Aquila redux: a rapid refinish of my L1 cert rocket from 1994

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tab28682

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Back in 1994 I did a quick original design rocket, Aquila, to certify with, using two lengths of LOC 4" tubing and a LOC nose cone. 54mm motor mount and a 38mm adapter.

Certified on a SU Vulcan I motor at LDRS in Arognia in 1994. Launched about 10 more times on various I motors before taking a lengthy rocketry break.

Dusted it off in July 2014 and re-certified with it at a DARS launch in Gunter. Have flown it four more times since then.

Down in Asa, Tx in January, I had a very early ejection on an AT DMS I140 that zippered the fin can badly. Put in the garage until now. Last weekend I grafted on a new section of 4" tubing to the fin can, adding about three inches to the original fin can length. It badly needed a new tube grafted onto the fin can even before the zipper, as it was badly toasted inside from a forward closure failure when launched on an I284 in the mid 1990s.

Decided to ramp up and repair and refinish the Aquila to take to NARAM next week. Time available away from work and family was limited this week, but I had Friday afternoon free and decided to do a crash refinish job and get it done yesterday afternoon and early evening.

I was able to borrow a spray booth at a friends business for the afternoon. A room temp spray booth, thank goodness. Also had a 120 degree hotbox available to hurry the dry times along.

The first pic shows the Aquila just before breaking out the Evercoat fine grain bondo and and high fill lacquer primer. Looks pretty sad. The black payload bay had some chrome silver trim Monokote stripes that did some damage when it was removed.

Here was the process I followed for the rapid redux.

1. Inserted a new fin tip of .030 G10 sheet into a slot ground in the damaged tip of the 1/8 ply fin and blended it in with milled glass and CA.
2. Used adhesive remover on the residue from the trim Monokote.
3. Blended in the new tube to the old tube fin can with bondo and sanded out the spiral filler applied last week. Repaired the old lunch lug location.
4. Hit it with a healthy coat of high fill lacquer primer and put it in the hot box.
5. Repaired and feathered out the damage to the payload bay section, hit it wth the primer and put it in the hot box.
6. Repeated the process on the nose cone.
7. Pulled out the fin can and did minor fills with the Evercoat to get it ready for another primer coat. Sanded and re-primed and back in the hotbox. (Used no lacquer spot putty, only the Evercoat.)
8. Repeated the process with payload bay and nose cone.
9. Pulled out the fin can, sanded and put on a light coat of final primer.
10. Repeated the process with the payload bay and nose cone.
11. Sanded the fin can with 320 and painted it red using DuPont Chromabase and fast Basemaker. One tack coat and a few minutes later a double wet coat and another double wet coat a few minutes after that. Back to the hot box with it.
12. Repeated the process with the payload bay and nose cone, in black.
13. After 30 min in the hot box, pulled the fin can and gave it a tack coat of Sherman Williams Cab Acrylic clear lacquer thinned with fast thinner and a touch of the DuPont Basemaker. After the first clear was tack free, I hit it with two wet coats of the gloss clear. Back in the hot box.
14. Repeated the above for the black fin can and nose cone.

Start to finish: 7 hours. Was dry enough to CAREFULLY take home after 30 min in the hot box.

The goal was to get an 80% to 85% very decent but not perfect finish in the very limited time I had available to do the job and while I had the narrow window of ability to use the spray booth and hot box. The hot box allowed nearly constant work on one part of the rocket at a time.

Some minor imperfections will show as all the coatings fully cure out over the next week or two, but I am fine with that ...:)

Pictures show the before and then after seven hours of work. The still fragrant rocket is getting some outside cure time in the back yard today.

image.jpgimage.jpgimage.jpg
 
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MaxQ

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Keep 'em flying.

I have a Loc IV and a Loc Vulcanite that have twenty years of flying on them...could use a little repair work, but very solid and reliable.
 

tab28682

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Keep 'em flying.

I have a Loc IV and a Loc Vulcanite that have twenty years of flying on them...could use a little repair work, but very solid and reliable.
Can be fun to given an old friend a face lift after years of service.
 

tab28682

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I never got around to flying the my venerable refinished Aquila at NARAM, but did get it back in the air last weekend, at the DARs launch in Prairie Hill, TX.

Here are some shots of it coming off the pad and in boost on an I140 DMS. More details over in the recovery discussion area in my R/C Chute Sled thread. It recovered in the same shape that it was in when it left the pad...:)

DSC_0098 E.jpgDSC_0100 E.jpg
 

AlfaBrewer

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Tom - the pictures don't do it justice. That's a really great looking rocket.
 

tab28682

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Tom - the pictures don't do it justice. That's a really great looking rocket.
The pictures from my yard and shop are Iphone pictures, so that is my fault. I was too lazy to go dig out my digital SLR....:)

Thanks for the kind words.
 
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