FlisKits Teeny Triskelion Build Thread

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tjkopena

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Recently I got several of FlisKit's MicroMaxx models. The little 4x6 baggies of tiny rockets with tons of illustrations and minute laser cut parts were immediately near & dear to my heart. For work today I'm kind of waiting around while computers do their thing, so on the side I've started putting together a Teeny Triskelion. Here goes what will probably be a very elaborate, gratuitous build thread for such a very micro rocket.

First up, this is what's in the bag. Looks great. Everything's crisply cut, the nosecone nicely turned, instructions are heavily illustrated and very clear.

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tjkopena

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Ok, very minor issue. The motor block is missing. Fortunately this might be the least important part, because I'm pretty sure you could just lump some white glue, maybe with a tiny scrap piece of balsa, and it'd be enough to block the motor. But the scrap cup on my desk happens to have the inside of a ballpoint pen or similar which fits perfectly into the motor tube. So I cut a tiny slice of that and glued it into place in the motor tube. I had them handy so I used a chopper on the tube, with a random dowel that happened to fit inserted as a mandrel. I smeared the glue around inside the motor tube with a toothpick and then pushed the motor block into place with an expended motor.

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tjkopena

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The fins pop right out of the frame, there's just a few tiny tabs holding them. A quick swipe or two of the edges with some medium sandpaper and they're good to go. I guess they're basswood, vaguely possibly some kind of pressed fiber wood, but to my eye & feel almost certainly not balsa. The sheet's only 1mm thick, 3/64", but very stiff and resistant to snapping along the grain when bent. Given that the wood is comparatively hard & smooth, and the fins of course teeny tiny, I've opted not to seal or paper them. The grain's not particularly prominent in their raw state and I know I'll be using somewhat heavy spray paint, so hopefully I won't have to do any smoothing. Worst case I'll sand the primer.

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tjkopena

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Not wanting to deal with a jig or worrying about the pieces staying in place while drying, I tacked the tips to the fins with gel superglue while holding them flush against some wax paper. That would be more than fine, but I'll need to wait for the motor block to dry anyway, so I filleted the fin/tip junction excessively with white glue.

The laser cut centering rings for the motor tube are fiber and both very thin and thin-walled, so the interiors didn't just pop out like the fins did in their frame when pushed. I cut the tabs with a knife, squished the rings back into shape, and smeared some glue on the motor tube with the toothpick to attach them.

Now I go to find something to eat while I wait for the glue to dry.

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WillMarchant

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Great thread!

Hey, please tell us about "The Chopper" tool. Is it this https://nwsl.com/products/the-chopper thing? Looks very interesting. Is it worth it or do you feel like it's just another thing cluttering up the workroom?
 

tjkopena

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Yep, that's The Chopper. It is very useful if you need to cut large quantities of balsa, styrene, or basswood strip stock, small dowels, or similar. Say you were going to scratchbuild a tiled roof or a hardwood floor for a building in a model train layout. One way to do that is to take an appropriate balsa strip, chop it up, and glue on all the individual pieces. To do that you might be looking at cutting hundreds of similarly sized pieces from the strip. The Chopper's great at that. The hinged blade is faster and easier to chop with than just a hobby knife. You can also screw on stops and/or mitre angles on either side, making it easy to setup for cuts of repeatable length & angle. So you can chop a piece, slide the stock, chop a piece, slide the stock, and so on very rapidly.

I originally got it for scratchbuilding miniatures wargaming terrain, like this:
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Even on that little piece there's a lot to be chopped. The ladder is made from a dozen+ bits of styrene strip; the balcony, control panel, and some other stuff are framed in strips; and even the 100+ little bolts are chopped from a styrene dowel. The Chopper's great at that, rapidly making a bunch of repeated cuts in strip or dowel stock. So it's useful for model trains, wargaming terrain, and similar architectural or mechanical miniatures modeling. To a lesser extent I could see it being useful for building traditional stick & tissue balsa model airplanes. I think it's a touch pricey even then, but not terribly for a very niche hobbyist tool. I don't regret getting it, and have made good use of it in other hobbies.

But for rocketry I haven't felt a need for it. Unless you're making a steampunk model or something very specific, typically there's just not enough strip stock or dowel cutting to make it worthwhile. It's not good for cutting crushable tubes, so it's not even particularly useful for precisely cutting launch lugs or similar. Even for this Triskelion I'm just going to cut the little pitots/probes/whatever for the fins with a hobby knife because I already put the chopper away and it's not worth walking across my hobby room to get it out of the closet for just a couple cuts.
 

tjkopena

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Next I've glued the motor mount into the body tube. Especially with how little gap there is between the motor tube and the body tube, you could just bead glue on the inside edge and then push the motor mount in as the instructions say. I used a toothpick to smear a ring of glue inside the body tube where the forwarding centering ring will end up; coiled the shock cord around a dowel to push it up through the body tube (it's so thin and flexible I couldn't push it past the glue on its own); inserting the motor mount most of the way, and then spread glue on the inside lip of the body tube just before fully inserting the motor mount up to the rear centering ring being flush to the bottom of the body tube.

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tjkopena

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One little deviation from the kit: Fancier rayguns/pitots/probes/whatever the little bits are on the end of the fins. The kit has a little stick of basswood that you cut up and glue on the ends to give the model some detail. I swapped that for the ends of some toothpicks so that it would have a consistent sharp point without me having to sand the stick down, though I did sand the cut end to round them a bit. Then I cut small sections of some aquarium tubing I have for greebling models that just happened to fit well over the toothpicks; it's actually just a touch tight, which results in a little bit of a curve as it goes up the sharp end a bit. I think it results in a nice little nacelle look that could be an engine, a laser gun, whatever.

This kind of tubing doesn't take paint or adhesive particularly well, but for such small pieces it should be fine. Plus the model's probably only got to make it through one flight before it goes on display on a shelf, for fear of losing it in further flights.

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tjkopena

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I did knowingly make a mistake in attaching the nacelles to the fins before putting the fins on the body tube. I also purposefully glued them on with the bottoms just below the rear of the fin, rather than flush. I think this looks cooler, and it provides a better balance point when the model's standing on the table---otherwise it just rests on the motor tube. But all this meant I couldn't set the model down flush on the template in the instructions to attach the fins. I thought about that, went ahead with the nacelles anyway because I wanted to see how they look, and now I regret it just a bit because the fins are angled bit more oddly than I'd like (I don't have a jig handy that works with this size body tube, and in general have been consciously freehanding assembly of this model more than I might in order to keep it a simple afternoon project).

I also pushed the shock cord down out of the way and brushed liquid CA on the top of the body tube and will file down the inside a bit once dry. Normally I'd do that first but I wasn't going to bother with this model. Just in playing with the nosecone and body a bit though it developed some burrs, so I changed my mind.

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tjkopena

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Superglue the launch lug, tie & glue the shock cord, a sticker to hold the streamer, and it's all assembled. I really like how soft the streamer is but it pulls apart easily so we'll see how it holds up to getting stuffed and other regular use. Also, and I will take no further questions on this or the new burn mark in my work notebook, the streamer is highly flammable.

Next up to decide whether or not to seal the nosecone after all---it's super super soft!---and settle on a paint scheme to hopefully finish this little guy tomorrow and launch on Sunday.

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Woody's Workshop

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Triskelion.
Must of had Star Trek on his mind when he named this one.
And a certain lovely green haired beauty...Angelique Pettyjohn
A bright green nose cone is a must here!
 
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