What I've been up to Pt.3

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Well-Known Member
Feb 13, 2004
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Hey all! Here is the article(?) about all of the stuff I've been doing lately that I stated i would post.I am hoping that this section is the right one to post it at since it does cover a lot of build stuff.It's also rather long and a bit winded so i'll post it in three different parts.No idea why but it just seems appropriate.

Hey all! Russ here again.The following is a summary of the projects that I have going on right now as well as a few ideas i'm tossing around.No other reason then just for the sake of writing it.
I may as well start with what I have been working on for the last couple of days.My Estes Omega two-stager clone.I had already started on this one a while back but ran into a minor screw up so I decided to just start over.This bird is a rather old Estes design that uses BT-60 tubes and an AH-60 nose cone.Most of my stuff is from BMS but the upper stage tube is from Estes.The reason for this is because I had already assembled the upper airframe just like the original.That's with a 14" tube coupled to a 5" tube.I had originally thought it looked pretty nice.However,when I was doing some final sanding on it in prep for fin attachment I noticed that it didn't look exactly right.Well I went ahead and stuck the ol' carpenters edge on it and sure enough it was out on the end by about 1/16th of an inch.Most people wouldn't blink at that but I could tell it and I just couldn't go with a crooked rocket.So at NARAM I picked up an 18" section of BT-60 from Ken at Performance Hobbies and proceeded to go with that sans that extra inch of tube.I also forgot to mention that this one will have no payload section either.
This rocket will also be John Deere yellow with a black cone.The areas that are composed of decals on the original will be painted on by me.First the whole thing will be painted John Deere yellow and then the outer part of the graphics will be masked and painted Rustoleun gloss red followed by Rustoleum glossy black for the inner part.This should come out looking really cool.
I just got done masking,pouring,waiting for and then unmasking the last two fillets on the upper stage just while ago.They all came out perfect.I think that this and my now deceased Forte' where the only two that I've ever built that didn't have some sort of imperfection in the fillets that needed filling.Most of the time they still come out looking great though.Just so y'all will know;I use epoxy for just about everything.I'll take the extra strength any day.Now if I can just get the booster to come out as nicely as the sustainer I'll be good to go.I'll probably tack the fins onto that this evening.
The next one that I'll go into is one that I've been wanting to do for some time now.Years actually.This is my 29 mm Really Really Mean Machine.I have had my stock Mean Machine for several years now and I've often thought that this bird would look awesome on an F or G sized colum of Black Jack smoke so I finally set out to build one.At first I was gonna modify a stock version until I got to looking around on the web site of BMS and realized that it would be cheaper to just build it all from their stuff.Well that's what I did.This Mean Machine is anything but stock,however.First off since my original has had it's tube shortened to 53" due to an unfortunate encounter with a door jamb that's what I did here as well.Besides that this one also got a 29 mm mount almost the complete length of the BT.It stops just 8" short.Just enough room for the recovery system.Reenforcing the rocket along it length are eight fiber centering rings.Topping all of that off the fins are 3/32 Basswood cut so that the entire root edge is one long tab.They are mounted through the wall and are attached directly to the motor mount.The way that I made my slots was a bit of a short cut.Instead of marking out the whole area of the slot what I did instead was simple mark out the centerline as per any other fin.I then used a 3/32 inch drill bit held in my hand to drill holes closely spaced all along the length of the slot.Once that was done I then used a hobby knife to trim out the excess followes by a bit of sanding.
The fillets,as well as the rest of the rocket,are made/ attached with 90 minute epoxy.Right now the bird is basically done except for some minor filling and finishing.She will be topped off with a top coat of Rustoleum Glossy Black over a base of Krylon white primer.I already have a set of Really Really Mean Machine decals which where made for me by Phred at Excelsior Rocketry.As usual they look great.Unlike the originals they are red in color.Now if I can just keep from messing them up.
Now for the next project which is actually two projects in one because I'm sorta doing them both together.These are two of Phreds Excelsior Rocketry Goonie Birds.They are the Goonie Bird Zero and the Goonie Max to be exact.I was gonna do these from scratch with BMS stuff but after a quick brain strain I decided that it would be about the same cost or cheaper to just do the Baby Bertha conversion route.This is not to mention that Ken from Performance Hobbies just happened to have a couple of them.
As of now the motor tubes have been installed in the airframes and the body tubes themselves simply need a bit more sanding to be complete.This may be a good time to explain some of my technique to everyone.For the most part my building style relies heavily on Elmers Carpenters indoor/outdoor wood filler.I have yet to try the Fill-N-Finish but I will when I get to Lowes again.I don't get over that way as often as I used to so I have to use whatever my local Ace store has.Anyhow my style is simple;I just thin my filler out with a bit of water and multi coat everything.That includes both fins and body tubes.If I'm using whole lenths of tube stock I'll fill and sand it all at once and ditto for whole sheets of wood stock.Doing this allows you to get a lot of sanding done in a shorter time because you can sand more agressively without as much fear of dinging the tube ends.Well anyhow that's the way it seems.Of course I was not able to apply this technique to the Goonie BTs but the fins will require little effort once they are cut from the stock that I already preped months ago.
Once these birds are finished I will be starting on a few other endevors.One of these I have already begun.....sort of! That is my 24 mm Big Red Max.Nothing really spectacular about this one except for the 24 mm motor mount running as far forward as possible and an additional centering ring.It will be built with an 18" Estes tube which is exactly the stock length.I picked up a second one from Performance Hobbies when I got the one for the Omega.For this one I will also be using a stock Estes cone up front since it will be a bit easier to add weight to if needed.I still need to grab me a set of rings and that cone.The BT is finished.
Another neato project that I am ponderin' is an upscale BT-80 based Big Red Max.This rocket will require a custom cone which will come from Sandman(will get back in touch soon).I already have the (once again) awesome decals from Excelsior Rocketry.It will also have the thick wall tubing from BMS as well as TTW Basswood fins.Now as far as a motor mount goes I am still undecided about that.Here I am faced with a dilema.For on this one I have to choose between either a central 29 mm or triple 24 mm mounts.The reason that this is a problem is because of the next rocket that I was gonna mention.Let me describe that one first and then you'll see what I mean.This one will be the Der Mega V-3.It'll esentially be an Estes V-3 with a full length of 34" thick wall BT-80.Everything on this one will come from BMS except for some custom decal work (hopefully) from Excelsior.This rocket will also have not only TTW Basswood fins but either a single 29 mm BT running as far forward as possible or will have four 24 mm mounts.
Now here's where the dilema starts.One of these birds will have multi 24s and one will have a single 29 mm.The only cluster bird I have in my fleet is my Estes Impulse.I've enjoyed it so much that I really do wanna ad another cluster bird.It is tempting to make both of them clusters but future motor costs are a factor.So much a factor that it's tempting to just build both as single 29s.However,that probably aint gonna happen!
Well whatever I decide upon I'm sure I will be happy with it.Perhaps i'll just draw from a hat or something.Also,one other unique feature that both of these birds will get are piston ejection systems.I've loved the PES ever since I first flew my PML Black Brant VB.Any rockets of mine that are large enough to have them will get them from now on.
O.K. on to the next one.This would be my Estes Sprint clone.Once again all BMS stuff including the nose cone which I already have.Of course the decals will come from Phred.Already I have had some conversation with others regarding the royal pain that is the boattail on this thing.I have,however,come up with a "cheat" as someone put it.I just happen to have a nose cone from an Estes Athena that has been retired for a while.Someone tried to talk me out of it but as I told them the "chrome" is chipped and it has a bit of a mold release punch dimple in it so this may actually do it some justice.I'm really hoping that I can bribe...er..uh...talk..yeah....talk Sandman into doing some more boats and cones for this size as well as some upscales.Possibly large upscales.We'll see! I would like to save this one for when I don't have anything else going on at the time which is just about impossible.I don't want to be too tempted to rush through the fin job on this one.
Now I've heard a lot of people say that this rocket can really hit some good air time.One thing that I'm really interested in seeing is how it will stand up against my Estes Zinger on the same motors.I hate to say it but my moola's on the Zinger.Can you believe that I've been lucky enough to have retrieved it from three C flights?
One other project that I hope to have done by the end of the year is a boost glider.My very first.The one that I have in mind is a clone of the old Competition Model Rockets Manta.There are plans for this bird in the March/April `97 issue of Sport Rocketry magazine.The article covers not only the 18 mm version but also how to mate it to my Estes Omega.As you can probably guess that's also where the plans and the idea for the Omega came from.I'm not gonna make any speculations at all about this thing as this will all be totally new to me.
Besides all of these things I also have a couple of other things on tap.These include such projects as building a new LOC Forte' and totally stripping my 24 mm Estes Mean Machine completely down and re-finishing it.A quick tip;Don't ever make the mistake of wiping the final coat of paint down with a tack wrag before applying your clear coat.Starting a bit after you're done the "tack" will start to turn your whole entire rocket into a huge grungy mess.Just like mine did.oooooops!!! Well,anyways,it's gonna get a whole new paint job with nice yellow lettering this time.
Some more things that I have in the wings are an Estes Astrocam 110 that I've had forever as well as a Quest Delta Clipper.I'll probably be posting HEEEEEELP!!!!!! when I get around to these.I don't have to be much of a psychic to see that a comin".
Well as a final wrap up for this extra long rant which I started days ago just let me say that the Omega booster came out perfect.One of the best fillet jobs I've ever done.Also,the Really Really Mean Machine has just recieved another layer of primer and will need just a bit more sanding here and there but not much.Hopefully I'll have these two done by the time the next NOVAAR launch rolls around on the 18th.
Finally;If anyone has any advice regarding any of the projects that I've covered here then please by all means let me know.I hope you all enjoy reading this as much as I've enjoyed telling it.-Russ