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MAC Performance Rocketry – 54mm Minimum Diameter Build (canvas phenolic tubing)

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rfjustin

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Mike at MAC Performance Rocketry announced that 54mm canvas phenolic tubing was coming soon… This is great as I have been wanting to get my hands on the tubing, build a small rocket out of it, and present my usage of the canvas phenolic tubing. I’ll share some opinions about the tubing as I build, but this will be more of a presentation/build thread rather than a formal review. The rocket will be a basic 54mm minimum diameter, dual deploy bird. I intend to make the rocket as reasonably light as possible, but I am not going overboard. I want to be able to prep and fly the rocket comfortably.

The 3 fins are made from 3/16” thick canvas phenolic plate (made by upscalecnc, aka wingerarcher), here are the dimensions:
6” root
3” span
4” leading edge chord
1.25” tip chord
0.75” trailing edge chord

Once I unpacked the damaged box (thanks USPS!), I got to take a look at the tubing. My initial impression is that I like it, very light and strong. I also really like the stepped bulkheads for the avionics bay. Also, the tubes are cut perfectly square, and the coupler fit to the body tubes and nose cone is perfect. Later this week (or possibly weekend), I’ll take the time to gather exact dimensions of the tubing as well as some weights.

Box as received.jpg Parts in bag from MAC.jpg Fin 1.JPG Fin 2.jpg Fin bevel.JPG Fin dimensions.JPG
 

rfjustin

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My original intention was to use a CTI nose cone with a lightweight 38mm tube glued inside to hold the tracker. Since the MAC 54 canvas tube is standard thickness, the OD of the nose cone will be smaller than the OD of the tube. I doubt my OCD will allow this “lip”, so I had MAC throw a new Wildman nose cone that I will end up using instead of the CTI cone. The Wildman cone is larger in OD than the CTI cone, but still slightly smaller than the OD of the canvas tubing.

Even though I may not be using the CTI nose cone for this particular build (and since modifications are already completed), I may as well document adding the nose cone tracker bay. Here are the steps taken with some pics in case you might want to take a crack at the process:

1. You will need your preferred nose cone of choice, a short length of thin wall 38mm tubing, and a standard centering ring as well.
2. Clean up centering ring, scuff 38mm tube where bonding will occur, scuff inside of nose cone & shoulder.
3. Add large bead of 5 minute epoxy to 38 motor tube and glue inside nose cone. Centering ring is used to ensure tube is in there straight, turn upside while gluing.
4. Once cured, remove the centering ring, and using a moto-tool fiberglass cut off wheel, cut the rest of the 38mm tube off so it is flush with the bottom of the nose cone. We are going to add some epoxy to the empty space between the outside of the motor mount tube and the inside wall of the nose cone. Drill a small hole near the top of the nose cone shoulder where we can inject some epoxy.
5. Start covering the space between the outside of the motor mount tube and the inside wall of the nose cone with some tape. Do not be shy here, put 3-4 total layers on. Epoxy should not be able to leak out. Set the nose cone upright and inject in 10-20 ml’s of epoxy. Yes this amount is probably overkill, but I have done this before with good results. Once cured, remove all the tape, and use a palm sander to grind down until most of the peaks/valleys are gone.
6. Drill out (3) decent size holes that will allow, debris and used shear pins to be removed from the cone at a later date. In the interest of brevity, I skipped the steps showing how I divided out and drilled (6) 4-40 sized mounting holes in the G-10 plate. Take the G-10 plate, get it lined up on the cone, and tape in place. Drill pilot holes through the (6) mounting holes, and then mark a pilot hole point on the epoxy before you remove the tape. Make sure you enlarge the holes in the epoxy in the nose cone and G-10 plate separately. The holes in the epoxy are smaller than the holes needed in the G-10 plate.
7. Once all your holes are the correct size, screw the plate in place.
8. Mark the exterior of the G-10 plate with a Sharpie, then shape the G-10 to match the cone. I made quick work of this using a palm sander. Before you remove the plate, cut an indexing mark in the shoulder of the cone and the plate to ensure you put it on and off the same spot each time.
9. Remove the G-10 plate, add your ¼-20 piece of hardware of choice, and you are good to go

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patelldp

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Very nice! I have a custom assortment of parts for a 54mm three stage coming from Mike this weekend. His ability to custom cut and crank out standard kits is remarkable.
 

Banzai88

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So many rockets, so little time.
 

Jozef

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You have components from two of the best rocketry sources...MAC Performance and Wildman. Your fins look a lot like those on the Aerotech Arreaux... am I close? I was on the verge of ordering a 54 kit from Mike, but I have a 4" Villain boat tail next in line in the shop. Subscribed with interest..
 

cwbullet

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Subscribed and tempted.
 

rfjustin

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Here are some additional pics of the parts on the work bench. I have not had a chance to record down any component weights just yet, but I will get to it shortly...

DSCN0754.jpg DSCN0755.jpg DSCN0756.jpg DSCN0757.jpg DSCN0758.jpg DSCN0759.jpg
 

rfjustin

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Very nice! I have a custom assortment of parts for a 54mm three stage coming from Mike this weekend. His ability to custom cut and crank out standard kits is remarkable.
Three stage, very nice Fred, I mean Dan. :)
 

Banzai88

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How favorably does the OD of the base of the nose cone compare to the tube?
 

rfjustin

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How favorably does the OD of the base of the nose cone compare to the tube?
The Wildman cone is slightly smaller than the OD of the canvas tubing, but its close. There is a little bit of a lip, but not much. I'll post exact dimensions soonish.
 

Jozef

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Love those canvas phenolic stepped bulkheads. Will ask for those on my next order from Mike...
 

BLKKROW

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If you need some precision fin guides check out what I have to offer.
 

DavidMcCann

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If you need some precision fin guides check out what I have to offer.
You've got a cool product.... but if he custom ordered all this stuff from nat.... I doubt he's overlooked a guide...
 

BLKKROW

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You've got a cool product.... but if he custom ordered all this stuff from nat.... I doubt he's overlooked a guide...
I didn't see a mention of one, so I thought I would offer. I apologize if my post offends anyone.
 

DavidMcCann

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I didn't see a mention of one, so I thought I would offer. I apologize if my post offends anyone.
it doesnt to me at all... but I'm hard to offend. Just sharing my thoughts as the beer flows. late night and all.
 

dixontj93060

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My original intention was to use a CTI nose cone with a lightweight 38mm tube glued inside to hold the tracker. Since the MAC 54 canvas tube is standard thickness, the OD of the nose cone will be smaller than the OD of the tube. I doubt my OCD will allow this “lip”, so I had MAC throw a new Wildman nose cone that I will end up using instead of the CTI cone. The Wildman cone is larger in OD than the CTI cone, but still slightly smaller than the OD of the canvas tubing.
Glad to see someone as mentally ill as I am... Case in point is just last night with three wraps of FG and System Three QuickFair on my LOC King Viper III NC to get the lip "just right."

IMG_3373.jpg

One other thing high OCD individuals will notice, as mentioned in my MAC Performance Scorpion review here, Mike provides perfectly cut/fit kits, but there is a final overlap of the canvas on the tubes that leads to a slight bulge. Getting that filled/smoothed is a trick (but I was mentally forced to do it on my Scorpion).
 

rfjustin

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Glad to see someone as mentally ill as I am...
My man! :cheers:

As I look closer at the tube, it reminds me a bit of old school G10 (cloth based) Performance Rocketry tube, where the wall thickness varies around the circumference ever so slightly. No big deal for my build, Mike was kind enough to put an indexing mark between the 40" booster tube and 16" upper airframe. I'd have a lot more time to build if I didnt have to, you know, work for a living... C'est la vie
 

rfjustin

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Didn't get much done on the rocket over the weekend, other than meeting up with Bob from Countyline Hobbies and picking up an AT threaded & plugged 54mm forward closure. I also ordered forged eye bolts, quick links, and other misc hardware over the weekend as well.

I also had a chat with Mike about our mutual appreciation for OCD... While were were chatting, I found our that Mike is working with Tim to make sure the next 54mm Wildman cones being used in the MAC 54mm kits will match the OD perfectly. My cone was meant for slightly thinner tube, but I think I will use it anyway. :)
 

ECayemberg

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This is painful....don't need any more rockets, but these MAC offerings look great. Then you post a JF build/assembly thread and it becomes darn near irresistible!

Looking forward to seeing this sleek bird in person!

-Eric-
 

dixontj93060

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This is painful....don't need any more rockets, but these MAC offerings look great. Then you post a JF build/assembly thread and it becomes darn near irresistible!

Looking forward to seeing this sleek bird in person!

-Eric-
DOIT!
 

rfjustin

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Got some work done over the weekend… I received my avbay hardware and quick-links late last week and I began by drilling out the .1875” thick stepped canvas phenolic bulkhead plates to accept the eye hooks, threaded rod, and the single ejection charge holder. I like that these plates came with the center .125” ONLY. I was able to enlarge the center hold as needed, and tailor to me needs. Next, I need to position the avionics bay coupler into the upper airframe and drill holes for mounting screws, PEM nuts, and vent hole(s).

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rfjustin

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Got back to working on this build and got some weights recorded:
- 16" upper airframe 0.32 lbs
- 40" lower airframe 0.78 lbs
- 3/16" canvac phenolic fins 0.26 lbs
- Avionics bay 0.38 lbs (includes sled and hardware, but no altimeter, and no battery)
- Nose cone 0.42 lbs
Total weight so far: 2.16 lbs

DSCN0793.jpg
 

rfjustin

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Some other tasks accomplished over the weekend:

- glued the nose cone tip in place and hit it with a little filler
- added eye-bolt and cordage to the nose cone bulkplate
- glued nose cone bulkhead plate in place along with coupler


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rfjustin

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I also threaded the eye-bolts further down to reduce their length outside the coupler, and I added (3) 4-40 PEM nuts to the coupler as well.

This canvas phenoilc tubing drills and cleans up with ease. :)

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