Custom 38mm Motor Case Storage Box

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Aug 15, 2004
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At long last, a couple of weeks ago, I whittled down the resolve of the wife to the point that she graciously allowed me to order a full set of 29mm motor cases. These would be my first, not counting the "hobby" 29/40-120 and 24/40. Then, as fate would have it, I realized that there was a little money in the account of my telescope business which had never been withdrawn. It being the holidays (almost) and all, I decided to write myself a disbursement, and I also ordered the 38mm Mega set.

This was a big moment for me, and I was quite excited. I became horrified over the concept of keeping them in a box to get their nice anodized surfaces all banged up, and determined that a more elegant solution was required. So I scoured the countryside for a store that carried those little plastic cases with dividers that they sell with tackle boxes, but bigger. I finally found them at an otherwise useless store in Lynnwood called "Storables". I got one for the 29mm set, but none were big enough for the 38's, especially the 1080. Next came the Internet research. Astoundingly, it appeared that no one really made a plastic case with dividers of just the right size. What were the marketing people thinking? Can it be that the demand for a plastic case sized to 38mm rocket motors is not sufficient to justify its production? I don't see how.

So I stared at the 29mm plastic case, with everything nicely arranged and protected. Somehow, it just didn't say "Burn me!" like such a collection should. I was not satisfied. And there was still the problem of the lack of a 38mm case.

So began the sordid tale known as "The Great Case Construction" (alternately known as "Albrecht's Folly"). Over the next 2 weeks I poured all my skill, my malice, and my will to dominate all life into crafting the One Case, a wonder made from walnut and maple. I forged it in the fires of my shop, and only there can it be unmade.

The top is made of strip laminations, then beveled at 12 degrees. The sides are connected with double through finger joints, covered over with thin trim of walnut.

The insides were carefully designed to fit the 38mm cases exactly, and each divider was made from maple with precisely cut dadoes placing the dividers.

I considered putting on brass hinges and a clasp, but after all of the work on joinery with no fasteners used, I just had to make my own walnut hinges. The process is tedious and painful with a lot of set up time, so I made a bunch of extras. I have yet to attach them since I still need to mortise the lid to do so.

I know what you are thinking. "Eric, you blew it! Aerotech just came out with a new 38/120 case, and although there is room in there for it, there will not be a divider perfectly spaced for it!" And you would be right. I am kicking myself. But rest assured, when I build the case for the 29's, this error will be rectified (for the new 29/120). I think I'll even include a spot for the 29/40-120.

So when you all see it at a launch and listen to me curse as I drop it in the mud, you can chuckle at all the time I killed on it that I could have spent building rockets.

That comes next week.

Eric Albrecht

Wow, that's simply amazing. You did an excellent job! Perhaps you've found a new side business :)
If it were up to me, that looks so beautiful I don't know if I could use it to store motor casings in!

Amazing work! :cool:
The box looks great and I love the amount of work that went into the post! I was chuckling the whole time while reading it.
WOW! That is something. I wish I could do work like that, but then, if I could, the wife would have a list about 14 pages long of things I NEED to build. That, of course, would cut significantly into the 13 minutes per week I have of "rocket building time" so for now I will simply keep hiding my woodworking talents.;)

Hand made walnut hinges? I think I hate you!:D
Wow my hats off to ya the detail of that shows you are a real craftsman