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Mars Snooper clone - best approach?

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Steve

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I want to build a Mars Snooper clone, and I am undecided as to the best approach. I am handy enough to whittle chunks of balsa into pods, or even make the nose cones or adapters myself (although I haven’t tried that, yet). What I’m not looking forward to is rounding up the parts. Most of it should be easy enough – but the parts lists provided with these instructions doesn’t supply dimensions, thicknesses, etc. While the Estes numbers are very helpful for anyone ordering parts from the factory (do they even carry all these parts anymore?), they may not be so useful at the local hobby shop. On the other hand, I could buy the kit from BMS ($40 with S&H) and be done with it. Decisions, decisions…
So… I would be most grateful for any advice y’all can throw my way. (One of my New Year’s resolutions is to actually offer some advice here someday, rather than to always seek it). Thanks.

Stephen
 

dtomko

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Bushrat,
You can certainly save yourself a lot of hassle with the BMS kit; it even comes with laser cut fins and a set of decals. If not that, and you don't want to turn your own cones, BMS has all the cones and the transition, and the body tubes, if you don't already have those. I'm pretty sure the plans on JimZ's site list the Estes part numbers for the cones and tubes. You can easily get the BT lengths from the Ninfinger site with the numbers. Also, with the nose cone numbers, BMS matches Estes numbers. If you want to turn your own, look up the dimensions on the BMS site and use those as guides. You can't get balsa cones from Estes anymore, and body tubes are available any number of places cheaper, but probably you will have to use online sources. Finally, if you do purchase all the parts separately, once you add up the costs, the BMS clone may start looking more reasonable!
Drew Tomko
 

Micromeister

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Bushrat:
You picked a great time to ask this question! Snow covered, house bound for the weekend, I should be able to give you all the part numbers and/or dimensions you'll need.
I have my original kit instructions and patterns for ALL the parts and shrouds. I may even have a spar set of the cardstock shroud patterns with those instructions. I'll have to get them out this evening. I'm sure Jim-z should have the shroud and fin patterns if your in a hurry to start.
Heres a pic of the three size Snoopers I have at present.
 

Steve

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Wow - cool! That reminds me of something else I forgot to mention. The shroud(s) are to be cut from cardstock, then - not paper? I printed out a copy of the plans from Jim Z's site earlier. It looks like there were at least two versions of the kit. One with solid balsa pods and one with pods made from a short piece of body tube with nosecones at each end. I'm looking forward to getting started, and any help you can offer - I will surely accept!

(Of course, I will post pics as necessary :) )

Stephen
 

Steve

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Originally posted by dtomko
snip
Finally, if you do purchase all the pasrts separately, once you add up the costs, the BMS clone may start looking more reasonable!
Drew Tomko
So true. By the way - did you happen to pick up the kit yourself? I'd be interested to hear an opinion of the overall quality, etc.

Stephen
 

dtomko

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Stephen,
I haven't gotten it yet, although I'm going to. Actually the price went up a few months ago and I'm kicking myself for not getting it sooner!
The original with the carved balsa pods was a design of the month contest winner, I believe. Cardstock is used for the shrouds because it's tougher than paper and holds the shape better without the risk of folding. I've read that soaking the completed shrouds in CA makes them very firm.
DT
 

sandman

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Bushrat,

Last summer I made one of each Mars Snooper and Mars Snooper II

That was fun!

Lots of nose cones and lots of paper parts.

You can use 110# paper for your cardstock. You can get it at any office supply store (It's just a good idea to have some around anyway)

The 110# stock fits in your printer just fine.

The plans from JimZ's site will print out all the pattens and parts you need.

If you want to make your own nose cones, check the nose cone numbers from the kit plans, then go here:

http://www.balsamachining.com/Cones_1.gif

and see the nose cones profile...make 'em yourself. The little ones are easy.

Here is the Mars Snooper with it's parts all layed out.

sandman
 

sandman

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Here is the second version. The Mars Snooper II

sandman
 

Micromeister

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Sandman:
I like your choice of colors on the Snooper-II :D
Have you had a chance to fly it, If so how did thoses wimpy little 1/8" dowel legs stand up to landing??? I've been toying with the idea of spring loading them with a 3/16" dowel instead. what do you think?
 

sandman

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I liked the color too! It's "Candy Apple Red" from Duplicolor It uses a clearcoat that Duplicolor also makes.

I got it at an Auto Supply place that was going out of business (seems to be a lot of that going around!)

As for the legs...they held up fine...it did land in some tall weeds so that helped a lot!

Spring loaded legs...there is a company making an upscale clone with spring loaded leg...I looked but I can't find it in EMRR...I'm pretty sure it's there.

I seem to remember (I'm not sure) that the spring loaded legs didn't work out so well.

sandman
 

Micromeister

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Yeap!
My standard and upscale are both Candy Apple Red over silver, with a medium alum. metal fine added to the upscale :D the micro is a ONE-Shot Pearlescent magenta that came out a little pinker than I wanted but still came fairly close to the Candy Apple Red.
My Super Vega model lands on 3/16" spring loaded dowel legs with 3.6 lb compression springs in each leg. The leg pistons ride in plastistrut liner tubes inside the exterior pod tubes. If folks are having trouble with the spring loaded gear it's likely they did not use the smooth styreme internal spring tube to insure free movement. 3/16" diameter legs seem to be the minimum dia. limit for "dowel" type legs. I've successfully done a 3/32" leg with a lexan leg rod in a 10.5mm pod and 1/8" dia pen springs riding inside a 1/4" inner sytrene piston tube. Now all I need is a model to put them on:D
 

Fore Check

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Originally posted by sandman
I liked the color too! It's "Candy Apple Red" from Duplicolor It uses a clearcoat that Duplicolor also makes.

I got it at an Auto Supply place that was going out of business (seems to be a lot of that going around!)

As for the legs...they held up fine...it did land in some tall weeds so that helped a lot!

Spring loaded legs...there is a company making an upscale clone with spring loaded leg...I looked but I can't find it in EMRR...I'm pretty sure it's there.

I seem to remember (I'm not sure) that the spring loaded legs didn't work out so well.

sandman
That company is Q-Modeling. It's an upscale version built for D-power. The spring loaded legs are copied from those in there upscale, D-powered Vega kit (I say this because the instructions for the Vega kit are downloadable on their website so you can review their "quality." In these instructions, the landing pods are depicted and shown how they are put together. And I only know this after talking to the dude on the phone. :cool: )

The upscaled D version of their WAC Corporal has received very nice reviews on this forum. The Vega is reviewed favorably on EMRR. Don't remember specific reviews of the landing pods...
 

Fore Check

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I just found the review for the QModeling Mars Snooper here.

It received 4 out of 5 on constructions, and 4.5 out of 5 on both flight/recovery and overall.

Highlights include cast resin nose cones, 24 mm foil lined motor mount that can accomodate D and E engines, and nylon recovery chute with 9' kevlar shock cord and nomex heat shield included.


The only mention of the working landing pods is that they are BT20 based with a dowel spring loaded between a pair of centering rings. The reviewer did complain that the extra long shock cord got tangled on the landing pod dowels on two out of three recoveries.
 

sandman

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The only mention of the working landing pods is that they are BT20 based with a dowel spring loaded between a pair of centering rings. The reviewer did complain that the extra long shock cord got tangled on the landing pod dowels on two out of three recoveries.
That was it...I couldn't find it on an EMRR search...and I had to leave.

The spring loaded landing pods worked...I knew there was something mentioned about them.

sandman
 

Steve

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Is all the balsa sheeting 1/16" thick? The parts list includes balsa fin sheets BF-20A and BF-20B. I'm thinking the 20 indicates thickness, yes?

What's a good [household] material to use for scratch-built centering rings?

How tall is the completed model?

Thanks
 

rbeckey

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I would suggest spring loaded legs in the Snooper or Vega typ models. I cloned a Super Vega and it broke a leg two out of three flights under a 30 inch chute. THe legs were made from 3/16 dowel. It is currently shelved until I get around to stripping off the pods and rebuilding them with springs and maybe some kind of tougher rod for the legs. Maybe fiberglass?
 

sandman

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The original model is about 21" tall and the Snooper II is about 22" ( give or take) The Snooper II is the one to worry about breaking legs on.

Yes BFS-20 and BFS20B are all 1/16" but I used 3/32" for the main fins myself.

Centering rings can be make from lite ply or the thick cardboard that comes inside a new shirt!.

I have been known to go into the back room of my local supermarket and scrounge through their cardoard.

sandman
 

eugenefl

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I say build your own! I built mine from scratch. All nosecones and the transition were *hand* turned without the assistance of any power tools. All I used was a hobby knife and a sandpaper block. All parts came out straight and true. So long as the top center point on bottom center point of the balsa block are respected, the transition and nosecone pieces will come out dimensionally correct. Of the top of my head (without referencing the Ninfinger parts list), I believe the MSII transition length was 2". (I could be wrong here...)

See attached picture of some cones I made. I think the transition in this picture was used.
 

eugenefl

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Here is a picture of my MSII with parts assembled. (I used cardstock to form the paper transition at the bottom.)
 

eugenefl

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Here it is finished. I unfortunately lost it on the FIRST flight. Our flightline was set up along a row of trees. The wind *was* blowing away from the trees, but somehow this one managed to weathercock *really* bad up and over our heads. This was my first loss since coming back to the hobby. Dang - and the amount of time I spent building it too. :( :mad:
 

sandman

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Nice one Eugene...sorry for your loss.

The Snooper II like Eugene's has those funny odd little BT-5 jet intake type nose cones.

I have an original and I used them to pattern copies of those nose cone.

They are tiny but really hard to make consistently identical.

The best I can do is to make "matched sets"

I used those same cones on my Mini-Bomarc kits.

I have some of those cones already made. if anybody is interested.

sandman
 

Micromeister

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AS promised Bushrat:
heres the complete parts list from the Mars Snooper, I've penciled in the lengths of the nosecones in case you don't have a old Estes catalog laying around. The BNC-5V is .75" long, 5W is 2.75" long same length as the BNC-20N also 2.75" long. Fin stock is 3/32". Transition is TA-2050. Any other dimensions need just holler:)


Rbecky:
Did you glass the body or some other heavy-up on your cloned SuperVega? I've been flying mine of a 24" nylon hemi chute for about 12 years.. only brake was a fin joint on a partical deploy. I retro fit the spring loaded gear in the pods summer of 2001 just for fun. I'm still using 3/16 hardwood dowels as the main supports. I think the key there is "Hardwood" some of the wooden dowels i've seen lately in lowes and in wood racks in the hobby shops look like plain old pine or poplar. I make it a point to get oak dowels for support stuff. Humm! just thought of another possibility.. is your 30" chute a flat type parasheet without a spill hole? that may be the reason for the landing breaks, the model swinging under the canopy oscillation sometimes make for some really hard impact landing.

Very nice eugene, thats a real shame the rocket eating trees claimed another victim. darn the bad luck,
 

eugenefl

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Originally posted by sandman
Nice one Eugene...sorry for your loss.

The Snooper II like Eugene's has those funny odd little BT-5 jet intake type nose cones.

They are tiny but really hard to make consistently identical.

sandman
Micro, thanks for the kind words. Sandman, I know you know (others know too) how badly it hurts to lose a *scratchbuild* born of hard work and shop time.

As for the BT-5 cones, I skipped the Bomarc nose type. They were just too hard to make accurately and when I did get one to look right the quality just wasn't there. I went ahead and made them conical a la Estes Yankee nosecone.
 

rbeckey

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Micro,
My Super Vega was pretty standard, except I added an ejection baffle. No really big additions as far as weight. The chute did not have a spill hole and the dowels were not hard wood, which probably explains what happened. If I can locate a 3/16 fiberglass rod, I'll use it. If not I'll try oak. I am thinking that kite builders or archers may use fiberglass rod, but I haven't put a lot of effort into the research yet.
 

rbeckey

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A little Google searching turned up an outfit selling 3/16x48" fiberglass rod for $2.00. The whole thing weighs 45 grams!
 

Micromeister

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Check with "into the Wind" www.intothewind.com they have a complete line of Fibreglass, graphite and even some carbon fibre hollow tubing and solid rods. pretty neat kites as well:D and tons of rip-stop nylon in every color you can imagine.
 

rbeckey

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Micro,
Thanks for the link. I ordered a couple of 3/16 fiberglass rods and some swivels. Maybe this will give me a push to start the Vega rebuild. I always loved that design. Fortunately I hadn't applied decals yet.
 

Steve

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This is more than enough info to get started - thanks!

Micro - The only thing I can't make out [in your pic] is the length of the pod tubes. I've seen them listed as 1-1/2" and 1-9/16" elsewhere on the web, so I'm guessing it's in that range - I can't imagine 1/16" would make any difference.

I picked up the tube assortment from Red Arrow, and I think I can gather about everything else together from my stash, so I just have to come up with the nose cones. (And finish about five other models) :)

Can't wait to get started!

Stephen
 

Fore Check

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Originally posted by Micromister
Check with "into the Wind" www.intothewind.com they have a complete line of Fibreglass, graphite and even some carbon fibre hollow tubing and solid rods. pretty neat kites as well:D and tons of rip-stop nylon in every color you can imagine.
AHHhhhh, yes. I too have thought of mentioning the kite stores as a place for carbon and graphite rods.

I would suggest Gone With the Wind at www.gwtw-kites.com for a greater selection of rods and kites.

(Kiting is my other main passion! If you can believe it, I have more money invested in my kites than my rockets! And I have a ton of rocket stuff!)

If you really want to go crazy with kites, go cruising around at Gomberg Kite Works http://www.gombergkites.com/

Here's a pic of my custom Sutton Flowform 252 with a 100' custom tube tail that I picked up from David Gomberg.
 

Fore Check

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And here's a closer look at the lifter. The Sutton 252 kite is 14' wide and 18' tall (giving it a base area of 252 square feet.) It has no sticks or spars, and is made completely of ripstop nylon with nylon reinforcement webbing.
 
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