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  1. #1
    Join Date
    18th January 2009
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    Apollo Capsule Pad Abort Test Vehicle.

    Every once in a while you hit a milestone special event in a hobby. With rockets it can be an award or trophy in competition, your Level 1 certification, a particularly difficult model built, etc.

    Today was one of those days for me and TRF member Gus.

    We have been working on a joint project and he had me sworn to secrecy.

    The project was a 4 canted engine cluster of the Apollo Pad Abort Test Vehicle. His was based on a BT-70 escape moor and was to fly on 4 18mm "C" motors, approximately 1/12th scale.
    Mine was based on a BT-80 escape motor with 4 "D" motors and was 1/10th scale exactly.

    We have been working on this project since about November of last year and it all came to fruition today!

    We flew a boiler plate and an almost finished model today and the flights were OUTSTANDING!

    We weren't sure if this was even viable so we kept it quiet just in case. The flights were so unbelievably successful we were about to explode! So now we can let the cat out of the bag.

    Let me start with a construction and design review and later tonight when Gus gets home he will download the videos of the flights...including the last flight with a Booster vision on board camera!!!

    Here is the first set of scale drawings I did. I did this in both scales.

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

    www.sandmandecals.com

  2. #2
    Join Date
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    The next step was how to build this thing.

    I turned the motor mounts and tower nose cones out of balsa.

    The nose cones were easy...the motor mount, now that took some head scratching.

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

    www.sandmandecals.com

  3. #3
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    18th January 2009
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    Fitting the motor tubes proved a bit more difficult than first imagined but we came up with this pattern for the bottom of the motor mounts.

    Now remember there were two of each part. One in each different scale.
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    "I'm a sandman. I've never killed anyone. I terminate runners when their time is up." Logan from "Logan's Run".

    www.sandmandecals.com

  4. #4
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    The capsule parts came next.

    The tip of the capsule (the blast shield basically) and the bottom of the capsule were turned on the lathe out of blue foam board then covered with 0.5 oz. fiberglass cloth and epoxy.

    After the epoxy cured the foam was removed to reduce weight.

    The center "coupler" was used to hold a BT-80 for the 1/12th scale model and a BT-101 for the 1/10th scale.
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    "I'm a sandman. I've never killed anyone. I terminate runners when their time is up." Logan from "Logan's Run".

    www.sandmandecals.com

  5. #5
    Join Date
    18th January 2009
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    The body wraps were very large so I did them on mine in 7 segments like the original Apollo capsule.

    Each segment was joint to the upper centering ring with a 3/8" balsa strip, then the 7 individual segment wraps went on.
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    "I'm a sandman. I've never killed anyone. I terminate runners when their time is up." Logan from "Logan's Run".

    www.sandmandecals.com

  6. #6
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    18th January 2009
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    The top centering ring on the capsule is foamboard...man I love that stuff!

    The four holes are for the escape tower and are held in place by 4 little pins made from 1/16th" wood dowels. Just big enough for my fat little fingers!
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    "I'm a sandman. I've never killed anyone. I terminate runners when their time is up." Logan from "Logan's Run".

    www.sandmandecals.com

  7. #7
    Join Date
    23rd December 2010
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    479
    Oh goody, I get to be the one to ask. Are you going to kit this?


    Bill

  8. #8
    Join Date
    31st December 2005
    Posts
    238
    congrats on the good flight looks like a cool rocket from the drawing
    cant wait to see the videos
    IF AT FIRST YOU DONT SECCEED TRY READING THE INSTRUCTIONS

  9. #9
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    18th January 2009
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    Notice the black carbon fiber 0.35" arrow shafts that make up the uprights of the main tower coming out of the fiberglass/foam blast shield.

    Very light and very very strong!

    The tower was a LOT of work. The center ring was turned on the lathe and the smaller crosspieces are wood dowels.

    These are the full sized patterns I used. Now this is one of two. The tower sides are NOT the same! One side is bigger (wider)than the other.
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    "I'm a sandman. I've never killed anyone. I terminate runners when their time is up." Logan from "Logan's Run".

    www.sandmandecals.com

  10. #10
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    18th January 2009
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    Here is the completed model next to an Apogee 1/70th capsule.

    A LOT bigger, HUH?
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    "I'm a sandman. I've never killed anyone. I terminate runners when their time is up." Logan from "Logan's Run".

    www.sandmandecals.com

  11. #11
    Join Date
    23rd January 2009
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    1,487
    Where? I don't see it!

    Oh, that little speck in the lower left....



    Good work man, where's the launch video?!

  12. #12
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    18th January 2009
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    For a better scale of just how big this monster is.

    Here's me and the model. It's a bit over 47" tall!
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    "I'm a sandman. I've never killed anyone. I terminate runners when their time is up." Logan from "Logan's Run".

    www.sandmandecals.com

  13. #13
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    18th January 2009
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    Here's Gus preping his boilerplate next to mine.
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    "I'm a sandman. I've never killed anyone. I terminate runners when their time is up." Logan from "Logan's Run".

    www.sandmandecals.com

  14. #14
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    18th January 2009
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    They are ready to launch!!

    OK, guys...here's the bad news.

    I was launching Gus was taking videos so nobody was taking pics but...

    Gus has to drive about 80 miles home and will download the videos as soon as he can so...yer gonna have to wait for the flight pics!

    Believe me, it'll be worth it!
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    "I'm a sandman. I've never killed anyone. I terminate runners when their time is up." Logan from "Logan's Run".

    www.sandmandecals.com

  15. #15
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    Here is a detail shot of the top of the tower.

    The problem was according to scale only half of the tower upright makes contact with the motor flare.

    Since the uprights are hollow I have 500# braided Kevlar epoxied into a hole in the side of the upright. (It's covered by one of the cross struts).

    This comes out of the top of the hollow upright carbon fiber arrow shaft, over the top of the motor mount between the 24mm motors (under them) and back into the opposite upright.

    Sort of like two basket handles.

    Plenty strong!

    As it turned out I only deviated from scale by leaving off the motor flares...I will probably do them later.
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    "I'm a sandman. I've never killed anyone. I terminate runners when their time is up." Logan from "Logan's Run".

    www.sandmandecals.com

  16. #16
    Join Date
    25th January 2009
    Posts
    536
    H... Ho... Hol... Holy MOLY! That is a NICE rocket! I don't quite understand, did you turn the strut section or was it made out of dowels?

  17. #17
    Join Date
    3rd August 2002
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    561
    Hat's off to you guy's.....Too Freakin COOL!!!!! I think I need one too Gordy. Please tell me your putting it into a kit? Please!!!!!

  18. #18
    Join Date
    20th January 2009
    Location
    Williamsburg, VA
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    479
    OK ... you've outdone yourself. Now, please ....

    A. Put me on the kit list.

    B. Crank out a Saturn V to go with the capsule. : ) Oh, and a LJII also ... how about a scale "launch abort" right off the stack?

    : )
    Tim Wilson

  19. #19
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    18th January 2009
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    I didn't turn the struts but.

    I did turn the center ring inside the struts. I couldn't find a ring 2.55" in diameter.

    The four corner uprights are 0.35" hollow carbon fiber arrow shaft.

    The rest is 0.25' wood dowel.
    "I'm a sandman. I've never killed anyone. I terminate runners when their time is up." Logan from "Logan's Run".

    www.sandmandecals.com

  20. #20
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    18th January 2009
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    LOL! Sorry no kits in the plan but.

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

    www.sandmandecals.com

  21. #21
    Join Date
    24th September 2010
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    Victoria's Secret
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    This is the coolest/wackiest thing I've seen yet. WOW!

    I'd have NEVER thought to slice it up and come up with this one. Very, very impressive.

  22. #22
    Join Date
    12th November 2005
    Posts
    91

    Sandman. A Jedi he is...

    Woohoo!

    All suspicions are now confirmed. What a fantastic rocket!

    If you ever decide to kit it, there will be a loooong list of potential purchasers.

    Really well done guys. This is the most exciting thing I have seen since I got back into the hobby 8 months ago.

    Now do the Vostok version.
    "Disbelief in magic can force a poor soul into believing in government and business" - Tom Robbins

  23. #23
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    18th January 2009
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    This is the most exciting thing I have seen since I got back into the hobby 8 months ago.
    Excited!!!

    I thought I wet my pants when it worked!
    "I'm a sandman. I've never killed anyone. I terminate runners when their time is up." Logan from "Logan's Run".

    www.sandmandecals.com

  24. #24
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    21st January 2009
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    Nashville TN USA
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    Fantastic !!!!!! I can't wait to see the video!
    Andy

  25. #25
    Join Date
    25th May 2002
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    2,466

    Talking

    excellent work sandman and gus; doug malewicki did a 1/16th scale version in 1969 ..

    see the nov 69 and april 70 issues of Model Rocketry magazine at ninfingers website.
    Old Rocketeers don't die; they just go OOP"
    41 Years of Model Rocketry 1967-2008 .

  26. #26
    Join Date
    18th January 2009
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    Re: Apollo Capsule Pad Abort Test Vehicle.

    Originally posted by sandman
    Every once in a while you hit a milestone special event in a hobby...
    Today was one of those days for me and TRF member Gus.
    It truly was.

    This project has been underway for months. The amount of effort put into it by both Sandman and myself has been immense.

    For two guys who have built an awful lot of rockets there were an unbelievable number of new challenges in these builds. The motor mounts were not exactly "off the shelf". The crucial connection point between the top of the tower and the bottom of the flare was almost impossible to do to scale, and still be strong enough to fly. How to fashion the capsules, their internal supports, and the capsule bottom all posed challenges very different from prior projects. We worked separately but at times followed the same path and at times diverged. What we ended up with was two different approaches to the same project. So it was incredibly satisfying to see both versions fly so well today.

    First pic is the internal supports for my capsule. Sandman initially made me a capsule nosecone and base similar to his but alone they weighed almost 12 ounces, which was too heavy. So I crafted my capsule from foam board and poster board.
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  27. #27
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    18th January 2009
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    The tower was a bear to build. Unlike towers on other kits, which just serve to hold up the escape tower, this tower had to actually function and carry the full stress of pulling the capsule behind. This pic shows the internal motor mount and how the base of the flare attaches to the top of the tower.
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  28. #28
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    Next up is the capsule base and internal supports, tower and LES rocket all dry fit, without the capsule skin in place.
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  29. #29
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    BTW Gus is using foam board with the pattern printed on paper then glued onto the foam boad for cutting.

    I eventually used the same technique on mine and in my Outlander mod.
    "I'm a sandman. I've never killed anyone. I terminate runners when their time is up." Logan from "Logan's Run".

    www.sandmandecals.com

  30. #30
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    Final build pic is of all the pieces together except the capsule nose cone.

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