"Laser" cut fins

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Wonderdog

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I'm amazed at the advances made since I lit a fuse and ran for cover when my first rocket was launched in 1959. I didn't return to the hobby until the Discovery channel aired the Rocket Challenge last year. Since then, I've bought kits from the big boys mostly and a few others. Most have what they call "laser" cut fins, and some simply supplied a pattern and balsa. All of that is fine with me, but my latest kit leads me to believe there are different levels of "laser" quality. Opening up my Semroc Hydra 7 kit revealed laser cut fins like I've never seen. The entire set is crisp, clearly outlined and practically jumped out of the board with minimal effort. Why are these so good and others not? Am I missing something here? I always thought laser cut was laser cut and that was that.

Da Dog
 

JStarStar

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Hokey smokes!! That's about the longest "hiatus" from rocketry I've ever heard of for a BAR - about 44 years!!!

:eek: :eek:

I mean, I took a "time-out" of about 20 years from about 1974-94, then due to jobs, living in tiny apartments, etc., I ended up taking about another 10 years off until this year. But the stars aligned just right this year (bought a house with a workshop, have enough money to spend, a little free time to build and fly, :D ) and I decided to get back in for good. ;)

I remember all the changes that had come down during my first "hiatus," there have been way more during the second one (i.e. the internet caught fire and took off, miniaturized electronics, etc), I can only imagine the changes that have come down since 1959.

Even reading the old vintage editions of G. Harry Stine's Handbook of Model Rocketry from the late 1960s, you could see the hobby had already undergone some major changes in its first 10 years.

But if 1959-1969 in model rocketry was like going from a horse and buggy to say, the B-17 bomber, from 1969-2004, we've gone from the B-17 through the Space Shuttle and halfway to the Starship Enterprise.


Ah, yeah - the point of your post?

I've seen some laser-cut fins that seem to be cleaner than others - i think there is some varying degree of how accurate the cuts are. But, I've never seen any laser-cut fins as shaggy as the 'best' die-cut (or die-crunched) kit fins.

And in turn, the worst die-cut fins I've ever seen are still probably better than the 'best' fins I cut out of balsa with my bare hands. But I'm a balsa butcher, so that may not mean that much.
:rolleyes:
 

DynaSoar

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Originally posted by wonderdog
I'm amazed at the advances made since I lit a fuse and ran for cover when my first rocket was launched in 1959. I didn't return to the hobby until the Discovery channel aired the Rocket Challenge last year. Since then, I've bought kits from the big boys mostly and a few others. Most have what they call "laser" cut fins, and some simply supplied a pattern and balsa. All of that is fine with me, but my latest kit leads me to believe there are different levels of "laser" quality. Opening up my Semroc Hydra 7 kit revealed laser cut fins like I've never seen. The entire set is crisp, clearly outlined and practically jumped out of the board with minimal effort. Why are these so good and others not? Am I missing something here? I always thought laser cut was laser cut and that was that.

Da Dog
I don't know the answer, but you're right, Semroc's laser cutting is superior to most (as are their instructions). I wish they'd share the secret with the others.
 

Wonderdog

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Yup, long time. You know what they say, "Life is what happens while you're making other plans". How true.

Seems my old befuddled brain confused die cut with laser cut. Being so ancient does have its advantages. I actually read instructions now before jumping into building. It has worked well for me. Not so my 10 yr old son. Cut, cut, glue, glue, glue, paint, paint, hurry, hurry, ok lets go launch. UHOH, I forgot the thingy! Hey, that doesn't look right!? "Daaaad, can you fix this??" Well, son, what do the directions say about putting that under the framus instead of on top and around it like the picture shows." The usual response I get is, HUNHHH??

A microsaw and a light touch works wonders on plain old balsa. Now that I've discovered that, laser cut will probably be the standard before long. Well, there's always scratch built and mods.

Da Dog
 

sandman

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Not so my 10 yr old son. Cut, cut, glue, glue, glue, paint, paint, hurry, hurry, ok lets go launch. UHOH, I forgot the thingy! Hey, that doesn't look right!? "Daaaad, can you fix this??"
That's funny...I do a lot of woodworking and I DO know what I'm doing so I just got back from a friends house helping him with an "easy" project.

He did the same thing except for the "Daaaad" part.

He's 56 years old...your son has an excuse:D
 
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