Semroc Mars Lander

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Gary Byrum

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If you plan to reconfig the motor mount for 24mm, be aware that the CR's are crap for resizing. Make sure you use something better than a Dremel to broaden your holes. The material they used is or was cheap. Secondly, the embossing was crap. Be aware that it might behoove you to print the wraps for the landing pads instead of using the embossed ones. Lastly, you might want to make the aft end removable so you can change the rubber bands or adjust good replacement springs like what I did on my build. I have a few pics showing what I did if you want to see.
 

Mugs914

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:pop:

Been wondering about this one too...
 

Woody's Workshop

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I can not say what card stock is in the lander.
But I recently ordered parts packages for the Scrambler and Ranger and separate rings for a triple 18mm in BT-60.
The card stock is of much better quality than what the card stock is in the Estes kits. The layers are not easily separated.
And laser cutting is awesome. It' isn't burnt all to heck like some I've had.
Randy gets both thumbs up on quality of product and cutting is top notch.
 

Mugs914

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I have a lot of Semroc kits...and TLP.
Some people just are not up for the challenge.
Or prefer an easier build for their money.
The Semroc kits are my favorites for a couple of reasons. Well, maybe its the same reason in two parts...

My first exposure to rocketry was in the very early seventies when I was about eight years old. Back then almost everything required real "capital B" building. Of course at that age we had little in the way of building skills and even less in the way of patience. Our fins and nosecones often ended up looking like painted rawhide, but most of us tried to do better with each kit we built and learned the skills along the way. It was a lot of fun for me, and to this day, weather it is a rocket or airplane, I enjoy the building as much as the flying.

The second part is the nostalgia factor, and not just for the NLA original rockets. I love it when you open one of their kits and out falls a balsa nose cone, balsa or even "fiber" fins, a parachute kit that you have to assemble, paper transitions and so on. That is what a kit was like back then and I still get a charge out of it now.

Mike
 

Gary Byrum

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I have a lot of Semroc kits...and TLP.
Some people just are not up for the challenge.
Or prefer an easier build for their money.
I won't critique any kit unless I've built it myself. That being said, I doubt you (the customer) can do much about those embossed parts which are essential to the aesthetics of this rocket. 1st and foremost, I didn't weigh in to slam SEMROC, I'm pointing out the given flaws of the Mars Lander. I have a few other SEMROC kits that were given to me, and built them never having any thing negative to say about them. Good kits honestly. But when you redistribute an OOP of this nature, one might consider renewing the tools that make them.

And I doubt seriously that you can say I'm in for the easy or less challenging. I just prefer quality parts. This is why I don't buy many or any kits anymore. Some are good, some are not. It's a crap shoot. Now, have a taste of some challenge that's not so easy. I made my own graphics turned the nose cone myself.

29.JPG
 

georgegassaway

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Gary Byrum wrote to Afterburners:

Lastly, you might want to make the aft end removable so you can change the rubber bands or adjust good replacement springs like what I did on my build. I have a few pics showing what I did if you want to see.
I'd like to see pics of what you did.

I got a Semroc M.L. kit which I'll be modifying in various ways, but won't be able to get back to the build for a few months. Want to use springs.
 

T-Rex

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I have one from way back in the pile. I am hopeful that I will get some good info from this thread. I have heard that the rubber bands were an issue with both the original and the Semroc version, springs would be a great improvement. I hope we hear/see more on the subject.

Afterburners, thanks for asking the question.
 

Gary Byrum

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I don't wanna hijack AB's thread, but if it's OK with him, I'll post the pics and a description of how the removable aft section works.
 

MaxQ

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Gary Byrum wrote to Afterburners:
I got a Semroc M.L. kit which I'll be modifying in various ways, but won't be able to get back to the build for a few months. Want to use springs.


I've got two Semroc Mars Lander kits myself, - got one as a prize/gift.
Have yet to build mine, as I'm still collecting data - :).

There has been a great deal written about the Semroc Mars Lander kit,....... the stability flight issues with that, - and the old Estes kit.

Good place to start is this review...by Chan Stevens
https://www.rocketreviews.com/semroc-astronautics-corporation-mars-lander--by-chan-stevens.html
I was a little nervous about building this kit stock after reading this review.

Tom Beach did a brief one page review of the Semroc kit in Sport Rocketry - July/August 2006.

Also - the more extensive 12 page review by Kenneth B. Jarosch in Sport Rocketry May/June 2008 is a VERY good read.
He has recommendations on weight and stability factors, kit analysis and suggested modifications, motors and delays (inc. the removable section for future repairs to the landing gear mechanism).
(insight from K.B.J. : "I did a complete Research Excercise on the Semroc Mars Lander covering Stability, Modification Analysis, Construction Tips, Modifications, Finishing and Assembly. I also did a complete Engine Power, Optimal Delays and Flight Profiles. Over a 125 permutations. This was a long 5 Part Research Project that ended up as a long but condensed feature article in "Sport Rocketry" May/June 2008. Note this rocket needs 44'/sec to be stable and a C6-3 doesn't get there until 4' to 11' off a 3' rod." )

Conclusion - Any perceived problems can be dealt with.


For those interested in a bigger version, the Jeff Brundt review of the of Tango Papa 2X upscale in Extreme Rocketry - March /April 2000 has some interesting mods related to strengthening the landing gear legs - and access for any post flight repairs.
I read all the articles in the event some of the mods are transferrable to some extent.

SR -5-6-2008.jpg


eX R  3-4 2000.jpg
 
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MaxQ

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A bit off topic yes, but this is one of my favorite rocket designs - and I like how people have done some BIG upscales of the original Estes kit and made it work.

Pete Lardizabal's 5X Mars lander on an Energon Systems L1100 using Dangerous Dave Gawlik's carbon fiber landing legs...in High Power Rocketry - Nov 1993 and :

hp R 11- 1993.jpg


...in Extreme Rocketry - #40 Nov. 2004 Andy Woerner'and Mike Stoop's 10X Mars lander at 192 lb. on an M1939 and four air started outboard J330s :jaw:.

Ex R 40.jpg
 
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jazzviper1

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Just my cents but I love Semroc Mars Lander. Sure the embossing is a little light but it is other wise a great kit. I built mine un-moded and it flies perfectly, no rotation or wobbling. Just make SURE YOU BALANCE IT as per instructions. I did change the chute to an old orange and white Estes 24" chute with 24 lines for added realism.
 

LW Bercini

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Sorry to say Gary was never satisfied with our kits.

Sheryl
Not accurate.

He was dissatisfied with the wraps' embossing and the centering rings on the Mars Lander. He critiqued 2 of the parts on only one kit. As a consumer, I believe he has the right to comment on the quality of the product he has purchased.

That is NOT the same as making a blanket statement about the quality of ALL the Semroc kits.

IIRC, Gary even contacted Semroc proposing a solution to the embossing problem.
 

Peartree

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IIRC, Gary even contacted Semroc proposing a solution to the embossing problem.
Does anyone know if there have been any changes made to the embossing, to the kits, or the the openness of the new owner to make changes since Semroc changed hands?
 

AfterBurners

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I won't critique any kit unless I've built it myself. That being said, I doubt you (the customer) can do much about those embossed parts which are essential to the aesthetics of this rocket. 1st and foremost, I didn't weigh in to slam SEMROC, I'm pointing out the given flaws of the Mars Lander. I have a few other SEMROC kits that were given to me, and built them never having any thing negative to say about them. Good kits honestly. But when you redistribute an OOP of this nature, one might consider renewing the tools that make them.

And I doubt seriously that you can say I'm in for the easy or less challenging. I just prefer quality parts. This is why I don't buy many or any kits anymore. Some are good, some are not. It's a crap shoot. Now, have a taste of some challenge that's not so easy. I made my own graphics turned the nose cone myself.

View attachment 319846
I have to agree with what you said Gary. Challenging should refer to the details involved in building a kit and techniques used, not having to rebuild the kit to make it right because of poor quality materials used in the first place. This is also the same reason I won't buy kits. I would rather scratch build something over a kit if Ican and capable of doing so with what I have.
 

Gary Byrum

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I have to agree with what you said Gary. Challenging should refer to the details involved in building a kit and techniques used, not having to rebuild the kit to make it right because of poor quality materials used in the first place. This is also the same reason I won't buy kits. I would rather scratch build something over a kit if Ican and capable of doing so with what I have.
I wanted to include a Mars Lander, Sat V and a Sat B1 in my collection back when they first came back on the market again. All 3 kits had manufacturing issues but sticking with the ML, I knew I couldn't go the distance required to scratch one of these off, so I bought one. After many discussions with SEMROC on the above mentioned issues, it was apparent that they had basically picked up where Estes left off and started making them again. They told me they knew of the embossing issues and tried to solve it with no success. Changing to other paper stocks and such. One thing I do know, is if the tools used to emboss or the surface on which you are applying pressure to are worn out, you're going to get poor results. Much like using an antique NOTARY Stamp VS a new one. I used to make these things at Carolina Marking Devices back in the day, so I do know a thing or 10 about embossing. I was even willing to make the trip to see what could be the problem or what could be done to help out, but shortly after, Carl had passed and they were selling out. That stopped me from going to see them. They weren't that far away from where I live either.

Regarding Peartree, I would hope eRockets is aware of this, as it would be very hard for a modeler to not notice it. It would be sad to discover they ignored the flaw(s) and did nothing. But today's market is what it is in most everything you buy anymore. "Lets get it done as cheaply as possible and sell it for more than it's worth". ....Mushtang, don't even go there.
 

georgegassaway

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The sad irony is that the original embossing stamp dies (or whatever) are either stored at Estes never to be used again....

Or even more sadly and far more likely, just thrown away years ago (especially likely during the Emperor Tunick years when a lot of historical stuff was thrown away....).

Anyway, I have the Semroc kit via eRockets and plan to build it in a few months. The M.L. is a heck of a complex model to build to begin with, I'd much rather build that from a kit than make my own (I mean, the people who are building their own from scratch, how are THEY doing the embossing???). As a kid, I bought the M.L. kit in late 1970 or early 71, but I was way unprepared to build it. So I never did, a few pieces got cannibalized for other rockets but most went unused/lost since most of the parts were not useful for any other rockets.
 

Gary Byrum

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Does anyone know if there have been any changes made to the embossing, to the kits, or the the openness of the new owner to make changes since Semroc changed hands?
I emailed Randy today. Here's a few really informative snips from his reply.

This was regarding the Little Joe II
Today we received a new tool and it actually looks like it will work out fine. Tomorrow we will make our first production wraps with the tool. If this works we are going to rebuild the Mars Lander and Saturn 1B tools. Hopefully this will alleviate the issue, some of the tools have been worn down quite a bit from use.

On another note with the Mars Lander, sometime in 2018 we will be re-designing the Mars Lander to fly on 24mm motors. It is very difficult for us to go back and re-design a kit, it rarely provides additional sales opportunities. But we are going to do this one. If anyone has any suggestions on what could be done I would appreciate hearing from them.

On centering ring stock, we have noticed serious differences in cotton content between batches. Too much cotton can make the rings soft and hard to cut. Last year a high quality batch was produced and we loaded up on that material so we should see great rings through the remainder of this year.
 

Trident

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IMG_0395.jpg

Here is my Semroc Mars Lander, posed next to my heavily modified Estes Outlander.

The Mars Lander will make its maiden flight at NSL 2017. I did not modify it to fly on 24mm motors, like I did with the Outlander. Too much of a pain.

Instead, I bought the Aerotech 18/20 RMS and will fly it on the D13 reload. I modified it to have the lower section removable by removing two small screws, sunk into small balsa blocks. I'd post a picture of this mod but the rocket is boxed for transit. Will do so after NSL.

I did flub one of the wraps, and Sheryl was kind enough to send me a replacement. I love Semroc rockets. :)
 

Gary Byrum

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I modified it to have the lower section removable by removing two small screws, sunk into small balsa blocks. I'd post a picture of this mod but the rocket is boxed for transit. Will do so after NSL.
I can imagine it was something like this?

8.JPG 10.JPG

The nozzle was made to be removed so as to get the decent shroud off. Metal springs were held with the dowels in the 2nd pic. If I ever need to adjust the springs, I'll have to cut through the CR which is no big deal really.
 

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Exactly! And I made the nozzle a friction fit as well so it could be removed.
 

Gary Byrum

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Seems like there's always one gimpy leg on every ML I ever saw. I have one too.

Exactly! And I made the nozzle a friction fit as well so it could be removed.
Me too. I glued a piece of CR sanded to fit snug in that small end.

I did a Semroc lander about 10 years ago with accessible suspension. Photobucket is blocked here at work but I assume the pics are still in the thread.
https://www.rocketryforum.com/showthread.php?119279-Another-ML&highlight=mars+lander
Hey ole buddy. Long time no see!
 
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