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Dr. Zooch Discoverer Thor

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JAL3

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In my ongoing battle to repair all my shop rockets, the Discoverer Thor came up next. It was my first Zooch kit and I was quite happy with it. Unlike many of the others, I know that this one did not suffer in flight. It suffered at the hands of an adorible but precocious 6 year old who came out to one of our club launches with her brothers, sisters and cousins. She was too afraid to launch anything but wanted to carry the Discoverer Thor around with her all day. Somewhere along the way, the NC got a mojor ding and a fin busted off. Thankfully, Spikey was able to find the fin but the tip was broken off.

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JAL3

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I was going to try and put the fin back on and then splice in a tip as described in Tim VanMilligan's book but, never having done that before, decided to take an easier way out that I have also never done.

I held a piece of 16" balsa against a good fin and traced an outline. I then cut out a new piece, making sure of proper grain orientation.

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JAL3

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The next step was to use the razor knife to shave of the remnants of the fin root on the BT. After that, the fin was applied with yellow glue and a double joint.

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JAL3

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As I said to begin with, the NC also had a nasty ding. I sisn't think that this one would be amenable to swelling with water.

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JAL3

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Not knowing what else to do, I took some undiluted Elmer's filler and stuffed a bolus in the crunch. I figure that after it hardens, I'll sand in the right profile and then try to strengthen it with some thin CA.

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Dr.Zooch

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I know that repairing is a big part of the fun... but why don't you just ask me for a new nosecone? I'll be happy to send you one.

BTW- this kit is currently OOP and may not be back anytime soon.
 

JAL3

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I know that repairing is a big part of the fun... but why don't you just ask me for a new nosecone? I'll be happy to send you one.

BTW- this kit is currently OOP and may not be back anytime soon.

I appreciate the offer and I did think about just ordering a replacement. I have done that for the fins of some of the rockets I've been trying to repair. I finally decided to try and fix it myself, not because I particularly enjoy repair work, but so that I can get better at doing it. I figured that if all else failed, I could order a new...assuming its availible.

I tend to learn something on just about every kit I build, even if I learn that the "bright idea" doesn't work. Your kits have been no exception. The tower on the Little Joe was a royal @#$*)(* to get done; it doesn't look all that great when you get too close but boy am I proud of having been able to do it. And the next one will be better!

Thanks,
 

JAL3

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After letting the filler set up for a few days, I took a sanding stick and some sandpaper and tried to recreate the intended shape of the nose cone. If memory serves me, a dicey proposition, this is something that had to be done in the original build as well.

I eventually got it to roughly the right shape and then wicked in some thin CA to make it more durable.

sanded-NC.jpg
 

JAL3

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The CA was given a little time to dry out and then the NC was brush painted with black acrylic. The result is indistinguishable in my eye to the original.

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JAL3

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The replaced fin was glued in place with yellow glue. I ran the fillets with white glue. I did not know until just a few days ago that it shrinks less that the yellow stuff. Apparently it does, but it still shrinks.

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JAL3

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The fillets got a couple of days to dry since I was sick but they did look like they turned out better than my yellow ones.

The fin was sealed with balsa fillercoat, sanded and then painted with white acrylic. Another coat was put on an hour later and the Discoverer Thor is ready to fly again.

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luke strawwalker

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NICE repair job!!! Your repair threads are neat.

Those DiscoThors are neat rockets, aren't they?? REAL sweet flyers too...

Have a good one! OL JR :)
 

JAL3

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NICE repair job!!! Your repair threads are neat.

Those DiscoThors are neat rockets, aren't they?? REAL sweet flyers too...

Have a good one! OL JR :)
Thanks. I do like it.

I had a bunch of Zooch kits sitting around that I wanted to try but was intimidated. This was the first one I got the nerve to do and it went well. I like it and am glad to have it back in service.
 

luke strawwalker

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Yeah, me too... I'm sitting on enough Zoochies to recreate the entire space program! I just got my new Zooch Lifting Body shuttle, Saturn V, Gemini Titan III MOL, Atlas Agena, Mark II, and Redstone, to go along with my order from last fall of the Shuttle, Saturn IB, Saturn I, and Soyuz....

Now I just need to get busy... :) OL JR :)
 

JAL3

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Yeah, me too... I'm sitting on enough Zoochies to recreate the entire space program! I just got my new Zooch Lifting Body shuttle, Saturn V, Gemini Titan III MOL, Atlas Agena, Mark II, and Redstone, to go along with my order from last fall of the Shuttle, Saturn IB, Saturn I, and Soyuz....

Now I just need to get busy... :) OL JR :)
I have a similar invventory waiting for my attention.

Sometimes it seems like I spend as much time deciding which project is going to be next as I do actually building it. THen there's the matter of opportunities to fly. I have a bad feeling that I won't be able to try all the new one at the next club launch for lack of time.:(
 

Dr.Zooch

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VERY well done!

Sometimes I think repair threads are just as good as build threads. I think it's super that you've elected to use repair to build your skills. That's one thing that makes the differance between the blister-packed RTF and builder's kits. Builder's kits are highly repair-able... but bust a fin on an RTF and you may as well send it back to Red China.

You did an outstanding job on that nosecone. Looks as if you really didn't need a replacement afterall... I'm happy to say.
 

JAL3

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VERY well done!

Sometimes I think repair threads are just as good as build threads. I think it's super that you've elected to use repair to build your skills. That's one thing that makes the differance between the blister-packed RTF and builder's kits. Builder's kits are highly repair-able... but bust a fin on an RTF and you may as well send it back to Red China.

You did an outstanding job on that nosecone. Looks as if you really didn't need a replacement afterall... I'm happy to say.
Thanks. I really am pleased with it. I kept thinking right up until the end that I would probably have to order a cone but that at least I would get some experience. As it turns out, I won't have to.

FWIW, I will scrupulously apply what I saved on a new NC towards the purchase of another wonderful Zooch kit.

Don't you feel like an N1 is in your future? Puh-leeeeeeeze!
 

luke strawwalker

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Thanks. I really am pleased with it. I kept thinking right up until the end that I would probably have to order a cone but that at least I would get some experience. As it turns out, I won't have to.

FWIW, I will scrupulously apply what I saved on a new NC towards the purchase of another wonderful Zooch kit.

Don't you feel like an N1 is in your future? Puh-leeeeeeeze!
N-1 would be good... yes, GOOOOooooDDD (In Emperor Palpatine voice)

Course I would like to see a Zooch Proton... :) OL JR :)
 

JAL3

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N-1 would be good... yes, GOOOOooooDDD (In Emperor Palpatine voice)

Course I would like to see a Zooch Proton... :) OL JR :)
Proton would be fine but think of the marketing possibilities of an N-1 that really flies and recovers. It would be historic.
 

Pem Tech

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Proton would be fine but think of the marketing possibilities of an N-1 that really flies and recovers. It would be historic.
Good work on the Thor repairs, yours looks better than mine an mine hasn't even left the house yet.

Yes, yes, yes.....
An Ant Scale N1 and Proton would be great!
 

JAL3

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Good work on the Thor repairs, yours looks better than mine an mine hasn't even left the house yet.

Yes, yes, yes.....
An Ant Scale N1 and Proton would be great!
A 19 ft version would be better.

Are you going to let that little ant sized runt show you up?

(sorry Wes, just thought I would try and fan the flames of a good ole fashioned space race...)

Just do it! You know you want to. It would be good for business. It would help the economy.

C'mon now. I'm talking to both of you now.






Have a nice day.
(and thanks for the kind words)
((get back to work))
(((sorry, I spent too much time programming LISP long ago and have flashbacks)))
((((Deeply embedded flashbacks))))
(((((but don't forget about the N1)))))
 

JAL3

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I haven't even gotten to fly this one since the last repair and I damaged it again today. I did the old fumble fingers routine and dropped it, apparently fin first, onto a concrete slab with fairly predicatble results. This was another instance of a fin originally fastened with CA giving way.

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JAL3

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The fin fit right back into place and a seam could hardly be seen. With that in mind, I glued it into place with white glue and then applied some fillets to each side.

replaced.jpg
 

Dr.Zooch

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There's likely a chemist on here someplace who knows more about CA glue than I do, but from experience with my model boats I can say that super glues tend to get very brittle over a short period of time. I was told that this is because they were developed to close wounds like a stitch and not to hold things for protracted periods of time.

Frankly, the best stuff for holding anything to anything else is 3M 1300 Gasket Adhesive. Although very hard to handle, once dry it'll hold a basket ball to a window and it NEVER lets go. I still have balsa stuff from 1978 that is held together by 1300. Currently I've found that it's good for holding rocket parts together.

Yer' Discoverer Thor is looking good! Nice repair job.
 

JAL3

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There's likely a chemist on here someplace who knows more about CA glue than I do, but from experience with my model boats I can say that super glues tend to get very brittle over a short period of time. I was told that this is because they were developed to close wounds like a stitch and not to hold things for protracted periods of time.

Frankly, the best stuff for holding anything to anything else is 3M 1300 Gasket Adhesive. Although very hard to handle, once dry it'll hold a basket ball to a window and it NEVER lets go. I still have balsa stuff from 1978 that is held together by 1300. Currently I've found that it's good for holding rocket parts together.

Yer' Discoverer Thor is looking good! Nice repair job.
Thanks.

I went through a CA phase in rocketry about a year ago. I've since decided that plain old Elmer's, both white and yellow, more often than not give me what I'm looking for without as much hassle later on.
 

JAL3

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My poor Discoverer Thor has been languishing in its box since its time in the shop and finally got to come out for a flight today. It was loaded with a B6-2 and placed on the pad for what would be my final flight of the day.

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JAL3

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It ignited right off and flew straight, straighter in fact than I remember. The fin I replaced must have been a bit cockeyed.:blush:

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JAL3

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Ejection took place on schedule and the chute deployed properly, bring the rocket back down gently.

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JAL3

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The rocket had no damage at all and the chute just had a bit of scorching.

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luke strawwalker

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Glad you had better luck than me... I launched mine on a Quest B6-4 and no deploy-- just nose-blow recovery. Didn't even push the chute out of the tube. I used a couple sheets of recovery wadding and the last one folded over my finger for a "parachute cup" and put the trash bag chute in it and slid the nose on, and it wasn't very tight at all, so I don't know WHY the ejection charge didn't put the laundry out on the line... weak ejection I guess. She came down hard, popped a fin on one side, and dinged the tube and paint a bit near the nozzle. Basically the exact same repair as yours but the nosecone was undamaged despite stuck on hard dirt (thank you Hobby Lobby CA hardening!)

Planning on sending up my newly completed Zooch Saturn V for the Apollo 11 commemoration, and after having just watched our club NAR advisor's gorgeous superdetailed Estes Saturn V fly perfectly straight to apogee, spill the laundry, and end up tangling the upper stage section chute and ripping free at the transition and drop the top half from 500 feet or so onto hard packed ground (OUCH!) I decided I had to break the bad mojo before sending up my own Saturn V. SO, I broke out the Mark II, and loaded a Quest B6-4 into it, and sent it up-- SAME THING HAPPENED AGAIN! I KNOW I didn't overload it with wadding, as I only used three sheets and crumpled them up to fit in the tube, and the laundry was rolled tight enough not to hang up on the way out, but same thing-- nose blow but the chute still in the tube. She came down hard too and crumpled the tube a bit in the blowout panel area-- kind of hard fix but I've got a couple ideas. Otherwise unhurt. I straightened the connecting tube sections adjacent to the blowout panels and sent her up on an Estes B6-4 for a perfect flight. In fact the motor had a build date of July 1989, part of my pre-BAR stash. Satisfied I had regained my ju-ju, I returned for the Saturn V.

I decided to take my chances with the Saturn V, but again switched to Estes motors, a C6-3, and sent it up, and it flew beautifully, straight as an arrow, arched over, and spilled the chute right on cue.

I returned to the line with my Zooch shuttle on an Estes C6-3 and it flew beautifully as well, though the glide wasn't great, but that's my fault (and the wind, yeah, the wind... :) )

Back to the shop... :) OL JR :)
 

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