Estes Solar Warrior #3225 4" Upscale

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Flyfalcons

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Getting there. At this point I'm feeling pretty confident that this will be ready to fly at a launch in September.

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RocketFeller

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I always thought that the Solar Warrior was a cool kit, but it is a way-cool upscale!

Which September launch are you thinking of?
 

Flyfalcons

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I always thought that the Solar Warrior was a cool kit, but it is a way-cool upscale!

Which September launch are you thinking of?
I had an awesome time at Sheridan last year, but I also love flying at Tri-Cities. Tough choice with the launches on the same weekend!
 

Flyfalcons

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This is why I got the vinyl decals before cutting wood. Much easier to get the dimensions just right off the close-fitting decals, rather than cutting the parts and hoping the decals have the right fit. The decals on this design are complicated and it's fair to say that without vinyl cutters like Stickershock, I probably wouldn't have taken on this project.

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neil_w

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This is why I got the vinyl decals before cutting wood. Much easier to get the dimensions just right off the close-fitting decals, rather than cutting the parts and hoping the decals have the right fit. The decals on this design are complicated and it's fair to say that without vinyl cutters like Stickershock, I probably wouldn't have taken on this project.
The decal design is one of the great parts of the kit. Doesn't quite look like anything else that I can think of.

You've got a much more precise fit there than on the stock Estes kit. Looks great!
 

Flyfalcons

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Paint and vinyl complete

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BDB

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Wow!!! It looks great.
 

PokerJones

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Beautiful build Ryan, looks fantastic. That is something I have also thought about up scaling, any chance you would post the open rocket or rocksim file, I would love to build one.
 

Flyfalcons

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Beautiful build Ryan, looks fantastic. That is something I have also thought about up scaling, any chance you would post the open rocket or rocksim file, I would love to build one.
Jeff, yes, I can post my OR file. What I have now is "Pretty Close" on the fin shapes to what I built. It easily works to simulate stability and drag, however I used the vinyl decals (and measurements from the Estes kit) to get the exact shape for the main fins and I haven't really adjusted my file to be as accurate to that as possible yet. The fin plates were also sized and cut based on the decals and they are simply represented by square fins of roughly the same length and width on my OR file. So when I get a chance to tweak it, I'll post it up. Probably with the advisory to get your decals first and make sure that what you are cutting matches up with them for best results.
 

Flyfalcons

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Okay, time for a follow up on completion and maiden launch of the Solar Warrior. After finishing the paint and decals, I got to work on the avbay. Because this project had ballooned into something a littlre more serious than what I was expecting it to be, I decided to add redundancy to the avbay and install two altimeters. Because this is just a fun sport flyer, I saved my RRC3 for another project and used two RRC2+ altimeters. I hooked them up with 9V power, Missileworks screw switches, and Apogee PVC charge canisters. I had a difficult time getting the screw switches to line up with the vent holes, like I did on my BBIII project, so I mounted them low on the sled and drilled a couple holes for them in the coupler section. That worked much better.

With all the gear mounted, it was time for weigh-in. Originally my simulator projection came in at 5.5 pounds. I figured by adding another altimeter and with some fudge factor, it'd be more like 6.5 to 7 pounds. Well, when placed on my postal scale, this porker came out at 9.25 pounds. Dang. I guess all that 1/4" ply and gear will do that to a project. Oh well, balance was great and with the final weight and empty CG figures, Open Rocket says it'll have at least 1.5cal stability all the way through a larger 54mm motor. So that's good. What isn't good is I was originally planning on stealing my Recon 40" parachute from my Sea Wolf for the main. This parachute would fit well in my modestly sized payload section. Unfortunately at a pad weight of about 11 pounds, that chute would no longer cut it. So I pulled out a Recon 50" chute that I was saving for another project. This parachute, along with 20 feet of OneBadHawk nylon harness, barely fits in the payload bay. Thank goodness I didn't go with a plastic nose cone here, as I needed the space inside the nose cone shoulder to stuff the parachute. A ground test with 1.3 grams of BP resulted in a weak deployment, and the parachute staying balled up inside the nose cone shoulder. Not good! So I changed my technique to stuff as much harness in the shoulder as possible, and have the chute sit below that. That technique, and a new setting of 1.6 grams, resulted in a much cleaner ground test. Good. Off to Tri-Cities for the maiden!

Originally I was planning on flying this with an I284W or I327DM, but sim figures at the rocket's final weight were less than impressive. So I pulled out the biggest motor I had for the launch, a J350W. This looked more promising in the sim, with an estimated altitude of 2,000' and good speed off the pad. Because there was a bit of a breeze going when I wanted to fly the rocket, I was happy with my decision to build the J350W for the flight. With all charges prepped, there was nothing left to do but take it to the pad, turn it on, and wish it the best of luck.

[video=youtube;9IUQYidnFSg]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9IUQYidnFSg[/video]

The crushing sound of defeat you hear at the end was mostly unwarranted. As you can see, most of the flight went great. The rocket went up perfectly straight, with just a little wiggle as it climbed into the breeze. The electronics did their job brilliantly, however, the main chute stayed wadded up and the rocket fell to the ground with a parawad. Amazingly, it took only very minor damage. No fins were broken, no fillets were cracked, and the payload section and nose cone were just fine. The bottom of the booster wasn't crunched at all, which I attribute to gluing the lower centering ring flush with the bottom of the tube. The booster section of the body tube did get a small wrinkle in it, near but below the top centering ring. Several L2 and L3 club members checked over the tube with me, and we all agreed the damage is mostly superficial. After I took the rocket home, I sanded down the wrinkled area to the bare tube and epoxied some reinforcing fiberglass to it. Today I'll be back from a business trip, and I'm hoping to be able to sand the fiberglass smooth, repsray some white paint, and be good to go to fly the rocket again this weekend. I'll be doing a better job packing the parachute, and I may even decide to swap it out with an appropriately sized Top Flite main, which should pack down a bit more compact.

Despite the setback on the maiden launch, I have had a great time designing and building this rocket. It looks cool and flies well, and is something you don't see every day at the field. If you're at Sheridan, OR this weekend, come on over and have a look and say hi!

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BDB

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Thank goodness for the grass to cushion the fall! This was such a cool build and a near perfect maiden flight. I'm glad the repair was easy.
 

farsidius

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It was fun to see this upscale fly this weekend at Sheridan. Great rocket and perfect flight.

-brant
 
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