Odd'l Break-Away: a quick (?) and easy (?) summer build

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neil_w

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I'm a big fan of no-prep rockets: those that you can basically just shove a motor in and fly. Well, sometimes a *little* prep is required, but no wadding, no parachute or streamer packing, or anything like that. That is why the Odd'l Break-Away has been on my radar for quite some time. This summer I finally got around to building it.

Fundamentally this is a simple-to-build rocket, but nowhere near a basic 3FNC. @hmbanjo rates it as skill level 2 on the old Estes scale, and that seems reasonable to me.

Here's the bag unpacked. I've already separated the fins from their balsa sheet.
parts.jpeg
As expected, everything is high-quality and well-packaged.
 
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I looked at the paint scheme on the package and decided that I would do something like it... I mean, you just *have* to paint the segments different colors on this rocket. I further decided that the sensible thing to do was to pre-paint everything, while the pieces were still separate. This is what made this build take way longer than it should have: as always, my painting opportunities are scarce, and I needed several sessions to get this done. And I'm not even trying to do an A+ paint job on a rocket like this.

Anyway.

Step one was prep of the tubes. For the body segments, just a good coat of filler/primer. The five couplers were prepped as specified in the instructions: the half without the hole (for the Kevlar, later) is given a good coat of CA and sanded smooth. I worked on these pieces quite a bit, until they slid in and out of the tubes very easily. Exactly one end of each tube also got some CA on the interior, to add durability.

tube prep.jpeg
 
I looked at the paint scheme on the package and decided that I would do something like it... I mean, you just *have* to paint the segments different colors on this rocket. I further decided that the sensible thing to do was to pre-paint everything, while the pieces were still separate. This is what made this build take way longer than it should have: as always, my painting opportunities are scarce, and I needed several sessions to get this done. And I'm not even trying to do an A+ paint job on a rocket like this.

Anyway.

Step one was prep of the tubes. For the body segments, just a good coat of filler/primer. The five couplers were prepped as specified in the instructions: the half without the hole (for the Kevlar, later) is given a good coat of CA and sanded smooth. I worked on these pieces quite a bit, until they slid in and out of the tubes very easily. Exactly one end of each tube also got some CA on the interior, to add durability.

View attachment 601868
I'm interested in seeing how this turns out. I believe it was you who gave me the advice on how to paint the segments to best hide the seams to fool my grandkids, thanks. I'm built, but not painted yet. And I likely won't be done before you. Good call on priming the tube segments first!

Oh. Also... because I'm knutz... I added a nose block so I could fly my Flighsketch Mini in the forward tube segment...
20230507_153201.jpg
 
I decided to go with a monochrome version of the facecard scheme, something like this:
1693831667704.png

I haven't seen monochrome schemes on rockets very often, so it actually looks a bit novel to me. And it let me use some paints that I've been trying to get rid of, rather than buy anything new.

Because I painted beforehand, the only masking I needed to do was on the fin can, which was also the only thing assembled prior to painting (not much choice there). There's not much to say about its assembly, it's just 3 fins and a launch lug. Naturally I papered the fins. Here it is in its fully painted glory:
fin unit.jpg

I did a fairly terrible job masking it, and needed to do a fair amount of touch-up.

Oh yeah, the motor mount went in there as well:
motor mount.jpeg
Chris specifies hooking the Kevlar around the front of the motor hook.... That is not normally the way I do it but I actually kind of like it and may switch to it in the future.
 
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Consider strengthening the couplers with CA and STORING the rocket “unstacked”. I found mine built stock slowly developed Peyronie's disease to the point that it was unstable after a few months. It did inspire my Viagara (sic) build, so that was a plus.

prep isn’t quite as easy as it looks, it does take a bit of care to get the connecting cords packed. But it’s a nice small field flier.

with that paint scheme would make a nice drag race with Shear Insanity.
 
Consider strengthening the couplers with CA and STORING the rocket “unstacked”. I found mine built stock slowly developed Peyronie's disease to the point that it was unstable after a few months. It did inspire my Viagara (sic) build, so that was a plus.
Haven't decided how I'm going to store this one yet, but yeah my normal horizontal support system might not be a good choice here.
 
Each coupler gets an extra piece glued into the interior to add extra strength where the kevlar will be tied around. These pieces come pre-cut in the package.
couplers2.jpeg

The first coupler is simply glued into the fin unit.
first coupler.jpeg
And the first tube segment is slipped on.
first tube.jpeg
Now the fun begins.
 
Here's how it goes with the couplers:

First, you tie the Kevlar through it as shown in the excellent illustrations in the instructions:
coupler-knots.jpeg

Then you glue it in. No problem, right? (the white part in the illustration above is the part you glue, and the dark part is where the CA has been applied.)

The prescribed method of knotting the Kevlar around the coupler is really easy and just about foolproof. It doesn't have to be tight around the coupler, extra slack in the loop will make no difference. But with the Kevlar jammed between the coupler and the body, the fit is fairly tight. I applied my non-grabbing Elmer's white glue to the inside of the tube, inserted the coupler into the tube, and...
stuck coupler.jpeg

To my absolutely dumbfounded amazement, the glue grabbed and that was the end of that. Not only is the coupler not all the way in, but it's also slightly cockeyed. I considered my options, but there didn't seem to be much recourse here; any attempted fix would have been quite destructive. So I decided to leave it and live with it. The angle of the coupler doesn't seem to have much visible effect when I connect everything, so the rocket should fly fine, and the next tube slides over it without a problem, but... geez. I like to think I'm a pretty skilled builder and to screw up something like this really took me down a peg or two.

Slightly shaken by this experience, I installed the next coupler with epoxy, and of course that went fine.
epoxy coupler.jpeg

Still two more segments to go.
 
Here's how it goes with the couplers:

First, you tie the Kevlar through it as shown in the excellent illustrations in the instructions:
View attachment 602587

Then you glue it in. No problem, right? (the white part in the illustration above is the part you glue, and the dark part is where the CA has been applied.)

The prescribed method of knotting the Kevlar around the coupler is really easy and just about foolproof. It doesn't have to be tight around the coupler, extra slack in the loop will make no difference. But with the Kevlar jammed between the coupler and the body, the fit is fairly tight. I applied my non-grabbing Elmer's white glue to the inside of the tube, inserted the coupler into the tube, and...
View attachment 602588

To my absolutely dumbfounded amazement, the glue grabbed and that was the end of that. Not only is the coupler not all the way in, but it's also slightly cockeyed. I considered my options, but there didn't seem to be much recourse here; any attempted fix would have been quite destructive. So I decided to leave it and live with it. The angle of the coupler doesn't seem to have much visible effect when I connect everything, so the rocket should fly fine, and the next tube slides over it without a problem, but... geez. I like to think I'm a pretty skilled builder and to screw up something like this really took me down a peg or two.

Slightly shaken by this experience, I installed the next coupler with epoxy, and of course that went fine.
View attachment 602589

Still two more segments to go.
I actually filed a small grove in the reinforced coupler for the Kevlar. And test-fitted.
 
This is awesome, I had to go back and look at the first post I started to get a little confused that each secrion comes apart, thats wild. I like the Monotone colors too.
 
I decided that, although epoxy works fine, this build should not require it. And so I thought a bit and came up with a new white glue strategy:

1) file a bit of a channel into the coupler to give the Kevlar a place to go (hi @Blast it Tom!). The groove is not large enough to completely encompass the Kevlar, but it certainly reduces the amount that must be jammed between the coupler and body tube.
coupler-grooved.jpeg

2) I remembered what a wise person on this forum said a while back (sorry I can't find the original quote so I can't give credit). That is, a coupler doesn't need to be 100% covered in glue. I decided to do about 50% glue. The stuck coupler went about 80% in before freezing, so with 50% glue it would have been fine.

3) Rather than try to apply the glue inside the body tube, recessed from the end (hard to do and annoying to be trying to work around the Kevlar), I decided to apply the glue to the coupler itself. But wait, won't that cause the excess to squish out onto the top part of the coupler? Yes of course it will. And so I applied masking tape to the top part.
coupler-masked-and-glued.jpeg

I pushed in until it hit the tape, then removed the tape and wiped off the excess glue.

coupler-installed.jpeg

Easy peasy lemon squeezy.

Perhaps a bit more mental exertion than should have been required, but it was easy to do and worked perfectly.

After a few more minutes of work all the couplers were in.
all-segments.jpeg
 
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For the final build step (for me at least... I am going wildly out of order vs. the instructions due to my pre-painting), the Kevlar is attached to the nose and the nose is glued into the last segment.

As I have discussed, I suck at knots. Rather than just wing it, I tried to find a really appropriate permanent knot for connecting the Kevlar to the eyelet in the nose. After some searching, I found the Double Davy knot, which seemed to have the characteristics I was looking for and also seemed pretty easy. I did a practice run with it on a piece of 1/8 ribbon (all I had on hand), and it went smoothly and easily and seemed very solid.
1694131198525.png

So, it turns out that I really should have practiced on Kevlar because it did not go nearly as well. I couldn't get the knot to collapse tightly. I ended up having decent success with a single Davy, and then stacked a square knot on top of it for good measure. They I blobbed some TBII onto the knot to lock it up, and also applied a nice layer to the base of the nose cone.
IMG_4253.jpeg

I then glued the nose into the last segment using the same technique as for the couplers... the fit here was tight and I definitely didn't want any trouble.
IMG_4254.jpeg

It actually paused halfway on, which caused my heart to stop briefly, but I kept pushing and was able to get it all the way seated.
IMG_4255.jpeg

And that, as they say, is that:
IMG_4257.jpeg

For now this guy will be just a leaner against the rocket wall, until I decided how best to mount it:
IMG_4259.jpeg

Final measured weight: 1.65 oz. I went back and checked the face card and...
1694133715813.png
That's a first!

I really look forward to flying it. To be honest I really look forward to flying *anything*, but this one should be fun. As always I will report back here when the time comes.

ADDENDUM: I just had much better luck with the Non-Slip Mono knot. Even on the Kevlar is seems very solid. I will use this one in the future. It's pretty easy.

IMG_4260.jpeg
 
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I forgot an addendum to post 13.

I was so laser focused on gluing in the couplers correctly, that I completely forgot to check the orientation of the tube segments. Recall that one end is CAd, and the other end is the one that is supposed to be glued.

I went back and checked, and luckily got only one of the segments wrong. The glue joint will not be very strong on that one, but fortunately the coupler-tube glue joints do not really take much stress on this rocket, since the Kevlar is attached from coupler to coupler. The tube segments are sort of along for the ride.

Nonetheless... yeesh.
 
Final measured weight: 1.65 oz. I went back and checked the face card and...
1694133715813.png

That's a first!

Wow! That never happens! (to me at least).

This looks like a fun one, I'm also a fan of rockets that can fly with minimal prep.

The face card makes it look like the nose cone is not connected to body tube, but based on counting the sections, the nose cone must have a piece of tube connected to it.
 
Wow! That never happens! (to me at least).

This looks like a fun one, I'm also a fan of rockets that can fly with minimal prep.

The face card makes it look like the nose cone is not connected to body tube, but based on counting the sections, the nose cone must have a piece of tube connected to it.
(Slight hijack) Yes, you glue the nose cone into the top tube. Or, look upthread and you can see how I fashioned a nose block to allow me to carry a Flightsketch mini in the top section without it "feeling" the ejection charge.
Now if I can just get as nice of a finish as our intrepid builder here...
 
It’s a fun flyer.

hope the grass is short. With no chute or streamer and your color scheme, this isn’t exactly going to be easy to spot on the ground.
 
It’s a fun flyer.

hope the grass is short. With no chute or streamer and your color scheme, this isn’t exactly going to be easy to spot on the ground.
Eh, no worse than the Cyclone, which has always been relatively easy to recover. And this one should fall faster and land closer to the pad, where the grass usually is short.

At the same time, this is the sort of rocket that won’t make me cry if it should disappear on me.
 
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Eh, no worse than the Cyclone, which has always been relatively easy to recover. And this one should fall faster and land closer to the pad, where the grass usually is short.

At the same time, this is the sort of rocket that won’t make me cry if it should disappear on me.
It’ll be interesting recovery. My segmented rockets were sometimes almost backsliders, they came down all in a row horizontal with the tail leading the way.
 
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