38mm Sooper Neon

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Buckaroo

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With the snow falling here in Middle Tennessee I figure it is time to kick the winter build session into gear... :D

My second high power build is an up-scale based on the Estes Super Neon using LOC 2.6 tubing (scale works out at 2.69x), 38mm motor mount, and avionics bay (LOC). Total length is 60 inches, tube fins are 9.5 inches, guesstimating around 3-4 lbs dry weight. Primarily designed to fly on "I" impulse motors, the RockSim file so far indicates that it should also perform well on smaller "J" motors. I had not planned on using this rocket for my Level 2 Certification (got a couple of 54mm designs in work...) but if it comes together nice who knows... :confused2:

Got most of the major components gathered up to get started, including the most important part of the whole project, the vinyl decals, provided by StickerShock (thanks Mark!). Stock Super Neon shown for scale.

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Went to work with the X-acto knife and the razor saw and got all the various tubes cut to length.

The bottom section is 30 inches long, and the top section is 20 inches. The tube fins are 9.5 inches and the motor mount tube is 14 inches.

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Progress on the Sooper Neon this weekend was limited mostly to the motor mount. I used 14 inches of LOC 38mm tubing, and 3 LOC 38mm to 2.56 C/Rs.

Note: All the LOC components; Tubing, Nose Cone, Av Bay, and C/Rs were purchased through Commonwealth Displays who have always done right by me, and seem to have a fairly large inventory of the stuff I'm interested in. ;)

The shock cord for this bird is 1/4 inch tubular Kevlar purchased from Giant Leap, another dealer that I have always had good dealings with. I normally prefer to use flat woven Kevlar from Uncle Mikes Rocket Shack, but since I had this in hand I figured I would put it to use. Both sections of shock cord are 24 feet long.

The shock cord is epoxied directly to the motor tube so the first order of business was to carve a shallow notch in the inside edge of the fwd C/R. Once this was complete I tied a knot in the shock cord behind the C/R and epoxied the two forward C/Rs in place.

Next the tail of the shock cord was epoxied to the motor mount tube, and finally the C/Rs were filleted on the backside.

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The motor mount is now ready to install. Note that the aft C/R and the Slimline retainer are only dry-fit at this point. They will be permanently installed later.

After tucking the shock cord back into the motor mount everything is ready to be installed.

One thing that is not visible are the two small wood screws in the aft C/R which will allow me to pull it out after the epoxy sets on the fwd C/Rs. Using the tried and true method of taped together popsicle sticks I spread some epoxy inside the body tube in the general location of the two fwd C/Rs. Next, large beads of epoxy were poured onto the tops of both C/Rs, and the whole assembly was slid into place. For the next 20 minutes or so, I held the tube in a near horizontal position, and slowly rotated it to allow the epoxy to run up onto the side of the BT.

The whole thing is now set upright to cure, hopefully I didn't get too much epoxy near the aft end of the tube and will be able to extract the aft C/R tomorrow morning. :p

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Minor update this evening: Motor mount installation continues, the motor retainer and aft C/R were removed without issue. The next step was to fillet the backside of the middle C/R, which is accomplished with the combo popsicle stick / soda straw device shown. After mixing up some epoxy in a small flexible cup, it is possible to carefully pour the epoxy into the straw, which can then be inserted into the BT where the epoxy is allowed to drain onto the C/R Body Tube joint. Since this is a two hand operation (three actually if you count the flashlight held in your teeth :p) There are no pictures of the actual process. You will have to take my word that it is effective.

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Looks good so far. sounds like a good deal letting the epoxy drain out of the straw to do the joints. Im going to have to try that
 
Mathew,

That is AWESOME, when I did the decals, I thought.. This is pretty cool. seeing your build thread... I guess I know what project to add to my list of things to do!

Looking great!
 
Mathew,

That is AWESOME, when I did the decals, I thought.. This is pretty cool. seeing your build thread... I guess I know what project to add to my list of things to do!

Looking great!

Thanks Mark, I'm sure your vinyl will have a lot to do with how it looks!

If you decide to build one go bigger, at least 3" for a 38mm, or 4" for a 54mm. I got exactly what I designed, a rocket that will eat just about any "I" motor out there, but not much else.

Of course I could glass the whole thing... :rolleyes:
 
So... I have been slowly picking away at this build... Work, Life, Sick, Rain, Tornadoes, standard stuff. :p

I did get a few things done:

Installed and reinforced the aft centering ring.

Assembled the shell of the Avionics bay. The thin coat of epoxy on the inside is so that when I drill the static ports I'll get nice clean holes. Necessary...? maybe not, but it makes me feel better. :p

Had one nice day and got a coat of primer on the nose cone, upper body tube and avionics bay.

I also started working on the sled and closures for the av bay. Overall I like the way LOC has their bay put together, but there are a couple of things that bug me. First off, all the hardware is 3/16" (#10) but the holes and lugs for the sled are 1/4". Second is the fact that the sled itself isn't long enough to mount the altimeter (Perfectflite MAWD) and battery on the same side of the sled. Since the hardware for mounting the MAWD protrudes through the sled, I'm going to have to come up with a way to mount the battery. More thinking required... :cyclops:

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By far the coolest thing that happened this week was that I managed to wrangle some epoxy and glass cloth out of a fellow rocketeer so that I can try my hand at glassing the inside of the tube fins.

I got the idea from a post in John Lee's LOC Cyclotron thread. Someone had suggested that by using strips of light glass, and overlapping them lengthwise around the inside of the tube that it would make them tougher with respect to landing/transport damage.

It made sense to me, although the real reason I'm doing it is to get some hands on experience working with fiberglass which will hopefully serve me later on this building season. :D

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I thought you lived in California there for a second :roll:

Nice build so far.

Ha! Now that you mention it, I do remember my Mom telling me about some torandoes/water spouts down around Sunset Beach (?) recently. I spent all but the last 6 years of my life in SoCal, I can handle the ground shaking, but the whole tornado thing in Ohio and now Tennessee is a little un-nerving. :eek:

Looks like we may be headed back to the land of fruits and nuts this summer! Hopefully the tornado thing was just a fluke. :p
 
Build looks good! I want to upscale the new super neon XL that estes just released, which will be pretty much the same as this one.

I have never done any high power stuff, havent played with rockets in over 15 years. I would like to build a 3" version, which on the super neon xl would bring the length to 60", but i think i would add a couple inches

Dont want any crazy high altitude flights, would rather have longer burns on lower impulse motors, no higher than 2000ft flights max. Would it fly ok on a 29mm set-up? Like the Aerotech g64-4w?
 
Build looks good! I want to upscale the new super neon XL that estes just released, which will be pretty much the same as this one.

I have never done any high power stuff, havent played with rockets in over 15 years. I would like to build a 3" version, which on the super neon xl would bring the length to 60", but i think i would add a couple inches

Dont want any crazy high altitude flights, would rather have longer burns on lower impulse motors, no higher than 2000ft flights max. Would it fly ok on a 29mm set-up? Like the Aerotech g64-4w?

Thanks... I ran a quick sim using my Rocksim model with a G-64 and got 600' out of it. I expect that would be optimistic since the actual build will certainly be heavier than what Rocksim is predicting. You might have trouble finding many "G" motors that would fly a 3" version. There are plenty of 29mm options in the "H" and "I" impulse range, but that gets into certification territory. If I was giving you some advice I'd say think a little smaller, like Semroc 200 or 225 series tubing (stuff is great for mid/high power). That's my :2: but you gotta do what you gotta do :D The best investment I made when I started upscaling and scratch building was to buy a copy of Rocksim, it sure answers a lot of questions before you start buying parts. Good Luck!
 
Gotcha, makes sense, I dont want any certification type stuff yet, want to fly at local feilds, maybe I will do a 2.6" version as well. I love tube fin rockets.

What are good sites to order tubing, nose cones, etc... from?
 
Gotcha, makes sense, I dont want any certification type stuff yet, want to fly at local feilds, maybe I will do a 2.6" version as well. I love tube fin rockets.

What are good sites to order tubing, nose cones, etc... from?

OK, you asked...

For my mid-power builds I use Semroc stuff almost exclusively. Their heavy walled tubing comes in various diameters (the 115 series tubing is 29mm motor mount sized). They offer plywood centering rings and a huge assortment on balsa nose cones. The best part is that if you don't see exactly what you need, an email to Carl will usually be all it takes to get your part added to the inventory. The folks at Semroc are super, they run a great buisiness.

For stuff 3'" or bigger I use mostly LOC components. You can order it directly from thier website, but there are quite a few online supply sites that carry it.

Most of my recovery hardware and motor retainers are collected from various places online, I like Top Flite and Spherachute chutes, and have used both Aero Pack and Slimline motor retainers (there are much cheaper options).

I've taken to using standard hobby store grade epoxy, but wood glue (Titebond) is more than adequate for mid power building as well. The more you read through the threads here the more you will find that folks tend to err on the side of "Over-Building", which isn't necessarily a "bad" thing, but you can certainly take it too far...

Well that was probably more than :2: but I don't get to give advice too often... :D

There are a lot of options out there for kits and components, so I'm sure you'll find something that works for what you've got in mind. :cheers:
 
Gotcha, makes sense, I dont want any certification type stuff yet, want to fly at local feilds, maybe I will do a 2.6" version as well. I love tube fin rockets.

What are good sites to order tubing, nose cones, etc... from?

If you want a 3" SuperNeon that will fly on G (or less) motors, then the BMS 3" tubing should be sufficient. This tubing is different from the LOC 3" tube (3"OD, not ID and a much thinner wall), so the LOC noses won't fit and are too heavy anyways. Judging by the length of the SuperNeon's tube fins, they should be plenty structural strength to withstand anything in the mod-roc range. I once flew a 3"x48" 3FNC rocket with 1/16" ply fins and the BMS tube on an AT H97 that held up very well to a VERY high altitude given the rocket's size and motor. It had also been previously flown several times on F40's and G64's.

You can find BMS's stuff here: https://www.balsamachining.com
 
Build looks good! I want to upscale the new super neon XL that estes just released, which will be pretty much the same as this one.

I have never done any high power stuff, havent played with rockets in over 15 years. I would like to build a 3" version, which on the super neon xl would bring the length to 60", but i think i would add a couple inches

Dont want any crazy high altitude flights, would rather have longer burns on lower impulse motors, no higher than 2000ft flights max. Would it fly ok on a 29mm set-up? Like the Aerotech g64-4w?

you sound like me, I like to watch the entire flight.. especially with a purdy rocket like that!

Looking good matt. I looked through my garage. I might just have enough scrps laying around to build a 2.6" version, I knew one day I would use up all those short scrap/left over tubes I couldn't bring myself to toss.
 
Ok looks like im going to build a 2.6" version of the Super Neon XL, just ordered the estes kit for refrence and just to have:)

Going to do a 29mm rocket and if it all goes well I may do a larger 38mm or 54mm version

So I need stickers!
Stickershock, can you make me the Super Neon XL decals for the 2.6" tubes, but make it say Super Neon XXL?
 
If you want a 3" SuperNeon that will fly on G (or less) motors, then the BMS 3" tubing should be sufficient. This tubing is different from the LOC 3" tube (3"OD, not ID and a much thinner wall), so the LOC noses won't fit and are too heavy anyways. Judging by the length of the SuperNeon's tube fins, they should be plenty structural strength to withstand anything in the mod-roc range. I once flew a 3"x48" 3FNC rocket with 1/16" ply fins and the BMS tube on an AT H97 that held up very well to a VERY high altitude given the rocket's size and motor. It had also been previously flown several times on F40's and G64's.

You can find BMS's stuff here: https://www.balsamachining.com

That's a very good point actually... You could probably get the weight down significantly using standard thickness tubes, getting rid of the avionics bay and... dare I say it... not overbuilding :y:
 
Ok looks like im going to build a 2.6" version of the Super Neon XL, just ordered the estes kit for refrence and just to have:)

Going to do a 29mm rocket and if it all goes well I may do a larger 38mm or 54mm version

So I need stickers!
Stickershock, can you make me the Super Neon XL decals for the 2.6" tubes, but make it say Super Neon XXL?

Very Cool - you must of course post pictures... :cheers:
 
Ok looks like im going to build a 2.6" version of the Super Neon XL, just ordered the estes kit for refrence and just to have:)

Going to do a 29mm rocket and if it all goes well I may do a larger 38mm or 54mm version

So I need stickers!
Stickershock, can you make me the Super Neon XL decals for the 2.6" tubes, but make it say Super Neon XXL?


Absolutely, when I researched the super neon I also found the artwork for the XL. I am sure I saved it somewhere!

Shoot me an E-mail we will work them up!
 
OK, I finally cracked the nut and got the tube fins glassed, on the inside. I remember a suggestion from John Lee's LOC Cyclotron thread that a little reinforcement of the tube fins would go a long way in the durability department. I know that this rocket would fly just fine as is, but it seemed like a good idea and I could use it as an introduction into fiberglassing... :eek:

I did a lot of reading and shopping around and finally asked a fellow rocketeer where he got his supplies. The answer I got was, "Take mine, it needs to get used up..." :cool:

I started by covering the tubes in wax paper, anticipating a messy event.

Next I constructed a nice holding rack for the tubes using some material I just happened to have at hand. :D

The glass I used was just 2oz Hobbico brand from a local hobby shop. The tube fins are LOC 2.6" tubing, 9.5" long. I cut strips of glass, 2" x 12", figuring I would use 5 strips in each tube which allowed for plenty of overlap.

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I spent a couple of days trying to con someone into helping me out with this task, finguring that two sets of hands would be a lot less messy, but I didn't get any takers, and so finally I just went to work.

I used a shallow foil tray to wet the glass strips in. The epoxy ration is 2 to 1 resin to hardener and I mixed a batch using full pumps, figuring I would see how much I got done. I worked the epoxy in by hand (with gloves on of course) and then squeezed most of the epoxy off each strip with my fingers. On of the reasons I went with 2" strips is that I figured I could thread it through the tube without any trouble, which seemed to work well. After each strip was laid in place I used a section of wood dowel to roll the glass flat on the inside of the tube.

I got three tubes done, and the epoxy was probably still workable, but by that time there was so much stray fiber in the mix that was more like a big wet furball...

So at this point I stopped and blew up ballons inside the first three tubes I had finished. I had done a test with these ballons and found that they would rub off the cured epoxy without to much trouble... we'll see what happens. :eek:

After wiping the foil tray clean I mixed up another batch of epoxy and finished the last three tubes.

Sorry for the shortage of pictures, but with all the epoxy flying around I wasn't about to grab my camera... :D

I should have changed out of my nice shirt too... :y:

Tomorrow we'll see how it all turned out!

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Matt very nice build. I am looking forward to seeing the finshed rocket.

Thanks Scott, I am definitely on the learning curve. Until about 7 months ago I was a low power kind of guy through and through. Now with 3 mid/high power builds complete and 3 in the works I'm having a great time "learning" how to build all over again. :D
 
So after about 20 hours at about 72 degrees, most of the epoxy had hardened on the outside of the tubes, and the ends of the fiberglass strips were not "wet" anymore, even though there were still flexible and a little tacky. I think the term for that is "green".

First I removed the wax paper I had wrapped around the tubes which was a great idea since they are smooth and clean on the outside. :clap:

I couldn't stand it anymore so I let the air out of the balloons. Once I got the ends of the strips loose from the balloons they pretty much peeled themselves away from the tube and came out intact. Only one balloon didn't want to come off clean, but it was still pretty easy to rub the pieces off. :clap:

For the most part the glass looks good and even, there are a few dry spots here and there, one tube in particular where I obviously squeezed too much of the epoxy out of the glass, but hey, learning was the whole point. :p

The ends were easily trimmed using a pair of scissors.

Now the only thing left to do is wait for the epoxy to cure all the way and sand the ends square. I weighed the tubes before applying the glass and came out with an average weight of 44 grams per tube. Now they all come in around 58 grams for a net increase of 2.99 oz.

Well worth the effort even if it doesn't make any difference in this particular build. :cheers:

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So in spite of the snow on the ground, the thermometer got up above 50 degrees today and so outside I went to put some color on the nose cone, upper body tube, and avionics bay.

Krylon gloss Blue Ocean Breeze... :rolleyes: I know, new Krylon sux, but what are you gonna do... :confused2:

In other news, I have been making progress on the avionics sled, pictures to follow... and I got confirmation that Carey at Huff Performance was able to locate a CTI J285CL. So level 2 or bust on Feb 13th at "Sky Jam" down in Alabama with the Phoenix Missile Works gang! :headbang:

Unfortunately it looks like only the top half of the rocket is going to get painted before then so no Stickershock Vinyl for the first flight.... sorry Mark :eek:

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Wow, thats coming along nice Backaroo!

My wife came in saw the pictures of you glassing the inside of the tubes, she said it looked like a bunch of...... Male parts, all lined up. DOH! :y:
 
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