# Performance Hobbies Performer 150, My L3 Cert Build

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#### Handeman

##### Well-Known Member
TRF Supporter
I haven't done a build thread in a long time. I'm not sure this is really going to be much of one either. I intend to document the build, but there isn't going to be anything new or cutting edge on this one. It's going to be pretty straight forward and "buy the book". I want a solid rocket that will get me my L3 cert and let me fly 75mm & 98mm all I want without having to worry if the rocket will hold up.

I've got the kit today. All the kits were shipped to Ben & he brought mine to the BattlePark launch today. Here's the first fit. Couldn't wait to get it home.

Once home, here's the obligatory shot of all the pieces.

The plan is to have it ready to go by the March launch at BattlePark. I did my L1 & L2 at BattlePark, I want to do my L3 there as well. March is the last launch of the season and the Battle of the Rockets. I would like to have the L3 by the time I get to LDRS this year.

As you might have noticed, one thing missing from the pile of parts is any kind of instructions. Of course, by the time you're building a rocket this size, instructions shouldn't be needed. With that said, the kit came with three fiberglass CRs. I intend to replace the aft fiberglass CR with a 1/2" aircraft plywood CR. I bought the 98mm Aeropak retainer and I think the screw inserts will be much more solid in a wood ring then the fiberglass.

I'm also considering a 3/4" aircraft plywood solid bulkplate about 18" - 24" down in the lower payload section. This will give me some place to mount U-bolts for recovery anchors and a base if I use threaded rods to attach to threaded forward closures on motors. Of course the threaded forward closures would negate the need for the Aeropak.

Anyway, here's the start and I'll get back to this in a few days. Got another day of launching a BattlePark tomorrow.

#### Bat-mite

##### Rocketeer in MD
That's just plain BIG!

#### jimzcatz

##### Boss, Carolina Rocket Mafia
I just attached the screws to the inserts and sunk the whole assembly into a puddle of epoxy, completely covering the cap screws. No drilling. Granted you can't see the Kool cap screws, but I didn't care.

#### tbonerocketeer

TRF Supporter
I intend to replace the aft fiberglass CR with a 1/2" aircraft plywood CR. I bought the 98mm Aeropak retainer and I think the screw inserts will be much more solid in a wood ring then the fiberglass.

.
If you follow the Aeropack instructions and tap the threads in the fiberglass ring, it will not go anywhere.

#### codysmith

##### Well-Known Member
YES! I was hoping someone would do a build on it!

#### Handeman

##### Well-Known Member
TRF Supporter
I've not done any building on this yet, Christmas, family, and all that stuff. I did shower with the kit. Got it all scrubbed down and it was easier then trying to use the bathtub on tubes this big.

I also got the Open Rocket file set up with actual weights. I did add a few mass units with the gestimates of the amount of epoxy that would be used. I also guestimated the weight of the recovery items and haven't added the u-bolts and other hardware yet. It should still be pretty close to what the finals will be. I figure it will be about 35 lbs in flight ready form, without the motor.

I had to delete some of the sims to get the file to be small enough to attach.

Please give me any suggestions you may have. Thanks....

View attachment L3 Performer 150 v2.ork

#### Handeman

##### Well-Known Member
TRF Supporter
A little more progress, not with actual building, but on completing the L3. I spent more $$but I should now have almost everything I need to finish the build and sew the main chute. It was a year between my L1 and L2 certs. It will be 6 years between the L2 and L3. It's hard to save$$ when you're buying K & L motors instead of H & I.

Just need to decide on a paint scheme now. The wife told me again, she doesn't like unpainted rockets.

Well, off to the Rocket Scientisting Lab to start on the Av-bay. The HiAlt45 is in the range box and the StratologgerCF arrived the other day.

I also have an idea for a baffled charge holder I'm going to try. The ground testing should prove if it works or not. I want be able to do some ground testing by the next BattlePark launch on the 11th and 12th.

#### Handeman

##### Well-Known Member
TRF Supporter
The first step was to pull out my jig for squaring up BTs. The jig was built of scrap wood, but the v-groove is square to the saw blade when the guide is put into the guide slot on the table saw. I built this when I started glassing LOC tubes because it made cleaning up and squaring the end very quick and easy. I clamped a piece of wood to the fence since the CL of the tube ended up above the top of the fence. A hard surfaced piece works best so the screw head used as a center pivot doesn't gouge the piece.

The pic doesn't show it real well, but the tube ends were off by almost 1/16". This might not have been much of an issue with the long coupler supplied, but considering the forces involved with L3 motors, squaring up the tubes seemed like the best way forward.

A piece of ply is cut slightly wider then the ID of the tube so it slides in with a tight fit. A round headed woodscrew is sunk in the top face to give it a single, centered pivot point. The wood piece is a snug fit since forcing it in cause the tube to oval slightly. The tape is used to make sure it doesn't move inside the tube while rotating the tube over the saw blade.

I set the saw blade so the top was about 1/16" higher then the inside edge of the BT. Turn the saw on, slide the jig back to center the tube on the saw blade and then rotate the tube to square the end.

First end done. You can see on the plywood guide how deep the blade was set.

LESSON LEARNED: This was the first time I did this with filament wound tubes. Wrap a piece of masking tape around the end of the BT to keep the filaments from pulling loose. I did that with the remaining ends and it worked great.

LESSON LEARNED #2: Check for the low spot on the tube end first and set up the fence based on that. In this case I had about 2" of the end of the tube that wasn't trimmed. The masking tape on the face was never trimmed off.

I ended up doing the bottom face of the nose cone too. That was a little more difficult because the wood guide couldn't be slide in as far, there is only a couple of inches on the lower end of the NC that would be considered parallel to the BT. That really doesn't matter, as long as the angle of the CenterLine of the NC doesn't change while you rotate it. You can rotate the NC at any angle and it will still be trimmed square. The only issue is that the face would have the same angle that you used when you rotated the NC. Keeping the NC close to parallel with the table saw bed just gives you a better face.

Next up is the Av-bay. Hopefully tomorrow.

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#### codysmith

##### Well-Known Member
The first step was to pull out my jig for squaring up BTs. The jig was built of scrap wood, but the v-groove is square to the saw blade when the guide is put into the guide slot on the table saw. I built this when I started glassing LOC tubes because it made cleaning up and squaring the end very quick and easy. I clamped a piece of wood to the fence since the CL of the tube ended up above the top of the fence. A hard surfaced piece works best so the screw head used as a center pivot doesn't gouge the piece.

View attachment 250568

The pic doesn't show it real well, but the tube ends were off by almost 1/16". This might not have been much of an issue with the long coupler supplied, but considering the forces involved with L3 motors, squaring up the tubes seemed like the best way forward.

View attachment 250575

A piece of ply is cut slightly wider then the ID of the tube so it slides in with a tight fit. A round headed woodscrew is sunk in the top face to give it a single, centered pivot point. The wood piece is a snug fit since forcing it in cause the tube to oval slightly. The tape is used to make sure it doesn't move inside the tube while rotating the tube over the saw blade.

View attachment 250573 View attachment 250574

I set the saw blade so the top was about 1/16" higher then the inside edge of the BT. Turn the saw on, slide the jig back to center the tube on the saw blade and then rotate the tube to square the end.

View attachment 250576

First end done. You can see on the plywood guide how deep the blade was set.

View attachment 250579

LESSON LEARNED: This was the first time I did this with filament wound tubes. Wrap a piece of masking tape around the end of the BT to keep the filaments from pulling loose. I did that with the remaining ends and it worked great.

View attachment 250577

LESSON LEARNED #2: Check for the low spot on the tube end first and set up the fence based on that. In this case I had about 2" of the end of the tube that wasn't trimmed. The masking tape on the face was never trimmed off.

View attachment 250589

I ended up doing the bottom face of the nose cone too. That was a little more difficult because the wood guide couldn't be slide in as far, there is only a couple of inches on the lower end of the NC that would be considered parallel to the BT. That really doesn't matter, as long as the angle of the CenterLine of the NC doesn't change while you rotate it. You can rotate the NC at any angle and it will still be trimmed square. The only issue is that the face would have the same angle that you used when you rotated the NC. Keeping the NC close to parallel with the table saw bed just gives you a better face.

Next up is the Av-bay. Hopefully tomorrow.
Cool! I like that idea for squaring the tubes.

#### Handeman

##### Well-Known Member
TRF Supporter
I'm starting on the av-bay. I'm not going to use a switch band on the av-bay. Instead, the payload bay will be attached to the av-bay and all ports will go through the payload and av-bay walls. I considered using the plastic rivets to attach the two, but that just didn't seem like it would be strong enough. With the full thrust of the boost pushing against the bottom of the payload tube, the weight of the av-bay and main deployment would have to be held by the rivets, or whatever I used to attach the av-bay to the payload tube.

I decided to epoxy four pieces of oak to the inside of the av-bay and use stainless steel #10 pan-head wood screws to attach the payload tube to the av-bay. I've used this same technique with my level 2 rocket in a LOC coupler tube as the av-bay. It's held up great for 20+ flights. I have no doubt the 4 screws will hold on this rocket. Besides the shear strength of the screws, the friction between the tubes when they are tightened down will add to the strength of the connection.

I glued the two bulkheads that form the av-bay end caps together (x2). Since the joint between them is a non-load bearing joint. I just used 5-minute epoxy to glue them together.

The oak pieces for the payload tube attachment are then next to be epoxied in place. They are positioned so the screw holes will be one inch from the bottom of the av-bay. No reason for that distance, but it allows putting fillets around the oak pieces and still get the end caps on.

I know you don't have to keep epoxy clamped like you do for wood glues, but I just seems like some pressure would be a good thing. Old habits...

u-bolts and threaded rods are next.

Any recommendations on how best to drill holes in the fiberglass plates? Standard twist drill, brad point, forstner, etc.?

#### conman13

##### Well-Known Member
I'm starting on the av-bay. I'm not going to use a switch band on the av-bay. Instead, the payload bay will be attached to the av-bay and all ports will go through the payload and av-bay walls. I considered using the plastic rivets to attach the two, but that just didn't seem like it would be strong enough. With the full thrust of the boost pushing against the bottom of the payload tube, the weight of the av-bay and main deployment would have to be held by the rivets, or whatever I used to attach the av-bay to the payload tube.

I decided to epoxy four pieces of oak to the inside of the av-bay and use stainless steel #10 pan-head wood screws to attach the payload tube to the av-bay. I've used this same technique with my level 2 rocket in a LOC coupler tube as the av-bay. It's held up great for 20+ flights. I have no doubt the 4 screws will hold on this rocket. Besides the shear strength of the screws, the friction between the tubes when they are tightened down will add to the strength of the connection.

View attachment 250614

I glued the two bulkheads that form the av-bay end caps together (x2). Since the joint between them is a non-load bearing joint. I just used 5-minute epoxy to glue them together.

View attachment 250613

The oak pieces for the payload tube attachment are then next to be epoxied in place. They are positioned so the screw holes will be one inch from the bottom of the av-bay. No reason for that distance, but it allows putting fillets around the oak pieces and still get the end caps on.

View attachment 250615

I know you don't have to keep epoxy clamped like you do for wood glues, but I just seems like some pressure would be a good thing. Old habits...

u-bolts and threaded rods are next.

Any recommendations on how best to drill holes in the fiberglass plates? Standard twist drill, brad point, forstner, etc.?
Standard twist drill and back it with a piece of wood so the fiberglass doesn't splinter.

#### Handeman

##### Well-Known Member
TRF Supporter
Standard twist drill and back it with a piece of wood so the fiberglass doesn't splinter.
That's what I had planned. Maybe a piece of tape on both sides. Glad for the confirmation.

Thanks....

#### Handeman

##### Well-Known Member
TRF Supporter
I got all the oak pieces installed and now it's time to drill the holes for the screws.

The Av-bay was 16" long. Looking at the MMT, AeroPak retainer and where everything will be positioned when all assembled, I calculated I had to have the bottom 51" of the booster section clear if wanted to be able to use the longest 98mm motors. The CTI Pro98 6GXL is the longest by about 3/4" at 50.51".

With that all said, I calculated with the u-bolts, the av-bay could only go into the booster tube 7". This still gives me over a caliber of coupler in the booster tube and 1.5 calibers in the payload tube. With the squared faces on the tubes the joint /coupler should not be an issue.

Now I have a little OCD going on. A hand drill and eyeballing the holes would be just fine to drill the holes for the four screws holding the payload tube to the av-bay, I had to get things a little more square and aligned.

I clamped two equal height pieces of wood to the drill press bed, equally spaced from the center of the drill bit.

The wood gave the tube a cradle to rest in that kept it centered and square to the drill. I'm sure this isn't as accurate as some other setup might be, but for quick and dirty, it made holes square to the surface much more accurate then could have been made by using the hand drill.

That gets the bay positioned and attached to the payload tube. Next up, the end caps.

#### Handeman

##### Well-Known Member
TRF Supporter
Ok, now for the av-bay end caps.

I am using 5/16" u-bolts and two 5/16" threaded rods. I chose the 5/16" over the 1/4" rods because I found a tube that slides over the 5/16" almost perfectly. This tubing will be used on the electronics sleds later.

I drilled the holes for the u-bolt on a 1 5/8" center and for the rods on a 1 1/2" centers. I also drilled two holes for the powder wells. They will be held on with #10 stainless steel machine screws.

The powder wells are made from 3/4" copper pipe end caps. The baffle caps are made from 1 1/2" copper pipe caps. The #10 screw and washer, lock washer, and nut will hold the 3/4" well in place. The baffle cap will be held down with wing nuts so it's easy to remove to reload. I drilled three 1/2" holes in the baffle caps. I didn't put one in that would face directly toward the body tube. Since the charge will be baffled, I'm not sure it makes any difference, but for now I'll leave that hole out. If I need more discharge area I can always drill a number of smaller holes around the existing 1/2" holes. I used a file to clean up holes and finished with a 1/2" drum sander on the Dremal tool.

The ematch connection is on a terminal strip. I had several in my parts bin and decided to try them. I drilled and tapped two #4-40 holes in the endcap and used 1/2" #4 screws to attach them. The wires from the inside of the bay and the screws they attach to will be covered in a coating of silicone caulk to seal and protect them.

And a couple of shots of the finished bay.

Next up is the electronics sleds, unless my epoxy supplies come in. Then there might be some of gluing up the fin can.

#### dixontj93060

##### Well-Known Member
Interesting... So you are kinda building a mini-baffle out of each copper cap set? How much BP burn do you get laterally into the airframe sidewalls, terminal blocks, etc.? Does this method reduce the need for a chute protector?

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#### gerbs4me

##### Well-Known Member
I like how you used the copper on the ends of the av bay.

#### Handeman

##### Well-Known Member
TRF Supporter
Interesting... So you are kinda building a mini-baffle out of each copper cap set? How much BP burn do you get laterally into the airframe sidewalls, terminal blocks, etc.? Does this method reduce the need for a chute protector?
Those are all great questions and ones I hope to get answers for when I start testing. I don't know if I'll be flying this way or not, but I'm going to try it out. I'm hoping the need for a protector will be greatly reduced, if not eliminated.

#### Handeman

##### Well-Known Member
TRF Supporter
Got some more supplies in over the last couple of days.

US Composites 3:1 epoxies. I'll use the 150 thick for assembly, but I need more of the 635 thin laminating epoxy anyway, and a couple of pumps. It will be a day or so before I can use it. It sat out on the porch in 20 degree weather all day. It's coooooold!

Got the 1000 ft. spool of 550 parachute cord from armynavy.us which ends up at paracord.net for the spool of paracord.
The nylon webbing was from CountryBrookDesign.com. I got the 5/8" flat nylon because they didn't have 1/2" in White, and the 5/8" was actually cheaper. 1.5" red will be used for risers while the 5/8" as tape along the edges.

Now all I'm waiting on is the ripstop nylon. I made two orders through Hancock Fabrics. They had 50% off any one item coupons so I was able to get 7 yds of white and 7 yards of red at half price. Paid shipping twice, but it was well worth it.

The main chute will be a 9 ft. diameter disk-gap-band 20 gore chute. The materials will run $120 and I should have plenty left to make a drogue and several other smaller chutes for other rockets. #### Handeman ##### Well-Known Member TRF Supporter I hate waiting for glue/epoxy to set up. Good thing I can start on the main chute. The materials are all in. 7 yards of white and 7 yards of red rip-stop nylon, along with the the upholstery thread and nylon strapping. I did get the holes drilled and tapped for the nose cone shoulder. I'm not going to glue it in. I'm going to use 4 #10 machine screws to hold it in place. My TAP got the same kit and is building his so he can fly it without the payload tube and center av-bay, using the nose cone shoulder tube as an av-bay. I want to leave that possibility open so I do the same thing later if I want to. The epoxy I'm waiting on is the forward two CRs on the MMT, along with the tubular Kevlar being used as a shock cord anchor, and the tubes that are being attached to the sleds for mounting the electronics. Hopefully I'll be able to get a lot done tomorrow, except I have to watch my Packers eliminate the Cowboys from the playoffs. Watching the Seattle game, I'm confident the Pack can win there too! #### Handeman ##### Well-Known Member TRF Supporter Set up the nose cone shoulder to be attached with four #10-28 screws. Drilled the holes for the threaded holes, then used a larger drill to widen the holes in the nose cone. I glued the two forward CRs in place. The middle one was positioned on top of the fins, based on where the AeroPak retainer and aft CR would be. The fins were taped in place and the middle CR epoxied in place. I used the US Composites 150 thick epoxy with 1/4" fiberglass strands mixed in for the fillets. The top CR and 1/2" tubular Kevlar was epoxied in place. The Kevlar will be the shock cord anchor. The fillet for the top CR was US Composites 150 thick epoxy with 1/4" fiberglass strands. I used the US Composites 635 thin epoxy to glue the Kevlar to the MMT. I then wrapped a couple of pieces of 6 oz fiberglass cloth around the MMT to secure the Kevlar in place. Once the epoxy and fiberglass was in place, I wrapped the glass in plastic (an AT J350W reload bag worked great) and wrapped that all with masking tape until the epoxy set up. You can still see a few bristles from the acid brush I used to put the laminating epoxy on with. A little more work on the av-bay. I epoxied the tubes to the 1/8" ply sleds. Both sleds will be identical and will be a interchangeable. I'm going to use micro switches for the power switch. As long as the switches are "made", the altimeters are off. I used this same setup for my L1 rocket and it worked just fine, including a couple of Warp 9 flights at +80G. The batteries will be tie wrapped to the board horizontally and vertically. The connector will be a snap on connector. Again, this worked great on my L1 with over 80G flights. Based on Vern's calculations and the rule of thumb of using the area of a 1/4" hole for each 100 cubic inches of av-bay volume, The av-bay was 408 ci. I am using four 1/4" holes in the av-bay as vent holes. To prevent any issues with turbulent air, I put the holes between the screw heads that hold the payload tube to the av-bay, and only one inch below those screws. I don't believe any turbulence from those screw heads can have any effect on the vent holes. The forward end is left in the pic. Next was the nose cone shoulder and bulkplate. What came with the kit was a bulkhead that fit inside the nosecone shoulder. I assume it was meant to be glued in the shoulder and the shoulder glued to the nose cone. As I mentioned earlier, I'm using screws to attach the shoulder to the nose cone so I can remove it and use it as an av-bay or electronics bay at a later time. I used a 1/4" threaded rod from the metal nose cone tip, to the base of the shoulder. I cut a new 1/8" FG bulkhead that was the same OD as the nose cone shoulder and sandwiched that to the internal ID bulked to make an end cap for the nose cone shoulder tube. A u-bolt was then installed in the two bulkheads and a wing nut used on the threaded rod to hold the cap in place. The next problem was that one of the threaded holes in the nose cone shoulder stripped out when I assembled it to verify the end cap. I decided to go with the oak blocks and wood screws for anchoring the shoulder into the nose cone. Here's a pic of gluing up the oak strips in the shoulder tube. BTW, the SOLO cups aren't the only thing SOLO makes. The bowls make a very good mixing bowl for epoxy. I also use paper plates when I'm mixing up a larger amount of epoxy and don't want it to start setting up too early. The paper plate allows the epoxy to spread out and stay cool so the heat doesn't cause it all to harden up quickly. It's worked for me. That's all for now. BTW The Packers are going to win the Super Bowl!!!! They just have to dispose of Seattle next week! You heard it here first!!! #### dixontj93060 ##### Well-Known Member That is a nice mixing bowl. Where did you find that square(-ish) shape? #### Handeman ##### Well-Known Member TRF Supporter That is a nice mixing bowl. Where did you find that square(-ish) shape? I'm not sure where we got them, probably the Dollar Store. It is a SOLO brand. Yes, I like the "square(-ish) shape" too. That's why I picked it over a round one. It works pretty well. #### Handeman ##### Well-Known Member TRF Supporter #### Handeman ##### Well-Known Member TRF Supporter As things start going together, I realized I'm going to need a couple of stands for use while building, and especially in the field. I thought about opening a thread in the Ground Support section, but it is only going to be this one post so it's getting stuck here. After learning from the first foldable stand I made, I put two new ones together. I used a piece of threaded rod for the hinge pin. I spaced the two halves apart so they still fold flat with the foam pieces on the upper end. I used a 1/4-20 coupler for a spacer and a couple of lock nuts on each end. A piece of chain attached with a couple of #10 round head sheet metal screws keeps the bottom spread to the right width. Buying all the parts runs$10 - \$15. A little more if you have to buy the PVC cleaner and cement.

Now I just have to remember to bring them along to the launches.

#### Handeman

##### Well-Known Member
TRF Supporter
Just a couple of quick pics of the fillets on the fins. Nothing really special about these. I used the US Composites 150 thick with 1/4" chopped strands mixed in for strength. I used the same amount of chopped strands as I did resin. That mixes up pretty well, goes on easy and still allows the resin to smooth out over the top of the strands as it sets up. I may put a second layer of thin epoxy with Colloidal Silica mixed in, just as a finishing layer. Have to have it looking good ya know!

I also found the balance on my stand was a little precarious so I threw a couple of weights in the other end of the tube. The weights are wired together because most tubes I work with are smaller and I hang the weights over the end if I need them.

#### pyrobob

##### Well-Known Member
Really enjoying this thread. Keep up the good work!

#### Hal8472

##### Well-Known Member
Thanks. These are great details. Much appreciated.

#### SilverStreak

##### New Member
TRF Supporter
I have really enjoyed this thread. It gives me a good look at the experience gained from a builder who's been busy about their work for a long time. I have benefitted from this preview ( I'm looking at L1 this season) and am accumulating tips and tricks for an eventual L2 sometime in the next year or two. Thanks for sharing this build.

#### Handeman

##### Well-Known Member
TRF Supporter
I am "building" my own chute for this rocket. It's a 9 ft. diameter, 24 gore, semi-elliptical chute.

I decided to put the "build" thread for the chute in the Recovery section since it really is independent of the rocket build. Anyway, here's the thread for the chute build Build Thread - 9 ft, 24 Gore, Semi-Elliptical Chute