27 June 09 Fireside Chat - Jim Flis

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Jan 17, 2009
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TRF is pleased to announce that Jim Flis of Fliskits has agreed to host our first Fireside Chat and already we have been asked for a schedule change!:y:

The Chat will occur on the 4th Saturday of June, the 27th to be precise, but Jim has asked for a 2 hour window!:D He is scheduled to go live at 8pm Eastern Time and the session will last for 2 hours.

No specific topic has been chosen as of yet but you can bet that it will be an interesting couple of hours.

Thanks Jim!
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In NH, it might very well be by sitting by a warm fire burning in a wood stove! If he was here, it would be out in the wilderness, by a cozy campfire near the shore of a lake, though. Cooking up some trout, swapping stories (some of which might actually be true)... :D




(Yes, it really does look like this around here. :D )

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It'll be fun.... I hadn't realized at the time but that will be about the same time we announce the Saturn 1B and prepare for our trip to LDRS

It'll be a busy time, but it will also make for a fun chat (fireside chats aren't so much fun unless you have a lot going on :) )

I'm glad we got the chat feature going again. I have fun at our fireside chats and I think the TRF community really gets into them most of the time.

So we'll have fun. I don't have a specific topic yet, but there will be a general theme that I will announced shortly.

See you all then!
Sounds like fun. The hardest thing for me will be remembering to be here. ;)

Jim Flis will host our inaugural Fireside Chat on June 27th in the chat room.

8-10 PM Eastern Time

Start getting you ideas and questions ready!

We'll be posting the Fireside chat ground rules/traffic control soon.

Something I'd suggest is to go in and attempt to use 'chat' now, versus waiting until the 27th. That way if problems arise you'll have them all worked out before the chat starts.
Seems to me Jim doesn't have time to be chatting. Seems to me, he has a new kit to get out.....
well, doing a final test of chat to make sure I can really get into it :)

Looks good.

The topic for this upcoming FlisKits fireside chat will be sort of a general informational chat.

There will be a focus on education, new kits and national events.

I encourage as many of you who can attend to do so. They are great fun and I have yet to host one of these and not walk away with vital information from the folks here that lead to changes in our approach to kits, rocketry and business in general. by that I mean that you really can have an impact in what we do and how we do it.

It certainly helps if you can have some of your more important questions figured out up front. What I used to do in such situations is collect a set of questions in a text file so that I could cut-n-paste them when needed.

it's also good to come up with questions spontaneously based on the discussion that is going on.

I have discussed a set of rules/guidelines as a suggestion to the moderators here. Pretty much the same set we used to use when I started these fireside chats way back when. I believe that someone is supposed to be publishing them (or did they and I missed it??)

Some of what is going on at FlisKits today and in the very near future (this may help you formulate questions or topics of discussion) include:
  • New Saturn 1B kit
  • Other related kits (US manned and related space vehicles) that will be coming out beofre too long
  • New Micro to the MAXX kits
  • New compeition kits
  • Our recent releases of the MTTM Nanite and Tiddlywink and what they mean to FlisKits
  • Several new designs slated for release in 2009
  • Our upcoming anniversary (7 years)
  • Attending LDRS, NARAM and NERRF, as well as the upcoming NEMROC convention
  • Our involvement in NARCON 2010

(and that's just the short list :) )

I hope to see you there. If there are particular topics that you would like some focus on please let me know here or send me an email.

See you Saturday!
Just has does one enter a chat?

Not so dumb.

In the quick links tab on the main forum menu the is a place to clock for "Chat". Click it, and assuming you have the right software, it will load up and take you to the chat room.
We hope to be posting the Chat ground rules very soon.


The ground rules have now been posted in the sticky thread.
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Chat Part 1....

[19:03] <jflis> Welcome to the FlisKits fireside chat.
[19:03] <jflis> for those of you new to FLisKits, we started in Sept of 2002
[19:03] <jflis> we began with a few kits and after 7 years have grown to 60 kits, dozens of accessories,
[19:03] <jflis> hundreds of parts and a solid reputation for cust service, imagination and quality
[19:04] <jflis> I strongly encourage participation in this chat as much of what we do at FlisKits is based on feedback from our customers
[19:04] <jflis> Currently happening at FlisKits (this is a short list):
[19:04] <jflis> Upcoming release of the 1:282 scale Saturn 1B
[19:04] <jflis> Attending LDRS
[19:04] <jflis> Plans to revitalize the Tour de Deuce (TdD)
[19:05] <jflis> 2-3 new releases slated for NARAM and NERRF in August (including the NERRF commemorative kit)
[19:05] <jflis> Our 7th anniversary for Sept
[19:05] <jflis> Planning for the ucpoming NARCON 2010 slated for New England (location TBD)
[19:05] <jflis> Lookning into possible releases for late 2009 and early 2010
[19:06] <jflis> With that, we'll be here for a couple of hours, so sit back relax and let the fun begin! :)
[19:06] <Chrisn> When will TdD go international?
[19:06] <jflis> Ok, what we're going to do. I will ping a person, one at a time, starting at the top of the list, unless your name has
[19:06] <jflis> something in it to indicate a pass
[19:07] <jflis> when we get down to the bottom, i will go back up.
[19:07] <jflis> we will continue untill I got through the list 2 or so times wtih no new questions.
[19:07] <jflis> If you are going to be typing your question, please let us know wiht a "hang on" or something so that we don't just go past you
[19:07] <jflis> with that...
[19:07] <jflis> Troj, you're up!
[19:08] [troj] Saturn 1b - any updates on release date? I know you said it won't ship until after LDRS, but I was curious if you had an update, yet?
[19:08] <jflis> Right now we're still looking at June 29 (Monday).
[19:08] <jflis> If we do announce them it will be with the understanding that it wouldn't ship till after LDRS and that the OverDue promotion does not apply
[19:09] <jflis> This will only happen if I get ship confirmation on the custom parts taht I am waiting for.
[19:09] <jflis> You can expect to see the announcement on our site some time on Monday, so keep watch :)
[19:09] <jflis> Andy, you're next!
[19:09] <andy> grrr - you just answered my 1st Q
[19:09] <andy> but i'll ask it anyway...
[19:10] <jflis> :) tops in efficiency too! :)
[19:10] <jflis> Do you have another question, perhaps?
[19:10] <andy> can you summarise the best interesting kits in the pipeline?
[19:10] <jflis> oh, that's a toughie... Some of the kits we're looking at through the end of 09....
[19:11] <jflis> Micromaxx versons of the HERC, ACME Spitfire, Corona and a couple of originals
[19:11] <jflis> Saturn V 1:282, upscale (24mm) Triskelion, EMU (egg lofter), NERRF - commemorative kit, Thumper (will be renamed...)
[19:12] <jflis> That's not a complete list, but some of the more certain ones. The Saturn V may not come out till early next year, but I hope to hav
[19:12] <jflis> have the proto at NARAM
[19:12] <jflis> Chrisn, you're up!
[19:12] <Chrisn> When will TdD go international?
[19:12] <jflis> Oh man, let us finish the USA first... LOL
[19:13] <Chrisn> Ok I thought it had, but you were redoing it
[19:13] <jflis> Can't say... Maybe we can look into that once we have a handle on finishing the current national tour.
[19:13] <jflis> I would ask a favor of YOU. Once you see the Tour get back on line, email me a reminder of an international version and let's start talking :)
[19:13] <jflis> Elapid, you're next
[19:13] <pass> absent
[19:14] <jflis> elapid is absent?
[19:14] [troj] Correct
[19:14] <jflis> k
[19:14] <pass> or shagging, whatever
[19:14] <pass> :)
[19:14] <jflis> macer, you're next
[19:14] <macer> any mid or high power kits coming
[19:14] <jflis> Not in the very near future, but I think a mid power and a hpr bird is inevitable. I have a nice design as an entry level
[19:15] <jflis> HPR (level 1) bird that I hope to get into production in 2010.
[19:15] <Khyber_Pass> nice
[19:15] <jflis> We are also getting many requests for a 38mm Deuce, so that is also being looked at. However...
[19:15] <Chrisn> Chrisn_pass
[19:15] <jflis> FlisKits will always be primarily a LPR company. We have no plans for a LINE of MPR or HPR birds at this time.
[19:15] <jflis> Mike, you're next
[19:16] <mike> your web page mentions 'scale' any going to be 18/24 mm?
[19:16] <jflis> Mike, yes but I have no details at this time. I have a 3 X 24mm cluster Long Tom that I have been wanting to get out for a while.
[19:16] <mike> OOOOH
[19:17] <jflis> That's an Australian sounding rocket. Also, the 1:282 Saturn V may wind up being 18mm
[19:17] <mike> I'd like that. :)
[19:17] <jflis> I also have 2-3 other scale birds that I am looking at. If there is interest I may put up a list and see which ones are attracting the most attention...
[19:17] <jflis> randy, you're next!
[19:17] <RandyT0001> pass for now sorry
[19:17] <jflis> k
[19:17] <jflis> si_h1, you're next
[19:18] <sj_h1> What are the other scale birds you are doing
[19:18] <jflis> hhmmm, wish I had my list in front of me. hang on for about 20 seconds and I will pull up one of my lists...
[19:19] <jflis> ok, this is just a quick list of models that I have been working on, on and off, since opening...
[19:21] <jflis> Journeyman, A4/A9, Astrobee-500, Dauphin, Russian Frog, Long Tom, Nike-Hercules,
[19:21] <sj_h1> Nike-Hercules gets my vote
[19:21] <jflis> There is also the manned ships, mercury redstone, gemini titan, saturn V apollo, saturn V skylab
[19:22] <jflis> Not to mention all of the NON-scale kits.... Man, I'm out to about 2015 here... LOL
[19:22] <jflis> Ok, Vanel, you're up!
[19:22] <Vanel> What does Fliskits plan in the way of TARC 2010 support, especially given the major change in this year's challenge?
[19:22] <jflis> I haven't given it a lot of thought other than the knowlege that we want to get deeper into that event. We will be looking
[19:23] <jflis> into parts, materials and bigger discounts that can be provided. Also,
[19:23] <jflis> It's a given that I will help mentor our local team and also provide assistance to any other local (New England) teams that may need it
[19:23] <jflis> I would as TARC teams and mentors to contact me directly to help me understand what you need and how we can help.
[19:24] <jflis> As soon as I find the time to really understand (ie: actually build a model myself that meets the criteria) I will have a better idea of how i can help in that respect... :)
[19:24] <jflis> Ok, we've gone through the list once and that was great! :) We will continue like this till we all just poop out... so...
[19:25] <jflis> Troj, your're next!
[19:25] [troj] Back to the Saturn 1b (are you noticing a trend here? :p)
[19:25] <jflis> no problem :)
[19:25] [troj] You mentioned custom parts... Can you tell us what those are? Also, based on your posts, it sounds like the escape tower is a "project" in and of itself, from styrene rod?
[19:26] <jflis> wow, talke about a loaded (deep) question... :)
[19:26] <jflis> Ok, here's the poop
[19:26] <jflis> Custom parts on this saturn include:
[19:27] <jflis> All of the body tubes are custom sized just for this scale, this kit (big undertaking), nose cone with pre-drilled hole for nose weight, custom cone for the launch escape tower, custom ring for tower, custom centering ring for BT-48, custom decals (silkscreen waterslide), custom pastruct parts for tower.
[19:27] <jflis> As for the tower, there will be 3 ways to build it:
[19:28] <jflis> Skill Level 3 (Advanced): Cut out a printed wrap that LOOKS like a tower, fold and glue to launch tower cone and glue to nose cone
[19:28] <jflis> Skill Level 4 (expert): Assemble a tower using the provided 0.020" and 0.010" plastruct parts (you have to cut them to size). Total number of parts about 40 for the tower
[19:29] <jflis> Skill Level 5 (master), same as the plastic assembly but using nickle plated wire (not supplied). (this is how Jay Marsh built his)
[19:29] <jflis> This saturn 1B has greater detail and greater accuracy in scale than most larger 1B kits that have been offered over the years, both flying and static models...
[19:30] <jflis> whew!
[19:30] <jflis> Andy, you're next :)
[19:30] <andy> I assume that the MicroMaxx range is doing well and the motors will be available for some time still?
[19:30] <jflis> Yes, and yes.
[19:30] <andy> :)
[19:31] <jflis> Quest Aerospace recently (mid-2008) started to run out of thier stockpile of motors and placed a new order, repleshing the stock
[19:31] * Khyber_Pass hopes they'll be available uk-side eventually
[19:31] <jflis> This included the new Q2 undipped igniter and the new NE motor.
[19:31] <jflis> Assuming that we (all of us) can keep the growth of micromaxx going, there will always be motors.
[19:32] <jflis> As for the FlisKits line, it is growing and getting stronger every month. Sales are strong. Of course having the Nanite and (now) the Tiddlywink setting records only helps establish FlisKits as the best place for micro to the maxx model kits and parts :)
[19:33] <jflis> As for overseas and Canada, that will depend entirely on Quest as FlisKits has no way to get motors out of the US...
Chat Part 2...

[19:33] <jflis> CB, you';re next! :)
[19:33] <CB> anything odd/bizarre/unusual/weird in the pipeline?
[19:33] <jflis> yep.
[19:33] <jflis> :)
[19:33] <CB> care to elaborate?
[19:33] <CB> :)
[19:33] <jflis> Don't want to talk too much, but you will be seeing some teasers before too long.
[19:33] <jflis> One will be a scale model (i am hoping)
[19:34] <jflis> and another will be a futuristic model using a most unique engine mount sure to excite everyone! :)
[19:34] <CB> sounds interesting
[19:34] <jflis> That;'s about all I can say about that as I don't want to spoil anything nor do I want to make promises of a kit that I wind up not producing... so...
[19:34] <CB> fair enough
[19:34] <jflis> Chrisn, you're next!
[19:34] <Chrisn> Why did you decide to make the Saturn 1b at 1:282 scale and then need to make custom sized tubes for it, why not go with a standard sized tube?
[19:35] <jflis> I went with 282 scale for the following reason (this is an interesting bit of history :) )...
[19:35] <jflis> I wanted to make the smallest Saturn 1B I could make with conventinal and readily available materials (before the days of micromaxx)
[19:36] <jflis> At the time the smallest tube available was the Apogee PT-2 phenolic tubing.
[19:36] <jflis> So I began with that. The bottom most tube worked out to be a BT-50 (nearly exactly) and the upper (SIV-B stage) worked out to be a bit narrower so we made a BT-48 tube for that
[19:37] <jflis> Interestingly enough, with those elements set for the design, the CSM diameter is a BT-5. In Jay Marsh's build (and my original design), it WAS a BT-5 tube.
[19:37] <jflis> For our pending kit release, the nose cone includes the CSM and LEM shroud and plugs into the BT-48 (parachute compartment)
[19:38] <jflis> So, that'w really it in a nutshel. The only thing that realy bugs me is that the BT-2 is too small for a micromaxx motor, meaning
[19:38] <jflis> that I can not do a 1:282 scale Mercury Redstone....
[19:38] <jflis> Elapid, you're up (if you're here... :) )
[19:38] <Chrisn> doubt it
[19:39] <jflis> k, moving on. Fozzie, welcome and youy're up!
[19:39] <Fozzie> As you move into scale are you planning on a Merc Redstone? At any scale
[19:40] <jflis> yes. We have all of the plans, decals and most of the parts worked out (including having prototype parts already cut and built/tested) for a 1:130 (approx) scale (minimum diameter 13mm)
[19:40] <Fozzie> cool
[19:40] <jflis> It is an incredible bird and would have been first off the list were it not for the 40th anniversary of the moon landing coupled with the history behind my 1B design :)
[19:40] <Fozzie> 50th coming up soon
[19:41] <jflis> For those wondering about that history, Jay Marsh took my design to first place in Peanut Scale at NARAM in the early 90's, so it has a solid history
[19:41] <CB> bedtime for me, gnight folks
[19:41] <jflis> JAL, you're next! :) (welcome, by the way :) )
[19:41] <jflis> nite, cr
[19:41] <JAL3> Thanks for doing this. no question, just enjoying the atmosphere.
[19:42] <jflis> very good :)
[19:42] <jflis> Mike, you're up!
[19:42] <mike> At last years NARAM you were working on a rocket that had these lacy balsa engine cowelings, is that the teaser? Sci Fi and Scale are my thing.
[19:42] <jflis> Yep! I figured some would remember that (there are also pix posted somewhere on the Archive TRF...)
[19:43] <mike> GREAT, Now to place an order. :)
[19:43] <jflis> I have not had a chance to get back to that design as I didn't like the rest of the design, just that motor mount, but expect something before the end of the year
[19:43] <jflis> Also, you can expect that mount available as an accessory as I think it has a LOT of potentioal for someone with a good imagination!
[19:44] <jflis> Peartree, you're up! (welcome :) )
[19:44] <Peartree> Any surprises for NARAM?
[19:45] <jflis> Unfortunately, not really. We will have a couple of nice MttM kits that I hope bring some excitement. We will have the new Saturn 1B , the Nantucket Sound and the new NERRF rocket, but nothing all that specific to NARAM.
[19:45] <Peartree> I'm still looking forward to it.
[19:45] <Peartree> Saving my pennies too... nest
[19:45] <Peartree> Next
[19:45] <jflis> I am hoping to have a couple of nice builds for the night launch (Nantucket Sound and a UFFO saucer) and I hope that the Cut Away Model ROcket Motor goes over well as it was of big interest when I showed the proto[s last year
[19:45] <jflis> Randy, you're next!
[19:45] <RandyT0001> Any plans to expand the futuristic line over the next couple of years?
[19:47] <jflis> Most certainly. I have several ideas I am kicking around and you should expect 2 or so a year for the next few years. I have several older designs I am bring back to the fore front as well as many new ideas I am excited about. Rest assured, futuristic designs will be coming out of FlisKits for a long time coming :)
[19:47] <jflis> sj, you're just in time :) you're up!
[19:48] <sj_h1> Any boost gliders in the works?
[19:48] <jflis> Actually, yes.... two designs that I have had great success with in the past are being brought back to the forefront. They are:
[19:49] <jflis> A whitewings boost glider, 13mm. Back in 2003 we were in discussion with White Wings over licensing and it was looking very good. Talks dropped off when the US representative took another job and we got busy with other things. I am looking to re-establish contact with the later this year with hopes of seeing something in 2010
[19:50] <sj_h1> man, I am going to get killed when my wife sees my next order
[19:50] <jflis> The other is a built up (ribs and skin) similar to a basic R/C type of aircraft. I have built many of these over the years, hand cutting each stinking rib. Laser cutting allows us to seriously consider this for kitting...
[19:50] <jflis> I have gotten times of over 1 min while hand trimming this glider... good stuff. It would be an 18mm BG
[19:51] <JAL3> HOSPITAL PAGER, gotta go; will leave this channel up to capture thread; just pass me by; thanks;bye
[19:51] <jflis> So, yes we have some BG ideas as well as a couple of parasite glider and even more RG ideas. Frankly, too manty ideas and not enough time nor budget...
[19:51] <jflis> By JAL
[19:52] <jflis> Vanel, you're up!
[19:52] <Vanel> The big E has radically changed its kit materials - unprinted chutes, balsa cones, etc. - citing new regs. Do these regs give you cause for concern?
[19:53] <jflis> Yes, they do and it is something that we are keeping very close watch on. I am not at liberty to discuss any specifics, but the whole issue is something that FlisKits is keeping a very close eye on. Suffice it to say, you will see an immediate impact when you discover that our Saturn 1B kit will NOT include any nose weight. We felt it best not to ship a kit with a bag of lead buck shot at this time.... LOL
[19:54] <jflis> Just so folks take notice of something regarding these fireside chats...
[19:55] <jflis> Originally, these were going to be 1 hour long. That's 7 min from now and we have only been able to get through the list TWO times...
[19:55] <jflis> I am glad I set this chat to 2 hourse :)
[19:55] <jflis> Ok, with that, Troj, your're next!
[19:55] [troj] Not another Saturn 1b question, I promise.....
[19:55] <jflis> LOL
[19:55] [troj] Have you ever considered a Vostok kit?
[19:55] <jflis> Either way, what ever you need answered
[19:56] <jflis> welcom hcmbanjo
[19:56] <jflis> Considered it? sure.... And (for now), that's about as far as it has gone... :)
[19:56] * troj pushes Jim further. :)
[19:57] <jflis> Frnakly, it comes down to SO many other projects and (frankly), the Vostok never really caught my fancy.... (sorry... :) )
[19:57] <jflis> Elapid, one more shot... you there?
[19:57] <jflis> While we're waiting for Elapid... :)
[19:57] <hcmbanjo> I'm joining late, any changes on the Cutaway engine kit?
[19:58] <jflis> NO changes at this time, but we have several changes slated for the next documentation upgrade which will probably happen early 2010...
[19:58] <jflis> It's been a pretty good seller, but then we have several hundred sets of documents to go through before we can do an update.
[19:59] <jflis> JAL, you're next!
[19:59] <hcmbanjo> Gotcha, it was a fun build, really different.
[19:59] <jflis> thank you :) We've gotten good feedback from educators too
[19:59] <Fozzie_pass> JAL left remember
[19:59] <jflis> oh yeah, thanks... (he shoulda changed his name :) )
Chat Part 3....

[20:00] <jflis> Mike, you're up!
[20:00] <mike> 2010, going to busy. How about a plan pack for a downscale UFFO using little non-dairy creamer cups? (maybe 13mm?)
[20:00] <jflis> Actually, that would be kinda cool. I will try to remember to post a pole on TRF regarding that. Here's my thinking...
[20:01] <jflis> I would be willing to post some "plan packs" if it were acceptable that the "pack" contained a single sheet shwoing a plan-view of the basic design with a list of parts and some verbal instructions, but lacking much detail
[20:02] <jflis> It would not have the level of detail of our regular kits nor even our free-download kits.
[20:02] <jflis> Please folks, do not respond here, but watch for a pole asking some of these questions
[20:02] <mike> fine by me :)
[20:02] <jflis> If the feedback is positive I will look into it. It is just that even such plan packs can take time (of which I have little to spare)
[20:03] <jflis> Vanel, you're up!
[20:03] <Vanel> Which kit out of the Fliskit lineup is the most popular? Is there one you consider the "flagship" of the fleet?
[20:03] <jflis> Anyone else wanna take this one???
[20:03] <jflis> :)
[20:03] <Chrisn_pass> duece
[20:03] <jflis> Yes, it is STILL the Deuce's Wild!
[20:03] <terryg> pass
[20:04] <jflis> I will admit that the Thing-a-ma-Jig and the Whatchamacallit outsell the Deuce year over year, but that is only because of the impact to educational bulk packs and beginner classes
[20:04] <jflis> If I remove the edu bulk packs from the numbers, the Deuce comes out on top.
[20:05] <jflis> Other top selling kits include the Tres, Richter Recker, Decaffeinator, Tiddlywink, Rhino, ACME spitfire, Corona and Praetor
[20:05] <jflis> I am sure I missed a few, but those are the big-uns :)
[20:05] <jflis> hcmbanjo, your're next (everyone else is passing :) )
[20:06] <jflis> hcmbanjo, are you there?
[20:06] <hcmbanjo> I see on the website a listing for controllers and launchers but no product is listed. Anything down the pike?
[20:06] <jflis> k
[20:06] <jflis> ugh.... :)
[20:07] <jflis> We have now GOT to be about 3 years late on getting these things done. We have solid plans set up and have built proto's (some of you may have even seen them from time to time)
[20:07] <jflis> OUr problem at this time is two fold. Time to finalize and document the plans and then getting all of the custom parts id'd and ready for purchase.
[20:08] <hcmbanjo> How does the Thunderbird kit sell? Are people interesting in a real build anymore?
[20:08] <jflis> I would like to say this fall in time for the holidays, but I really can give any commitment on that....
[20:08] <jflis> I'll take that 2nd question, but please only one queston at a time :)_
[20:09] <jflis> The thunderbird is a very good seller. Frnakly, we get a LOT of compliments from customers BECAUSE our kits require a bit more work.
[20:09] <jflis> I know of only one piece of feedback, over 7 years, that said something different...
[20:09] <hcmbanjo> Sorry if my manners aren't to great, I've never done a chat before. Thanks for all the answers.
[20:09] <jflis> So, our kits are real builder kits and will continue to be so. We will occationally, as we see fit, include laser cut parts, but certainly not always :)
[20:10] <jflis> No, no apology necessary :)
[20:10] <jflis> We see this (our builders kits) as an opportunity to teach new techniques To our customers and as new challenges FOR our customers :)
[20:10] <jflis> terryg, you're next!
[20:10] <terryg> There was a great prize of a 29mm duce that was won by a lucky individual. Any hope for the rest of us?
[20:11] <jflis> That would be a yes... We are actually looking into the parts for this. I was actually hoping for a 2009 release but we had to set that aside...
[20:12] <terryg> It would be a great seller
[20:12] <jflis> As luck would have it, in the span of just a few weeks (literally) we ran out of documentatoin on over 10 kits, ran out of a critical body tube and prepared to announce a new kit (Saturn 1B) with a bunch of custom tubes...
[20:12] <terryg> pass
[20:13] <jflis> Financially, that wacked us so anytihng requirening new tubes has been set aside for a later date. If sales continue to be as strong as they have been the past 3 months though, it will help us look into many more releases.
[20:13] <jflis> Vanel, you're up!
[20:13] <Vanel> I miss the DOM... I know you are incredibly busy, but any chance it will be back in the near future? Perhaps in a form that would have less impact on your time?
[20:14] <jflis> Yes, I think it will find a way back. It was great fun for me and for all of our customers. In order for FlisKits to do that though,
[20:14] <jflis> we would have to find someone able and willing to effectively run it month to month. We have even considered going to a quarterly contest.
[20:14] <jflis> As it is, 3 *other* design contests I have wanted to get going over the past year have slide away and never happened...
[20:15] <jflis> I don't want to re-start the DOM until I am certain that we will be able to keep it going and keep it current...
[20:15] <jflis> Chrisn, you're next!
[20:15] <Chrisn> Have you ever considered more canted motor rockets to go with the Deuce and Tres, 4 or 5 motors
[20:16] <jflis> We have a 4 motor version that we are looking at. I havn't considered a 5 motor, but now I know I won't be able to sleep tonight... LOL
[20:16] <jflis> I would love to do such a design, but the idea we have on the drawing board is quite complex and I simply haven't had the time to dig into it very deeply.
[20:17] <jflis> One idea that I had was to take a rather generic single motor design (i have hundreds...) and called it the "One-Eyed Jack", then offer a package deal at a discount of the "Deuce's, Tres' and One Eyed Jacks, wild!".... (groan... LOL)
[20:18] <jflis> MIke, you're up (man, MOST of you are in pass mode! LOL)
[20:18] <mike> knowing what you know now, would you do it all again? :)
[20:18] <jflis> Good question.
[20:18] <jflis> Short answer... ...in a heartbeat.
[20:19] <jflis> Allow me to explain something about myself and about FlisKits that many of you may already know (or figure out) but some may not...
[20:19] <jflis> At this time I am making about 10% of what I was making when I worked the high tech field. I worked for a good company doing important work and made a LOT of money doing it.
[20:20] <jflis> If they walked up to me with my old job back (vacation, medical, dental, and all), I would simply send them packing.
[20:20] <jflis> I have never worked so hard for so little money and been so satisfied with my life as I am today.
[20:20] <jflis> I have little to no free time, but when I find (make) some, Kathy and I enjoy it to the hilt.
[20:21] <jflis> Kathy joins me on every away trip and we actually spend far more time together than we ever did before.
[20:21] <terryg> quit
[20:21] <jflis> I enjoy that I can PERSONALLY contribute to something and feel that I am making a difference (whether I am or not, I feel that I am).
[20:21] <jflis> I am in a good place. Expect to see me for a long time to come :)
[20:22] <jflis> I hope that helps answer the question :)
[20:22] <jflis> Vanel, you're next!
[20:22] <Vanel> What is your favorite rocket launch or event to attend?
[20:23] <jflis> easy answer would be our local CMASS launches... heck, some of them are larger than national or regional launches... On a good day, at the large field, we will have over 100 fliers and see well over 500 flights in a single afternoon... (we've done over 1000)
[20:23] <jflis> For national and regional events, I would have to say NARAM, because...
[20:24] <jflis> I get to see many old friends, for more than a short weekend. Kathy and I have become fast friends with the Estes' and love our time with them each year. Ditto the McLawhorns (SEMROC) and SO many more that I can't list them all
[20:24] <jflis> So, for flying it would be our local club. For socializing it would be NARAM. to be honest, for sales it would be LDRS... :)
[20:24] <jflis> Troj, you';re up!
[20:24] [troj] No scale questions. Promise. :p
[20:25] [troj] I've heard a rumor....
[20:25] <jflis> :)
[20:25] [troj] About something you might be doing....
[20:25] <jflis> oh man....
[20:25] [troj] Something about a certain pending flight.....
[20:25] [troj] Something about a certain Mr Flis possibly flying an H motor?
[20:25] <jflis> oh, you've heard about that, have you??? man, whose been talking here???
[20:25] <jflis> LOL
[20:26] <jflis> Well, I wasn't talking to many about it, but I am looking to get my L1 some time this year....
[20:26] [troj] I'll take that as confirmation. :)
[20:26] <jflis> The kicker is, the design I will be using.....
[20:26] <jflis> that would be a yes... :)
[20:26] <jflis> anyone curious about the design??? (one of my own... :) )
[20:26] * troj raises his hand
[20:26] <jflis> LOL
[20:26] <jflis> the Decaffeinator....
[20:27] <jflis> It will have a 38mm tube running the full length of the model, with the cups foam filled for strength. The fins will be ply painted white. On the outside it will look like a stock Decaffeinator...
[20:28] <jflis> In fact, it is my plan to fly a stock decaffeinator FIRST on a D motor, then get in line with the HPR version... just for the looks I'll get... LOL
[20:28] [troj] :)
Chat Part 4...

[20:28] <jflis> Chrisn, you're mext!
[20:28] <Chrisn> you ruined that surprise then
[20:28] <Chrisn> Is there any behind the scenes at fliskits, so we can understand just what is required to get a kit from the material supliers and into the bag ready to be sent off?
[20:29] <jflis> oh wow... *big* question.... Here goes nothin'
[20:29] <jflis> Virtually all of my designs start as sketches in my note book. If it looks good I refine it on the computer (note I do not use any simulation tools).
[20:30] <jflis> If that still looks good I will hand make a proto type with all hand cut parts.
[20:30] <jflis> Test flights, paint schemes and details around construction all play a part in my desire to kit something.
[20:30] <jflis> I will also make a point of flying it with others (such as CMASS) to get rocketeer reaction. If all is good I then to to the next level.
[20:31] <jflis> I will build a second one, noting the steps and marking them down, numbered, one at a time.
[20:31] <jflis> I will then test that proto.
[20:32] <jflis> I will then build another, folloiwng the steps I created (and most likely modified). I will photo each step as I go for use in drawing figures
[20:32] <jflis> For this build I will also have proto parts manufactured for the build (cones, rings, etc), as needed
[20:33] <jflis> Such a build usu8ally results in changes to the assembly steps as I discover things. If the changes are so drastic as to change the design or a custom part, I stop, make the changes and start a new build and photo's
[20:33] <jflis> ONce that is done I use the photo's to draw the figures, use the figures to create the written steps, use photo's of the proto for cover art and log and put together a complete set of documentation
[20:34] <jflis> I then build another, from the printed docs. If it is a complex kits (like the Saturn, Nantucket Sound, Tiddlywink and the like) I will have 1 or 2 others also do a build for feedback.
[20:34] <jflis> After that I make any necessary changes to the documents. If they are drastic changes, I build another proto.
[20:35] <jflis> ONce set, I order any custom parts, begin working on the web pages and forum announcements. I also begin ad artwork for the various magainzes that we advertize in
[20:35] <jflis> ONce all of the parts are enroute I place an order for the documentation (400-800 sets at a time).
[20:36] <jflis> When everhthing comes in we kit up a few to make sure there arent' any last minute surprizes and then we announce.
[20:37] <jflis> For the actual kitting, Kathy puts all of those small parts in the little bags (KOP - Kit of Parts) (different for each kit). She is also the one who puts all of the parts in the kit bag. I seal the bags up (we work to gether well :) )
[20:37] <jflis> That's the readers digest version, if you can imagine... LOL
[20:37] <Chrisn> SOrry for making things difficult with a big question :), perhaps some sneak peek photos of the work area would go well on TRF?
[20:37] [troj] Translation: You create the work; Kathy DOES the work.... :p
[20:37] <jflis> man, i had ot go back to see who asked that so I knew who to go to next... LOL
[20:38] <jflis> Troj... ...shhhhhhhhh
[20:38] <jflis> hcmbanjo, you're next!
[20:38] <hcmbanjo> Jim, you may have just answered my question as you do the layout and draw instructions for the kits. What software do you use? I did paste-up years back and must say, They are very well done.
[20:39] <jflis> We are very proud of our instructions. I do everything in Corel Draw. I imagine there are other good tools and many even better, but there is also a learning curve. I know Corel cold so it does the job. :)
[20:39] <hcmbanjo> Me too. I gotta run, thanks for all the insights and great product!
[20:40] <jflis> One advantage I had coming into this business is that I had kitted up many of my designs back in the days of Pearl River (convention) and NEMROC and got great feedback on how to make them better and what the customers were looking for in the way of instructions.
[20:40] <jflis> have a great night!
[20:40] <jflis> Mike, you're next!
[20:40] <mike> You do alot for others, What type of rocket do you build for YOUR OWN pleasure? ;)
[20:40] <jflis> oh man, don't get me started! I've TRIED that.... doesn't work... Let me give you some examples....
[20:41] <jflis> I wanted to build some rockets just for the fun of it... Just for ME, as it were...
[20:42] <jflis> We have the UFFO, Corona booster, HERC-5, Pheord X150, and others...
[20:42] <jflis> I would scratch these out of stuff laying around the shop, bring them to a CMASS launch to do some sport flying only to have a line of people at my table and in email asking "when is THAT going to be released???"
[20:42] <jflis> LOL
[20:43] <jflis> Every time I try to fly just for fun I wind up with a new kit... It kills me... Now, if I build something just for fun I have to ask myself if I want to kit it. If not, I only fly it in my front yard... LOL
[20:43] <mike_pass> testament to your creativity
[20:44] <jflis> thank you :)
[20:44] <jflis> Terry, you're next!
[20:44] <terryg> The new quest igniters really take the pain out of clusters. Any plans for new clusters or for the higher power black powder motors?
[20:45] <jflis> I have some ideas for cluster MttM kits, so keep watch. I also have some requests for more cluster mounts for the BT-80 so watch for that as well. If anyone has a specific request for a new engine mount, send me an email. I keep them in a separate folder and when I have the time I pull from that folder for ideas for new mounts.
[20:45] <jflis> Vanel, you're next!
[20:45] <Vanel> You mentioned a future egglofter earlier - competition or sport?
[20:46] <jflis> Competition.
[20:46] <Vanel> Nice!
[20:46] <jflis> In fact, you can see a photo of the EMU (as built by one of my Boys &* Girls club kids) here: https://jflis.com/bgc/2009/images/mk/rocketry/dsc03432.jpg
[20:47] <jflis> I had my most recent advanced class focus on competition. We did a cougar model (SD) first, followed by the EMU.
[20:47] <jflis> Interestingly enough, while I have had this design for a while, I didnt' do anything with it until one of my long standing educational contracts contacted me about an egg lofter.
[20:48] <jflis> Since they wanted to purchase so many of them (50) I figured it was a good time to do the documentation. So this one is pretty much in the can already. to be honest, I did this with the class to work out any bugs in the documents :)
[20:48] <jflis> So, this one will be coming out quite soon. I just don't have a date yet.
[20:49] <jflis> In case you're wondering, that is the Howard Kuhn egg capsule as available from Pratt Hobbies. A great competition egg capsule!
[20:49] <jflis> Troj, you're next!
[20:49] [troj] Pass
[20:49] <jflis> k
[20:49] <jflis> ANdy, you're next!
[20:49] <andy> how about a micromaxx quail's egg lofter? ;)
[20:49] <Chrisn_pass> That would be illegal in some countrys!
[20:49] <jflis> ok, hand on a second... I gotta dig up a pic...
[20:50] <jflis> ok, check out https://jflis.com/hobbies/rocketry/photos/mini-collection.jpg
[20:50] <jflis> LOL
[20:50] <jflis> And this was from about 20 years ago...
[20:51] * andy likes
[20:51] <jflis> But serously, no plans for such a kit. That was just for fun :)
[20:51] <jflis> What would be REALLY kewl would be to do an egg lofter that could carry an EMU or Ostritch egg... LOL
[20:51] <Chrisn_pass> I was going to ask that
[20:51] <andy> we've done ostrich eggs in UK
[20:52] <jflis> oh, VERY kewl! Actually, they are becoming more common here, it would make for an incredible event or project at one of the bigger launches :)
[20:52] <jflis> Elapid, you're up!
[20:52] <Fozzie_pass> Junkyard Wars did an Ostritch egg
[20:52] <jflis> I think I remember that.
[20:53] <jflis> Elapid, are you there?
[20:53] <Chrisn_pass> Hes not
[20:53] <jflis> While waiting for Elapid, we'll move on to Vanel. Your next!
[20:53] <Vanel> How are your big payloaders (Paylord and Starlord) doing?
[20:54] <jflis> They have their high points and low points. Actually, rather like the Tumbleweed... We'll go several weeks without selling even one. Then we'll sell one or two a week, then we'll hit for sevral a day for a while, then back to nothing... Those 3, along with the Cougar models are the only ones that do that...
[20:54] <jflis> it's weird.
[20:55] <jflis> Well, for the competition kits it makes sense (all i have to do is see SD at a regional and I know sales will go up), but the others/?? real odd... LOL
[20:56] <jflis> Ok, we're approaching 10 pm. I will go through the list TWO more times unless there are a lot of new folks wanting to ask questions.
[20:56] <jflis> Also, if you want, you can request a follow up question and I will stay with you for that 2nd question.
[20:56] <jflis> With that, Troj, you're next!
[20:56] [troj] pass'
[20:56] <jflis> Ealpid, you there?
[20:56] <jflis> Jal?
[20:57] <jflis> And we find ourselves back to Vanel. Do you have any last questions that you'd like me to consider?
[20:57] <Vanel> Naming kits seems to be problematic these days - what's your process?
[20:57] <jflis> Dreams.
[20:57] <jflis> LOL
[20:57] <Vanel> If ti works :)
[20:58] <jflis> That's a toughie, actually. I do goole searches, actually go tot he library. Look things up at the Patent and Trademark office, and such.
[20:58] <mike_pass> Thanks Jim, g'nite.
[20:58] <jflis> the toughest part though is finding a name that really fits the kit. I have nearly as much fun naming them as I do designing them :)
[20:59] <jflis> That about wraps up the formal portion of this chat. I am going to hang out here for a while longer so if anyone has any other questions, feel free :)
[20:59] <Vanel> Thanks Jim!
[20:59] <jflis> I hope you all enjoyed the time here. I find these to be very enjoyable. I hope you do to.
man I'm two for two at missing things tonight, thanks for putting up the chat Troj!
Aww shoot. I forgot about the fireside chat. I'm in Korea so that took my mind off of it. Thanks, Kevin, for putting this up. It's nice to know what was said.
Many thanks to Kevin for posting the chat and to those who attended too.

It was fun :) Of course I had finger cramps for an hour afterwards... LOL

They'll be more, so if you missed this one, don't worry :)