Clear Rocket

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qquake2k

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Has anybody ever built a clear acrylic rocket? Is it even possible?

Jim
 

jadebox

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Has anybody ever built a clear acrylic rocket? Is it even possible?
Here's Chris Heffron's "Invisible Rocket":



Unfortunately, it was last not-seen heading for a tree.

-- Roger
 

Gillard

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Has anybody ever built a clear acrylic rocket? Is it even possible?

Jim
Estes produced a display rocket called phantom that was made of clear plastic, looked like an Alpha.
 

troj

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At LDRS, someone flew a rocket that was completely clear -- fins, nosecone, body tube -- the entire thing. I don't recall the size motor he flew it on; 29mm or 38mm, I'm pretty sure.

-Kevin
 

dave carver

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Well, the first flight it would be clear but unless whoever figures how to eject the 'chute without an ejection charge then it won't be clear long. Hot, sticky and melting black powder will see to that.
 

jsdemar

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About 20 years ago, I build a D-powered ~8ft rocket using a clear plastic tube that's sold as a florescent light protector. It was almost exactly BT-60 sized. I used a clear fin can from a Gemini Titan kit, and a clear plastic easter egg half for a nose cone. From a distance, all you could see was the recovery stuff! It flew great until one flight with a weak ejection charge... went straight up and straight down tail first.

-John
 

Micromeister

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I fly a Phantom rocket at low power demos often.
I built a phantom Nike-apache that is mostly clear. the trick to flying such a model is to keep the heat away from the tubing. this is accomplished by an interial albative or sacraficial inner liner.

470h1-sm_Completed model with Chute_08-30-07.jpg


470o5-sm_PNA repacked After 2 Launch Clean up_09-23-07.JPG


470i2-sm_2nd pic after 4.5hrs, same CR-2032 bats_08-30-07.JPG
 

dave carver

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And then there's always the option of cracking a Cyanalume stick and tyeing it to the 'chute and flying at night. Blue Thunder is amazing in the dark:cyclops:
 

MarkII

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Well, the first flight it would be clear but unless whoever figures how to eject the 'chute without an ejection charge then it won't be clear long. Hot, sticky and melting black powder will see to that.
Rear ejection - keeps the clear tubes clean. The only opaque area would be round the motor mount. I wonder, though, if someone could build one to recover via backsliding, and then just use a plugged motor. Unless the motor needs to be ejected in a backslider; I don't know.

Remember that (sort of) well-known YouTube video of the static firing of a hybrid motor? The one in which the motor housing and fuel grain were made of clear acrylic? Now if you could install something like that into a clear rocket.... but you would also need to have a clear oxidizer tank, too. Hmmm. Maybe this needs to await the development of clear aluminum, just like they talked about in Star Trek IV. ;)

MarkII
 

MarkII

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About 20 years ago, I build a D-powered ~8ft rocket using a clear plastic tube that's sold as a florescent light protector. It was almost exactly BT-60 sized. I used a clear fin can from a Gemini Titan kit, and a clear plastic easter egg half for a nose cone. From a distance, all you could see was the recovery stuff! It flew great until one flight with a weak ejection charge... went straight up and straight down tail first.

-John
Well let's see - you could also use a clear plastic canopy for the 'chute, with clear monofilament for the shroud lines, and then perhaps some more clear mono that was hand-braided to make a shock cord... Then you wouldn't even see the recovery system! (Or at least it wouldn't be as opaque, especially after deployment.) :D

There was a plan for a (sort of) clear rocket that was published in the American Rocketeer.

MarkII
 

Micromeister

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Actually I forgot to say Acrylic should NOT be used for model rockets PERIOD. way to brittle for any real use. Clear Polyethylene tubing, buterate tubing and clear Polycarbonates tubes are MUCH better choices for use in flying models.
For much more info on "working with Plastics" you can download tech-tip-017 from the Libriary section of narhams.org wedsite. that wil give you all kinds of materials and methods you may be looking for.
 
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mack

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There is a man in SARA (Southern Arizona Rocketry Association) that has a clear rocket and launches it almost every month. It is about 6 or 7 feet tall, 5 or 6 inches in diameter with dual deploy. I believe he launches it on 'I' motors. Every part of the rocket is clear from the nose cone to the fins. You can see all of the components from the motor to the drogue chute, main chute and the electronics.

I don't know what it is made from. I have seen it launched 6 or 7 times now and it is always a crowd pleaser.
 

daveyfire

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Remember that (sort of) well-known YouTube video of the static firing of a hybrid motor? The one in which the motor housing and fuel grain were made of clear acrylic?
Updated version, my friend's senior design project last semester:
[youtube]2N076NS_vv8[/youtube]

Once they got the combustion stability nailed down, they did LITVC (or GITVC, as it were) with it:
[youtube]ozzdnWTT-bc[/youtube]

so you wouldn't even need fins on your clear rocket :cyclops:
 

Stymye

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I have one built from a light fixture clear tube cover.
can't show a pic because most of my rockets are packed away right now due to a remodeling job.
 

terryg

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There is a man in SARA (Southern Arizona Rocketry Association) that has a clear rocket and launches it almost every month. It is about 6 or 7 feet tall, 5 or 6 inches in diameter with dual deploy. I believe he launches it on 'I' motors. Every part of the rocket is clear from the nose cone to the fins. You can see all of the components from the motor to the drogue chute, main chute and the electronics.

I don't know what it is made from. I have seen it launched 6 or 7 times now and it is always a crowd pleaser.
That would be our club president's rocket. It usually flys on K class reloads and I think it is made from polycarbonate. It always has an impressive flight, day or night.

prep.jpg


pad.jpg
 
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mack

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That would be our club president's rocket. It usually flys on K class reloads and I think it is made from polycarbonate. It always has an impressive flight, day or night.
Thats the one. I couldn't remember for sure what engines he flew. Everyone stops what they are doing to watch when it is time to launch it.
 

troj

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That would be our club president's rocket. It usually flys on K class reloads and I think it is made from polycarbonate. It always has an impressive flight, day or night.
I'm thinking that's the one I saw at LDRS. It's very well done!

-Kevin
 

jskeane

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The clear rocket that flew at LDRS 27, my first scratch-built rocket and the third high-power rocket I have made, is the same one that I flew at many of the SARA launches. There is a photo of it on page 17 of the Rockets Magazine that covered LDRS 27 (however, my name is Sean Keane, not Brian Kean). It was named Clear as a Bell, and I flew it 15 times before it met it's fate at a night launch. I didn't take into account the added mass of the strobe lights I attached to the parachutes when I loaded the ejection charges, and the parachutes failed to deploy. After that, I built a second generation model with a few improvements and named it Trans-Parental Guidance. I fly it almost every month at the SARA launches, and plan to fly it at Desert Heat in Tucson on March 27 and 28. Here is a photo of Clear as a Bell:



It is nine and a half feet tall, and weighs a little over 15 lbs. Here it is in flight at LDRS 27:



You don't ever want to use acrylic (AKA Plexiglas) for rocketry, as it is brittle. I wanted to make my rocket from polycarbonate, but I needed large tubes that I could use for both the fuselage and the couplers. I couldn't find polycarbonate tubes that were large enough and fit snugly together, so I used a similar material called tenite butyrate. The fuselage is 4.25" tubing and the couplers are 4" tubing. The fins are 1/4" polycarbonate, and the motor mounts and bulkheads are 1/2" polycarbonate. The nose cone is a polycarbonate Imhoff cone. I bought all of the plastic tubes, sheet, and the Imhoff cone from the U. S. Plastic Corp. web site.

Even glue that is designed for these plastics is not strong enough on its own for the rigors of ejection, so I had to drill and pin all of the components that experience shear forces using 1/4" polycarbonate rod for the pins. I learned this important tip when my first fin can fell from 3000 ft. while the rest of the rocket floated down under parachute. Amazingly, the fins weren't damaged, although the tubing did crack. Polycarbonate is tough!

The black powder ejection charges make a mess of the clear tubing, so the rocket is designed to come completely apart for cleaning. However, once it is washed with soapy water, it cleans right up. There is only slight pitting of the plastic nearest the ejection charges, and it remains pretty transparent even after a dozen flights.

The part of the design with which I am most proud is the twist-lock system I came up with for attaching the major components together. There are no fasteners needed to assemble the rocket, once I have the altimeter bay put together (it uses four large nuts to hold the sled in place, which is also made from 1/2" polycarbonate). The lower fuselage slides over the lower part of the altimeter bay, which is then turned to lock it into place. The same is true for the upper fuselage, and the rocket is ready to fly. I plan to use this system for all of my scratch-built rockets, as it has proven itself in over 20 flights.

The maximum altitude to date for either of my clear rockets is 5298 feet for Clear as a Bell, using an Aerotech K800. Trans-Parental Guidance is a bit lighter and has more aerodynamic fins, so I plan to see what it can do on the same motor at Desert Heat.

One final piece of advice for clear rockets: use bright parachutes. As I discovered at LDRS 27, they are a pain to find in a corn field otherwise!
 
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