First NARAM+ Vendor's Meeting...

luke strawwalker

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jan 18, 2009
Messages
9,147
Reaction score
23
Well, I've finally been to my first NARAM, down at the nice Sports Complex fields at Lebanon, Ohio. Drove down Saturday from my current digs in northern Indiana at the inlaws to see the show for a bit before heading up for a fairly early start at the USAF Museum in Dayton Sunday morning. I arrived in mid-afternoon after having driven through a pretty tough storm and circled about a while looking for a cash machine to stock up for vendor's row... by the time I arrived at the field, the sun was shining and all was quiet, but vendor's row was a pretty much abandoned disaster area. It was clear there'd been quite some carnage, as the mangled remains of some EZ-Ups laying piled up provided mute testimony to the fact that the storm had certainly been rough! Everybody else was either in the final stages of packing it in or generally digging around in their vehicles. I made my way down to the sport range and watched what little was going on there for a few minutes, and roamed back over to one vendor who was talking with some folks whom I soon recognized-- Vern and Gleda Estes! The fellow they were speaking with soon produced some new models and that piqued my curiosity, so I hung around. Turns out I was speaking with John Boren of Estes R&D. I even talked him into taking my picture with the Estes's, despite my camera being a bit recalcitrant. Spoke with Vern and Gleda for a few moments, but didn't want to paw at them-- I'm sure they get enough of that sort of thing... :D Gotta say I was floating though... Talked with John Boren a bit about some of the interesting stuff he was showing the small group that had assembled, some of the new stuff he'd brought with him. Met some fellow forum members and got a few more pics. Then I wandered over to the contest range and watched the RC gliders being launched awhile, got some really nice shots over there. Roamed back to the sport range and visited a bit, and after awhile left as everybody was pretty well packing it in for the day, except the glider folks who were still having their fly-offs. Visited with our own Peartree here on the forum and his son, who were packing up for the day after the pretty successful (so I gathered) but hastily storm-induced ending to the hot dog cookout. Had a nice visit and hope he catches a break down there... Pear's vehicle was burglarized while he was stopped in Columbus, but thankfully it seems the worst thing was a broken side half-window in the back door of his Explorer... nothing inside was stolen thankfully! Headed south to the hotel for the Vendor's meeting, which I'll summarize shortly. Met some more fine folks like Nettie Hunsicker and a few others, and got there early for the vendors meeting, so I got front and center for some nice photos and good views of the products being displayed. After the vendor's meeting, I was planning to head back up toward Dayton to spend the night in a (cheaper) motel but found myself face to face at the counter of the BK next door with Carl MacLawhorn of Semroc, and visited with him a bit (again trying not to fawn over folks who probably get bugged to death by being 'celebrities'... :) But it WAS a kick getting to talk to folks who are... LOL:)) Sat down with my burger and started talking with Bill here on the forum, who's from the Dallas area. We got to talking about various issues and then moved on to club topics (since our west Houston club had some "issues" and a new section formed, with now both sections "officially" flying off my farm (if this dang drought ever ends!) Before I knew it, Bill was probably hopelessly late for the beerlofting due to my talking too much (sorry:)) and I was seriously thinking about getting a closer motel... after all it WOULD permit me the time to get back to the field the next morning to hit vendor's row, one of the main original reasons that I made the trip. After consulting with my wife over the phone while she looked up promising hotels (after the Motel 6 across the street proved booked solid) and a bit of driving (got to break down and get me one of those Garmin things... I love maps and don't get lost easily, but those things are SO nice for looking up stuff like motels instead of pestering your wife late at night!) Finally ended up getting a fairly decent rate on a less than stellar room (ok it was a fleabag-- I'm cheap!) that had the benefit of only being about 3-4 miles north of the flying field. By the time I hit the sack it was closing in on 2 am. I hit the road at about 9 the next morning and got to a warm humid vendor's row about ten minutes later. Visited with a few more folks and took a look-see at all the stuff, and picked up a few things... was there about an hour, and figured I better head north to get to the USAF museum since it's about an hour or so away. The "jet aces" RC jet airshow was going on this weekend up there at the museum, and so I had to park in the back forty-- I could almost see the flying field in north Cincinnati from where I parked... LOL:y: Got in line for half an hour or so to get my pass for the AF1/X-plane hangar and started my tour at 11:10 am, mostly breezing through the museum at a fairly quick pace snapping pics. The USAF museum is AMAZING; they've very nearly got one of nearly everything that's ever flown (or so it seems anyway) and it's HUGE-- one could EASILY spend several days in there taking it all in... this is my second time through and even with most of the day it was FAR too short a time to really see it all! I did the WWI hangar, the WWII hangar, and started on the Cold War hangar when my 1:45 tour time was fast approaching for the AF1/X-plane hangar, so I zipped up there for that. You only get an hour in the X-plane hangar, and you have to sign up early because they fill up and they're done. After a short bus ride to the hangar, you're free to roam round at will right up to the planes. Got a LOT of nice pics in there-- starting with all the X-planes. While I was in the hangar, the thunder outside which was merely threatening when we arrived suddenly turned into a full-fledged deluge! The rain was ROARING down onto the huge quonset hangar and started pouring in under the hangar doors, and swamped the drain grills just inside the doors and water started rolling across the floor of the hangars... I made my way across to the AF1 hangars and got lots of neat shots in there, and squeezed my 350 lbs through the 17 inch hallway of the Independence and Ike's plane... just as I was going to head for the big Kennedy-esque AF1, they called our group to go back, so I didn't get to see it. Cest la vis...
It was showering lightly when we returned to the museum, and I resumed my rushed picture-snapping tour in the Cold War hangar. Finally made the last loop in the last hangar and made my way back to the missile/aerospace gallery in the very back with about 30 minutes before closing time. Snapped pictures like mad and roamed around, went upstairs and made the circle snapping pics, and just when I finished with the last pic, a guy taps me on the shoulder and tells me "we're closed" so I head for the elevator downstairs and start making my way back to the front, snapping a few last pics of lifting bodies and stuff that I sorta zipped by in my haste before... All in all a successful day!

After scouring the bookshop for awhile, I hiked back to the truck in the light rain. Drove over to the other side, and parked and walked through the outdoor planes fairly quickly, as the rain had picked up, but I wanted to get some pics of those planes as well and of the missile railroad car and mobile launcher parked at the end. I had a hat on and a towel draped over the camera keeping it dry, but by the time I got my pics and hiked back to the truck again, I was pretty well soaked, so I changed into the previous day's shirt (which was at least dry by this time) and headed back toward Indiana, driving through some heavy thunderstorms along the way... I don't know how bad it was down in Lebanon at NARAM Sunday, but it was plenty rough in Dayton, which is only about 30-40 miles north!

All in all it was a nice trip, and if you've never been to a NARAM, it's well worth the time and effort! If you've never been the USAF museum, and you're even remotely interested in aerospace, it's something that MUST be seen to be believed!

Later! OL JR :)
 
Last edited:

o1d_dude

'I battle gravity'
Joined
Jan 18, 2009
Messages
8,379
Reaction score
1,277
Location
A Banana Republic
Now THAT is a NARAM report!

Great job, OL JR. I've never been to the USAF museum but hope to make a stop there someday. Been to the Museum of Flight up in Washington twice and still break out the photos occasionally. I literally still have the T-shirt.

Doesn't sound like you got to see much in the way of launches but you sure did get to see a lot of rocket royalty.

Hope your trip home is less "exciting" than your previous trip up north.

I like monkeys.
 
Last edited:

luke strawwalker

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jan 18, 2009
Messages
9,147
Reaction score
23
OK... now with the background out of the way, I can give a detailed account of the Vendor's Meeting at NARAM 53. The presentation was held in one of the nice meeting rooms of the official host hotel, the Marriott in northern Cincinnati, starting shortly after 7 pm. The meeting began with Carl and Sheryl McLawhorn of Semroc. Carl spoke about the many benefits of their SAM club, much like the old Estes Aerospace Club most of us are familiar with. Benefits include special releases, discounts, a "SAM members only" forum on Ye Olde Rocketry Forum, and other goodies... definitely something worth looking into on the Semroc website! Carl also spoke about their nosecone service-- you can now design your own and send the file to them, and they can turn them out for you. Some new Semroc kits coming out include the Baby Orion, 1/8 Arcon, Aerobee 1500, 2 stage Shrike, a dual engine two stager (dual boosters and sustainer engines) PBC Infinity, the Goblin, Trident, and Scrambler three engine cluster egglofter.

A presentation was made on behalf of Red River Rocketry, discussing some of their kit offerings, such as the Diamond Ring Extreme for F & G motors, the Blue Shift similar to their Red Shift kit, and the Aggressor, which is similar to a smaller Predator.

Jack Hagerty from ARA Press spoke about some of the books we've come to appreciate and some new stuff coming out. First off, if you haven't got a copy of "Spaceship Handbook", which is an excellent hardback THICK reference to many fictional AND real spacecraft, you'd better get one soon-- there are only 220 left (ok, 219 because I got mine from Jack after the meeting) and he's selling about six per week, so they'll be sold out within the year... and it's NOT going to be reprinted! He also showed the "Saucer Fleet" book of ONLY saucer rockets, and various booklets on subjects such as camera rocketry, getting level one certified, high power staging, and other topics of interest. I also picked up a copy of Mario Purdue's excellent "Seize the Sky" book, which Jack spoke about. Peter Alway's "V-2" and "Army Missiles of the Cold War" will be available mid-August. Jack also showed a VERY neat book compiled by a guy who worked in the prop storage archives that are no longer accessible, called "2010, a Scrapbook Odyssey". Basically anything and everything you ever wanted to know about the film models from the 2001/2010 movies is in there... Also, he presented a new book dedicated to the "Lost in Space" TV show, "Lost in Space design and Jupiter 2 Technical Guide", which is sort of an "illustrated bible" of the TV show and all its technology.

Jim Flis of Fliskits was up next, graciously present on his anniversary thanks to the kindness and understanding of his wife! :) Jim spoke about the "rainbow launch" he was planning for Sunday (and has subsequently accomplished so I understand-- hate I missed that!) using a UFFO multi-foam cup saucer to basically loft a gaggle of multicolored streamers into a "rainbow" of colors like the "St. Louis Arch" flights we've read about where rockets trail streamers in a long arc across the sky... I want pictures guys!!! Jim also talked about his Proxima Centauri kit which is a neat futuristic starship design, his BuckShot MMX ring fin rocket (MMX motors are about a dollar each, hence a "buck" per "shot"...:D) He also talked about his three-stage Trifecta, which is capable of three-stage flight with no more than maybe a 60 foot or so walk to recover-- how many three stages can do that?? It's an ingenious design using the interlocking "satellite interceptor" style fins/panels similar to the Frick-N-Frack. He also spoke about the Cougar 330 micromaxx rocket, for FAI streamer duration using a micro-pop lug. He also showed his MMX pad adapter to fit standard launch rods, even equipped with a tiny blast deflector, and spoke briefly about the scale journeyman and more MMX new kits coming soon.
Happy anniversary Jim!

Next up was Bill Stine of Quest. Bill explained their product release dates are scheduled around the I-hobby show in Chicago in October so there wasn't a lot he was going to talk about new. Bill spoke briefly about their Planet Probe kit and its usefulness for school launches, that the kids can decorate them. Also he commented on the Full Betty and various things that have been done to them-- upsize, downsize, MMX, etc. Quest is repackaging their launch systems, and mentioned starter sets including the range box and 3 motors, which none of the other manufacturers are doing. The Penetrator starter set comes with B-C motors, and the Seeker starter set comes with an A, B, and a C motor, one of each, to allow fliers to get a 'feel' for how the rocket flies on each. Bill also showed the "Critical Mass" starter kit for MMX, which is available in four different sets with 6 MMX motors per pack. The MMX sets come with the RTF plastic kits (the more flyable ones than the previous "flying bricks") and mentioned that more buildable hobby MMX kits are coming soon. MMX motors are the same, though the entire MMX line is rebranded including the starter sets to differentiate them from the previous offerings in the retail chain. The fighter jets are supposed to be coming fall of 2012, so we'll see...


More to come! OL JR :)
 

luke strawwalker

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jan 18, 2009
Messages
9,147
Reaction score
23
Cont'd...

Bill Saindon of Balsa Machining Service took the podium, and after a brief review of his nosecone and various balsa part offerings of which virtually everyone is aware, he launched (pun intended) into a discussion of a new 'mystery product' that he described in some detail before actually letting everyone in on what it is. I'll save you the suspense and tell you outright it's a launch controller, and about one of the neatest ones I've ever seen! The whole thing fits in a self-contained box of approximately 10 inches long by about 6 inches high by about 4 inches or so wide-- IOW a little bigger than a file card box (recipe card box, if anybody knows what one of those are... LOL:)) This includes the power supply (batteries), the controller itself, the leads to the pad, and the leads to the launch button. What's neat about this is, it's a RELAY launcher! That's right-- this little box is capable of launching anything from Micromaxx to "M" motors! It's powered by 8 "D" cells, to deliver a full 12 volts of power to the launcher, and using short leads from the batteries in the controller box itself to the launch pad directly adjacent to the controller box, minimizes voltage drop and hence maximizes delivered current. Bill explained that "D" cell batteries, which he displayed a pack that he'd bought at one of the big box stores in a 16 pack, have considerably improved over the years-- the pack he bought are good for another 8 years or so, and will provide 2 full sets for the launcher for a cost of around ten bucks, with an estimated 200 launches or so using Copperheads. The leads are equipped with copper microclips for maximum conductivity, and has an indicator light to show power when the relay is activated-- doubling as a safety light in the event of a hung relay. Bill says another benefit to the "D" cells is that the delivered current is high enough to light any ignitor, but not so high as to weld the automotive 35 amp relay contacts in the event of a short. The power light acts as an additional safety, if, for any reason, the relay SHOULD accidentally still be sending power to the clips-- IE if the light's on, DON'T hook up the ignitor clips! The basic model doesn't come with a continuity indicator, but the upgraded one does, in the form of a piezo buzzer... One of THE neatest things about the launcher is the launch button itself. The launch controller has the leads stored inside the box to the launch button, which is played out to the required safety setbacks depending on what size motors your igniting. The leads are equipped with a standard RCA-type phono connectors (like stereo cables or video dubbing cables-- coax connector) which doubles as the safety key-- you don't have to worry about anybody pushing the button while your at the pad, because YOU TAKE THE BUTTON WITH YOU! You simply unplug the button from the cable (the button is mounted in the end of a slender tube about 4 inches long, with a leadout wire to the other half of the phono plug which mates to the controller leads, and of course are extendable to whatever length you need or want). Unplug the button and stick it in your pocket, and the controller can't be activated while you're hooking up! Ingenious! Additionally, with the use of a phono-plug converter, the launch controller can be operated by your club's master launch system if you so desire-- just hook the clips from club launcher to your phono-plug adapter so the club controller can activate the relay at the proper time. Another neat feature is, if one wants continuity indicator, the ignition switch stick can be equipped with a red/green LED to indicate power/continuity. A VERY neat feature! Plug the launch button into the phono jack, and look at the other end of the tube from the launch button where the LED is located, which glows green for continuity and red when the launch button is pressed! The launch controller is available as either a kit version you put together yourself (soldering required) or as a complete ready-to-use system... the price is $40 for the kit version or $55 for the assembled version. The upgrades for the LED continuity indicators add about $4-5 bucks to the prices. The controller is safe for low current ignitors as well, another important point nowadays... Bill was just about to leave the podium when I asked if the product had a name, to which he replied he'd almost forgot-- "It's called the "Mighty D" because of its use of standard D cells... Some lucky NARAM participants will be able to pick up some assembled launchers at kit prices due to the fact that the instructions had not been completed before Bill left for NARAM, so he was selling completed ones in lieu of the kit versions which must wait on instructions before their offered for sale...

Gary Rosenfield from Aerotech came up to speak a bit about some of his new projects. Not much is going on as far as changes to the hobby rocket motor lineup, though he did mention a new high-ISP propellant they're working on called "Propellant X". It's a fast propellant with high ISP properties (around 230 seconds of specific impulse), which makes it well suited for larger size motors of 54mm casing size and up, increasing the capability to get more N-S into the same size casing. It's as fast or faster than Warp 9 propellant with a bright white flame and practically smokeless, but these qualities also limit its adaptability to smaller motors. Gary also commented on the benefits of the recent announcement by Estes of their expansion into APCP MPR motors, which should give better access to Aerotech products to the supply chain Estes has established and hopefully increase exposure and demand as well as improved access and distribution. He also mentioned the new DM "Dark Metal" metalstorm motors...Gary's main presentation was on his new "survival lasers", a line of high-power amateur lasers he's offering on his survival laser website. They are self-contained in casings similar to hobby rocket reloadable motor casings, and capable of many different functions. Neat if your a laser nut, but not particularly connected to rocketry, so I'll just say if you're interested in learning more, go to the survival laser.com website.

Next up was Tim Van Milligan from Apogee Components. Tim spoke on Apogee's focus on educator resources and TARC resources and supporting that end of the hobby, which they do a remarkable job of. Tim mentioned a bit about the history and improvements to the Jolly Logic Altimeter I, the tiny self-contained altimeter that's gotten a LOT of attention over the past months. Tim also talked about the Altimeter 2, with 3 axis accelerometers, making it capable of detecting not only altitude, but liftoff g-forces, deceleration, ejection, and also capable of determining descent rates and duration of the flight and the flight events, all data particularly relevant to TARC teams for improving their designs and flight characteristics, and equally useful to regular rocketeers for research or informational purposes. He mentioned an aluminum fin jig, and obtaining much of the Starlight Rocketry parts and nosecones and capabilities to make them including BT-55 plastic fin units. Tim mentioned that work is ongoing on Apogee's other flagship product, the RockSim rocket design and simulation software. It's been a while since the release of version 9, and upgrades are continuing, and some work is being done on the next version, with no word on availability dates... Apparently though, RockSim 10 is to incorporate more 3D type appearance more similar to CAD drafting programs. Tim also mentioned they've "gone about as wide as they can" with the screen so now they're "going up" so presumably the look of RockSim 10 will be markedly different from the earlier versions as well...

Art Upton from Boostervision presented his HD version of the Boostervision camera, totally self-contained shooting 720p HD video and audio. It's available with a watertight closure which reduces external sound, or the standard closure which isn't waterproof but allows full sound reception at the pad. It takes a standard micro- flash card and is capable of 1.5-2 hours of battery life in continuous operation. Videos are easily downloaded to your computer, and can be burned onto DVD's or transferred to a memory stick and played back on most blu-ray players on your HDTV. Art also says there are downloadable demos on his site that can be saved to a memory stick and played on your HD TV to get the feel for the full HD experience before deciding to buy his camera. It's a NEAT little bugger and ready to go for $199. He was asked about a "look down or side-look" model, which he said should be coming out, similar to the older low-res 'ball turret' boostervision flash-recording DVR camera.

E-Rockets was up next, telling us about the various products they have available, including some NEAT little car chargers for USB-chargeable equipment like the Altimeter I from Apogee, and the wide selection of supplies they have, including mylar, kevlar, and the full line of Totally Tubular products, with next day shipping! Check out their website at www.erockets.biz Remember the "dot BIZ" because "dot COM" was already taken... :)

More to come! OL JR :)
 

luke strawwalker

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jan 18, 2009
Messages
9,147
Reaction score
23
Cont'd...

LOC/Precision is making some big changes. They're coming out with some new kits in the 3-5.5 inch diameter size range, and they'll be selling Cesaroni motors. They're also killing off Marvin and the Grays, their marketing tools, and 1/3 of the kit line, including all the mini-kits (the regular modroc versions of the LOC Precision HPR kits). LOC will also no longer be producing a printed catalog, citing high production costs. They were handing out the last of them at NARAM. The cluster kits which LOC Precision has made since the early days of HPR when motor size and availability was limited are all going away, being replaced by single motor kits. They've also got some big specials on Blue Tube for those wanting to obtain some.

New Way Spacemodels gave a presentation of their SQUARE tube rockets. Yes these are constructed of SQUARE paper tubes, with square nosecones. Some of the kits were originals and some were clones of popular 'regular round' rockets done in the square tube motif... Some of the originals include the "Railroad Spike" which is a cone-stabilized transitioning to square tube rocket with a wedge-shaped nosecone painted gold similar to a railroad spike, and a two-stager and even a payloader with a square clear plastic payload section.

Next up was John Boren from Estes. He presented the D-E Mega Mosquito, which comes with a regular mosquito (which I suggested could be two staged off the Mega Mosquito nosecone ala the Bumper WAC I saw fly on the contest range earlier that afternoon, to which John commented he'd heard that suggestion before...) Mega Mosquito uses through the wall fins for greater strength. The Xarconian Destroyer is a neat looking futuristic starfighter, you cut the tubes yourself to the curved inlets and complex shapes, making it a skill level 5 kit. Next up was the tube marking guides, essentially lockable plastic rings that fit over your desired body tube, lock in place with a twist, which provide a perfect cutting guide or marking guide at that point on the tube, which should sell for about $10. Next John showed us the new plastic motor adapters that are coming out, and which some lucky NARAM folks have gotten as freebies for trying them out on the range. They're basically a two-piece plastic clamshell that encompass the smaller motor and adapt it up to the next size motor mount. John gave us a demonstration, popping the two halves in his hand, inserting a motor, slipping the two halves together, and then told the crowd, "then you SHOVE IT UP YOUR ROCKET!" which elicited a hearty laugh from the attendees (I later told John I was going to headline this report on the entire Vendor's Showcase with "John Boren tells everyone at NARAM to "shove it up their rocket!"... we got a good laugh out of it anyway...:)) Next we were treated to the new glider design coming out, the "Tercel" (if I heard correctly). This pop-pod boost glider will also come with a rod adapter which has an angled dowel to clip the motor leads to, to prevent fouling the ejected ignitor leads in the wings and tail of the lifting-off glider... quite handy! John said the glider is particularly well adapted to A3-4T and A10 motors. Next was the "Asteroid Hunter", a VERY COOL trapezoidal wedge design based on built-up balsa ribs for a skeleton on a regular rocket tube spine, covered with cardstock (IIRC) and overlaid with plastic detail parts for texture (conduits and such) and fins with display guns that fit into standoffs in the belly, which are removed from their holder which are launch lugs for flight. It has a large molded plastic engine bell flanked by a pair of smaller "OAMS" type engine bells on either side of it, tapering forward to a short corrugated cylindrical section at the base of the updated "Manta Bomber" style nosecone. Like the Xarconian Destroyer, the nosecone molds were long gone for the original stylized complex shaped plastic cones, so John took the flavor of the original cones and updated them with a lot of neat details that make the old cones look rather bare and austere by comparison when making the new molds for the new cones... the improvement is dramatic! Of course registered NARAM flyers got the new QCC Explorer kit with oodles of laser cut balsa goodness in it... all those cool 'air breathing cruise missile' laser cut balsa air intakes in the fin roots sure look cool! John showed the laser cut balsa air intake and described the construction, which he uses CA and a lot of skin to make the assemblies... John also mentioned TARC kits and lots of parts, including BT-70 parts, tubes, and cones, everything for $25. Next he showed us some more of the neat rocket tools coming out in addition to the returned fin jig and the new tube marking rings-- this one is a "portable door jamb", an extruded yellow plastic piece about two feet long consisting of various interlocking "T" shapes of various widths and distances apart... Whatever size tube your using conveniently fits into one of these 'grooves' in the tool which the "T" then provides a straight edge to mark fin lines or alignment lines down the length of the tube for whatever purpose-- launch lugs, fin slots, details, whatever-- no more running to the nearest door jamb to make the lines! Should hit the shelves in a couple months. Along with the new MPR Aerotech compatible kit line, Estes "Pro-Series" kits will also come with (and hopefully will be making available) high temp ABS thermoplastic motor retainers. While John admits they're not quite as fancy as the aluminum motor retainers that have gotten so popular over the years, they're lighter and cheaper. The Pro-Series is going to be more than 3FNC rockets, too. Some big Pro-Series scale rockets are coming, John promises. Some new Estes ignitors are coming as well, equipped with 10 inch leads capable of lighting D10 composite motors up to 29mm. He also said that we can expect to see a lot more RTF/E2X stuff coming out, which some people don't like, but hey, it pays the bills and makes the BUILDER'S KITS that we hobbyists so prefer (but which are a much smaller part of the market) possible! Sounds good to me! John also mentioned 18mm 2 stagers and 13mm multistagers, a big Hy-Flyer XL, Pro-Series will be coming before the end of the year-- in time for Christmas. Also John mentioned in regards to the large MPR line, some LARGE scale offerings coming... I questioned him a bit, as he indicated a rocket "about that high" (which by his gestures indicated about five feet high) and when I asked what that might be, his only cryptic response was "a NASA one". Hmmm... wonder what THAT could be???!! Should be nice whatever it is. John and I discussed motor issues as well... I'd sorta walked up to a conversation he was having with Vern and Gleda Estes on the NARAM range earlier that afternoon, and he was commenting on the motor problems, specifically relating to the increased costs and decreased quality of the black powder that's available. He mentioned in passing some of the comments that have been made and heat that they've taken regarding availability of certain motors, some that aren't available anymore and cannot be brought back due to technical reasons, and such. The quality of the BP available now is quite a bit lower than it was in the old days, and that equates to simply not enough room in the casing to make certain old motors available. Another modeler sharing the conversation commented 'you can't sell them if you don't make them" to which John replied, "yeah, I'd love to see a lot of those old motors brought back too... it's not my department, but if I have something in mind I can call over there and say "hey can you make me this motor" and they look into it and tell me "sure" or "nope-can't be done". That's it... I don't like it, but if they tell me "can't be done" that's it, IT CAN'T BE DONE. We can gripe and complain about "well, they should have made the casing longer 40 years ago" like we can go back in time and fix it... but that does NOTHING in the here and now. It is what it is, and that's it." So in these two separate conversations with John (on the range and after the vendor's meeting) I get the distinct impression that many of the frustrations many older modelers have with the lack of certain old motors, or changes we might want to motors (longer or shorter delays) are equally frustrating to John and the other guys at Estes... either due to the physical impossibility of getting the poorer powder available now to make such a motor in the existing casing, or it being infeasible to make different delays or other changes that would require recertification or changes in the motor manufacturing to produce, which would simply not make a profit for the company. After all, it IS a business!

More to come! OL JR :)
 
Last edited:

luke strawwalker

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jan 18, 2009
Messages
9,147
Reaction score
23
Cont'd...

Finally, Matt Steele announced the return of North Coast Rocketry to the marketplace, beginning October first. His daughter will be running the company. They obtained the rights to the North Coast name and some of the products. He says the company will be more like the early days-- 29mm power and 2.6 inch kits to start. The kits are not going to be 3FNC type stuff, but neat and interesting designs. None of the old kits are going to be released in the old forms-- all will be updated to the "modern" materials and technology available now-- laser cut, kevlar, etc... kits will come in three versions-- a basic version with no chute, a regular version with the chute, and a deluxe version with a motor retainer and a nice display stand added on. Instruction sheets will be available and will be purchasable like I-tunes for cloning kits. The website and the initial six products will be available October 1st. I understand someone else asked Matt after the announcement (as he didn't take questions) about NCR motors, and the answer was no motors.

One other point that I forgot; I asked Carl from Semroc about the Saturn V, which elicited a few chuckles from around the room... to which he replied they have a ton of tubing for the kits stored and are planning on releasing their version of it when it's not going to be in direct competition with Estes's version.

That pretty much sums it up. In discussing some things with John Boren from Estes and with another local modeler, John commented that you won't be seeing kevlar in the Estes kits-- John doesn't particularly like kevlar and cited several disadvantages he's seen and experienced, and that the costs for making changes that many people tend to gripe about are simply cost prohibitive for them to do without substantially raising the prices of the kits... which makes perfect business sense... if Ford or Chevy can save a penny or two per vehicle they build, that amounts to MILLIONS of dollars a year in savings, and believe me they do it! It's no different with Estes-- they produce more kits of a single rocket in a single run than many "cottage industry" vendors do of their entire lineup for the entire year, so switching to a component that costs considerably more than what they've been using costs a LOT of money and really adds up. I could really hear the frustration John was trying to articulate with some of the criticism that comes from certain quarters of the "hobbyist" community when they don't realize that certain BUSINESS realities exist which cannot be overcome... be it switching to kevlar for shock cords or reviving some ancient motor design that's no longer feasible with modern powder supplies, or any number of other things... For instance, switching to kevlar shock cords would either entail 1) adding another material and cost to the procurement and stock, lowering the usage and economies of scale of the presently used materials, or 2) switching the ENTIRE production of the WHOLE LINEUP to that new material, and increasing the cost (since kevlar is obviously more expensive than what it would be replacing (rubber and elastic). This adds costs that must be passed on to ALL the consumers, whether they need them or not. And of course we ALL gripe when the price goes up for ANYTHING, now don't we!!!?? As for some of the arcane motors that have come up in conversation, many are either 1) such a niche product that they'd never recover the cost to resume production, recertify, or do the R&D to make it work with new materials, or 2) would require changes of sufficient complexity or a nature that would eliminate their commonality and fit with the existing product lines and heritage products already out there, or require large expenditures of R & D or recertification or to simply make it work with the available powder if it can be made to work at all, as to make the price point completely unrealistic and noncompetitive and therefore unprofitable. Facts of life... Besides, for folks who like to gripe about the fact that Estes doesn't use kevlar, well, how hard is it for the modeler in question to BUY some kevlar and upgrade their rocket however they want to?? Personally I can take or leave kevlar, but I commented on how the rubber band shock cords need to go, and John quite correctly called me on it, that for many purposes it's a perfectly fine material, and I admitted that yeah, I personally have had better luck with elastic and so I pitch the rubber band and switch to Walmart elastic when I build the kit... no problem. Basically what I heard was a lot of frustration at realizing that they can't please everybody and no matter WHAT they do, SOMEBODY'S gonna gripe and complain, no matter what the issue is.

I know *I* for one am REALLY glad to see the changes we've seen and are seeing at Estes... and I FERVENTLY hope they continue and grow and gain momentum. If that means I still have to replace rubber band shock cords on all the cool new kits they have coming out, well, I can live with that!

Later! OL JR :)
 

luke strawwalker

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jan 18, 2009
Messages
9,147
Reaction score
23
Now THAT is a NARAM report!

Great job, OL JR. I've never been to the USAF museum but hope to make a stop there someday. Been to the Museum of Flight up in Washington twice and still break out the photos occasionally. I literally still have the T-shirt.

Doesn't sound like you got to see much in the way of launches but you sure did get to see a lot of rocket royalty.

Hope your trip home is less "exciting" than your previous trip up north.

I like monkeys.

Thanks Old Dude...

If you make the trip to Dayton to the USAF museum, plan on spending the ENTIRE DAY there, and STILL not really being able to spend a lot of time at each particular thing of interest. I'd venture to guess that one could basically spend a single day in EACH of the three main hangars in the museum to really see everything and read all the stuff they have out there. I basically just ran around all day snapping pictures-- I didn't really take time to look things over and read the details.

The Presidential hangar with the X-planes is extra cool too, but you only get an hour there. I got pics of everything but didn't really have the time I would have liked to have (could have spent 2 hours there EASY!

It's REALLY worth the trip, and best part, it's FREE! 9-5 daily. If you EVER get the chance to do it, run, don't walk to get there as fast as you can... and wear comfortable shoes-- there's a LOT of ground to cover!

Later! OL JR :)
 

gpoehlein

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jan 18, 2009
Messages
3,564
Reaction score
13
Nice summary of the Manufacturer's Forum, Luke - it was great to meet you, John (Peartree), Bill Eichelberger (Fishhead here, A Fish Named Wallyum on YORF), Bill Spadafora (Billspad) and a lot others.

I wanted to add a little tidbit I found out at the field Sunday from Gary at Aerotech - he confirmed that they will be coming out with some more 18mm reloads later in the year. He specifically mentioned something along the lines of a C11 or C12. He said they are gonna bring them out later in the year because they don't want to overwhelm the dealers with a bunch of new products all at once, but they are coming. Oh, and at the Forum, he did say that rumors that Aerotech was dropping a bunch of motor reloads and lines were NOT true.
 

WillMarchant

Well-Known Member
TRF Supporter
Joined
Jan 14, 2009
Messages
2,582
Reaction score
237
Thanks very much for the extensive coverage of NARAM! Not as good as being there, of course, but it does take the edge off....
 

hcmbanjo

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jan 18, 2009
Messages
2,405
Reaction score
287
To Luke Strawalker,
Thanks for taking the time to type this up.
Your coverage was great for those who wished they were there.
 

BEC

Well-Known Member
Joined
Feb 19, 2009
Messages
4,744
Reaction score
1,579
Location
Auburn, WA
Great writeup!

Having met John Boren at NARCON, you captured a sense of him pretty well in your writeup.

BTW, I have been known to use kevlar tied to the motor mount and then the regular Estes rubber shock cord in building current Estes kits. Works for me :).
 

bradycros

Well-Known Member
Joined
Feb 13, 2009
Messages
4,284
Reaction score
7
Looks like you found out there is a ten thousand charactor limit per post. Good write ups Luke. Many still don't know what NARAM stands for, wanna clear that up for those that are left wondering about it?
 

GregGleason

Well-Known Member
Joined
Nov 13, 2009
Messages
4,668
Reaction score
33
OL JR, I think you just earned your reporter credentials!

Great summary!

Greg
 

luke strawwalker

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jan 18, 2009
Messages
9,147
Reaction score
23
Thanks all... I appreciate it.

When my wife finally decided to turn in and give me a shot at the computer last night, it was after 12. By the time I finished typing it all up from my notes, it was 4:50 or so... (YAWN!!!) So I've risen REALLY late this morning-- oh well, not as bad as staying up for the shuttle landing was...:)

@brady-- NARAM is the National Association of Rocketry Annual Meet. It's the oldest of the NAR national events and has been held annually for 53 years now, starting in Colorado way back in the 60's.

Just wish I was there to do more reporting... but alas the money and time thing just complicate that... plus I missed my six year old daughter like crazy... :) Wish she'd have gone with me... she could have had her picture made with me, Vern, and Gleda Estes... :)

@Greg P, Bill E. Peartree, John Boren, Bill, Vern, Gleda, Carl, Sheryl, Nettie, and probably some folks that I can't remember their names at the moment-- was a REAL pleasure to meet yall and visit awhile... Thanks for the camaraderie and doing the things you do for all of us...

Later! OL JR :)

PS... @brady--- yeah, I've run into the post character limit a few times... hard to fathom THAT right?? LOL:) Really ticks you off when you press "send" and it pops up "your message is 15,764 characters long, please shorten it to 10k characters or less"... thank goodness for "cut-n-paste" LOL:) Wish they had a character countdown thingy on here though... :)
 
Last edited:

rstaff3

Oddroc-eteer
Joined
Jan 17, 2009
Messages
11,763
Reaction score
27
I'll add my thanks to the list of grateful people! The new Estes stuff sounds pretty cool.
 

Bazookadale

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jan 17, 2009
Messages
1,318
Reaction score
2
https://www.naramlive.com/naramlive-2011/naramlive/04monday/townhall-images/IMG_3619.JPG

Anyone at the Town Hall Meeting care to tell me more about this photo? Is this an new item available from NARTS?

That banner will be available to all NAR sections, to help promote the NAR:)

https://www.naramlive.com/naramlive-2011/naramlive/04monday/townhall-images/IMG_3624.JPG
This is an "Instant Membership Kit" that NAR sections can get, it contains a few goodies plus an NAR membership form but the idea is for the sections to add some of their own goodies (like unused kits you have laying around in you basement) and this can be given out to new members who join on the spot at a launch or club meeting.
 
Last edited:

WillMarchant

Well-Known Member
TRF Supporter
Joined
Jan 14, 2009
Messages
2,582
Reaction score
237
https://www.naramlive.com/naramlive-2011/naramlive/04monday/townhall-images/IMG_3624.JPG
This is an "Instant Membership Kit" that NAR sections can get, it contains a few goodies plus an NAR membership form but the idea is for the sections to add some of their own goodies (like unused kits you have laying around in you basement) and this can be given out to new members who join on the spot at a launch or club meeting.

That's a great idea! The photo was of a Quest box. Does it come in that?
 

Bazookadale

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jan 17, 2009
Messages
1,318
Reaction score
2
That's a great idea! The photo was of a Quest box. Does it come in that?

Yes it comes in that box, to be used as a range box. it includes a Fliskit DooDad, a rocsim demo disk,Sport rocketry Mag.Leading edge 20% coupon and catalog NAR flyer and application and plenty of empty space for the club to add their own "goodies"
 

WillMarchant

Well-Known Member
TRF Supporter
Joined
Jan 14, 2009
Messages
2,582
Reaction score
237
Yes it comes in that box, to be used as a range box. it includes a Fliskit DooDad, a rocsim demo disk,Sport rocketry Mag.Leading edge 20% coupon and catalog NAR flyer and application and plenty of empty space for the club to add their own "goodies"

Nice! Are they going to be available through NARTS?
 

Massrokit

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jan 18, 2009
Messages
539
Reaction score
11
Thanks for the coverage. Better than Spacemodeling magazine. Was Semroc there at the vendors presentation? Any new from them?
 
Top