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m85476585

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I'm trying to do a level 1 build with the GA Tech Rocket Club, and I'm looking for an inexpensive kit or set of parts since money seems to be the biggest barrier. I found a few PML and LOC kits that would work for about $50-60, but I think that is still too much. Are there any cheaper kits out there? 38mm motor mount and TTW fins are preferred.

Another option is making my own kits with cheap or scavenged parts such as cardboard mailing tubes. If I go that route, what would be the best place to get cheap fins, nose cones, and centering rings? Unfortunately I don't really have access to the equipment to make centering rings and fins.
 

sylvie369

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Here's the unpopular, completely unhelpful answer: if you are that strapped for money, you probably don't want to get a HPR cert. I just don't think it'd be fun to fly HPR if I felt like I couldn't afford it. Remember, you're going to burn a significant fraction of the cost of the rocket on every flight even if everything goes well.

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m85476585

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It's not my money, and I'm already level 2 (maybe I should add that to my signature).

Needing certification is one of the barriers to entry that keep a lot of people from doing HPR. Money is another barrier. A lot of our members want to get a certification, but don't know how or don't have enough experience to build a L1 rocket on their own. The rocket club is going to do a group build session where anyone interested can build a L1 rocket and fly it at one of out launches to get certified. We are trying to make it as inexpensive as possible because most college students will run away from anything that costs a lot of money. The hope is that once they are certified and hooked on rocketry they will see how much fun it is and be willing to spend more money to continue the hobby. Sure, some people will decide it is too expensive, but not everyone. In addition, by building an inexpensive kit, they will see that they don't have to spend hundreds of dollars on fiberglass kits.

We can pay for at least part of a motor for anyone interested with funds from our budget. Buying rocket kits is trickier because there is a rule about items that last more than one semester, and we already have a good portion of the budget dedicated to motors not kits.
 

mikeyd

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Crayon Bank $7 at Toys R Us, bungee cord and hardware (U-bolts) from Ace Hardware, 3/8 plywood from Home Depot, 1.5in mailing tube for 38mm Motor mount, doubled with larger scrap tube for added strength (from paper towel roll). Actually did my Level 1 with the 36" crayon, and Level 2 with the 54" when it was still available. Parachute from 54" golf umbrella. Total cost about $20-$25.

crayon1.jpg
 
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MaxQ

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Crayon Bank $7 at Toys R Us, bungee cord and hardware (U-bolts) from Ace Hardware, 3/8 plywood from Home Depot, 1.5in mailing tube for 38mm Motor mount, doubled with larger scrap tube for added strength (from paper towel roll). Actually did my Level 1 with the 36" crayon, and Level 2 with the 54" when it was still available. Parachute from 54" golf umbrella. Total cost about $20-$25.
Very creative approach there....if you don't like the "crayon" appearance, you could probably paint it to look like a solid fuel missile..

Mat:
You mentioned college kids...
If there is a department that has plotter paper on rolls, (architecture or graphics) those tubes make pretty good airframes....
 
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mikeyd

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Very creative approach there....if you don't like the "crayon" appearance, you could probably paint it to look like a solid fuel missile..

mMat:
You mentioned college kids...
If there is a department that has plotter paper on rolls, (architecture or graphics) those tubes make pretty good airframes....
Actually the original intent was not for certification. I had a 6yr old, who saw the bank and wanted to make a rocket, from it, but wanted clear plastic fins. By the time I had it built it weighed about 3.5 lbs, so I had no choice but to do the level 1. I did this at LDRS18 in 1999, and had a friend loan me the casing, and won a reload from Aerotech, as they were giving a few away for certificaton flights. So my only cost was the parts.
 

El Cheapo

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This was my L1 Cert Rocket, "Ready 4 Action". 100% scratch build other than the 29mm motor tube. Centering rings were made out of 3/8" balsa laminated w/110lb cardstock. BT is 2" mailing tubes as well as the fins. The nose cone was also cut and formed out of the same tubing. Couplers and nose cone shoulder, again, cut down 2" tubing. Recovery is a 700lb Kevlar & 36" military surplus chute from Commonwealth. The tubes were free through a club member but if I had to purchase them, I'd guess about $25 for the entire build including glue & epoxy.

DSC_0074.jpg
 

madmax

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Personal opinion here. If some of your members lack the ability to construct an L1 bird they need to spend some time and money in MPR. An L1 cert isn't just a merit badge. Get those college kids to do it the "right" way not the "right now" way. We have had some interesting experiences with college kids at our launches.
 

new2hpr

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If $50-$60 is too much, how are all these college kids going to pay their memberships for NAR or TRA? Can't really have a cert without it.

I think some decent G-powered birds would inspire just as much enthusiasm, without breaking the bank.

-Ken

(a 3x F39T cluster got me hooked)
 

RocketFeller

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Just tell them to think of it like a textbook - you're lucky if a used book costs less than sixty bucks these days! None of my textbooks were ever as much fun as a HPR, either...
 

Richard

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If $50-$60 is too much, how are all these college kids going to pay their memberships for NAR or TRA? Can't really have a cert without it.

I think some decent G-powered birds would inspire just as much enthusiasm, without breaking the bank.

-Ken

(a 3x F39T cluster got me hooked)
This is a great point! +1
 

talkin Monkey

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Maybe look into group rate/volume discount from a rocketry vendor for rocket parts and shared motor hardware (Pro 29/38 cleans up real quick).
 

dave carver

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Any decent rocketeer will loan you a case for free, provided you buy the case if you lose it.

I know I would:)
 

cls

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going cheap - another vote for Crayon rockets!

use 1/8" plywood throughout, for the two MMT rings and the fins. build it light (use yellow glue & good technique) and you can fly it on F & G motors. Doesn't have to fly on H & I motors.

You can use 3" postal mailing tubes for airframes, but making nose cones for them will as much as to buy.
 

slogfilet

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If $50-$60 is too much, how are all these college kids going to pay their memberships for NAR or TRA? Can't really have a cert without it.

I think some decent G-powered birds would inspire just as much enthusiasm, without breaking the bank.

-Ken

(a 3x F39T cluster got me hooked)
+1!

High power is awe-inspiring, but even F and G are going to knock the socks off of anyone who grew up on model rockets. Then again, I'm easily entertained!
 

bobkrech

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Matt

I have a problem with your assumptions about affordability. We all know it costs most folks between $100 to $200 to just certify L1 if you are honest about it, and that's a good night on the town for a college student and a date. It costs a hunk of change for these folks just to go to college. They're paying at least $8,000 a year to go to GT as an in-state commuter student, and $18,000 a year if they are an in-state resident student, and from $35,000 to $40,000 if they're from out of state.

Engineering textbooks usually cost between $100 to $200 so a student is paying $500 to $1000 for text books. Sorry but I really don't believe that $100 to $200 should be a life style changer for most college students. If it is, then they shouldn't be doing High Power Rocketry at this stage in their lives.

You also must remember these folks are in an engineering college. Engineering colleges have student machine shops, and usually teach the students how to use machines. Have you talked to the Aero or Mechanical department to see about the availability of these facilities for students to use? I'd really be surprised if these facilities aren't available for the asking.

If these folks have never built a rocket before, why are you starting them out with high power. Let them learn the basics cheaply, and get some flight experience before they move to high power. Engineering students can read and are generally pretty smart. With some guidance after they have read the Handbook of Model Rocketry 7th Edition which costs $17 if you''re an NAR member, they should be able to design and build a basic rocket. Challenge them to build a rocket for under $10 for parts they can find at the dollar store. Let's see I got a 1.5" crayon bank (choice of ~8 colors) for $1, plastic table cloth makes several dozen chutes for a dollar, a spool of strong thread is a dollar, 2 rolls of masking tape is $1, etc. Carpenters glue is $1... You get the idea?

Then have them design, build and fly a TARC rocket for $25, with BP engines only. (Cost does not include the price of an altimeter which would be a group purchase of 2 or 3.) TARC is tough, but it doesn't cost as much as high power and they'll learn a lot, and get great satisfaction on building a rocket that is purpose built to a mission.

If they can do that, then have them get Modern High Power Rocketry-Second Edition By Mark Canepa. That $28 from NARTS. Have then design and build a high power rocket for $50. It can be done in a similar manner as a model rocket by scrounging, and they will learn a lot.

In the end, they would have to spend $10 to build a model rocket motor, $25 dollars for a midpower TARC rocket, and $50 for a L1 rocket. Add about $100 to join NAR and buy the 2 books. And then there's the cost of the BP motors and a H-reload. May be $100 if they can borrow a casing. Throw in $20 to $30 for the altimeter and In the end it's going to cost $300 per person for what is equivalent to a freshman course in hobby rocketry. That's less than half of what an in-state student pays for one GT course! It comes out to about $30 a week over a semester which really doesn't seem that expensive to me. IIRC after accounting for inflation, from what I remember?? about undergraduate weekends, that's not even beer money.

Bob
 
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m85476585

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Matt

I have a problem with your assumptions about affordability. We all know it costs most folks between $100 to $200 to just certify L1 if you are honest about it, and that's a good night on the town for a college student and a date. It costs a hunk of change for these folks just to go to college. They're paying at least $8,000 a year to go to GT as an in-state commuter student, and $18,000 a year if they are an in-state resident student, and from $35,000 to $40,000 if they're from out of state.

Engineering textbooks usually cost between $100 to $200 so a student is paying $500 to $1000 for text books. Sorry but I really don't believe that $100 to $200 should be a life style changer for most college students. If it is, then they shouldn't be doing High Power Rocketry at this stage in their lives.

You also must remember these folks are in an engineering college. Engineering colleges have student machine shops, and usually teach the students how to use machines. Have you talked to the Aero or Mechanical department to see about the availability of these facilities for students to use? I'd really be surprised if these facilities aren't available for the asking.

If these folks have never built a rocket before, why are you starting them out with high power. Let them learn the basics cheaply, and get some flight experience before they move to high power. Engineering students can read and are generally pretty smart. With some guidance after they have read the Handbook of Model Rocketry 7th Edition which costs $17 if you''re an NAR member, they should be able to design and build a basic rocket. Challenge them to build a rocket for under $10 for parts they can find at the dollar store. Let's see I got a 1.5" crayon bank (choice of ~8 colors) for $1, plastic table cloth makes several dozen chutes for a dollar, a spool of strong thread is a dollar, 2 rolls of masking tape is $1, etc. Carpenters glue is $1... You get the idea?

Then have them design, build and fly a TARC rocket for $25, with BP engines only. (Cost does not include the price of an altimeter which would be a group purchase of 2 or 3.) TARC is tough, but it doesn't cost as much as high power and they'll learn a lot, and get great satisfaction on building a rocket that is purpose built to a mission.

If they can do that, then have them get Modern High Power Rocketry-Second Edition By Mark Canepa. That $28 from NARTS. Have then design and build a high power rocket for $50. It can be done in a similar manner as a model rocket by scrounging, and they will learn a lot.

In the end, they would have to spend $10 to build a model rocket motor, $25 dollars for a midpower TARC rocket, and $50 for a L1 rocket. Add about $100 to join NAR and buy the 2 books. And then there's the cost of the BP motors and a H-reload. May be $100 if they can borrow a casing. Throw in $20 to $30 for the altimeter and In the end it's going to cost $300 per person for what is equivalent to a freshman course in hobby rocketry. That's less than half of what an in-state student pays for one GT course! It comes out to about $30 a week over a semester which really doesn't seem that expensive to me. IIRC after accounting for inflation, from what I remember?? about undergraduate weekends, that's not even beer money.

Bob
I think for a large portion students, our parents are paying for expenses like tuition, textbooks, and housing, while we are expected to pay for just about anything else. $100-200 or more is a lot for someone with essentially no income already spending money on things like food and movies. People complain about paying our club dues, which are just $15.

It is surprisingly difficult to get access to any kind of machine shops or equipment on campus. It is also nearly impossible to have a launch (even just LPR) on campus, though we are trying.

We are starting everyone out with LPR rockets, and working up. We built cardstock rockets at the first meeting (we have yet to fly them), and we have a bunch of small Estes kits ready to build. A lot of the members already have LPR or MPR experience, and those are the people who we are targeting the level 1 build for. Several people have expressed interest in getting L1 certified. I am also on the USLI (university student launch initiative) team, and we want to get as many of those members level 1 certified as possible so more of us have HPR experience to contribute to the team.

We are not going to do TARC because most of the rocket club officers are on the USLI team too, and that takes up all our time. Rocket club is just for having fun and learning about rocketry. At most we might have internal competitions, like a duration contest, assuming we actually get to a launch.

I did forget about NAR dues, but that should be just $25 for anyone under 21. I'll let everyone borrow my motor cases, so they don't have to pay for that. An H motor should be about $25, and club funds can pay for a good portion of that. We have a ton of Estes engines already paid for, so those are free. We have at least one copy of the Handbook of Model Rocketry and Modern Highpower floating around, and I would guess the library would have at least the Handbook. I recommended that everyone reads/buys them, but I doubt many people will because we have enough other reading.
 

bobkrech

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Matt

GT is ranked in the top 5 Undergraduate Aeronautical Engineering Colleges in the country. I think you addressed a number of questions the readers wanted to know about in your expanded post, however I'm surprised that you can't get access to the shops in the basement of the Knight Building, especially after I read the GT course catalog that lists a large number of design competition courses for freshmen through senior student. The AE department has a new chairman, Dr. Vigor Yang, and perhaps you might be able to get a few minutes of his time and explain what your doing and see if he can help.

Good luck.

Bob
 
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