Date
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    A Baby Bertha might be someones wind test rocket. I usually have at least one rocket that is a sacrificial lamb just to test upper winds. They usually don't get the full treatment as they may be lost on any given launch. Then again it could have been a childs rocket who was very proud of his or her build. I know when my son did his first solo build that it wasn't the prettiest looking rocket but I was really proud of him for doing it by himself. I try to never judge someone elses builds cuz I know that I'm not the best builder. Unless I see something that is an obvious safety concern I tend to keep my mouth shut.
    Jeff Vegh
    TRA# 03011
    NAR# 92403

  10. #10
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    I've been guilty of this too, then stopped myself. A buddy of mine had built a large E-engine powered BT-80 bird... lined the rear of the body tube directly with the CR and the motor mount... there was NO way to keep the motor in. Also, used heavy Plywood fins. Paint was nice though. It worked, however, and It goes to show there's nothing wrong with it. Just not how I would build it.

    We also had an Estes Single-Use kit that we had an absolute blast with. Because we didn't do any work to build it, we just shot the thing up into the sky like it was allergic to earth. We ended up repairing the plastic fins about 5 times, and spray painted it day-glow orange. We named it E-shak after the nickname of a mutual friend of ours who always wore a dayglow orange running vest.

    Even though it was a pre-made rocket that we beat on, it is still my favorite LPR rocket. It finally retired after we lost its fin in our field, but I always keep the fin can, for rememberance of the best beater rocket that ever lived.
    Level 1 - CTI H133 in an Estes Partizon
    Level 2 - CTI J260 (GREEN!) in a stretched EZI-65

  11. #11
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    It's like any hobby--the objective is personal recreation and personal improvement, and as long as you're getting that out of your build, that's what's important.

  12. #12
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    A few of my best loved rockets are my worst looking ones. Most of these would be my earliest attempts. A few are flight scarred. I suppose there is some overlap of the two.

    I try to make mine look as good as possible consistent with my skills. Sadly, that results in rockets that appeal to few except me and certainly do not compare to many of the works of art here on TRF. When all is said and done, it was my money, my time, my effort and the only one who has to be pleased is me. (Sorry, dear, of course I want to please you as well!)
    __________________
    John A. Lee O.S.L.
    Alamo Rocketeers NAR Section 661
    NAR 87285, L1 8 March 2008
    TRA 03040, L1 8 March 2008

    Photos of the "Fleet": http://www.flickr.com/photos/23694991@N03/

    I used to tell Mom, "...I want to fly rockets when I grow up!":cool2:

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

  13. #13
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    Here is a build of the Estes Big Daddy,each model i find better techniques.Click image for larger version. 

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  14. #14
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    While I try not to judge others, whether or not I know the history of the builder and rocket, I was looking at some shoddy builds the other day. Poorly formed glue joints. Awful paint. No true angles. Decals clearly botched. Even one case of use of hot melt glue to hold on fins. Pretty pathetic, I thought. That guy didn't know what he was doing and from the looks of it, didn't care.

    Then I realized these were my own rockets! Two of them were from my youth (Starship Vega, Nike Ajax) and one was the Big Bertha that was one of my first BAR builds (before I found TRF).

    I make enough of my own mistakes, and take enough of my own shortcuts, that I'm not about to judge anyone else's stuff. Live and let fly, says I.

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

  15. #15
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    Some of the "Coolest" rockets Ive seen were at group lauches.
    I got a big kick out of the finishes on some.
    Some looked like they were painted with water colors, magic markers,paint brush,ect.
    Colors that didnt jive with each other,free hand stripes, pretty much all of it.
    Now heres the wierd part,theres a part of me that wishes I could be happy with a finish like that.
    Hard to explain why,but its like these people are more into the sport,launching ,getting together with people, not concerned on how people view there rockets,no personal pressure to get that perfect finish.
    I dont know,like I say,its hard to explain.
    They seem just more free spirited I guess?????
    Beauty is in the eye of the rocket holder.
    Anywhoo- thats my take on it.
    Last edited by Scotty Dog; 16th April 2013 at 01:04 AM.
    NAR 90998
    SAM 0322
    Give Blood!
    Everything there is to know , is to know what you don't know.
    Somedays its hard to stay centered on being eccentric.
    I like Fat-Bottomed Rockets
    Temple of the Dog

  16. #16
    GDJ's Avatar
    GDJ is offline Semi-retired Rocketry guy
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mushtang
    Am I a build snob?

    Yep, but you're allowed and you have your way of building things. Nothing wrong with that.

    For all you know that might be some 7 or 8 year old's first rocket.
    Plays with wood, cardboard, and carpenters glue at home.

    Ego intentio parumper perficio fuga , tamen Ego peto a perficio reverto.

  17. #17
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    I rarely worry about looks. Most look pretty bad after a trip or two in the car even without flying (scratches, chipped paint, etc). They look good enough out on the pad though. Some people like building rockets, some like finishing them to near perfection, some flying, some making motors, some scratch building making own tubes and cones, scale modeling, clustering, staging, Mach, high altitude, etc. So many variants it is hard to get bored.

    I have a tough time putting that much effort only to lose / crash / CATO. If I ever want to build one with passes the microscope test, there are people in the hobby that can give me lots of great advice. Variety is good! Plenty of people to learn techniques for specific purposes in mine.
    Kevin Wuchevich
    Tripoli Pittsburgh
    TRA 12238

  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by Marc_G View Post
    Live and let fly
    Well said.

    Does it fly? Are you having fun? Good enough for me.

  19. #19
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    So you think you are a build snob?

    I was always inspired by the catalog illustrations, before I realized many of those beautiful Centuri models were touched up by an airbrush!
    My Uncle Art built incredible model ships. He showed me how to slow down and take the time to do it right.

    I probably take too much time on my builds. But then again, my models could last through more flights with less repairs.
    My old Centurion went through the ringer. It landed nose down in a puddle and I poured some water out the front of the body tube.
    If that tube edge wasn't sealed with CA glue, it wouldn't have survived.
    My Estes V2 was in a tree for a few weeks. If the fins weren't properly sealed and finished rain would have swelled and destroyed the balsa.

    Yeah, I overdo it.
    Last edited by hcmbanjo; 16th April 2013 at 04:53 AM.
    Hans "Chris" Michielssen
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    www.oddlrockets.com
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    Your results may vary
    "Nose cones roll, be careful with that."
    Every spaceman needs a ray gun.
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  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by hcmbanjo View Post
    Yeah, I overdo it.
    What? There is such a thing?

    FC
    I love the internet! All the whining and discontent of real life, minus the arrest record of administering 2x4s to the face.


    Green Bones and SRAM for me....
    You might be a Freight Dawg...
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  21. #21
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    Hey there all you snobs. I suppose I overdo it, too. Some of my builds have been seen here on other threads. I just get a kick outta doing my personal best. Seems to get better with each build, too. My wife complains about me spending so much effort just to destroy or lose it in flight. But then again, I did build it to fly. Yes, it did hurt when I snapped the fin off my US TOG, but the next time, when the other fin broke (in the middle, across the grain!?) it didn't hurt so bad. It is still a fun flier, even with battle damage and kung fu grip. For me, 1/2 of the fun is in the build, 1/2 is in the flight, and the third 1/2 is in fixing it after the crash for the next launch! I get it for those who utilize minimal building technique- it saves the pain when it hits hard.

  22. #22
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    They remote viewed that it was going to get a new home in Charlie Brown's tree and therefore dispensed with unnecessary expenditure of energy and resources.
    later, FSW “There are a thousand things that can happen when you go light a rocket engine, and only one of them is good.” — Tom Mueller, SpaceX propulsion chief, Air and Space magazine article, January 2012

  23. #23
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    I recall quite clearly my first two builds back in '69. No sanding, no fillets, no priming, no nothing. Glued them together and painted them with whatever paint I had. Flew them till they were lost—kinda like that Baby Bertha, I'd bet.

  24. #24
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    I don't criticize rockets directly but I often suggest that builders try slightly different methods of doing things. I've been on the other side of the criticism as well. Even though it hurt a little, I took their advice and improved on my technique. Just don't lend suggestions to people who won't listen.

    Alex
    TRA 14188
    level 2.9

  25. #25
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    Everyone is in rocketry for different things. Me, I like a pretty rocket. It doesn't need to be big nor fly high - so I take my time and do the best I can. Others want to launch electronic payloads and fly naked. Each to their own and at the end of the day, it's about the fun we have doing what we do.

    Krusty

  26. #26
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    Quote Originally Posted by foamy View Post
    I recall quite clearly my first two builds back in '69. No sanding, no fillets, no priming, no nothing. Glued them together and painted them with whatever paint I had. Flew them till they were lost—kinda like that Baby Bertha, I'd bet.
    I still have one of my builds from '69: an Astron Delta (the 2-staged carrier for the Camroc). It is a shelf queen that serves to remind me how far I've come. If anything, I suffer more from "finish envy" than snobbery. For my own satisfaction, I work to improve my building and finishing techniques with every build.

    However, I also have a "enough is enough" threshold. I am not willing to wet sand 6 color coats and 8 clear coats. or whatever it takes to get those professional results. Besides, I doubt I have the ability to achieve those kind of results!
    LW Bercini
    TRA #00134 / NAR #18121
    Seeing "the box" from the rear view mirror since 1970


    I don't measure my enjoyment of the hobby in Newton-Seconds

    It never ceases to amaze me how so many otherwise intelligent people have such poor reading comprehension.

  27. #27
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    I still have the first rocket I ever built. A Sprite that has no filler and painted with dope. Not much to look at but it did fly nicely for me and that's all that mattered.
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails Click image for larger version. 

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    Bob Harrington
    NAR #62740 L1
    AMA #46042
    CMASS & RIMRA Member

  28. #28
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    Quote Originally Posted by BobH48 View Post
    I still have the first rocket I ever built. A Sprite that has no filler and painted with dope. Not much to look at but it did fly nicely for me and that's all that mattered.
    That's about what I remember mine looking like—that's probably better. That's a real gem right there. I'd leave it just like that and maybe fly it once a year or so. Or not.

  29. #29
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    Quote Originally Posted by GDJ View Post
    Yep, but you're allowed and you have your way of building things. Nothing wrong with that.

    For all you know that might be some 7 or 8 year old's first rocket.
    Exactly my thoughts, I started building in 62 some of my rockets ended up sticking to my fingers, fingerprints everywhere. We learn as we go..

  30. #30
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    I think that poor construction methods are totally separate than the fit and finish of a rocket. As long as a rocket is constructed in a manner that flies stable and safe, what is done after that is up to the builder for adding in their own personal touch to the overall look of a completed rocket.

    I still have the first rocket I ever built. The fit and finished are on par for a young kid with minimal skill and tools. The paint is poor, I never applied the decals. Its been flown dozens of times and its still one of my favorite rockets. As my skill set has improved, so has my ability to craft a better rocket, and my ability to pay more attention to details. I now see fit and finish as personal satisfaction of a job well done.

    I don’t judge others fit and finish. This hobby is about keeping safety as a top priority. I still look at my first rocket, and just think we all had to start somewhere.


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