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Apogee Level 2 Build

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Steven88

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Are you going to paint it like TMV did his?
 

mtnmanak

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Actually, I was thinking red & purple, with kind of a spike pattern in the middle. Probably looks better in my head than it will on the rocket...

I have to admit, painting and finishing is where I am weak, weak, weak. I really don't like this part, so I go pretty basic. I may just paint it all one color and be done with it.
 

Steven88

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Don’t blame you too much... I’ve spent maticulous hours painting mine before only to have em scuffed the first time they come off the rail.
 

mtnmanak

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Looking back at Siya's photos, that is kind of what I had in mind. Easy, two color arrow pattern. Bright red and a lighter purple. Or maybe a sky blue. Essentially, whatever rattle cans I have on the shelf that have enough paint in them to get the job done.
 
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Dan Griffing

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Does anyone have any actual launch data for the L2 with an Altimeter3 and it’s actual weight? I’d like to see how it compares with the altitude numbers given with the recommended motors, or what RockSim predicts.
 

hobie1dog

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I bought this kit 8 years ago, and it's still i the package (lost my health) , although I did take it out and washed the parts last month, so I'm glad you started this thread. 4 hours build time? I was thinking 8 hrs. minimum

I didn't see any motor retainer used or mention of it?
 

School of Rock'et'

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That's a level 2 in my profile pic. She bested 10k at 93% of mach1 last MWP. Integrated the tailcone option, upgraded to the 22" mmt and extra centering rings to be able to handle the L1000W. Once I cert level 3, I plan to extend the length of the rocket and cram a Loki M1378LR in for good measure. Probably need to reinforce the fin can with some West epoxy to handle the stress. Here's the launch last year's MWP.

 

Bobfly

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Hi Guys,

Tim’s Level 2 kit from Apogee is a great first fiberglass kit. I built one for my Level 2 rating a few years ago. You will see in Tim’s kit build videos that his first flight wasn’t successful. It is a credit to Tim that he didn’t edit the flight failure out of the video series.

The plywood altimeter sled and plywood battery box leave something to be desired. Tim’s battery box / wire connection failed. This prevented proper parachute deployment. You can purchase many printed sleds for the altimeter bay. Missile Works makes them for their entire product line. These printed sleds have built in battery boxes. Your altimeter will simply screw into molded mounting holes for a perfect fit.

While you don’t need a dual redundancy AV Bay setup for a Level 2 project, it‘s not a bad idea. There is plenty of room in the 4” Level 2’s AV Bay. Missile Works sells pre printed dual AV Bay sleds for their product line. Having a dual altimeter setup with dual switches, batteries, and ejection cups will help ensure you a successful Level 2 certification flight. It’s also great experience for when you want to move up to Level 3 certification.

Best of Luck,
Bob
 

T34zac

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Does anyone have any actual launch data for the L2 with an Altimeter3 and it’s actual weight? I’d like to see how it compares with the altitude numbers given with the recommended motors, or what RockSim predicts.
I do all my sims in OpenRocket, and sometimes in RasAero depending on the rocket. But here are some numbers for my rocket vs actual flight data (recorded with a MissileWorks RRC3)
I800 Vmax: OR says 1,053', actual was 1,042'
K740 C Star: OR says 6,935, actual was 5,999 (had a wiggle of the rail which I suspect cost some altitude)
K650 Pink: OR had it at 7,339', actual flight was to 7,319'

I had one more flight for it on a K160 classic long burn that should've gone 6,000', but It just went up and I never saw it again. Probably in orbit :p

Some things I did have to change in OpenRocket that didn't reflect the actual built rocket:
-Airfoil fin profile was used in OpenRocket, actual fins were as they came in the kit, blunt and squared off.
-Surface finish was set to smooth paint, in reality the rocket was painted with rough self etching primer from Rustoleum. Hardly what I would call "smooth paint".
With these changes to the sim file, I found I was able to accurately predict what the rocket would do every time I flew it.
 

Nytrunner

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Some things I did have to change in OpenRocket that didn't reflect the actual built rocket:
I often have to simulate my rockets "better" than constructed in order to match performance. Especially if I have a boattail on te rocket
 

mtnmanak

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I bought this kit 8 years ago, and it's still i the package (lost my health) , although I did take it out and washed the parts last month, so I'm glad you started this thread. 4 hours build time? I was thinking 8 hrs. minimum

I didn't see any motor retainer used or mention of it?
Really, there isn't much to this build - and that's a good thing. Parts are excellent, not a lot of modifications needed. As long as you are handy with a drill and the electronics, this one goes quick. I spent more time waiting for epoxy to dry than actually building.

Sorry, didn't mention it earlier - going to install an Aerotech retainer, but that will go on last with some JB weld.
 
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mtnmanak

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That's a level 2 in my profile pic. She bested 10k at 93% of mach1 last MWP. Integrated the tailcone option, upgraded to the 22" mmt and extra centering rings to be able to handle the L1000W. Once I cert level 3, I plan to extend the length of the rocket and cram a Loki M1378LR in for good measure. Probably need to reinforce the fin can with some West epoxy to handle the stress. Here's the launch last year's MWP.

Awesome!! Great video!

Love the mods. I built this one pretty much stock, but it was such an easy and great build, may use another one as a base to build a bigger rocket. This is thing is a tank right out of the bag. I reinforced the fin can with Aeropoxy, should work well.
 

mtnmanak

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Hi Guys,

Tim’s Level 2 kit from Apogee is a great first fiberglass kit. I built one for my Level 2 rating a few years ago. You will see in Tim’s kit build videos that his first flight wasn’t successful. It is a credit to Tim that he didn’t edit the flight failure out of the video series.

The plywood altimeter sled and plywood battery box leave something to be desired. Tim’s battery box / wire connection failed. This prevented proper parachute deployment. You can purchase many printed sleds for the altimeter bay. Missile Works makes them for their entire product line. These printed sleds have built in battery boxes. Your altimeter will simply screw into molded mounting holes for a perfect fit.

While you don’t need a dual redundancy AV Bay setup for a Level 2 project, it‘s not a bad idea. There is plenty of room in the 4” Level 2’s AV Bay. Missile Works sells pre printed dual AV Bay sleds for their product line. Having a dual altimeter setup with dual switches, batteries, and ejection cups will help ensure you a successful Level 2 certification flight. It’s also great experience for when you want to move up to Level 3 certification.

Best of Luck,
Bob
Thanks for the suggestions Bob. Have been eyeing those Missile Works printed sleds for a while. Need to take another look at them.
 

School of Rock'et'

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Thanks for the suggestions Bob. Have been eyeing those Missile Works printed sleds for a while. Need to take another look at them.
Might check out a T3 GPS too from missile works. I integrated 1 into my nose cone easily. Good thing too, that flight landed close to 3/4 of a mile from the launch pad.

Eric
 

mtnmanak

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Hi Guys,

Tim’s Level 2 kit from Apogee is a great first fiberglass kit. I built one for my Level 2 rating a few years ago. You will see in Tim’s kit build videos that his first flight wasn’t successful. It is a credit to Tim that he didn’t edit the flight failure out of the video series.

The plywood altimeter sled and plywood battery box leave something to be desired. Tim’s battery box / wire connection failed. This prevented proper parachute deployment. You can purchase many printed sleds for the altimeter bay. Missile Works makes them for their entire product line. These printed sleds have built in battery boxes. Your altimeter will simply screw into molded mounting holes for a perfect fit.

While you don’t need a dual redundancy AV Bay setup for a Level 2 project, it‘s not a bad idea. There is plenty of room in the 4” Level 2’s AV Bay. Missile Works sells pre printed dual AV Bay sleds for their product line. Having a dual altimeter setup with dual switches, batteries, and ejection cups will help ensure you a successful Level 2 certification flight. It’s also great experience for when you want to move up to Level 3 certification.

Best of Luck,
Bob
I did watch the failure on Tim's video and remember thinking when he showed the portion on building the e-bay that connecting two small zip ties together was a little wonky. I drilled holes for large zip ties going both ways, should alleviate that issue.

Still, this is a great kit and Apogee has done a really great job of introducing some seriously amazing kits that allow people to move up rapidly in experience. The Zephyr is what I used for my level 1, and it is also a great bird.
 

mtnmanak

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Might check out a T3 GPS too from missile works. I integrated 1 into my nose cone easily. Good thing too, that flight landed close to 3/4 of a mile from the launch pad.

Eric
I was looking at those too - also, all the great stuff from Altus Metrum. Guy at our last launch fired a Level 2 into the wild blue yonder, never to be seen again!
 

mtnmanak

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Might check out a T3 GPS too from missile works. I integrated 1 into my nose cone easily. Good thing too, that flight landed close to 3/4 of a mile from the launch pad.

Eric
Also, great point on the nosecone. A while back, I started using the mod John Coker advocates on his videos. Now I use it on pretty much all my builds. Basically, a centering ring just behind the shoulder and a bulkhead screwed onto the centering ring with a coupler tube attached to make a small e-bay in the nosecone. Not only does it give you a place to put some more electronics, but it makes it way easier to add nosecone weight later if you need it. I put a couple brass rods in the tip, just in case I need to add the weight later so I don't have to mess up the paint job.

Already did that for this build, so will look at grabbing a GPS module for it when I go to fly it on bigger motors. My normal club only has a 5000 foot waiver, so we don't fly many big motors there, but I do like to travel to bigger launches sometimes and would like to be ready for those.
 

Dan Griffing

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I do all my sims in OpenRocket, and sometimes in RasAero depending on the rocket. But here are some numbers for my rocket vs actual flight data (recorded with a MissileWorks RRC3)
I800 Vmax: OR says 1,053', actual was 1,042'
To reiterate and be more specific, my question was about a comparison of the actual altitudes versus the altitudes listed with Apogee’s recommended motors for the L2, and secondly in comparison with the simulation altitudes for the same motors with Apogee’s RockSim.

If I was wanting know how good OR was, I would have asked on that thread. I do have OR on my computer but RockSim10 is a better design tool, especially with its sub-assemblies and up to date lists of rocket motors.

After months of not having the L2 in stock, I’m glad that Apogee now has it.

In the meantime I couldn’t wait for it to reappear so I ordered the Mad Cow 4” fiberglass Super DX3 with dual deployment. Except for the fins it will end up about the same, especially after a redesigned E-bay and payload bay airframe section.

I was inquiring if anyone had actual launch data for the L2 so that I could compare its actual launch performance with how my very similar Mad Cow Super DX3 will be performing with the same motors.

TVM’s videos on constructing a fiberglass rocket are great. Even his launch failure is instructive as a lesson that even rocket scientists need to have a launch checklist that includes making sure that all of the quick links are connected.
 

mtnmanak

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To reiterate and be more specific, my question was about a comparison of the actual altitudes versus the altitudes listed with Apogee’s recommended motors for the L2, and secondly in comparison with the simulation altitudes for the same motors with Apogee’s RockSim.

If I was wanting know how good OR was, I would have asked on that thread. I do have OR on my computer but RockSim10 is a better design tool, especially with its sub-assemblies and up to date lists of rocket motors.

After months of not having the L2 in stock, I’m glad that Apogee now has it.

In the meantime I couldn’t wait for it to reappear so I ordered the Mad Cow 4” fiberglass Super DX3 with dual deployment. Except for the fins it will end up about the same, especially after a redesigned E-bay and payload bay airframe section.

I was inquiring if anyone had actual launch data for the L2 so that I could compare its actual launch performance with how my very similar Mad Cow Super DX3 will be performing with the same motors.

TVM’s videos on constructing a fiberglass rocket are great. Even his launch failure is instructive as a lesson that even rocket scientists need to have a launch checklist that includes making sure that all of the quick links are connected.
I will be happy to post my flight actuals when I get a chance to fly it - hopefully at least a couple times in November. Not sure I will use any of the motors Apogee lists on their table, though.

I did take a look at Apogee's recommended engines and that table does seem a bit odd. Not sure how they derive it. Almost half the engines in the "recommended" table say "DO NOT USE - too slow off the rail". With that in mind, not sure how much I would trust their recommended table.

From prior experience, I would say the altitudes given in Apogee's table are way higher than actuals I have seen. A quick check from the data I have from other birds shows a 20%-50% error in Apogee's tables. Maybe I just build my rockets heavy and slow, but that is my personal experience.

I use Rocksim 10 as well and trust it to help me choose motors. I would practically ignore Apogee's table. But, if I fly any of those motors, I will post here.
 

Buckeye

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To reiterate and be more specific, my question was about a comparison of the actual altitudes versus the altitudes listed with Apogee’s recommended motors for the L2, and secondly in comparison with the simulation altitudes for the same motors with Apogee’s RockSim.

If I was wanting know how good OR was, I would have asked on that thread. I do have OR on my computer but RockSim10 is a better design tool, especially with its sub-assemblies and up to date lists of rocket motors.
Apogee's recommended motors are derived from Rocksim simulation, and the Rocksim rkt file is provided on the webpage. So, I would imagine they are the same, and you can verify for yourself since you have the software.

People get hung up on "actual" altitudes (there is no such thing, only measured altitudes) from 3rd parties. The Level 2 is a basic 4FNC rocket and any of the simulators will give you a good estimate of performance, if you do the sim correctly. What more is needed? Your simulation is far more reliable than anecdotes from random guys on the internet, where you know nothing about the their build, the mass, the motor variation, the weather, the launch site, etc.
 

School of Rock'et'

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Apogee's recommended motors are derived from Rocksim simulation, and the Rocksim rkt file is provided on the webpage. So, I would imagine they are the same, and you can verify for yourself since you have the software.

People get hung up on "actual" altitudes (there is no such thing, only measured altitudes) from 3rd parties. The Level 2 is a basic 4FNC rocket and any of the simulators will give you a good estimate of performance, if you do the sim correctly. What more is needed? Your simulation is far more reliable than anecdotes from random guys on the internet, where you know nothing about the their build, the mass, the motor variation, the weather, the launch site, etc.
For what it's worth, I usually load any design rocket in RS and then enter the same similar flight environment in thrust curve and then the predicted altitude, etc. usually ends up falling in the middle somewhere. RS is usually too much on altitude achieved. Thrust curve is usually just shy of the total altitude.

I've told you my mods, which are different. I have the results of 3 flights on my you tube channel...for what it's worth.
 

Dan Griffing

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From prior experience, I would say the altitudes given in Apogee's table are way higher than actuals I have seen. A quick check from the data I have from other birds shows a 20%-50% error in Apogee's tables.
This has been my experience with Apogee’s lists of recommended motors. While building my Apogee Zephyr and before getting my L1 and L2, I had more confidence in Apogee as a company run by a “rocket scientist”.

I still believe it’s a good company for getting reasonably priced and timely rocketry kits and supplies but I’ve found quite a few other senior high power rocketeers who’s advice is more reliable.

As an indicator, the systematically inaccurate high altitude numbers of the recommended motors listed with kits that Apogee sells, tends to give the impression that there’s an element of sales hype in these tables. And its unfortunate for novice rocketeers who are using these tables to select motors for their launches.

Perhaps Apogee should update these tables with more reliable and verifiable numbers. Otherwise the word will get around to the detriment of Apogee’s reputation for serious rocketry information.
 

Dan Griffing

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The plywood altimeter sled and plywood battery box leave something to be desired. Tim’s battery box / wire connection failed. This prevented proper parachute deployment.
In retrospect, I am surprised that TVM, a trained “rocket scientist“ would allow something this flimsy and unreliable as a critical part of the L2.

RockSim gives a maximum acceleration Gee force that every rocket might be subjected to with its largest motor. In addition, ejection charge testing with an Altimeter3 on the nosecone measure even larger Gee forces with Apogee’s included short shock cords.

With everything in the e-bay ask yourself if they would remain functional after being subjected to forces 20 times their weight. For this reason, I built the dual deployment e-bay for my Zephyr much more ruggedly than TVMs L2.
 

Steven88

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Hi Guys,

Tim’s Level 2 kit from Apogee is a great first fiberglass kit. I built one for my Level 2 rating a few years ago. You will see in Tim’s kit build videos that his first flight wasn’t successful. It is a credit to Tim that he didn’t edit the flight failure out of the video series.

The plywood altimeter sled and plywood battery box leave something to be desired. Tim’s battery box / wire connection failed. This prevented proper parachute deployment. You can purchase many printed sleds for the altimeter bay. Missile Works makes them for their entire product line. These printed sleds have built in battery boxes. Your altimeter will simply screw into molded mounting holes for a perfect fit.

While you don’t need a dual redundancy AV Bay setup for a Level 2 project, it‘s not a bad idea. There is plenty of room in the 4” Level 2’s AV Bay. Missile Works sells pre printed dual AV Bay sleds for their product line. Having a dual altimeter setup with dual switches, batteries, and ejection cups will help ensure you a successful Level 2 certification flight. It’s also great experience for when you want to move up to Level 3 certification.

Best of Luck,
Bob
I looked into the pre printed sleds on Missileworks site that you mentioned. I love the idea of the ease and accuracy of using one of them in the future. I am wondering why they design them to hold a standard 9v battery? Isn’t such a battery considered inferior for more than a flight or two and should always be fresh? I prefer a 7.4v lipo to power my altimeters. I wish they’d print a sled for such a battery. I’d be curious to know how many of you actually use just a standard 9v for your flights?

Also are the RRC2+ and RRC3 considered to be good altimeters? I’ve never had one of these particular ones. Like I said, I love the idea of a printed sled (looks to me like Missile Works only offers a sled for these two altimeters currently) for electronics with mounting areas already integrated into it for ease.
 

Nytrunner

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Missileworks has great altimeters and trackers (with customer service to back it up!)

The RRC3 and RRC2 are built for 9v batteries, and I use them for those altimeters (check the voltage during prep like any battery)
 

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I’d be curious to know how many of you actually use just a standard 9v for your flights?
I use them in all cases where weight or size is not an issue. They are not inferior whatsoever.

I have about a dozen RRC3/RRC2. They are first class items.
 

Titan II

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BTW.......I only use Duracell. This thread may be of interest. There are others.

 

mtnmanak

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I like to use Lithium 9V batteries. I do own some rechargeable LiPo's, but I have found these lithium 9Vs to be excellent. They have a 10+ year shelf life and last a long time. I have a couple I have been using for at least a couple years now and they still show above 9V on the multi-meter. You should test your battery before every launch, regardless of what you are using.

Not in anyway "proof" of anything, but I pulled a couple 9V alkalines out of a brand new package and you can see below they are pushing about 8.76 volts. I tested one of the lithiums in my range box that is at least 2 years old and it still pushes 9.21 volts.

Once again, this doesn't prove anything - every battery is different, but I can say I have had great luck with the 9V lithiums. As an added bonus, they are 25% lighter than the alkalines. That weight may not affect your launch, but it does help keep the battery from wanting to launch itself around in your ebay.
 

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