AIM-9L Sidewinder

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nosaj13

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I finally decided that I should post some pictures of my build. They are NOT complete but I know how much people like pictures. Also I am TERRIBLE at taking pictures. So im saying sorry now.

The sidewinder is roughly 30% original this is not to be confused with 1/3 like The Launch Pad Sidewinder. In building I my main idea was incorporating a “stuffer tube” in the motor mount. I went with the “E” sized MM to allow the most versatility when I came to motor selection.

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nosaj13

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I made the centering rings out of cardstock. Each group had a total of three layers totaling about 1/4in contact space on the inside of the tube. I then placed each group of rings together and glued inside. Next I glued the top and bottom of each group to increase glue surface area. Once the glue dried I placed assembly on lathe and cut excess cardstock.

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nosaj13

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The next step was to insert the MM into the body tube. After cutting the excess material rings on lathe I test fitted the MM into the BT. It fit perfectly. I then preceded to glue the outside of the rings and push it into the BT. This worked perfectly until I got to the last ring (closes to the engine retaining clip. The MM would not go any further I tried persuading it to move but I was forced to pull it out. The culprit was the BT. A layer of the cardboard tubing was caught in the MM after it ripped away from the rest of the tube. To fix this rater then buying new tubing I waited for the glue in the BT to dry and sanded it out. The next time I placed the MM in the BT it did fully set. If you noticed the green rings on the MM I have an explanation in my rescue attempt of the MM I was forced to pull it out. This action ripped part of the exposed MM tube and bent the engine clip I use centering rings with one layer of cardboard taken out to re-support the tube and clip.
(No pics of malfunctioning MM it was not a happy time)

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nosaj13

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Next I cut out the fins out of some scrap balsa wood I had. To reinforce the fins I cut a second thinner layer of balsa wood and glued them to original. This was my first encounter with warping wood. It may have been the glue I was using or the age of the balsa wood. As you can see the fins are severely warped. I did try to save the wood by placing it under 10lbs of pressure. After a few days I decided to restart with some aircraft plywood from my local hobby shop.

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nosaj13

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The sidewinder has rollerons on the ends of the wings. On the real missile the rollerons increase the rockets stability. To replicate this detail on my rocket I drilled narrow channels and placed lock washers in these channels. This process was not as easy as it would seem. I broke 3 drill bits in the name of scale rockets…

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nosaj13

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To place the fins I needed absolute precision on both the upper and lower fin sections. If these fins are not correctly aligned it will become a non-aerodynamic rocket(a.k.a. it may take flight characteristics similar to the real missile). I used the Estes tube marking guild to place the first pencil marks and then used a straight edge to extend the lines. I was not going to rush the process so I placed the fins one by one. I did not use through the wall fins which is one of the main things I would change if I was to do the build over again. When the fins were drying I placed them between two cabinets which created a stable resting position.

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nosaj13

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Ok next I placed the coupler into the lower section of the rocket. I had the coupler 35% glued in and 65% shown. I then placed my balsa cylinder into the top section of the rocket. This blocked the ejection charge gases from moving into the top of the rocket. Remember I made the rocket in two sections for ease of transport. I glued the balsa from both sides to increase the surface area the glue contacted. I placed an eye bolt in the relative center of the block and glued it in and the surrounding area.

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nosaj13

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The creation of the nose cone started with a spare piece of balsa wood. I used drawings form Jim Ball’s website to get a rough estimate as to the shape of the nose and began turning it in the lathe. Using the blade and sandpaper I was able to create the nosecone. After the shape was attained I began applying wood filler to nose. After many applications and sanding I achieved a good shape and texture to allow painting.

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nosaj13

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The next thing I would change about this build would be the process would be my method of securing the shock cord. I know now that the “best” way to do this is to attach the cord to the MM. I used the “Estes” style. BUT I think I did it to allow it to be one of the strongest of its kind. I made two fold over sections one large (@ 2in-1.5in) and one small (@2in-3/4in). I glued these together and sandwiched the cord (Kevlar 300lb test braided) inside. I allowed about 3/16in of string to show between the two sections. I then glued both sections into the lower BT and let dry. The next day I layered glue on top of the paper sections to create a “laminated” effect. The idea behind this effect would be one to increase strength and two to prevent the paper from burning and shock cord pulling out over a long time. After the third “laminating” treatment I decided that shock cord was secure. And yes the pictures are bad.

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nosaj13

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After all the fins and other parts were dry I placed fillets on the lower fins. These fillets were a combination of glue and wood filler. I also placed fillets on the launch lugs (1/4in).

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nosaj13

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Once all the parts were dry I began painting. First I used a flat dark gray the upper “guidance” section and a flat white for the “propellant” section. It took about three coats of paint on each to fully coat the missile with both paints. I taped off the upper section about 2.5in below the top fins. I then painted the lower section with a satin white.

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nosaj13

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Finally after the paint dried it was time for decals. At my local hobby shop I picked up aircraft and car decals. I also got red and black pin-stripes. I did some research and concluded that there is some lack of consistence between color schemes on stripes on AIM-9L Sidewinders. But the Launch Pad version of the Sidewinder and most “real” sidewinders the location of stripes are the same. I chose to place the U.S. Air Force decal on the side thinking that on an aircraft the name would be facing out. Originally I was going to place the USAF logo and the name “AIM-9L SIDEWINDER” but a lack of consistency of the letters forced me to change my ideas.

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nosaj13

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After all this work this is the final product. I may be adding gold foil around the rolleron areas to further simulate the real thing. I will most likely launch it later this summer when I find a nice day. This build allowed me to experience some of the techniques needed to build a scale sidewinder. My next scratch sidewinder will be a 50% later this summer. I will try to have more pics and will be using most to the techniques I learned from this build and on my future builds (Using epoxy, through the wall fins, and baffles). I will post dimensions and other pics in the next few weeks, and I will take pics of the launch and hopeful recovery as well. If you have any questions about my build please feel free to ask questions or post comments.

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dedleytedley

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That's a sweet rocket! You did some nice finishing and detailing. The Sidewinder is on my build list for the future. Could you post the scale drawing you use as your avatar? Ted
 

sodmeister

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Awesome job on the Sidewinder ! I`ve got a 3" diam. bodytube scratch build on the drawing table myself .
The nosecone turned out very nice ,good shape.I must say ,you make a mean fillet !!
How long is the finished missile ?

Paul
 

nosaj13

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Ok I will try to answer your questions but I'm typing on a blackberry so bear with me. The over all length is 35 inches. I know that's not exactly scale but the nose cone was abit long. I will postmy exact dimensions later this week. I got the dimentions fron jim balls scale data website. I will post the link later today when I get off the road. Thanks for the interest.[YOUTUBE][/YOUTUBE]
 

barstoolmike

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To bad you didn't get to fly it Saturday. Next time We'll bring ours.
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Mike
 
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