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Setting up a night launch rocket, which one should I modify?

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MacTech

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My current mad scientist project is to set up a night launch rocket, painted with glow in the dark paints, color options are white, green, blue, and orange, illumination will be with some partially used UV LED squeeze lights from used up Bondic uv curable epoxy kits, right now I have three Bondic squeeze lights available, the batteries are replaceable

i need to figure out the best way to set up the night rocket, I want it to be a low and slow model, so far, my options for an already existing rocket are;

1; an original tube fin design made up from spare BT-60 tubes and the motor mount and nose cone from a Big Bertha, the fins were from a bubble wrap core tube from work, a little bit thicker than a toilet paper core or paper towel core, as it stands right now, it's a tad heavy even for a C6-3, however, I could mount each squeezylight in a tube fin and it'd be shielded from view and probably have minimal effect on aerodynamics

2; the Super Amazon, an Estes Amazon from a Tandem-X launch kit with 3 body tubes instead of the two, I've launched this before as a night launch, just would need to repaint it, a white base coat and then the GITD paint
[video]https://youtu.be/NDuzoTityCw[/video]

I could also just buy another kit and build it with the sole purpose of night launches, perhaps another taller Bertha build (2 Bertha tubes, a Fliskits baffle and Deuces canted motor mount) and with the fins adjusted to create a slow rotation at launch, maybe make a taller V2 or UltraMaxi Alpha 3)....

hmm, a taller Bertha with Fliskits Deuces mount has definite appeal...
 

Cabernut

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You could perhaps incorporate a clear payload bay with a glow stick or three dropped in.

I have a Loadstar II with a BT-60 translucent nose cone with the shoulder cut open to allow a glow stick to fit inside the clear payload bay up into the nose cone. Havent tried it yet but I'm sure that would be a good option.

Rocketarium sells the BT-60 hdpe translucent nose cones if you're interested.
 

MacTech

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My local hobby shop is evaluating if they're going to carry rockets anymore, he claims Estes is being jerks to the small hobby shops, and he can't compete against online sales from the big website named after the big river in South America

his inventory is down to consumables, a few Tandem X launch kits, and an Eggscalibur left over from a school order, the Eggs has a transparent nose cone (or should that be nose *dome*? ) I figure I could remove the egg cushion and build up an illumination system to fit inside the egg cavity
 

Micromeister

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My current mad scientist project is to set up a night launch rocket, painted with glow in the dark paints, color options are white, green, blue, and orange, illumination will be with some partially used UV LED squeeze lights from used up Bondic uv curable epoxy kits, right now I have three Bondic squeeze lights available, the batteries are replaceable

i need to figure out the best way to set up the night rocket, I want it to be a low and slow model, so far, my options for an already existing rocket are;

1; an original tube fin design made up from spare BT-60 tubes and the motor mount and nose cone from a Big Bertha, the fins were from a bubble wrap core tube from work, a little bit thicker than a toilet paper core or paper towel core, as it stands right now, it's a tad heavy even for a C6-3, however, I could mount each squeezylight in a tube fin and it'd be shielded from view and probably have minimal effect on aerodynamics

2; the Super Amazon, an Estes Amazon from a Tandem-X launch kit with 3 body tubes instead of the two, I've launched this before as a night launch, just would need to repaint it, a white base coat and then the GITD paint
[video]https://youtu.be/NDuzoTityCw[/video]

I could also just buy another kit and build it with the sole purpose of night launches, perhaps another taller Bertha build (2 Bertha tubes, a Fliskits baffle and Deuces canted motor mount) and with the fins adjusted to create a slow rotation at launch, maybe make a taller V2 or UltraMaxi Alpha 3)....

hmm, a taller Bertha with Fliskits Deuces mount has definite appeal...
MacTech:
Glow in the dark paints are all but USELESS outdoors because of all the other ambiant light out there at night, even on a moonless night simple starlight is enough to make Glo-paints fad to unnoticable within less then a minute. Even with the use of UV LED's the area of lllumination is no more then a spot.
I have a two staged "Stitch" Estes UFO that has several UV LED's pointed at the airframe which is day-glo under UV. but without the other 24- 3000 to 5000mcd various color LED's the model would be all but invisable during flight.
I've Tested a number of different Day-Glo powers, liquids and Paints with extremely poor results.
You'll be much better off Illuminating your rocket with standard LED's rather then fooling around with the Glo-in-the-Dark Stuff....it just doesn't work worth a crap outside.

03a-sm_Glo-Powder-c_ZincSulfidePhosphor Liteson&off3pic_03-03.jpg


03b-sm_Glo-Powder-d_Strontium Aluminate_10g Blue powder packets_05-07.jpg


634b-d4c-sm_2-Stage NIght UFO lit (lights off)_08-04-07.jpg


068-sm_Hercules 2-Stage_05-26-90.jpg
 

ThirstyBarbarian

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I'd agree that the glow in the dark paint just is not bright enough.

I made an improvised night rocket at a club night launch one time by sticking a dozen little blinky LEDs onto a Big Daddy. They were the little button lights that you twist to turn on, and we stuck them on with a double-sided tape product of some kind. It worked pretty well. You could see it all the way up... and all the way back down, where it lawn darted at the exact second the ejection charge went off! You could see the explosion of the ejection charge, and all the LEDs flew into the air on impact --- looked like the rocket had blown up! The motor had been underpowered and the delay too long. Fortunately, the rocket was still flyable, and we were able to gather all the LEDS and stick them back on for another more successful flight.

I'm sure you could do the same thing with other rockets, but it might be best to use a bigger model than a BT60-based rocket. The Big Daddy was good, and I think something like a Maxi Alpha III might be nice.

Sitting in my garage I have a Partizon wrapped in LED strip lights waiting to fly. I built it a year ago and then have missed every night launch since then.
 

MacTech

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So, I stopped down at the hobby shop tonight and picked up the Eggscalibur, not a bad little kit, I'm looking at it more as a general purpose parts supply kit, I may never build the actual rocket, as I think it looks horribly goofy, the fin shape is the laziest I've ever seen, just a truncated rectangle at an angle, and the minimum diameter external engine mount seems just lazy

I mainly bought it for the nose cone...

...then I realized....

i also got the 18-24mm engine adapter, a couple spare parachutes, some reshapable fins, and a spare body tube.....

which happens to be a BT-50...

hmm, that means I could do a simple nose cone swap on one of my modified Crossfires that are already built, either my 5' tall Ultra Crossfire, my 3' tall Super Crossfire, if I use the Ultra I won't even need to use the launch lug standoff as the nose cone will be nowhere near the launch rod anyway

I also have a spare un assembled Crossfire kit, and a spare BT-50 coupler, so I could build another extended length Crossfire as a dedicated night launch vehicle, or maybe add the Eggscalibur body tube onto the already tall Ultra Crossfire, bringing it closer to 6 feet tall :D

either way, I don't see myself building the Eggscalibur rocket itself

Hmm, 6' Ultra *WITH* the Eggscalibur nose cone?

as far as the nose cone itself goes, a single UV LED squeezylight fits into the neck nearly perfectly, a couple pieces of styrofoam packing would keep it centered, I'll spray the interior of the nose cone with GITD paint and have it actively illuminated by the UV squeezylight
 

Sabrina

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I've been to a few night launches... but I've never noticed anyone using glow paint or glow paint with UV illumination. I would love to see some pictures when you get it built !!!

UV - That's actually something I have wanted to try out >>> as a SUPPLEMENT to the main illumination.

The one in the photo below has 24 "half-watt" high power LED's and a NiteBow in the nose cone.

This year I'm planing a new night rocket with 300+ LED's :y:

DSCF0095a.JPG


DSCF0107a.JPG
 

Rex R

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a simple test(doesn't require a complete rocket), turn on/charge/whatever illumination you plan to use, walk 300' away, if you can't see it...probably best to rethink.
Rex
 

Micromeister

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a simple test(doesn't require a complete rocket), turn on/charge/whatever illumination you plan to use, walk 300' away, if you can't see it...probably best to rethink.
Rex
Good Grief...Ditto Rex R!
What part of Glow-in-the-Dark Paints do NOT work outside did you not understand? Add a couple 5000mcd or higher LED's to the inside of you Eggscaliber Nose cone will more then likely be just fine, but a single UV LED inside that same capsule will NOT. you'll never see it.
One of the only remaining FAA restrictions on NIGHT FLYING MODEL rockets is the vehicle MUST be illuminated from Ignition to touchdown. your model will not be visible in the night sky by anyone. This is not for your protection it is for the protection of unsuspection pilots in civilian aircraft.

Be SAFE, Listen to those of us who have worked very hard with the FAA to get the regs changed to. They would like all model rockets to be illuminated with a minimum of 3000mcds visible at 3000 feet. That sir, is a bunch futher then 300 feet on the ground.
Normal High output 3000 to 30,000mcd LED's are very easy to obtain, power with 3v lithium coin cells. and install in our model...even Micro Models.

Please don't screw up night flying for all of us because you "think" you have something different in mind. What your proposing is not going to work, It's already been tried several times without success.

ABANDON glow-in-the-Dark anything as your primary Night Illuminlation Equipment. GITD Paint and Cylume Sticks (Glo-Sticks) are OK for secondary Illumination sources but NOT as the primary lighting.

I've been night flying model rockets since 1990, If you need helps drop me a private message, I'll give you any and all the helps you need to build and fly successful Night vehicle illumination model rockets MMX to 3" MPR and everything in between.

196b_Jack-O-Lantern Illumination rework (10-01-96)_06-06-11.jpg


221a1-sm_MM NITE-2000_LEDS payloader_12-03-99.jpg


604c2-sm_Nova Payloader-II NITEsys_Darkroom lighton_05-04-06.jpg


642a-3_One Long Nite NL & Nosecone 4pic pg_09-06-03.jpg


670a1-sm_Phantom NITE Nike-Apache wo Shield_08-30-07.jpg


670i2-sm_PNA_2nd pic after 4.5hrs, same CR-2032 bats_08-30-07.JPG
 

MacTech

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I started the GITD paint application last night and have come to the same conclusion, it's not going to work, so I'm changing the plan to at least two extremely bright coin cell sqeezylights in the Eggscalibur nose cone, maybe even three if I can coax them in

thanks for the advice so far, Micromeister
 

MacTech

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Well, this was easier than expected, I went rooting through my junk drawer, looking for any spare squeezylights that I could cannibalize for parts, and found two old LED AAA flashlights** from my "flashaholc" performance flashlight phase

a Fenix E1, .5 watt LED, 12 lumens (2 D-cell mag lite is around 19 lumens on fresh batteries, quickly drops to 15 and keeps dropping)

a Fenix L0P, 1 watt LED, 3 power levels
High; 30 lumens
Med; 10 lumens
Low; 4 lumens

both run on a single AAA , both have a removable lens and reflector so they can work like a "candle" emitting a wide 180 degree beam

These should light up the Eggscalibur nose cone quite effectively, and with a Lithium AAA cell the weight shouldn't be too much of an issue, it definitely is lighter than an egg

even the lower end E1 puts out more light than the 5mm LED Squeezylights

** these models aren't made anymore, replaced by newer, brighter models
 

MacTech

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Here are some pics taken at the end of the hall;

Baseline pic under room lighting with nose cone on low;


These next three pics are the three power levels with the reflector on the light (normal flashlight setup)
Low power;


Medium power;


High power;
 

MacTech

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This set of pics is with the reflector removed and the light in "candle" mode

Low power;


Medium power;


High power;
 

K'Tesh

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A slightly off topic/on topic :2:

For anyone who is even thinking about using a retroreflective paint product or a glow in the dark paint like those that have been seen in ads (which I can't access currently thanks to the great firewall of China) (VPN's running REALLY slow), I'd suggest you forget it. I've experimented with both types of products, and can say that they're gimmicks that don't work nearly as good as you'd hope. The glow in the dark bike ad used a blacklight spotlight to make the paint on the bicycles pop out, but it's highly directional If the spotlight wasn't pointed at the bike, you wouldn't see it, and if the spotlight wasn't attached to the camera, you'll see some of it, but it'll be really easy to be drowned out by any (and I really do mean any) ambient illumination. Retroreflective paints have a rough texture, are hard to apply evenly, and again, very limited in the viewing angle. If a light isn't pointed directly at it, it barely shows up (more likely it'll only be a silhouette). The paint is also very easy to damage.

Reflective films are kind of heavy (compared to paint or other vinyl applications), but you don't need to paint the covered area (unless you want to prime to look for defects), so you wouldn't have that much of a weight penalty. Problem is, it's still a passive system, and thus by itself it would violate the requirement of being self lit. An advantage of it though is... Should the batteries fail, or something else go wrong with the circuit, this would give you a chance to spot the rocket, provided that you are sweeping the sky or the ground with a decent light.

Here's one of the five bikes I've covered in retroreflective films... The gold(ish) color on the fork and downtube of the bike actually shows as gloss black in daylight.

 

MacTech

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On a whim I decided to build the Eggscalibur airframe anyway, after all, free rocket, so why not?

I made a couple extremely minor modifications, rounding the corners off the trailing edges of the fins, and installing the long pointy nose cone that comes with the Crossfire instead of the goofy looking "light bulb style" Eggscalibur nose cone, and mounting the launch lug directly to the body tube, as this rocket is not going to fly the egg nose cone.

with the long pointy cone, it actually looks quite sleek, very fast, it's a rather esthetically pleasing rocket...

and since its its a minimum diameter rocket, it's sure to be an absolute screamer on a D or E, I hate to think how high this one would go, thankfully, with the engine adapter, I can limit myself to c and below
 

moonlightfab

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I have done night launched for the last 2 years from glow sticks on LPR and HPR its not a fun way to go LEDs are the only way to go for me

I did launch my King Viper III that I call Aurora Borealis at LDRS 35 Friday night on 3 cti K490 complex M greens with 8600+ led's main at apogee >7500' and floated above the lake beds for 7.5 minutes

13335958_10205073425835831_4671070443918505135_n.jpg
pic before tail was done
13517801_10154093827540630_2035746611_o.jpg
LDRS 35
 
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MacTech

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Succesful prototype launch of the Super Crossfire Night Launch Vehicle, used a C6-3 and it went a tad too high for my tastes, fine during daylight, but I will be downgrading to a B6-4 for the night launch

payload bay stayed closed, but the flashlight popped out of its foam padding, so I'll be upping the padding density
 

tnetcenter

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By far the most impressive night launch I've ever witnessed was done with a saucer and a sparky motor! A very close 2nd is the 54mm sparky motor drag race I witnessed! Both flights were spectacular!!
 

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What is an "mcds"???? And where did you find that documented as far as night launch rules go?
 

MacTech

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Mcds = millicandelas, the higher the number, the brighter the light

Most flashlights are measured in lumens, so the mcds rating on my Fenix L0P are;
low; 4 lumens / 2173 mcd
med; 10 lumens / 5433 mcd
High; 30 lumens / 16,301 mcd
 

FredA

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1 candela = 1 lumen/steradian.
So you can not compute one from the other without knowing the beam angle.

For example 1000mcd at a 65.5 degree beam-angle equals about 1 lumen.

So you need to compare lumens or mcd taking into account beam angle.
 

Micromeister

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What is an "mcds"???? And where did you find that documented as far as night launch rules go?
Attached are the night launch rules our club "Narhams -section 139. developed along with helping the FAA set up the waiver for Night flying model rockets in the early 1990's.
These Night Launch Rules have served our club, it's members and spectators very well over the last couple decades.

One of the biggest changes is we no longer have to file for a waiver to launch Model and MPR model rockets flown at night. No notification is required at all as long as we stay within the 125g of propellant and 1500g Over all mass of each rocket.

The one big thing that FAA stresses from the very beginning was that ALL the rules for this Night Activity are NOT intended to be Safety measures for the Model Rocket flyer, or ground spectator but to protect the unsuspecting Civil Aircraft Pilot's that might be in the area.
To that end the suggested "Night Illumination Tracking Equipment" for each Model Rocket were at a minimum 2000mcd Leds Visible at 2000 ft.
Over time we realized that Flashing Strobes or flashing LED's expecially White or Yellow were easily lost during recovery during the blackout of the blink.
We solved this by adding a steady burn (always on) LED of any color to the package.

Some of the other "Rules" like posting 4 point aircraft lookouts have been dropped, with the prevision that the entire range crew and spectators are to keep an eye to the sky looking for approaching aircraft.

Lastly the most important RULE for all Night Model, MPR or HPR rocket flying is the rocket MUST be visible from Ignition to Touch down landing. meaning your N.I.T.E. equipment MUST be ON the entire flight. This means your placement of battery and battery holder is very important as most of the spring loaded AAA, AA and other battery holders will not maintain contact during Lift-off thrust and/or Ejection unless firmly taped to the Batteries and placed at an angle to the line of thrust. Other types of battery holders are Always recommended over these heavy and not so good battery holders. 3V Lithium coin cell out perform AAA, AA or other carbon or alkyline batteries and are about 1/4 the mass. CR-2032 are my personal favorite 3V coin cell that I use to power my larger LED displays.

View attachment CheckIn-NightLaunch-4-Regs-curves_Night Launch Rules & Regs.pdf
 
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