5.5" Nike Smoke... Can I do it?

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Well-Known Member
May 10, 2011
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I have been drooling over the Skunk Works (or Polecat, or whatever... I still call em Skunk Works...) 5.5" nike smoke for a long time. Face it. Most of us have;) ;)

So I was wondering... if I could some how come up with the funds to buy one, could I actually do it? My 4.25" diameter Shadow and Flame wasnt too hard for me... So with the skills I learned from building that (its almost done, fyi. Thats why I am thinking of the next one :D ), could I make the 5.5" Smoke? I really want a 5" rocket... I have for a while... And Skunk Works turns out great kits, so I hear... And I really like the way Nike Smokes look... I always have...

So if I can build a 4" diameter 15 pound rocket, can I build a 5.5" 6 pound rocket?

What I am really asking is if it is within my skill level. If I used the same build techniques as the S&F on this thing, would it turn out OK?

I really really really one one of these suckers, but last time I suggested something this size (actually a lot bigger, but still...), it got flattened, and now I see that you all had a point... If I tried to do that 8" sono rocket I would have killed something. I didnt even know how to use 3:1 mix epoxy for crying out loud.

But if it were a kit... And smaller... (and pre-glassed... :rolleyes: ), could I do it? It cant be too much harder than the s&f.... With that rocket I had to cut out the fins crs ETC...

Are there any things I have to do differently on a 5" rocket? What is there that I need to know to make a 5" Smoke? Is there anything special that I have to do that I didnt do on the S&F?

Or should I just find myself a nice smaller kit instead? Is this still too big for me? I dont really think so... But thats what I said when I wanted to build an 8" behemoth.... :eek:

So what do you guys think? Can I do it?

Any tips/opionions would be apreciated. If you dont think I can do this, is there an easier kit that you would reccomend? The Smoke looks pretty straightforward to me... Has anyone here built it?
I don't think it should be too hard, Polecat AS has some kits that I read on EMRR that you can build in a day. Should be easy enough.

After looking at the price, yeebers that's expensive. Of course you get 30 dollars every week (i guess, thats about the time it takes our grass to grow) :mad: I say go for it.

That is a dumb question...can I do it???

Well, Duhhh!

Of course you can! As long as it's not to heavy for you to lift up onto your workbench.

Go nuts.

Can you finish it by LDRS...I doubt it. Maybe for next year.

P.S. on second thought...NO, you can't, buy it and send it to me!
Wow... I just read the instructions on thier website... That IS pretty straightforward... In fact, it looks nearly exactly the way I built my Shadow and Flame....

I bet I could do this... But can I come up with the MONEY to do this?:D Before LDRS so I can save a ton on shipping? Well, thatll take some work...:D

Can anyone tell me how the heck I can make another $140 in 2 weeks?:D Ive got $60 right now... Thats it. I need a toatal of $200 to buy this thing. Reason is telling me I cant do it... But I want it so friggin bad... If I mow the lawn twice I will have $120... Thats still $80 short... I will be painting part of the house... I might get $20 for that... Thats still $60 short... But maybe my dad's offices lawn will need mowing soon... Thats $50... Thats only $10 more that I would need (my face is getting hopefull!)... Oh yea! Allowance! So, if I work my butt off for the next 3 weeks, I could afford it...:eek:
Good! Thats what I wanted to hear from you guys.

I meant make enough money to BUY it at LDRS. I bet I can do that if I really get working... And sucker my mom into paying me by the hour to paint the house... And really drag it out....;) ;) ;) ;) ;)

I can lift my 15 pound S&F... so I bet I can lift it.;) :p
Oh, well, considering what happened last time I wanted to make a behemoth... Thats enough to make any kid cautious:D ;) :p

I just want to say that I am very impressed with how much you have improved since when you started here on TRF and now. You actually are asking for ideas and advice, as opposed to how you were in the beginning.

I think that you are ready to build this rocket. As soon as your dad gets his L2, you'll be ready to go! Go ahead and do it, man!

I have talked to Andy (from Polecat AS) in the past and his kits are extremely easy to build. While I was at ARG in Phoenix a guy picked up the 10" Nike Smoke kit. A month or so later he had it ready to go - painted and all.

Can you do it --- Positively YES
Can it be done in time for LDRS -- Maybe - depends on you and how much time you can dedicate to building it
Thanks, Jetra!

Yes, I think I will try to get one of these... I wish there were coupons or something for that company....:( ;)

To save money on shipping (I bet it would be a ton for a rocket this size...), I am going to bring $200 in cash to LDRS... Thats more money than I have ever seen in my life, let alone spent in one day! Should be fun....:D Work my butt off for 3 weeks, then blow it all on one rocket... :)

I wonder if they could get 75MM motor mount version ready and bring it to LDRS for me... I bet they could... I figure I might as well get a 75MM motor mount in this baby so I can fly it on anything I like eventually, if it lives that long... It cant hurt. It will give me evil day dreams about baby Ms, but ill resist untill after I am L3 certed:eek:

Building is easy... Finishing is hard... Crap... The evil combination:kill: Im pretty good at building, but I suck at finishing... But hey. Even if it looks like the surface of the moon when its ready to fly, itll still fly....:rolleyes:

So these things fly on J350s? I would assume so... I cant find a motor list anywhere though... Ill look again. Would I be pushing my luck if I wanted to fly it low and slow on an I357T? I bought 3 of those motors before I figured out that my Shadow and Flame would be 15 pounds....:eek: :rolleyes:
Dang, they arnt GOING to LDRS... :kill:

So I wonder how much shipping is...:eek: :eek: :eek:

I wouldn't recommend getting the 75mm upgrade for this reason.

The rocket will be light enough, once it is built "stock" to fly on everything from high-thrust H motors to J's, it looks like. I would think a layer of glass over the fins would be plenty of modification for any motor you would want to fly this rocket on.

You could probably do it, not strong enough for baby Ms, or even Ls, but probably Ks. I would do tip to tip glassing, and put airfoils on the fins.

here is the problem, if you build the shadow and flame to be 15 lbs, which is a ton, i dont think I could have done it and I overbuild everything. Then i dont know how you are going to build this light enough to fly on. Look at it this way, I have a 10 foot 5.5" rocket, with huge 1/2" CRS glass everywhere, thick fins and the whole thing right now minus nose and recovery is pushing 10 lbs, and that is pretty heavy, now this is probably going to be a K bird, what will you fly the Shadow thingy on? full Js?
Yes. Most definitely. SkunkWorks kits are awesome, Andy comes to our launches every month, and he is great to work with. Erik Gates' son built one of these on Friday afternoon at Springfest, and they were flying it on K445s the rest of the weekend. 5-minute epoxy all the way -- no kidding!

If you order it with a 75mm mount, you can do up to a baby M if you build it well. A guy in our club did his cert three with a 5.5" Smoke on an M1315W, I think he got about 14,000 feet. 54mm is plenty for this kit, though -- it ACTUALLY weighs 6 lbs! I picked up Andy's demo model and almost dropped it again cause it was so light. It hauls on K660s to around 9300 feet, and can be popped up on I300Ts and I435Ts easily to around 1000 feet. Add an altimeter bay in the side of the airframe and do same end dual deploy with a Tether or an ARRD, pop an AeroPack retainer on the back end, and you've got yourself an awesome flying machine for any day!
Daveyfire says:

Add an altimeter bay in the side of the airframe and do same end dual deploy with a Tether or an ARRD


I've been eyeballing this kit and have wondered about dual deploy for it. Can you explain or point me somewhere as to what you mean by "same end DD"?


I can take a crack at explaining it...

You have a central tube like a stuffer tube, which your main goes in (maybe drogue). This tube has one charge inside it. Around the stuffer tube goes the other chute. You could also have another tube that holds it. That's as much I know or have gathered from what I have read.
Same end dual deploy is pretty simple using a retention device like an ARRD or a Tether. Attached is a diagam featuring an ARRD, poorly drawn but I hope it gets the point across. Basically, you pack in the recovery system (bottom to top): ARRD/Tether, main recovery harness, main chute, Nomex, ejection charge, Nomex, drogue recovery harness, drogue chute. At apogee, the ejection charge blasts out the drogue chute which is attached to the drogue recovery harness. This is all attached to the retention pin on the ARRD/Tether. At your main deployment altitude, the ARRD/Tether is released by the altimeter, and the drogue chute is free to pull the retention pin out of the rocket. The apex of the main chute (or the top loop on the main chute deployment bag) is also attached to the retention pin. At this point, the drogue functions as a pilot chute and extracts the main chute from the airframe and pulls the d-bag off, dumping the main chute into the air. The main recovery harness is attached to a u-bolt on the forward end of the motor mount. On recovery, your rocket looks like (top down): nose cone, drogue chute, drogue recovery harness, main d-bag (if necessary), main chute, main recovery harness, rocket. Of course, things may rearrange themselves on descent (e.g. the drogue/nose cone's descent rate is higher than the rocket on the main chute so they fall down next to it), but you get the idea!

A good explanation of a similar technique is at the Gates Brothers' website, on the Jayhawk page: https://www.gbrocketry.com/jayhawk.htm#Detailed Flight Log

Hope this helps!
i am just finishing a 5.5" Nike smoke, i got the dual deployment version and added 4 MM tubes so its a 5 motor cluster, and so its a bit heaver, but i talked to Andy at Polecat and he said your dont need to use any glass over the fins , he has flown his also with no glass. I plan first flight this weekend on a hypertek J air starting 2 H128s 1 sec later.

Thanks to Daveyfire and Blue Ninja for the DD descriptions. Makes sense and I oughta give it a try.

Matt - yours sounds interesting. Clusters are pretty cool. What is the dual deployment version consist of?

OK maybe I dont need the 75MM... If it really does weigh that little...

Ryan: The only reason the S&F weighs so much (I dont know if it really IS 15#, I was just guessing that it might be if I kept over-building it.) is because I used a huge mailing tube... Those things weigh 2.25 poudns alone, plus HUGE fins, and other stuff. I dont know how accurate the 15# is... For all I know it might be 10 pounds.:rolleyes:

Well, I made $8 today. So now I have $68. "just" another $132 to go, plus shipping....:kill:
the dual deployment kit comes with 2 tubes instead of 1 tube, and a LOC coupler (which is way to thin and needs fiberglass reinforcement) and 2 bulkheads, mounting plate and all the hardware and extra U bolts. with the dual deployment way you have to pack the main into the NC so it think it will help keep it stable.
The main reason Andy offers the dual-deploy option is that the rocket is so light that if you put a huge motor into it, and you only have a single chute, it's going to take a LONG time to come down, and most likely will end up in the next county. Or in the case of our launches near Mexico, the next COUNTRY!

That dual deploy works well with an altimeter that pops the main chute around 1000 feet AGL.

Mow, Mow, MOW!

heck yeah you can build it!
now get mowing!
Ok... MOW MOW MOW MOW MOW! And im lined up to mow my dad's offices lawn next weekend, so thats another $50 towards the cause!!!:D
Nice one Neil! All this work you're doing will make it extra sweet when you get it.
Well, this just got $100 easier!:D My dad is pitching in $50, and he lined me up to mow his offices' lawn next weekend! THANK YOU, DAD!! So right now I am at $118, and next weekend I will be at $168! :D And then I will mow OUR lawn again... That will bring me up to $198! :D :D And then allowance that weekend... Then I will have at least $201... And tomorrow I will paint the garage doors... Thats going to be another $5-$10... So within one week I should be able to ORDER MY ROCKET!!!! YAY!!!!

Bwahahahaaa!!!!!!! Does anyone have a Rsim model of this thing that they could post? I would like to start simming this...:)
wow allowance and getting payed for the lawn.....amazing....I need to get on my parents, they owe me for a lot of years LOL

what you gonna fly it on?
here is some pics from my nike smoke i flew this weekend, there was problems with the hypertek ground support so i flew 2 H128s and one J350.
in the first pic one of the H128s isnt up to pressure yet.
in this pic one of H128s has almost burned out and the other one is at full pressure, with the not so vertical flight and with dual deployment in there i got a altitude reading of 2722 feet