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Nike Hercules: TLP PLan Pak

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peter_stanley

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I just started building a Nike Hercules using the Launch Pad Plan Pak. So far I've got the sustainer tubes rolled, and motor mount built. I'm planning to build it all according to the plan, but will substitute the upper-stage ignition design with a perfect flite timer. Also planning to use a Quest Q2G2 igniter for the sustainer motor. I'll fly it on all D motors, but if I have success with them, I 'might' try composite E motors.

Does anyone know of any gotchas I might encounter with this plan? So far I'm enjoying the build process. I'll post some pics soon.
 

peter_stanley

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So far the sustainer body tube, motor mount and electronics area built. I like how it's looking so far, but the poster board is easy to crease. Overall it looks and feels structurally sound though. I don't know if there's a good filler to cover up the blemishes without adding much weight (would defeat purpose of using poster board).

I'm using a Perfect Flite timer for sustainer ignition. This will be my first time using a timer for staging. Also using a Newton's 3rd Rocketry screw-in arming switch.

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peter_stanley

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I'm typing this with one hand since I sliced the tip of my finger off cutting posterboard for the booster tubes. Was in a hurry and being careless.

I'm in the process of filling/finishing all the upper-stage fins and around the nose cone wrap. Prior to filling I soaked all the balsa with thin CA glue. The main fins are really long, over 18". As with many Launch Pad designs, the nose cone requires an extension. Looks cool.

Started cutting parts for the booster stage before my mishap. Here are some pics.

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peter_stanley

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Had an after thought that I should have started this thread in the mid-power forum, since the collective impulse is greater than 'D'. Hope everyone will forgive.
 

peter_stanley

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I'm at a crossroads with this project. When gluing on a couple fins last night I noticed how bad my hand-rolled tubes really are. The top section is a slightly smaller diameter than the lower sections causing fins to not be flush with the whole length of the tube. Also, the seam is bulged out a little. I can probably work with the fins, and keep going, but I hate to put all this work into it, and it look like crap. The only advantage I see with the poster board tubes is the lightness. The main disadvantage of rolled tubes, besides the time, is the difficulty reproducing them with any precision. I don't want to step backwards and lose the time/effort already invested, but am leaning toward redoing the upper stage with BT-80 tubing. I originally planned to do this, and already have the right lengths cut.

I'll have to find 2" tubing for the boosters, but I think I can get that through Semroc.
 

peter_stanley

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I decided to go with a re-do on the airframe material. Not as much work as I thought, as I can reuse all the other parts. I should have the upper-stage tube finished tonight and can start adding fins back on. I weighed the poster board and the BT-80 tubing and there is only a 21 gram difference. So for less than an ounce you get a stronger, better looking body tube without the time and hassle. I'm not sure what the difference will be for the boosters. I ordered some 2" (well very close) tubes from Semroc today. I'll weigh everything when finished and make sure it's not too heavy to fly on four D's. If so I'll use E's.
 

judo

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Looking forward to seeing the finished product.
 

peter_stanley

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Looking forward to seeing the finished product.
Me too!

I hit some snags tonight. I did finish the upper stage tube, but had trouble with the fins. I was at peak frustration and wanted jump up and down on it, and kick it across the garage. I didn't though :)

I think it's just hard to have 3/32" balsa 18" long, 3" wide at the base and it not warp. I anticipated this and tried to mitigate by soaking in CA, pressing flat on plate glass, pressing between coats of filler, but they are still warped. I pulled the two off I had tacked on and plan to try ironing them tomorrow. I cracked both trying to adjust warpage while glued. One actually broke lengthwise. I repaired with yellow glue and have pressed again on plate glass. I just need to step away from it, and come back clear headed, with a better plan.

I think patience is the key to this project.
 

terryg

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"I think patience is the key to this project" Indeed! :D

There are reasons that no mass produced Nike Herc kits are available (Sandmans handcrafted masterpieces excluded).
I would consider using basswood for the upper fins since the extra strength is very useful on these long fins. Because of the extensive forward fins considerable nose weight is required to offset both the fins and the extra aft mass of four rear tubes and assorted engine hardware. For that reason I suspect that only composite E engines are practical (estes E engines being to heavy to be practical). I used paired F24 or F39 reloads on my fun scale version with good results, till only one engine lit on its last flight. When I rebuilt it I converted it to fly on a single 29mm mount and fly it on G64 and G77 reloads. The second difficulty with this rocket is the fact that you have to cram the ever larger parachute into the smaller diameter upper tube. Thin nylon chutes are best, but even then it tends to come in hot (getting an optimum balance of weight and strength is not easy. I never had the courage to try a two stage version, since most ones I have seen attempted end up with the lower stage being destroyed. Check the TRF version 1.0 archive for Nike Herc threads.
All that being said, the Nike Hercules is by far my favorite rocket and I plan to do a high power version (central 38 mm with 4 29 mm air starts) in the future. I bet I could even get up scaled decals from Sandman!
 

judo

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Try getting two sheets of 3/64" balsa and glue them together, concave-to-concave side. Clamp them together as you described above.
 

peter_stanley

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Try getting two sheets of 3/64" balsa and glue them together, concave-to-concave side. Clamp them together as you described above.
That's a good idea if I can find some. I also thought about 1/16" basswood or 1/16" aircraft plywood. Thought too of maybe trying to straighten them with heat, and apply some very light glass (.75 oz I think), which I have. Even if I can get them straight they see extremely fragile.
 

peter_stanley

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I would consider using basswood for the upper fins since the extra strength is very useful on these long fins. Because of the extensive forward fins considerable nose weight is required to offset both the fins and the extra aft mass of four rear tubes and assorted engine hardware.
That's what I'm considering now, or maybe glassing the balsa.

getting an optimum balance of weight and strength is not easy.
This tends to become a vicious cycle :)

The second difficulty with this rocket is the fact that you have to cram the ever larger parachute into the smaller diameter upper tube.
I noticed that too. Do you think cutting out the bottom of the NC, and attaching near the tip would help? If I have to add nose weight anyway, I can anchor something in there.

Check the TRF version 1.0 archive for Nike Herc threads.
There is a bunch of info there. Thanks for the suggestion.
 

Txnrcr

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I have been working on a TLP Herc on and off for a while.
Do a search over on YORF and you will find the build thread I started there.

Like you, I also plan on using a Perfect Flight timer for the staging. I have not decided on the mounting location. Trying to decide between three possible solutions. Mount the timer and batt in the nose cone, Mount the batt and timer in a small tube as close to the instructions mounting position as possible, or mount the batt in the instructions position with the timer near the motor mount. Similar to the Apogee style.

I started the project off using standard body tubes. Estes BT-80 and 2" tubes from BMS.

Looking forward to your progress. Maybe it will motivate me to get back to work on mine.

Terryg, How about some more details on your single stage 29mm version?
Pics?
 

terryg

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Terryg, How about some more details on your single stage 29mm version?
Pics?
While not a nike herc, there is a build article at EMMR on a two stage nike ajax that is very good.

http://www.rocketreviews.com/reviews/all/tlp_nike_ajax.shtml

My fun scale Nike Herc is based on 29 mm motor tubes for the lower section and a 1.6" tube for the upper section. It is an upscale of the same design that was launched with a four 13 mm cluster. The transition section is made by sawing of the corners of a balsa block and carving it into a shape that gradually adapts from square to round. Tunnels lined with epoxy channel the ejection gasses into the upper stage for chute deployment. I initially used spin testing to stabilize the design (no fun on this large a rocket). I later modified a rocksim file from Apogee to give a rough sim of the rocket. The rocket flew fine for a number of fights with dual F39 or F24 reloads, on its 7th flight only one engine lit and although the flight was safe enough, the delay was too long and the upper tube had to be replaced. To simply future launches I used a dremmel to open a central opening for a single 29 mm motor tube and have been flying it on G engines ever since. I have an upscale in the works which will have a central 38mm tube surrounded by four 2.6 inch tubes for the base unit (each with a 29mm mount for airstarting). The upper tube will be a four inch diameter (finally enough room for parachutes!) and the Nike will be 6 ft long.

View attachment NIKEHERC-cluster.RKT

View attachment NIKEHERC-single.RKT
 

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peter_stanley

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Like you, I also plan on using a Perfect Flight timer for the staging. I have not decided on the mounting location. Trying to decide between three possible solutions. Mount the timer and batt in the nose cone, Mount the batt and timer in a small tube as close to the instructions mounting position as possible, or mount the batt in the instructions position with the timer near the motor mount. Similar to the Apogee style.
I like the idea of mounting the timer near the motor mount. I currently have scenario 2, with everything in a small tube at the position noted by the instructions, but it is a tight fit.

I'll check out your build thread on YORF.

Just got my 2" tubes from Semroc yesterday. I'm planning to work it a bunch this weekend. I got sidetracked these past two days.
 

Txnrcr

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Terryg - Very nice Herc, thanks for sharing.
What did you use to block off the booster tubes for ejection gasses (rearward) when you modified for a single 29mm mount?

Peter - If you use the Apogee style electronics bay on the engine mount, you will add some weight to the rear of the sustainer. This will neccesitate additional nose weight for stability. I'm thinking this model is marginal on D-12's, so I am still looking for a better solution.
The nike ajax build on EMRR that terryg mentions is exacly what I have been trying to plan out for the herc. All of the weight in the nose without adding much to the overall weight.
My main concern with this method is a reliable disconnect connection.
The ajax builder used a mini phono jack. I do not have any experence using that setup.
 

terryg

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What did you use to block off the booster tubes for ejection gasses (rearward) when you modified for a single 29mm mount?
I wedged in balsa scraps and dripped gorilla glue into the openings. The glue foams up and fills all the nooks and crannies and cures rock hard. All these nike threads are going to motivate me to start building my larger version and I already have most of the needed parts. I want to be able to fly all three versions at our clubs annual 2 day launch.
 
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peter_stanley

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Peter - If you use the Apogee style electronics bay on the engine mount, you will add some weight to the rear of the sustainer. This will neccesitate additional nose weight for stability. I'm thinking this model is marginal on D-12's, so I am still looking for a better solution.
The nike ajax build on EMRR that terryg mentions is exacly what I have been trying to plan out for the herc. All of the weight in the nose without adding much to the overall weight.
My main concern with this method is a reliable disconnect connection.
The ajax builder used a mini phono jack. I do not have any experence using that setup.
I've been struggling with this, and went ahead and did the Apogee method. It gives me a little more room near the nose, and less worry about the timer getting damaged. I'll definitely need some nose weight. Since I'm building a little heavier, I figure I'll need to fly it on E's or F's anyway. I'm going to plug everything into Rocksim and see what I come up with.

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RocketT.Coyote

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Actually built one about ten years ago. Complete scratch-build, except the PNC-80 cone. Set it up to launch w/2 D12s in booster. Energized second stage and it came to life, knocking my hat off. Booster transition damage and body tube zipper on sustainer.
 
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Txnrcr

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Looking good Peter.
Did you offset the motor tube at that point, or did you have enough room between the 24mm tube and BT80?
 

peter_stanley

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Looking good Peter.
Did you offset the motor tube at that point, or did you have enough room between the 24mm tube and BT80?
Everything fit without having to offset the motor tube. I did need to dremel off the tips of the standoffs that the timer was attached to. I had the standoffs stuck into and epoxied against a piece of presentation board, which was then attached to the back of the hatch plate. There is probably an 1/8" between the timer and the motor tube.
 

peter_stanley

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I got a lot done this weekend. Just finished putting on the main fins, and one of the rear fins. I fiberglassed the main fins, and kept them flat under weight during the curing process. They look straight now, and I have more confidence that they won't break as easily. I don't remember the weight of glass, but it's very light, maybe .75 oz. I made some alignment guides printed from VCP and cut out on 1/16" presentation board. This worked very well. The whole rocket is starting to feel heavy. I'll weigh it after all the fins are on.

I started a Rocksim file, and have the upper stage complete on it. I've attached here. It's in Rocksim 9 format. From looking at the CP in Rocksim, comparing all three calculations, I'm not sure that I'll need much if any nose weight. I might need a little. I'll check it again against the two-stage configuration when I have it done.

I'm calling it a night. Will try to get the rest of the fins on this week. I looked ahead to the booster section. The plan calls for making the motor mounts offset toward the center. I'm thinking about keeping mine all centered in each tube. They will be a little more spread out this way, but no chance of them being accidentally canted.

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sandman

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I'm not trying to make trouble but...aren't the sustainer fins supposed to extend down the tailcone of the sustainer?

It doesn't look like it in you last post.
 

peter_stanley

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I'm not trying to make trouble but...aren't the sustainer fins supposed to extend down the tailcone of the sustainer?
It doesn't look like it in you last post.
You are right. I'm building it (at least the exterior) according to plan, which is sport scale at best. For instance, in the TLP version, the upper-stage doesn't have a tailcone, just a straight tube the whole length of the sustainer.

Your kits look awesome by the way.
 
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peter_stanley

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Made a little more progress tonight. I finished the bottom fins, and started the nose cone fins.

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peter_stanley

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Finished the upper-stage last night, except for a few minor details. I almost (well did) screw up and inadvertantly CA glued the nose cone in at one fin. I used acetone to soften it, and got it back out. At this point, with the recovery harness and parachute sitting in the front, plus the battery and timer it weights almost 11 ounces.

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pcotcher

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Does anyone have plans for the real thing? I am also working on an upscale and am working through different tube combinations to come up with something about the right size. The six-foot model described above (2.6" boosters to 4" sustainer) sounds cool, but perhaps a bit large.

So if anyone has any good plans of the real thing it would be much appreciated...

And while we're at it (it's still a Nike) - how about some Nike Zeus-A plans?

Paul
 

peter_stanley

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Does anyone have plans for the real thing? I am also working on an upscale and am working through different tube combinations to come up with something about the right size. The six-foot model described above (2.6" boosters to 4" sustainer) sounds cool, but perhaps a bit large.

So if anyone has any good plans of the real thing it would be much appreciated...
Paul
Here's a link to dimensioned drawings of a Nike Hercules.
http://www.rocketryonline.com/jimball/alway/images/hercdim.gif
 

pcotcher

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Very cool, thanks! That's exactly what I've been looking for.

Where are those published - that was my one disappointment when I got Alway's big Rockets book years ago, that it was all non-military - does he have a similar publication that covers missiles?

Thanks Again!

Paul
 

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