Posts

The $5 Rocket challenge

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  The Thrifty Rocketeer blog continues... Have you'all heard about a new video challenge that's sweeping the hobby?  It seems like a natural for the Thrifty Rocketeer to jump on.  But let's talk about this a little. The video was shared on Facebook but is posted on YouTube as the 5-Dollar Rocket Challenge. The basic idea is that you and your friends each put up five dollars and make a run to the nearest dollar store.    You're building a rocket from scratch, using only the cheap supplies that you can find at the Dollar Store. You each can buy anything you like, but the total must be under five dollars. Now, there are no restrictions on how many fins, launch lugs, recovery system or tubes are involved. A pre-package of Estes Motors (C's or D's) is provided along with a working rocket pad and launch controller. Various glues are provided, but the catch is you must build and complete within one hour. In a sense, this is a party game among equally matched rocket fri

Ring Binders

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 The Thrifty Rocketeer blog continues.... Here's a quick one for you low power guys and gals. Have you ever made a low power rocket that used a streamer? Typically these days, the streamer is made from surveyor's tape, but in the past, they have been crinkled crepe paper, and other things as well. It seems inevitable that the streamer will someday be ejected while the rocket is still going too fast, either on the way up or the way down.  And so the streamer will either be torn from the shock cord, or begin to rip. Well, one of the easiest preventative steps is to place a plastic or paper binder ring on both sides of the fabric material (for lack of a better name) to protect the hole and strengthen it against ripping.  You can also repair torn streamers this way. However, when it's a crepe paper streamer, I have always taken a two inch piece of clear plastic sealing tape and folded it over that end of the streamer. Pressing it down with one inch on one side, and the other in

Shock Cords and Other Delights!

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The Thrifty Rocketeer blog continues.... This weekend, I scored a couple of victories.  Not only was the weather perfect.... into the mid-70s with low humidity and no clouds, but there was a low turn-out at our club launch.  (It seems a lot of people decided to go "Dancin' in the Streets" as Martha Reeves used to sing. Anyway, the point is the leaves were almost all off the trees, and I got a chance to walk off into the woods at the end of our launch field.  The silver rocket that Joel had lost and left in the tallest tree appeared to have vanished. So I headed for it, easily spotted in the woods as the one oak that still had its brown leaves.  It served as a point to navigate to and could be spotted from pretty much anywhere else in the mostly balding trees in this copse. As I descended the steep slope and approached it, I kept looking up and scanning around to see if I could spot a clue to its location.    Sure enough, as I approached the small trickle that marked the b

Edmund Aerospace Legacy

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 The Thrifty Rocketeer blog continues... About five years or so ago, a short while after I got into this hobby, I saw a person fly a glider at a club launch, and was immediately interested to look into it more. An internet search turned up a forum that suggested that I look at Edmund Aerospace.com but to do so quickly, because they were selling down their supplies.  I was immediately intrigued, as decades ago I had an Edmund Scientific telescope (and still have it today) and I thought I recognized the name. When I got on their website, it became obvious that most of their models were named with double letters or plays on alphabet letters... but many of them were either sold out or had reduced supplies.   So I knew that I would have to order a couple for my first order if ever I wanted to see them. I ordered the Ci-Ci and the  Deltie.  When they arrived promptly, I set to assembling them quickly and discovered a few things: The kits were simple, because there aren't a lot of parts t

Glue Wars

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 The Thrifty Rocketeer blog continues... No, this is not another "which glue is best" thread. Instead, I want to share a couple of horror stories with you about why you should ask the above question. When I first got into this hobby, I didn't have a lot of spare cash...I didn't have a lot of spray paint (yet)...and my glue options were few. Now several years before, for Christmas, my wife bought a couple of these assemble-yourself-kit-furniture kits, and we started a tradition of assembling the "thing" immediately on Christmas evening after the meal was cleared. Now, if you've ever assembled one of these pieces of furniture, you'll know that the instructions are stilted, the count of hardware is always exactly on, with virtually NO extras... and they supply their own tiny bottle of glue. Typically, the tube is smaller than a tube of toothpaste, but about the size of a lip therapy Vaseline jelly tube. As I recall the tube had a red or orange cap, a

First Flights

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 The Thrifty Rocketeer blog continues... Most of us have flown an Estes Rocket kit before, and so we are familiar with the small blurb on the packaging and certainly in the instructions that cite two or three motors that the model will fly on.   It's my understanding that these motors are:  Currently in production (at the time the kit is produced) Designed to "fit" in the unaltered kit, and Tested in "Open Rocket"  or similar RocSim program  The  company has done all the hard work for you... taking into account the area of the fins, the location of the center of propulsion, the center of gravity, the length of the body tube, the weight of the constructed model... everything assumed to be as they designed and intended the kit to be assembled. Now, if you've deviated from the plans, or made a special modification, you're gonna have to factor those changes into the rocket simulation program and see what it recommends for your motors to effectively fly the b

There is Another...

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 The Thrifty Rocketeer blog continues... Many decades ago, there was a nifty science fiction movie that appeared at my local drive in theater when I was a teen.  "Colossus: The Forbin Project" was a great piece of  doomsday/ cold war speculation that featured the outstanding actor Eric Braeden as Charles Forbin.  The movie was taken from the first of the Colossus trilogy of books, and remains as one of my favorites. The reason why I mention this, is because after the USA converts all of it's defense capabilities to a supercomputer named "Colossus", the very first thing that it does when it is switched on  is state, "THERE IS ANOTHER SYSTEM...." The plot doesn't go exactly where Skynet in the Terminator goes, but it is shocking that the computer immediately recognizes that the Soviets have also been building their own version of a super computer. It's not long before the two systems w ant a link so that they can "talk". Danger ensues.