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Standard Rocket Assembly Tool Review

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Viperfixr

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This is a re-post from what was originally posted yesterday at RP, since some people just look at one or the other. Anyway, enjoy...

First, some pictures. Here is what it looked like box opened:


I pulled out an Apogee Blue Streak (18mm min diameter) and threw it into the SRAT.

Fins were perfectly aligned! Wow, and not that much fuss. I was excited about tool.

Then used the tool to apply fillets, using one of the magnets inside the body to lock it down very effectively.

The SRAT actually made the process easy and quick, more so than if I'd used the normal method (blocking the tube in place with whatever I could find on the bench).

Blue Streak done, I moved on to a Mercury Engineering Invader (3" body tube, 24mm MMT).


Fins came out outstanding. Hmmmm...this might be a keeper!

And then fillets on the Invader. The 3" body tube fit on the SRAT very securely with magnets.


With that done, onto the tough test--an Estes Quark (13mm min diameter--TINY). My daughter is the one using it and built this rocket herself with just a little coaching on how to use the SRAT.


And, pulling it out minutes later (used CA on these fins).

Fins did not come out perfect, and it was difficult arranging everything in place. Then again, the first time I made a rocket this size, it gave me big fits--using the SRAT was still easier and the fins straighter than our Estes Swift 220.

Quick overall reaction after using it for three rockets--dang, why didn't I get something like this sooner! Now I want one for larger MPR & HPR!

I'll post more comments later. We have a LOC Starfighter 152, Estes CC Express, Qmodeling Raptor, Estes Commanche 3 and another Estes Swift 220 in the near build list.
 
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Viperfixr

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A few more thoughts:

PROs:
- Speeds up the building process--all fins glued at once, plus an easy fillet stand
- HTML instructions are awesome--very, very good
- Take a lot of the eyeball straight approach out of the build process
- Useful for more than just fins, it makes a great work stand
- With a little care/prep, dead straight fins are very possible
- Secure fin alignment may give more adhesive choices (epoxy, wood glue, etc) than CA
- Works on a wide variety of body tubes (13mm to 4") and fin shapes & widths (0.010" thru 1/4") easily
- Works on anything from 18 & 24mm MMT right out of the box; 13 & 29mm workable, 38mm possible

CONs:
- Really need to listen/watch the directions before jumping in
- Fins only get as straight as the care/prep you put into the SRAT--attention to detail important
- 13mm and larger than 24mm MMTs require a bit of kluging to work, may introduce alignment error
- About a 4" body tube would be the max it will work with (13mm to 4" is the range, not sure this is a CON)
- Did not include paper instructions more useful at the workbench (no computer there)
- Three of four brackets required vertical 'truing' with masking tape--took 5 minutes, tops
- Now I need to buy more kits, since the SRAT speeds things up! Oh, wait, that's good...

I've used the Estes angle plastic fin alignment on LPR and small MPR and gotten mostly good results, but it doesn't work on everything and it isn't very exact. I've watched the older Estes type on ebay sell for $50+, which I thought was ridiculous for a plastic stand that can be easily broken (like, say, in a military move). The SRAT fills this gap for me very well, and does even more--its changed my workflow for the better. It's very sturdy, works very well, and overall I am wishing I had gotten it when it first came out--well worth the $85 with shipping, in my mind. YMMV.

Where can I buy one? I checked out the website...do you have to place an order by phone??
Email Lyle at order@standardrockets.com. I don't think his website is working yet for online orders. He'll PayPal you an invoice--took no time at all. You can also reach him at lyle@standardrockets.com. Website is here, and the HTML instructions (which will give anyone a great idea how exactly this tool works), is here.

Just to state this up front, while a happy customer who paid the normal price, I am in no way associated with Standard Rockets.

BTW, I decided to post this because I was torn between buying this not insignificant expenditure that doesn't fly in the air, or a Wildman Blackhawk. I am glad I got the SRAT--I'll get the Blackhawk (and use the SRAT on it, by the way) in a month or two. I hope this info helps one of you in your deliberations.
 

FatBoy

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Mark.... I am glad you like the SRAT. I have one too and love it, and I will never go back to eye-balling one fin at a time. It's just too easy to set up all fins at the same time and you never have to worry about trying to draw straight lines on the body tube to mark fin locations.

...Just to state this up front, while a happy customer who paid the normal price, I am in no way associated with Standard Rockets...
Unfortunately I can't state the same disclaimer... I am in a round-about way sort of associated with Standard Rocketry. Lyle is a member of my rocket club and I did the layout design work for all of the SRAT templates. So, if you ever find yourself building a rocket that Lyle's website doesn't have a template for (like 5 fins with different thicknesses or something wacky like that), let him or me know and we will whip up a custom template for you.

Here are some pictures of my Honest Goon "up on the rack".....

HG 8.JPG

HG 9.JPG
 

dragon_rider10

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That looks like a very helpful contraption! My Mark-1 Eyeballs aren't as reliable as they once were. A good addition to the wish list.
 

FatBoy

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To me the biggest advantage is that all four fins get glued on at the same time and held in place until dry. Before that, I used to glue on one fin, eyeball it, adjust it, and prop it up on the table with books or something to keep it from rolling and hold that fin straight up until it was dry, constantly eye-ball checking it to make sure it isn't leaning. Then repeat the same thing for the other fins one at a time.
 

e42

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To me the biggest advantage is that all four fins get glued on at the same time and held in place until dry. Before that, I used to glue on one fin, eyeball it, adjust it, and prop it up on the table with books or something to keep it from rolling and hold that fin straight up until it was dry, constantly eye-ball checking it to make sure it isn't leaning. Then repeat the same thing for the other fins one at a time.
I have to totally agree with Jeff. I purchased the SRAT last fall but before I could unpack and use it I had to put rocket building on the back burner. Along comes March and the neighbor kids get the rocket build bug so we design a rocket in RockSim and start construction. One of the drawbacks when building with the neighbor kids is that the 6 year old starts to lose interest when you need to glue the fins on one at a time. I decided to try the SRAT and it worked like a champ. Gluing all fins on at the same time is an absolute time saver. Building the rocket with the kids fueled my desire to build other kits in the build pile. Using the SRAT, I was able to build 10 rockets in only a couple weeks. It is a time saver for sure. The only rocket that I could not get to work with the tool is a FlisKits Corona and Corona-2 booster but having said that, the tool is so versatile that I was able to configure it to hold the fins/wings of a Red River U.S.S. Prometheus.

--- Ron
 

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