Your general rocketry helpful tips?

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katinthebox

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No I know what it means, I was laughing at seeing it used.
 

H_Rocket

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Every rocket has an expiration date. No, it's not printed anywhere.

If blowing it up, burning it up, watching it drift way to parts unknown, or to the top of a tree right above an endangered species bird nest, auger in and bury itself or spread out over a 100' circle as it hits the pavement, or returns to kit form while under thrust bother you, don't let that idiot push the launch button. Put it on a shelf and go play with your trains.
 
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jqavins

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Don't say "Yeah, that should be OK." As I reminded myself the hard way (again) last weekend. In rocketry or any sort of engineering "Should be OK" should be considered the vilest of curses.

Another way to look at it is this: imagine it's after the flight, and the flight was a failure. What's the first thing you'll think of as a suspected culprit? If you have a ready answer to that question, go fix it now.
 

teepot

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Put your name and contact information in and/or on your rocket. (That's another one I'm guilty of not doing.)
I got some stickers from Stickershock that have my name and phone number. It also says reward and has my NAR and TRA numbers. One goes on every rocket. I also made a sticker that has the rocket length, weight, what chute to use and what size motor mount. It is there so I can fill out the flight card without looking in a book or guessing.
 

MidOH

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Put your name and contact information in and/or on your rocket. (That's another one I'm guilty of not doing.)
Put someone else's name and number in your rocket. Hopefully you won't be blamed for your Mylar streamer tripping out an entire substation (they can keep it, I'll be over here whistling suspiciously).
 

katinthebox

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When you open a kit, after verifying all parts are present and accounted for, read through the instructions and imagine yourself executing the steps as shown.
This is the best way I've found to avoid crossing a point of no return. (Of course, I learned this by crossing said point several times).
Instructions aren't infallible. Case in point, the last two Estes kits I've built. Quinstar- Assemble and glue all large balsa pieces in place, then insert the center pentagonal bit. Excuse me? On what planet do they think those are going to align properly at that point? Superneon- Install motor mount, then spend half your day marking straight lines on cylinders, glue stabilizing tubes, paying painstaking and impossible care to keep each oriented to the rest according to your lines, around the main body tube. Efff this. If you wait and install the motor mount until after this step, you can skip the tube marking process and just glue cylinders together as they would naturally align on a tabletop, then mark where the fins go by drawing a couple hexagons on some paper, cutting a 1" hole in the center of one, sliding it around the main body tube, and centering the whole shebang over the other hexagon so both are aligned with the stabilizer tubes, and using the vetices to mark where to make the lines for your fins. Putting the motor mount in first means you can't set the thing upright on a table anymore! Nothing in the rest of the build would prohibit you from putting it in later!
 

jqavins

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As does a pea-size blob of Fun-Tack or equivalent. Or a bit of almost anything, really.
 

neil_w

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Anyone know why they made such a rolly handle in the first place? Yes I am too lazy to Google it.
 

jqavins

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I assume because manufacturing round things is easier than other shapes. Simple as that. I assume.

Come to think of it, blades that stick out wider than the handle would have prevented the problem to begin with.
 

manixFan

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Don't overbuild. The more you overbuild, the more you need to overbuild. Overbuilding adds unnecessary weight, and weight is almost always the opposite of what we want in a model rocket.


Tony
 

jqavins

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Take good advice on how to build. Take good advice on how to fly. Don't let anyone tell you how to have fun!
 

dr wogz

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Build light, flies right
Build straight, flies Great!


Don't force sand paper. If you spend hours sanding, maybe you need to look at what you are sanding, and maybe take this as a lesson in not to over-do the filets / bondo / cutting, etc..

Someone has likely already done it. Ask! (They have likely done it, and learned from it, or have handled the issue successfully / thoughtfully)

Smile, be polite. Advise is free, and freely offered. Accept it, and say thank you (even if it is your own advise coming back to you!)

There is always someone more: Smarter / Skilled / Educated / Opiniated / Armed / etc... Learn from them: either what to do / not to do..

Your opinion isn't always right / best / the common one
 

jqavins

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Smile, be polite. Advise is free, and freely offered. Accept it, and say thank you.
See below.
There is always someone more: Smarter / Skilled / Educated / Opiniated / Armed / etc... Learn from them: either what to do / not to do.
Or just learn from them how to (see above) smile and listen politely. Sometimes, free advice is worth what you pay. Sometimes it's worth a heck of a lot more. Listen, consider, but do not abdicate either the right or your responsibility to make your own decisions.

Learn from mistakes. That's something everyone knows and says, but sometimes they don't consider the other side of the coin; you have to make mistakes to learn from! (Yes, I know, the wise person learns from other people's mistakes, but you've still got to make a couple of your own.)
 

dr wogz

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And I should also add:

"I don't know" is a perfectly valid answer. (unlike what we are taught in school..) I'm teaching this to a few student teams.. If you don't know, you don't know... Don't guess or make something up!
 

jqavins

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Doc W, I think that in posts 45 through 48, we've wandered out of rocketry advice and into (good) life advice.
 

Woody's Workshop

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When papering fins use a single piece of paper folding it over the longest edge that is not the root edge. When cutting to fit put a double fold an remaining edges and leave enough paper past the root edge of 1/4 to 1/2 inch for mounting tabs.
Provides a sturdy fin and additional area of attachment for the fin to the air frame.
 

Rocketless

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And I should also add:

"I don't know" is a perfectly valid answer. (unlike what we are taught in school..) I'm teaching this to a few student teams.. If you don't know, you don't know... Don't guess or make something up!
I often say: “This might sound like a dumb question, but I am going to ask it anyways because I want to learn”
In business meetings, I am often shocked to learn that absolutely no one knew the answer either but were afraid to ask for fear of looking stupid.
 

katinthebox

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I assume because manufacturing round things is easier than other shapes. Simple as that. I assume.

Come to think of it, blades that stick out wider than the handle would have prevented the problem to begin with.
Actually, aluminum hex rod stock is cheaper than round. Like, 35% cheaper or more, depending on supplier.
My guess is the extra time required to machine one end before cutting the threading for the grip/blade retaining ring gets costly.
 

jqavins

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My guess is the extra time required to machine one end before cutting the threading for the grip/blade retaining ring gets costly.
Well, that would make "manufacturing round things... easier than other shapes", would it not? Knerling hex stock is also more difficult (to say the least) and therefore more costly.
 

katinthebox

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Well, that would make "manufacturing round things... easier than other shapes", would it not? Knerling hex stock is also more difficult (to say the least) and therefore more costly.
I misunderstood what you meant. Manufacturing the round material results in a more expensive product was my point. Working with said material, however, is cheaper.
That said, not hard to find internally threaded hex tubing at all, and if they used it for the grip, no need for the knurling... hell, just put a damn hex nut on there between the grip and the body! Are Xactos normal or fine threaded? Been awhile since I've used mine. I find a utility knife much easier to work with + safer, since there's no chance of losing the blade cover.
 
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Mike Haberer

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91% isopropyl alcohol (isopropanol, rubbing alcohol) and a paper towel will remove epoxy from your skin if the stuff hasn't gotten past the chewing-gum stage. Several applications and rubbing/scraping may be necessary.

NEVER use "denatured alcohol" from the big-box store on skin. I thought that the alcohol had 5% denaturant added., as that was what we always used in the lab. I was surprised to learn that it can contain considerably higher concentrations. If the denaturant is methanol, you may be in for a bad time. It's toxic and can be absorbed through the skin...
I use Happy Hands anytime I use epoxy or CA and sometimes when I paint. It's a skin barrier cream you put on your hands. The gooey stuff sticks to it and not your skin. Washes off with soap and water. Apogee carries it. The stuff is magic....
 

mikewrt

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When adding clay nose weight inside a plastic nose cone for an LP build, don't struggle with a dowel to tamp the clay into place. Instead, use a dowel just to get a very rough tamp. Then place the nose cone, tip down, in a water glass, preferably with a diameter just a little greater than the nose cone's; whatever you've got will do. Then fill the glass with boiling water. The clay will soften enough to flow, filling the tip of the cone neatly and completely. If it's a lot of clay in a big cone, you may have to change the water as it cools off.

I like these little glasses that come with chocolate Mole in them.
View attachment 466836
Shrimp cocktail glasses just work as well.
View attachment 466834
+1
Used this method just a moment ago to set clay in a mini honest john nose cone.
 

dr wogz

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When painting (spray painting): start at the launch lug / button holes side. Then rotate as you paint. The lug / button hole is a good start / stop point to ensure you've gone once, twice, three times around.. (or more..)

(Also ensures you've thought of the lug / buttons prior to painting! :D )


Take two spent motor casings to the hardware store. Find two wooden dowels that fit the insides of the casings. Buy them, then cut them to about 1.5ft when home. Jam or glue the casings onto the dowels.

Presto! Painting sticks! Sticks to hold the rockets while you paint!
 

jqavins

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For a 24 mm motor, the dowel is 3/4 inch or 18 mm. For an 18 mm engine, the dowel is 1/2 inch or 13 mm. For 13 mm engines, I don't know.
 

neil_w

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Not just for rocketry: get a couple of packs of these things, they're cheap and great:
77E9B6AE-B19B-4039-AD09-B67D421005FB_1_105_c.jpeg
 
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