NARAM-63 L1 Certification Zephyr Build

Harrison Vance

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Hello Everyone!

This thread is designed to share my process of my L1 Certification build that I will be flying at NARAM-63 this year! I am currently building the Zephyr Apogee High Power Kit from Apogee Components. Between now and the event, I will be posting status updates on how the build is going along with pictures of the process. Currently, I'm about to install epoxy fillets along the fins so if anyone has tips/tricks to help along the way that would be much appreciated! Thanks!
 

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Adam3836

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Check that I think I answered my own question looking at your picture
Rocketpoxy

Works well just make sure to use masking tape on the body tube and fins where you don’t want the epoxy to get on … helps save time keeping it clean


Nice pick with the Zephyr it’s a great L1 rocket and more

What epoxy are you using for the fillets ?
 

Harrison Vance

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Throughout the past few days I needed to print a couple rocket cradles to help support the rocket on my tiny desk. This ensures the rocket from moving around when applying RocketPoxy onto the fins while being worked on. Special thanks to rocketgeek101 for suggesting the 3D model files and Joe Barnard for designing them. They turned out great! Now time to start working on these epoxy fillets along the fin joints!
 

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Harrison Vance

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Part 1/2
Today I managed to sit down for a couple hours to apply two epoxy fin fillets on the Zephyr. Thanks to the help of Adam3836 for his video recommendation, I managed to have a great visual representation on how to apply RocketPoxy on the Zephyr’s fin joints. I went to Walmart, gathered up all the materials I needed, and dived into the task.

First, I laid some masking tape along the body tube to prevent epoxy from getting to areas I do not want the epoxy to touch. The process was simple and straight forward. All you need to know before hand is how big you want/need those fillets to be before you lay your tape. The lesson I learned today is to not use super tacky masking tape as it can rip off the top coating of your body tube. I heard from multiple sources to lay the strip of masking tape over your t-shirt, pants, or any other fabric multiple times to get rid of the “stickiness”. Unfortunately, I did not get enough off the tape which led to it ripping off the first layer. Ouch!
 

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Harrison Vance

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Part 2/2
After letting the rocket sit for roughly 30 minutes, I peeled up the masking tape which revealed a perfectly straight edge. I was shocked on how great it looked for my first time. I then put some nylon gloves on, dipped my finger in isopropyl alcohol, and gently pulled the RocketPoxy for an overall smooth finish. The overall look looks amazing! I cannot put into words how happy it turned out to be. Tomorrow is a new day for two more fillets! Thank you to everyone who has helped so far as it's much appreciated!
 

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FlyBy01

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Just looking at your build quality the Level 1 should be very easy. If you are using motor ejection please consider a Jolly Logic Chute release. I am enjoying watching your build.
 

Adam3836

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Looks really nice. Nice job! To be fair “waltr
Gave the video recommendation…. I mentioned about the masking tape. Nevertheless you did a Nice job on the fillets.

Side note I also learned it’s sometimes beneficial to remove the masking tape after about 15 minutes because if it stays on to long it can get stuck under the epoxy and that’s difficult to remove

Looking good 👍🏼
 

thzero

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First, I laid some masking tape along the body tube to prevent epoxy from getting to areas I do not want the epoxy to touch. The process was simple and straight forward. All you need to know before hand is how big you want/need those fillets to be before you lay your tape. The lesson I learned today is to not use super tacky masking tape as it can rip off the top coating of your body tube. I heard from multiple sources to lay the strip of masking tape over your t-shirt, pants, or any other fabric multiple times to get rid of the “stickiness”. Unfortunately, I did not get enough off the tape which led to it ripping off the first layer. Ouch!

I pretty much use painters tape, much much better than masking tape. After having used pencil on paper and scoring with the fondunt ball (or other tool) to get the lines, then put down the painters tape, and go to town. Remove painters tape after its setup and do a final swipe/smooth with some alcohol and done.
 

Harrison Vance

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Looks really nice. Nice job! To be fair “waltr
Gave the video recommendation…. I mentioned about the masking tape. Nevertheless you did a Nice job on the fillets.

Side note I also learned it’s sometimes beneficial to remove the masking tape after about 15 minutes because if it stays on to long it can get stuck under the epoxy and that’s difficult to remove

Looking good 👍🏼
Thank you! Next time I’ll try out 15 minutes to see how that works out!
 

waltr

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It depends of which epoxy you use, the working time.
Rocketpoxy needs about 30 minutes before removing masking tape.
It using thickened BSI 30 minute epoxy then 15-20 minutes will be fine.

If you are unsure then test the epoxy left over in the mixing cup. Once it get stiff enough that it holds a dent made by the mixing tool (popsicle stick) then the tape can come off and do the alcohol rub-down to smooth the edges.
If you can not dent the epoxy then you waited too long.
 

Harrison Vance

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It depends of which epoxy you use, the working time.
Rocketpoxy needs about 30 minutes before removing masking tape.
It using thickened BSI 30 minute epoxy then 15-20 minutes will be fine.

If you are unsure then test the epoxy left over in the mixing cup. Once it get stiff enough that it holds a dent made by the mixing tool (popsicle stick) then the tape can come off and do the alcohol rub-down to smooth the edges.
If you can not dent the epoxy then you waited too long.
I can attest that 30 minutes seems to be the sweet spot for me. I know it also depends on the temperature and climate in which you are working in, but for me the results turned out better for 30 minutes.

I recently just applied two more fillets this morning and removed the tape after 15 minutes. The epoxy seemed to be “wet” or less viscous than before. I just let it harden up 15 minutes more before I messed with it. Now I know!
 

Harrison Vance

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Part 1/2
Today I finally finished the fillets on the exterior part of the Zephyr. I am happily pleased on how they turned out granted it being the first time using RocketPoxy. Before sanding, I'm going to finish the inner part of the Zephyr by creating more fillets to secure a stronger bond for the fins. Here's where it get messy!
 

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Harrison Vance

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Part 2/2
I'll start off by saying it's not the prettiest thing to look at, but I will say each fin has a secure bond to the motor mount tube. Working with a confined space can be tricky sometimes. Use your tools to your advantage to get into those cracks/crevices. Overall, I am pleased with the bond; however, not so much with how it looks. I'll be more prepared the next time I build a rocket! Stay tuned for more...
 

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waltr

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Never will be seen so fine inside the fin can.
However, you do have some cleanup to do before gluing the rear centering ring on. Do dry fit before gluing.

I use bamboo skewers to put epoxy inside. Grab a bit of epoxy on the end of the skewer and rotate the skewer to keep the epoxy from dripping off. It is then not too hard to get a glob inside on a fin then spread it along the joint.

If any drips where you don't want it dampen a paper towel in alcohol and wipe it off. Sometimes need to use largish tweezers to hold the paper towel to reach into smaller places.
 

Harrison Vance

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Never will be seen so fine inside the fin can.
However, you do have some cleanup to do before gluing the rear centering ring on. Do dry fit before gluing.

I use bamboo skewers to put epoxy inside. Grab a bit of epoxy on the end of the skewer and rotate the skewer to keep the epoxy from dripping off. It is then not too hard to get a glob inside on a fin then spread it along the joint.

If any drips where you don't want it dampen a paper towel in alcohol and wipe it off. Sometimes need to use largish tweezers to hold the paper towel to reach into smaller places.
That's good to know. I used a scored popsicle stick along with a bamboo skewer to get those tight corners/edges. For the cleanup, I did manage to wipe off the excess material. Thanks for letting me know as that could've been an issue later down the road!
 

g.pitts

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Looking very good! I am confident that your L1 will be a successful one.

Perhaps you are already planning to do this, but just for your consideration... I always put a coating of epoxy on the backside of the launch button weld nuts. I suspect you've glued the underside of them between the nut and the inside of the body tube, but for me I like the extra insurance of epoxy covering the nut and a portion of the inside of the body tube (being careful to NOT allow epoxy to get into the inside of the tapped portion of the weld nut).
 

Harrison Vance

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Looking very good! I am confident that your L1 will be a successful one.

Perhaps you are already planning to do this, but just for your consideration... I always put a coating of epoxy on the backside of the launch button weld nuts. I suspect you've glued the underside of them between the nut and the inside of the body tube, but for me I like the extra insurance of epoxy covering the nut and a portion of the inside of the body tube (being careful to NOT allow epoxy to get into the inside of the tapped portion of the weld nut).
Great tip overall. I have indeed use this technique in the rocket. Can’t go wrong with adding a little more epoxy into areas where they “could” fail. Thanks for the suggestion!
 

Harrison Vance

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Finally finished up with my last RocketPoxy job for the Zephyr build. Today I epoxied the aft centering ring located at the bottom of the rocket. It was tricky to get a smooth finish, but with a little bit of sanding the overall look will be amazing! Getting close to finishing up the build series. Next up, sandingggg...
 

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