Skill question

Discussion in 'The Watering Hole' started by SecretSquirrel, Sep 22, 2010.

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Can you make these tip pods?

  1. Yes, I can make that.

  2. No, I can't do that.

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  1. Sep 22, 2010 #1

    SecretSquirrel

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    These tip pods are made by sandwiching an oval piece of sheet balsa on each side of the fin, which has a matching oval on the tip. The assembly is then sanded to shape. Are builders usually capable of making this? If so, what skill level would you give it?

    pods.jpg
     
  2. Sep 22, 2010 #2

    JAL3

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    I can do that, but not very well. I personally am not good at shaping things by eye. That would not stop me from trying, though.

    I know that there are plenty of people on here and the other forums, however, who could do a great job of it.

    Any time I see this sort of "sand to shape", it puts me into thinking level 4 or so. Realistically, though, it should probably not be more than level 3.
     
  3. Sep 22, 2010 #3

    powderburner

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    It doesn't look (on first glance) like it would be that difficult, and should not be that hard for most modelers.

    However, my opinion of what "should not be that hard" probably corresponds most realistically to 90% of current modelers couldn't handle it. (And I am not referring to the population represented by TRF/YORF/RP, I am referring to the great unwashed masses that purchase all those RTF rockets and that make up 99% of the rocket-buying base.) They probably cannot do this.

    I would like to say that I think it is commendable that you would "force" a little hand-work back into our hobby and not simply knuckle under and provide a trio of nose cones and tail cones.

    If these tip-bodies are to be part of a potential kit offering, may I suggest: you should provide sufficient materials for four or five pods (surely it wouldn't cost that much), have the builder assemble all sets, and let him select the best three. Whaddya think, Don?
     
  4. Sep 22, 2010 #4

    troj

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    Mine wouldn't be perfect, but I could make something quite acceptable, and I suspect most people could. It just takes a little bit of patience.

    I'd give it maybe a 3, depending on what the rest of the kit looks like.

    I'm definitely intrigued, just based on what you have shown!

    -Kevin
     
  5. Sep 23, 2010 #5

    The EGE

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    I would doubt that I could get three good pods out of three. Providing materials for 4 or 5 pods would be an excellent idea.
     
  6. Sep 23, 2010 #6

    CharlaineC

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    As long as i have some form of slip over guides like some of the old estes kits that had these (original mars snooper). maybe say 4 or five to show where the tapering should be and as long as this can be done off the fin then placed on the fin after I would sat that if their roughly shaped already then its skill level 3 if its a block of balsa I would say its a skill level 4. hope it helps.
     
  7. Sep 23, 2010 #7

    SecretSquirrel

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    We've reached a point where we feel we offer a fair selection of easily assembled kits. We're now looking at things that offer a few more challenges. "Sanding to shape" isn't what I would call a basic skill, but it's something that serious builders should consider mastering. In future, we may be offering kits that require similar skills and I'm just trying to gauge how this will go over and decide if it's something we should pursue or abandon.


    As you can see, the central element of the pod is integral to the fin (those babies won't pop off on landing). So we would have to include extra fins which use up a fair amount of balsa. This would cause a fair increase in the price of the kit. It's something to think about but the cost may be prohibitive.

    [​IMG]


    Wish I could show more, but I'm a little reluctant to do that. I have no idea when we'll get this kit out.
     
    Last edited: Sep 23, 2010
  8. Sep 23, 2010 #8

    troj

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    I vote for pursue. I think there's a market for quality kits that require a bit of skill to assemble.

    I don't think it's necessary to provide spares. Ooopsies can be fixed with a bit of putty and additional shaping.

    Understandable.

    -Kevin
     
  9. Sep 23, 2010 #9

    JAL3

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    I agree with Kevin.

    I would buy a kit like this. In fact, the Firebird SST had something similar for its pods, IIRC.

    I agree that shaping like this is not a "basic" skill but it is learnable. I hope to learn it someday.

    Until then, I still have most of a tube of Bondo Putty left over from another project.
     
  10. Sep 23, 2010 #10

    SecretSquirrel

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    I forgot to mention, we're not planning to offer this kit for sale. That's not to say you can't get one, you just can't buy one. ;)


    The Firebird does have something similar but the instructions do not call for you to round off the corners. My original concept was to have the builder do that but I was talked out of it for fear that it was not builder friendly. My Firebird has nice tear drop shaped pods.


    Wood filler hides a multitude of sins in my fleet. ;)
     
  11. Sep 23, 2010 #11

    powderburner

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    Yeah, definitely, if the fin itself is a major part of the pod, you don't want to have to provide extras.

    Stick with plan A
     
  12. Sep 23, 2010 #12

    sandman

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    I'd make them on the lathe...but that's just me.:rolleyes:
     
  13. Sep 23, 2010 #13

    MarkII

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    They remind me of the fin tip pods on the Estes Astron Constellation, and the construction method sounds very similar. Shaping them would be beyond the skills of a rank beginner, but not out of reach of most folks who have built Skill Level 2 and 3 kits. Light, careful sanding, and frequently checking your progress against a template or an illustration, would be all that this requires. Estes kit instructions from the 1960s often did a very good job of walking the builder through a process like this. It might be helpful to consult them.
     
  14. Sep 23, 2010 #14

    MarkII

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    It think that it's an excellent idea. As I indicated above, Estes Industries was very successful in selling kits that required tasks like this back in the 1960s. As a teenager with only limited model building experience, I was not all that put off by such construction steps. I just forged right ahead and did my best with them. Tackling steps like this is a great confidence booster! I would be delighted to see more kits like that again, kits that demanded a little bit more from the builder. It's one of the reasons why I build so many of my rockets from scratch.
     
  15. Sep 23, 2010 #15

    Peartree

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    Definitely do-able. Level three sounds okay. Slightly imperfect never bothered me anyway.
     
  16. Sep 23, 2010 #16

    harsas

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    I don't see the problem. You have provided the shape with the fins, all that needs to be done is essentially a little rounding. With some patience, and a decent eye, it should not be that difficult. But then, that's just my opinion.

    I am a bit perplexed about the "can't buy" thing. I was thinking that I had found the next kit I wanted to get, but now, maybe that won't happen. Either way, I vote for moving ahead.
     
  17. Sep 23, 2010 #17

    Bravo52

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    The easy part of this is to round the points. The outside edge shouldn't be a problem either. However, the inner portion of the pod aginst the fin will be a deal changer....

    What about making the pods seperat from the fin. You could laser cut it in three parts that leaves a slot for the fin to slide into. Think of a sandwich where the meat is in the shape of a "C". The two outer will look like long ovals. Glue together, shape with your favorite sandpaper then glue on the tip of the fin.

    Just a thought....man now I'm hungery .
     
  18. Sep 23, 2010 #18

    gdiscenza

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    As a ham-fisted hack in the shop, I'd be happy to offer my services as a beta-tester. If I can get good results from your destructions and pieces parts, anyone can!

    Honestly, if you want to send me a kit for eval, I would be happy to photograph every step and return a full and honest report to you.

    Send me a PM, if you want.

    G.D.
     
  19. Sep 23, 2010 #19

    SecretSquirrel

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    I sometimes forget that "subtle" doesn't always come across on the forums. We're not planning to sell this kit, we're planning to give it away.

    Details to follow.
     
  20. Sep 23, 2010 #20

    troj

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    Does it come with condiment packets?????

    :p

    -Kevin
     
  21. Sep 23, 2010 #21

    SecretSquirrel

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    See? Kevin just talked himself out of a free kit. :D
     
  22. Sep 23, 2010 #22

    MarkII

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    No one ever learns a new skill by avoiding it. Every time that you complete an assembly like this, you get a bit better at it. It doesn't take that long to achieve basic competence in balsa shaping but you have to actually be willing to do stuff like this instead of passing on it. None of us get any better as builders if we only work with stuff that has been pre-cut and pre-shaped for us. I'm sure that most people who are reading this thread have fashioned parts or sections that were at least as demanding as these pods (and they do not appear to be terribly demanding).
     
    Last edited: Sep 23, 2010
  23. Sep 23, 2010 #23

    SecretSquirrel

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    I used to fret over getting the instructions just right. Then I came to realize that no one reads them. ;)
     
    Last edited: Sep 23, 2010
  24. Sep 23, 2010 #24

    harsas

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    Yes, well I sort of gathered it was some sort of giveaway. Just somehow I have always found that paying for something was a more reliable way to obtain it. It is not that I object to free rockets, more like I am usually not in the right place at the right time.
     
  25. Sep 23, 2010 #25

    SecretSquirrel

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    I used one of these and had no issues with that area

    [​IMG]

    We may go with the "c" slot idea. We're still exploring the options at this point.
     
  26. Sep 23, 2010 #26

    Zeus-cat

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    I used to skip the instructions, but now I tend to read them in detail. I don't always follow them, but I do read them to make sure that there isn't something in this particular model that has to be done in a certain way.

    Of course, I just replaced the water heater in my house and I didn't bother looking at the manual until I was nearly 90% finished. I did have to redo part of the gas line installation, but it wasn't something important like a rocket or a Tiger tank model. :bangpan:
     
  27. Sep 23, 2010 #27

    o1d_dude

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    That's a fairly standard type of construction used on free flight scale model airplanes.

    Usually you find it on landing gear covers, three piece balsa sandwich that you sand to a streamlined shape. Can also be found on radial motor cowlings, prop spinners, and such.

    Easy peasy.
     
  28. Sep 23, 2010 #28

    JAL3

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    Oh, I've tried it. Its just that the results have been less than stellar. No doubt I'll get better with practice. All I have to do is convince the Secret Squirrel to put me on the list with Kevin...:rolleyes:
     
  29. Sep 23, 2010 #29

    kenobi65

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    If you were able to include some sort of template which one could use to make certain one had the right shape (rather than trying to eyeball it), I'd say SL 3.

    If one's relying on eyeballing, that'd put it in SL 4, in my opinion.
     
  30. Sep 23, 2010 #30

    troj

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    Ya know, it's amazing what sufficient bribery will get you... Of course, who knew that Purina made Squirrel Chow, and just how much two semi loads cost.... :y:

    Anywho, I coerced Don into showing me a pic of what he's up to, and trust me, it's a killer design, and you want one!

    We'll just have to wait until he's got it finished and ready to go, and see what he's got up his sleeve in terms of making them available.

    -Kevin
     

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