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Truax Christmas Bell Build (and Mutilation)

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JAL3

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The 2009 Holiday Bell is Erik Truax's Christmas gift to the rocketry community for 2009. It is a rocket powered flying model of a Christmas bell. He offered downloads of the plan on TRF and must have had substantial response because all attempts I made to download it were met with a server error stating that the maximum downloads had been reached. He was kind enough to send me the Zip file for the rocket and I immediately thought that putting it together sounded preferable to filling out end of year paperwork.

The Zip file consisted of 2 PDF files of the actual cutouts and a 5 page PDF of the instructions. All I had to do was print out the shrouds on 60# cardstock and the instruction on bond and was ready to go.

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JAL3

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I began the process by starting to cut out the various pieces and gluing them together to form the various "rings". First up for me was the "aft bulkhead" which is actually the interior surface of the bell. It was nice because it had a minimum of "shark's teeth" to deal with. This and all other parts were cut out with a fresh X-acto with the piece lying on top of one of my wife's butcher plates. (Don't tell her!)

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JAL3

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When it was cut out, a very light coat of white glue was applied to the glue tab and it was glued together to form the interior cone.

Bell-aft-bulk-2.jpg
 

JAL3

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I next turned to the conic section that would be second from the top. It was chosen because it happened to be the next one I picked up. Again, there were not too many of the teeth to cut out and, once cut, it was glued along the tab line.

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JAL3

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The top section came next for much the same reason. It also had a lug hole to cut out.

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JAL3

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The main body of the bell came next. By this time, the teeth were becoming tedious and I adopted a procedure of making all the cuts in one direction first and then trying the other. It seemed to help.

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JAL3

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The bottom rim of the bell was the most tedious part. It had teeth along both edges. In time,though, it too was cut and glued, just in time for me to do the Christmas Eve service at my church.

Bell-conics-7.jpg


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JAL3

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The "body tube" of this rocket is actually the bell handle. It was fairly easy to cut out since it is essentially a rectangle with some glue tabs.

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JAL3

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Since rolling paper tubes is a known weakness of mine, I decided to pre-roll the handle around a wooden dowel of smaller diameter than the actual handle is supposed to be in order to get the final handle to holds its shape more easily.

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JAL3

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The handle was then glued into a tube at the marked line.

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JAL3

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While the glue set up on the bell and handle portions, I turned my attention to the nose cone. I started out by using an X-acto to cut out the floral shaped piece that would be folded into the cone. For my clumsy fingers, it was an exacting process.

Bell-nc-1.jpg
 

JAL3

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When it was cut out and I had shaved off the excess paper as best I could, I applied a touch of white glue to the tabs of 4 of the cone sections. These were not four adjacent panels but 4 spaced out to form a cross. These four pieces were then mated to the adjacent panels, turning the piece from a 8 petaled flower into a 4 petaled one. This order was adopted based on the recommendations in the instructions and made putting the cone together much easier than it otherwise would have been.

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JAL3

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As the glue on the NC petals was drying, I cut out the band that would form the shoulder of the nose cone.

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JAL3

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The band was then glued into a loop using the marked line to determine the circumference.

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JAL3

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While that set up, I applied a little glue to form the 4 lobes of the cone into two, giving it an even more pronounced curve.

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JAL3

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That was given an hour to dry and then the final two sets of tabs were glued into place to finish forming the leader surface.

Bell-nc-6.jpg
 

JAL3

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A coating of white glue was also applied to the inside of the cone to strengthen as help to seal it a bit.

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JAL3

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Fortunately for me, I had the presence of mind to test fit the shoulder band of the nosecone into the body tube (handle) before trying to affix it to the nose cone. It was too big and did not fit either because I had rolled the tube too tightly or because I had not rolled the band tight enough. A check with a spent motor casing revealed a bit of both. The motor was tight but did fit. I cut a slit out of the NC band and reglued it with a tight but not too tight fit.

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JAL3

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When that had set, some glue was put on the sawtooth tabs of the band and it was fixed to the cone proper.

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SpaceAXEplorer

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Fortunately for me, I had the presence of mind to test fit the shoulder band of the nosecone into the body tube (handle) before trying to affix it to the nose cone.
Eric interjection! - That's MY BAD!
The instructions say- Now is a good time to roll up, fit and glue the nose cone shoulder, and engine block strips into their respective tube ends.

:bangpan: I should have put more emphasis on the idea that I always roll up those type of parts tight, and then unroll them in wherever itis they go. I then make a mark on the outside where the end is supposed to roll to, or put a dab of glue on the innermost end of the roll, and when tacked, remove, and finsh roll/glueing them properly. Then test fit again.
I put stuff like that in my General directions building guide, now on my site.
Sometimes I assume too much that folks will kow what I'm going on about. Build threads like this are a great personal improvement tool for me.Thanks for posting this John :)
 

JAL3

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Eric interjection! - That's MY BAD!
The instructions say- Now is a good time to roll up, fit and glue the nose cone shoulder, and engine block strips into their respective tube ends.

:bangpan: I should have put more emphasis on the idea that I always roll up those type of parts tight, and then unroll them in wherever itis they go. I then make a mark on the outside where the end is supposed to roll to, or put a dab of glue on the innermost end of the roll, and when tacked, remove, and finsh roll/glueing them properly. Then test fit again.
I put stuff like that in my General directions building guide, now on my site.
Sometimes I assume too much that folks will kow what I'm going on about. Build threads like this are a great personal improvement tool for me.Thanks for posting this John :)
Don't go beating your head with a skillet. I read the directions but not while I was putting it together. I did it a few days ahead of time. Most of the building I have described took place on Christmas Eve between services when all I had was the printout, some Elmers, a toothpick, an Xacto and my wife's cutting board. The goal was some entrainment for me while not getting caught by SHE WHO MUST BE OBEYED.
 

JAL3

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Messing with the nose cone gave a chance for the various rings to dry and they seemed ready to assemble.

Bell-conic-assembly-1.jpg
 

JAL3

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The instructions reveal that alignment of the bell sections is achieved with a series of tick marks that are aligned with seams. With that known, I began to put the sections together, putting a little white glue on the shark's teeth and gluing a little bit at a time. When that was dry, I would do a little more.

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JAL3

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When the first two pieces were together, I started on the next and found that a little clamp was helpful.

Bell-conic-assembly-5.jpg
 

JAL3

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Then came the top section which was slowly glued in place in the same way.

Bell-conic-assembly-6.jpg


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JAL3

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The launch lug intended for this project is hand rolled from the same cardstock as the rest of the project. To me, that did not sound fun and I cheated and glued on a piece of 1/8" lug I had sitting around.

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JAL3

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The instructions for the Holiday bell leave the builder to make decisions about the shock cord system but do say that Mr. Truax recommends elastic attached by means of a slit as some of the old Estes designs use. I went with a trifold and a piece of Kevlar because I happened to have it sitting handy. One end of the Kevlar was knotted and then glued into a very ugly trifold cut from a piece of the instructions already used. The mount was then glued into the tube using a 1/2" bolt to press it into place.

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JAL3

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The other end of the Kevlar was also knotted and then bent double into the NC. A large glob of white glue was then poured in to fix in into place.

Bell-shock-3.jpg


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JAL3

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I test fitted the aft bulkhead with the handle and slid them into the bell to take note of where everything would line up. Some glue was then applied to the handle and the bulkhead was glued in place to the handle.

Bell-aft-bulk-3.jpg


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JAL3

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While the glue on the handle was drying, I took a pair of needle nose pliers and bent back all of the shark's teeth around the bottom of the bell to prepare it for receiving the bulkhead.

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