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Scratch Built "CLEARly Lightspeed" for LDRS night launch

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AllDigital

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My son and I have retrofitted a dozen rockets for night launches, but they always seem like such a hack.

So this year, we did a quick-and-dirty scratch build, as a weekend project, just in time for LDRS.

What makes this rocket unique is that it is CLEAR. Made from clear tubing, clear plexiglass, and clear-translucent PLA. Like Wonder Woman's Invisible Plane. Obviously, a bad idea to fly this during the day.

It is clear, so the inside can be loaded with lights and lit-up, without creating all the drag of gluing stuff on the outside, like we usually do.

We bought a cheap tube on Amazon for architectural drawings and then designed around the dimensions. We CNC'd fins and rings from .1 plexiglass and we 3D printed the nose cone using translucent PLA. The MM tube is 29mm clear tubing that fits 3G CTI hardware perfect.

The fin can was designed so that it holds six 12" glow sticks in place. The nose has two high intensity multi-color flashing LEDs. In the body, we will have a dozen glow sticks (under their own parachutes) and a dozen blinkers on the chute and harness. In total, 34 lights/sticks inside illuminating out on take-off. Weighing in at less than 3 pounds.

It was refreshing to build a rocket and then not need to paint it.

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grapetang

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Cool! No issues with the heat? It would be even worse to fly it in the day if you replace the chute with a transparent one - you'll then have a true "stealth" rocket!!! Happy flying & recovery! :)
 

AllDigital

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Aluminum thrust plate on the bottom should help. Not sure how the body will hold up on ejection, but it feels similar to fiberglass. It might end up being a one and done. We'll see.
 

KenECoyote

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Obviously, a bad idea to fly this during the day.
:lol:

Looks really cool! I was just thinking of making something like this a while ago; however my local clubs don't have night launches (I'd guess since we fly off farm fields, there would be danger of people falling into the drainage ditches at night among other issues). Coincidentally, I was looking into plexi/acrylic for fin material for another project just last night!

One thing though, while I was doing a bit of researching on plexi for fins, there were comments about it not being ideal due to it's tendency to crack rather than bend (hence lexan or similar is often better for fins). However I was looking into it since there are some fantastic colors available...including fluorescents! Have you used this material prior to this project and if so, what is your experience with it?
 

AllDigital

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I have not worked with plastic before this project, but I was pleasantly surprised how easy it was. I might have got lucky with the materials. I might also have a different opinion after one flight. We did use LEXAN.

Specifically, we used .093 LEXAN Clear Polycarbonate Sheeting from Home Depot. Because that is what was on the shelf.
https://www.homedepot.com/p/LEXAN-12-in-x-24-in-x-093-in-Clear-Polycarbonate-Sheet-GE-33/202038063

I was worried about CNC'ing it, but it was no problem at all. With sharp bits and a low spindle speed it went right through without any cracking or gooey mess. I was also able to drill it up to 1/2" without any cracking (stepping up slowly). Sharp bits are important. This m is advertised as "virtually unbreakable". We'll see.

The other misc parts on this project include:

The airframe tube: https://amzn.com/B000UU6O2I
The motor mount tube (barely fits 29mm motor): https://amzn.com/B000OMFLD0
 

KenECoyote

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Ah, sorry! I read plexiglass and assumed it was on the whole build. :facepalm:

Good for you then since Lexan is a great material for fins! :)

Thanks for the links!
 

K'Tesh

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Aluminum thrust plate on the bottom should help. Not sure how the body will hold up on ejection, but it feels similar to fiberglass. It might end up being a one and done. We'll see.
Or you could try making one from ALON...

[video=youtube;RnUszxx2pYc]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RnUszxx2pYc[/video]

Yes... It's TRANSPARENT ALUMINUM

[video=youtube;LkqiDu1BQXY]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LkqiDu1BQXY[/video]

That's the ticket laddie!
 
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AllDigital

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Transparent Aluminum? Doh! That will need to be v2. Also need transparent chute, transparent harness, and transparent motor -- or a way to bend light around the motor. It also needs a disco ball.
 

K'Tesh

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