Rocketry Over the Road

jollyrocket

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Good morning, So... I'm fishing for some ideas here.

I drive for a living and my time allowed to build anything is limited to just a couple hours a week when I have a chance to make it back home. I've been thinking; "Why not build rockets over the road?"

I'm currently turning my bunk into a dinette so that I have a "work bench" and I've cleaned out one of the cabinets for storage of supplies and tools (an open space, about 20 in wide, 30 in tall, and 18 in deep) There are a few spots I could cram a some things into, but would like to get it all into the one cabinet. Obviously, paint, motors, ejection charges, ect... will have to be done at home. But everything else should be fair game.

I've got the green light, so I got to cut things short. Money only happens when the wheels are rolling.

Overall, what I'm looking for are Ideas for a minimalist's rocketry workshop that is constantly dealing with earthquake type conditions (The roads across America totally suck).

Thanks guys!

Mike
 

dr wogz

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LPR? gluing fins on is likely the hardest thing, as they need to be relatively still / stabile while the glue cures. A guillotine type jig would help. There area other ways to secure clamp fins while curing. Motor mounts are likely the next 'issue', but they are relatively easy to prop up..

Minimal tools: there a rea few threads on what is needed, based on various personal desires!

(And I do picture you driving down the interstate, putting it on 'cruise control' and popping on the back to 'glue on a fin'! Or steering with your knee, and sanding a fin in traffic! :D )


A a big welcome to the forum!
 

Jmhepworth

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Most of what I build is fiberglass for high power. When I sit down with my grandchildren to build a paper and balsa rocket, I’m reminded how much fun they are and how easy they go together. So if I were in your place, I’d get some expert level Estes, Fliskits, or the like and put them together with wood glue. You could easily fit everything you need in a small box.
 

tsmith1315

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There area other ways to secure clamp fins while curing. Motor mounts are likely the next 'issue'

It seems that vices would have their virtue.

I'm currently turning my bunk into a dinette so that I have a "work bench"

Welcome! Wow, that's the kind of dedication I love to see!

Just add a launcher on top of the cab and you're our new roll model!


Sorry... sorry...I'll show myself out...
 
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jollyrocket

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Sorry, I was in a rush and forgot this was my first post. Maybe background info would help.

I've been building rockets since I was around 10. Stopped around 16 or 17 because of the obvious infatuation with cars and girls. Started again when my son turned 6 or so, been picking at it ever since. Got my LvL 1 cert, working on level 2 (from composite warehouse).

I know what kind of tools I need, i just dont have the space to fit it all in the truck. So the real question is, if ya had a box to fit all the stuff you need, (besids the basics) what would ya put on it?

Secondly, I'm trying to come up with an idea of strapping down a rocket so it doesn't get tossed around. Protect the fins. Prevent crushing of the airframe...

Most of the building would be done when I park for the night. Glue and epoxy can set up then.

@dr wogs - give me some credit, I'm not a Swift driver, I'll drive with the big toe, from the bunk, while doing fillets.

Thanks again.
 
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Zeus-cat

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I don't recommend using epoxy or super glue in a tight space due to the fumes. Wood glue is fine. So save the epoxy for when you can get out of the truck. Good luck.
 

Peartree

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I know there are several folk here who are, or who have been, long haul truckers though the only one that comes to mind immediately is @jimzcatz . Maybe he can chime in here and offer some suggestions.
 

jimzcatz

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I have taken several Rockets, including my biggest one at 14' to several Midwest Power launches. Drop trailer at truck stop and bobtail to the field. I have prepped in my sleeper, never tried to build. Might want to get a 6' folding table and build outside. On a side note, if you have time to build you ain't truckin right! 11 on 10 off. After meals and shower I'm beat, and sleeping the night away. I envy you, I was involuntarily retired in 2020 due to a stroke. I miss the road terribly. Never in my wildest dreams did I think I would be retired at 63.
 

tsmith1315

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just add blast deflector and I'm rockin like Dokken!

Yeah! Me too! Well, not quite like Dokken, I use a Zildjian.

IMG_20220321_130144.jpg

Pics, man. We need pics!

Secondly, I'm trying to come up with an idea of strapping down a rocket so it doesn't get tossed around. Protect the fins. Prevent crushing of the airframe...

A sturdy-framed rocket cradle clamped to the work surface ought to do well, with main bearing-like caps over the top and heavy rubber bands, screws or wing nuts to hold them down. It's a thought, anyway.
 

jollyrocket

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On a side note, if you have time to build you ain't truckin right! 11 on 10 off.

Don't ya worry, my left door stays closed. I sleep on average 6 hrs a day. One needs something to do while winding down for the night. I also get a lot of time waiting in docks. Especially if involves lumpers.
 

neil_w

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I don't recommend using epoxy or super glue in a tight space due to the fumes. Wood glue is fine. So save the epoxy for when you can get out of the truck. Good luck.
Use foam-safe CA (e.g. Bob Smith SuperGold and SuperGold+.) Almost completely odorless, can definitely work in a tight space with it.
 

Sooner Boomer

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If you're going to be working in/near your sleeping area (or pretty much anywhere inside your cab!), I'd *highly* recommend getting either a dropcloth or a couple of fleece throws to cover the area before you start to work, especially sanding fiberglass. I do most of my building sitting on the couch. Everything's covered in several layers of throws*. I've done everything from carving/whittling to rocket building to electronic circuit building on the couch. Almost any boo-boo can be taken to the front door and shaken out (except for the bottle of glue the cat helped spill, that went straight into the wash!).

And, if you're ever running a load on I-40 in Western Okla. on a weekend, check our launch schedule. We're less than 10 miles south of the Flying J at mile marker 20. We can run you to/from the launch!

*OK, the *real* reason I put the throws out was the cats. Or, more speciffically, their puke/hair balls. Yeah, it just peels off when it dries, but that doesn't impress that night's date (in a good way).
 

bschultz32

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Mike, does your truck's sleeper portion have an exhaust fan? If not, I'll bet one could be added without too much trouble. Every RV and ambulance in America has at least one, so it's off-the-shelf technology. Would make working with adhesives a whole lot more pleasant, and safer. And when you're back there but not building rockets, an exhaust fan would still be good to have.
Bob Schultz
 

neil_w

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I don't think I can imagine working with Fiberglass in an enclosed sleeping area like that, regardless of precautions taken.

There are a number of adhesives that are not bad, odor-wise:
1) white and yellow glues
2) foam-safe CA
3) certain epoxies. I find the BSI 15- and 30-minute epoxies to have very little odor. The 5-minute plastic epoxy I purchased at HD once (made by JBWeld I think), on the other hand, smelled to high heaven.

I'm sure there are others.

Sanding dust is noxious, but hard to completely avoid. One thing I did in my workspace is Macguyver a little HEPA filter (intended for vacuum cleaners) to a 4" (roughly) electric fan. If I put it right next to wherever I'm sanding, it'll grab most of the dust, without creating a windstorm. In general I would say you'll need some sort of ventilation and/or air filtering scheme to deal with sanding dust.
 

jqavins

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I've been building rockets since I was around 10. Stopped around 16 or 17 because of the obvious infatuation with cars and girls. Started again when my son turned 6 or so, been picking at it ever since.
That makes you pretty much typical around here.
Got my LvL 1 cert, working on level 2 (from composite warehouse).
It's still hard for to tell what you'll be working on in the truck. Is it all about the L2 rocket now, or are you still doing some LP and MP builds. If the latter, those would certainly be easier to to do on the road.

The tools for balsa and paper are pretty much whatever you feel like you need, and can fit in your pants pockets. Literally. I did an Apogee Slo-Mo once, except for paint, in a hotel room with nothing but small bottle of Tightbond (right front pocket) and my pocket knife (left front). No, wait, there was also some sandpaper. I could have folded a piece or two to fit in a back pocket.

I'm not bragging. The point is that what you need depends on what you think you need, and space for it is therefore only as much of an issue as you decide it is.

I suggest two things. First, just start doing some building with whatever you're comfortable taking along today, and learn by experience what you fee like you're lacking. Add what you need, leave behind what you don't find yourself using, and let it evolve.

Second, think about what tools you can make for yourself or learn to use that you haven't used before. For example, when you think you need a fin jig that helps with vertical as well well as radial alignment, and the nice compact Qualman doesn't to that, you might connect two Qualman jigs, carefully aligned, with rods between them. (I don't know how good that would really be; I'm just making up an example.) Or, if you miss your scroll saw, but it's really too big to bring, practice and get comfortable with a coping saw. That sort of thing. (A coping saw as a coping mechanism. Heh heh.)

I guess both of my suggestions boil down to being adaptable, not expecting to get the perfect over the road workshop set up in one step.
 

afadeev

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Perfect! This is exactly the type of ideas I'm looking for! Thanks!
I would recommend getting ahold of and using a fin jig.
It will help with fin alignment process itself, and also with keeping newly attached fins secure and straight while the glue cures on the road. Also serves as a safe place for keeping rockets stored in tight bouncy spaces, so that fins don't take the impact from the bumps (and detach).

This one is presently out of stock, but it should be back:
 

J Blatz

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Almost any MPR/HPT cardboard airframe rocket with plywood fins can be assembled with wood glue. I recently built a LOC Hi-tech H45 using all titebond wood glue and it is a tank. Of course most LPR is also wood and paper.

I would think that you should do most sanding and dry fit at home and then use your in truck time using safe glues to put stuff together.
 

jollyrocket

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I'm currently working on adding a bunk for when the boy rides along. Im also converting the main bunk to a convertible dinette.

The dinette top is going to be sheet metal for magnets. I've got some ideas for 3d printed jigs and stands with magnets incorporated.

As for dust a small shop-vac and sanding table I think. Still working on this. 🤔

Thanks everyone for the feedback. It is much appreciated.

Mike

* srry bout the edit, damn phone prematurely posted, prolly a fat finger issue*
 
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boatgeek

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I'm currently working on adding a bunk for when the boy rides along. Im also converting the main bunk to a convertible dinette.

The dinette top is going to be sheet metal for magnets. I've got some ideas for 3d printed jigs and stands with magnets incorporated.

As for dust a small shop-vac and sanding table I think. Still working on this. 🤔

Thanks everyone for the feedback. It is much appreciated.

Mike

* srry bout the edit, damn phone prematurely posted, prolly a fat finger issue*
If it's not done already, you might consider a Formica overlay over the sheet metal on the dinette. I've seen that done on chart tables on boats, so that magnets stick through but it looks a little less industrial. I'm not sure how thick the sheet metal needs to be for a magnet to be able to reach through it though.
 
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