Posts

Underpants Elastic Bands and other mistakes

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 The Thrifty Rocketeer blog continues.... Normally, this blog tries to give you some helpful, positive tips.  But today, we will look at a couple of things NOT to try. Just tonight, I was chatting with some rocketry friends by Zoom , and one of the more senior guys holds up a couple of pieces destined for his high power rocket. He's asking for help and advice on how to proceed. He's got a medium sized carabiner in his right hand, and in his left is a strip of what he is calling an elastic band. (It looks more like the headband that Spock wears in Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home, but no matter.) It's a long length or skein of two inch wide elastic band that looks like it might either go in a truss, a bra, or some form of back brace. And he's asking, "How do I attach this to that?" The discussion starts and rules out sewing (cause the stitches won't stretch), rivets (cause they'll pop whenever it stretches), grommets (for the same reason) and glue, (as it 

"You Used Up ALL THE GLUE...."

 The Thrifty Rocketeer blog continues... No, this isn't another glue war thread. You know how when you mix up 5 or 15 minute epoxy and you're applying it, and you've just about run out, and wish that you had just a little bit more? But you can't stop and mix a little more, cause the stuff you've been applying is setting up or will surely set up before you can get the new stuff out of the tube? Well, there's a simple solution for that. As I've suggested before, one of the BEST mixing cups/surfaces for mixing epoxy turns out to be those simple paper cups that come with condiments at Captain D's restaurants. Sometimes you can find them elsewhere, like at 5 Guys Burgers or other restaurants that have/had serve-yourself-condiments like ketchup or tarter sauce. I also have found that those thin wooden sticks that they mount corndogs on in the freezer case work the best for stir sticks, and I'll tell you why... (No, not the round sharp dowels that you get a

Kevlar Strings or Rubber Shock Cords?

 The Thrifty Rocketeer blog continues.... One of the biggest debates among sport rocketeers over recent years has been what glue is best...however, that's not what this entry is about. Instead, I have heard a lot of guys insist that they hate the rubber shock cords supplied with Estes Rockets kits, and that they ALWAYS replace them with Kevlar string. This would seem to be problematic unless you plan right from the construction, how to anchor it around either the motor mount or centering ring, or both. (Does this sound familiar?  Haven't we discussed this before?) I bring this up again because another newby has asked  in another forum, whether he should replace his rubber shock cord, and it sparked a spirited discussion that overwhelmingly leaned toward replacing them, sight unseen, untested, and without recommendation of where to find this. Some guys are recommending a Kevlar string that is braded, not woven.  Others suggest a shock cord that is at least three times the length

Clean Up Time

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 The Thrifty Rocketeer blog continues.... I'm borrowing this topic and suggestion from another social media arena, because I thought it was a good tip, and worthy of repeating. Some rocketeers sit at the dinning room table between meals and finish their sanding, gluing and finishing. Others have a man-cave or a private work bench, and a few even have a rocket room where they do this work. No matter where you do your work, you produce dust... and it drives our other family members crazy. You have to clean up.  It's not enough to just vacuum or sweep up the dust.  You have to wipe down. Now me, I use a damp sponge and just kind of sweep off the table or do a quick pass over the body tube and fins before painting.  (Another strategy:  Just before the home heating season begins, I change the furnace filter out for a higher value screen/filter... 1900 Filtreet if memory serves.) But one rocketeer shared that he wipes down with a bleach towel for clean up. Specifically, he recommends

Fillet up~ An Update!

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 The Thrifty Rocketeer blog continues... The topic of how to make a filet and what to use has probably been one of the most discussed topics in all of rocketry. Let's just agree that it's important to make a filet between the body tube and the fin if you want to keep your fins attached longer. Everyone has a different technique on how they apply their glue... by a needle-nose applicator...smoothed with a wet finger... or maybe smoothed with a melon ball scoop. Well here's another tip: If you're going to be mixing epoxy, try using a small pop-cycle stick or tongue depressor as a mixing stick.  But before you get to carried away with stirring, trying to limit the amount of glue or epoxy that gets splashed up the paddle or face of the stick. By keeping the epoxy relatively close to the end of the stick, you can then re-use your mixing stick as an applicator... letting the epoxy flow off the end of the stick into the seam or joint that you are trying to re-enforce. But here

Streaming Yellow Zonkers!

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  The Thrifty Rocketeer blog continues... Here's a really short tip for those of us low power guys:  So, one of your favorite kit  builds contains an old school crepe paper streamer. The theory is that the ruffles and crinkles in the paper surface will create more turbulence and slow the descent of the rocket through drag. The problem is that the crepe paper is fragile and rips easily.  So what to do if your little roll of flame-proofed paper should shred or float away on the breeze? Most rocketeers will try to replace the streamer with something a little bit more substantial... like surveyor's ribbon or tape.  This comes in many different colors of the rainbow, but you can usually pick up a roll of the thin plastic tape in florescent orange at your local hardware store for under 2 for $5.  If you shop carefully, maybe under a buck! You can run roll 1 to 2 feet, tightly roll it up around a pencil or tight like a home-made cigarette, and attach it to the shock-cord or nose cone

Rocket Around the Christmas Tree

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The Thrifty Rocketeer blog continues... First, I do not speak for the National Association of Rocketry , nor any other major rocketry group. Second, who am I to express an opinion on this short TV series?  Just a knowledgeable rocketeer who has a background in television, as it happens. About a year ago, a producer made overtures to the rocketry community, looking for people to participate in a reality show about making and flying rockets.  Word spread through the various boards and clubs about it, and MOST people turned their backs at the invitation, thinking this was going to be something awful like "Hog Wild" or "Jersey Shore". As it is, some people were attracted, and after a half year or more development, it appears that " Rocket Around the Christmas Tree " is the result.  ( RACT for here on out.) The short series appears to be a short holiday stunt with about three or so "episodes" on a competition theme.  It airs on the Discovery Channel