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Blue Phenix - L1/L2 Build - First Kit Off The Assembly Line

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mattvd

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I had the priviledge of getting the prototype kit of Always Ready Rocketry's Blue Phenix. (Perks of living about 2 miles from Randy's house!)

The kit is with his new line of Blue Tube - much stronger than paper - lighter than fiberglass - cheaper than carbon fiber. (I actually saw Randy standing on a 4" airframe tube.)

Anyway, a nice kit that I will use for my L1 recertification, and I might even use it for my L2 -- a big day planned for tomorrow's launch.

It is nearly launch ready and I will be posting some build photos during the day today.
 

mattvd

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Before I start posting pictures, a couple comments:
1. As the first kit, it varies slightly from what Randy is now shipping.
- The current kit includes a 38mm Blue Tube motor tube. Photos show a regular paper tube.
- The current kit includes a commercial parachute. The first photo shows a mil-surplus chute.
2. I made a couple mods to the kit, but the photos show the build according to the kit directions. I will point out the mods as needed.
3. The kit was really quite easy to build. Rock solid parts, a fin can assembly process, straight-forward design. I will attempt my L1 re-cert with this tomorrow--barring any issues there, I would recommend this as a great L1 kit.
4. Randy now offers this only with an 18" coupler/payload. My kit did not include this, but I picked that up from Randy yesterday. Once I have that built I will add those photos. If you have the original kit, Randy is offering the "upgrade" for $20.
5. If you are interested, go visit Randy's site at: www.alwaysreadyrocketry.com
 

mattvd

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Shown below:
1. Parts. The Blue Tube is SUPER strong stuff. Fins are 1/4" -- a bit heavy duty for a smaller rocket, but with the Blue Tube and fiberglass nosecone this should be bullet-proof. (Notes: Shown with regular motormout tube and mil-surplus chute. Kits are all Blue Tube and a commercial chute.)
2. I cut the small tabs at the aft end to allow for a removable fin-can assembly process. Leave the hobby knife on the table and get a sharp razor saw!
3. Motor retention. I favor the t-nut approach - cheap, simple, effective. Probably don't need 3 but I like the symmetry of 3 fins offset from 3 mmt screws.

BluePhenix 1 Parts_sml.jpg


BluePhenix 2 Airframe Cut_sml.jpg


BluePhenix 3 Motor Retention 1_sml.jpg
 

mattvd

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Shown below:
4. Motor retention with the t-nuts installed.
5. Motormount with the aft centering ring installed.
6. With the forward centering ring just slipped in place the motormount is fit into the airframe and the fins are tacked in place with just a bit of 5-min epoxy.
7. Once all three fins are tacked to the motormount, the whole assembly slides back out of the airframe.

BluePhenix 4 Motor Retention 2_sml.jpg


BluePhenix 5 Motormount and Airframe_sml.jpg


BluePhenix 6 Tack Fins to Motormount_sml.jpg


BluePhenix 7 Remove Fin Can_sml.jpg
 

mattvd

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Shown below:
8. With the fins tacked in place the forward centering ring is epoxied in place.
9. Internal epoxy fillets are added. 30-min epoxy with chopped fiber added for strength. Note: I got a bit carried away with the fillets. They are way bigger than necessary.
10. Finished fin can with the shock cord mount. Modification: I actually added a short length of Kevlar shock cord between the motormount eyebolt and the nylon shock cord provided. With a Kevlar/Nomex blanket the nylon will be protected from the motor ejection.
11. The finished fin can is installed into the airframe. Tie wraps are used to hold the airframe tightly while the epoxy dries.

BluePhenix 8 Forward Centering Ring Fillet_sml.jpg


BluePhenix 9 Interal Fillets_sml.jpg


BluePhenix 10 Finished Fin Can with Shock Cord_sml.jpg


BluePhenix 11 Fin Can Installed_sml.jpg
 

mattvd

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Shown below:
12. External fillets -- again, more than needed. I used some finish resin to get them very smooth--minimal sanding required.
13. Nosecone with the bulkhead installed.
14. The seams on the Blue Tube are very narrow and shallow. Just a bit of spot putty did the rest.

BluePhenix 12 External Fillets_sml.jpg


BluePhenix 13 Nosecone with Bulkhead_sml.jpg


BluePhenix 14 Rocket With Spot Putty Sanded_sml.jpg
 

mattvd

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Paint work shown below:
15. A couple primer coats.
16. Airframe painted blue.
17 & 18. Fins and nosecone are white.

BluePhenix 15 Primer Coats_sml.jpg


BluePhenix 16 Blue Coat 3_sml.jpg


BluePhenix 17 White Fins_sml.jpg


BluePhenix 18 Nosecone Paint_sml.jpg
 

mattvd

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Shown below:
19. Painting done, ready for clear coats.
20. The mil-surplus chute came with loose ends. I simply cinched them onto a quick-link and used epoxy to set the knot.
21 & 22. I was a bit worried about putting a J motor into a short, somewhat bottom heavy rocket. So, I added the ability to add some lead weights to the nosecone if needed. As shown, I have 1 3 oz. lead weight cut in half -- one half on each screw.

BluePhenix 19 Ready for Clear Coat_sml.jpg


BluePhenix 20 Chute with Q-Link_sml.jpg
 

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mattvd

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The finished rocket.

The launch yesterday was very successful -- L1 achieved :D:D. With an Aerotech H180W the Blue Phenix went to about 2,000 feet with a perfect landing about 100 yards from the launch pad.

Randy took some launch photos -- I will post those when I can.

BluePhenix 24 Blue Tube_sml.jpg
 

mattvd

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Here is the launch photo -- a great shot by Randy.

Next . . . build the payload/extension . . . and put in a bigger motor!

Blue Phenix Launch on H180W.jpg
 

Handeman

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Congrats on the recert! :)

What kind of altitude did you get? A J420R for the L2 should get you about twice the altitude of the H180W. Are you going to try it on a I1299N? That would definately test that prototype blue tube, and your building skills.
 

mattvd

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Congrats on the recert! :)

What kind of altitude did you get? A J420R for the L2 should get you about twice the altitude of the H180W. Are you going to try it on a I1299N? That would definately test that prototype blue tube, and your building skills.
Thanks.
I would estimate the altitude at about 1,800 feet. I thought about going for my L2 with this rocket, but I had a Wildman Extreme and a J350W ready to go for that purpose. And that went quite well.

The next launch of the Blue Phenix will be with the extended body and electroncis bay to carry the altimeter. Have not settled on the motor yet, but definately an I.
 
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