Drilling Balsa Nose Cones

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accooper

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OK, some times it is necessary to drill out balsa nose cones to add weight. I have found that bullet fishing weights are the way to go. They come in 1/32 oz all the way to 3 oz if the need is that much. They are all 1/4 inch in diameter, so this makes the choice of drill bits easy.

Here comes the hard part. If you don't have a drill press, and by the way I don't, how do you drill a straight hole?

I think I have come up with an easy way.

Grab a couple of sewing thread spools! I have gotten two of them, one small one for BT-20 to BT-50 nose cones, and a larger one for BT-55 to BT-70 nose cones.

MOST thread spools have the hole all the way through them and a 9/32 inch drill bit fits just right, although a 1/4 inch bit will also work, just a little loose.

What you do is line the hole of the spool up with the center of the base of the nose cone, insert the bit that is attached to your hand drill, and slowly drill while holding the spool to the base of the nose cone.

As long as you take it slow, you will drill a nice straight hole, to be filled with as much weight as you need.

What I do after inserting the weight I need, is to squirt some wood glue on top of the weight and insert a wood dowel rod of proper size into the hole pushing it in as far as possible.

Hope this help someone else cause it sure helped me.

Andrew
Dark Lord Of The Scratch Builders

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Excellent tip, Andrew! I can certainly use it. Thanks!

MarkII
 
One other thing I learned from this. You have to wait till the spool is empty. If you don't your wife will get very mad. Like mine did!

Andrew
dark Lord Of The Scratch Builders
 
The spools are a great idea!

One other thing I learned from this. You have to wait till the spool is empty. If you don't your wife will get very mad. Like mine did!

My rule of stealing sewing or quilting supplies for rocketry -- always buy your wife a better replacement, first. Curved tip scissors? Bought a nice pair, gave those to Deb, and stole hers (right off her fingers, no less). Rotary cutting mat? Bought a bigger one for Deb, took the smaller one - now, I'm allowed to use both. :)

-Kevin
 
JoAnn's often has 40% off coupons that are great for buying expensive sewing tools--if you wait long enough for sales you can even get top quality stuff at 50% off their regular price.
 
Hey, that's a GREAT idea!!! You're going from asking questions to answering them-- soon you'll be an 'old hat' around here... :)

Thanks for a great idea! OL JR :)
 
JoAnn's often has 40% off coupons that are great for buying expensive sewing tools--if you wait long enough for sales you can even get top quality stuff at 50% off their regular price.

They also have very nice rip-stop nylon for making chutes.
 
That's a cool and inexpensive way to do a drill bushing! I was just pondering how I was going to safely drill out the NC for my Space Arc Jr.!

Also you could use your own rocketry thread. I have a spool of upholstery thread for shroud line replacements, and a spool of brown that I used to make rope coils for Lego Minifigs
 

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