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Posted by pallen_2006 | Apr 24, 2010 @ 08:04 PM | 3,971 Views
This is the level 3 certification package that is required for review before my level 3 flight. It's essentially a more formal and detailed version of what's in this blog already.
Posted by pallen_2006 | Mar 29, 2010 @ 02:22 AM | 4,854 Views
I flew my L3 rocket on a Pro54 K820-Blue Streak motor. I'm excited to say that it was a perfect flight into a nice blue sky! You can tell from the boost pictures that the launch was nice and straight up.
The reported altitudes were: 3308 according to the HA45K and 3324 according to the Co-Pilot, leaving an average of 3316 feet.

Positive Ascent First Flight - Pro54 K820 Blue Streak (0 min 6 sec)

I should be all set to fly the M1230 Imax motor for the level 3 cert flight in May pending some signatures and good weather.

Thanks to everyone who has helped get this thing in the air, fund it, photograph it, take videos, recover it, or otherwise support it any way!...Continue Reading
Posted by pallen_2006 | Mar 18, 2010 @ 05:26 PM | 4,794 Views
I finished the final wiring and switch mounting in the electronics bay. With that, all that's left is a little manipulation of some 3/4" conduit brackets for motor retention and the rocket is officially done.

I know the hand written switch labels don't look great, but it gets the job done and it follows my "theme" of making the rocket look good from a few feet away.
Posted by pallen_2006 | Mar 07, 2010 @ 10:57 PM | 5,178 Views
I received my Cesaroni Pro75 motor hardware and motor from Ken Allen at Performance Hobbies. This is the setup that will be used for my level 3 certification flight. This is the 5 grain case, though the M1230-Imax motor is a 4 grain reload. This requires the use of the grain spacer during assembly to take up the extra length. This is convenient because it means I can use bigger motors in the future with no additional hardware, which saves a good amount of money....Continue Reading
Posted by pallen_2006 | Feb 25, 2010 @ 08:02 PM | 4,633 Views
I finished up the clear coat on my rocket last night. Not that it's noticeable from the pictures, but it looks nicer up close than it did. Reasonably even and nice and shiny. Not the best paint job I've ever done but good enough for me.

All that's officially left to complete the rocket now is installing the rail buttons (launch pad interfaces) and a little bit of wiring work. Probably no more than 2 hours worth of work if I had the components at school to finish it up.
Posted by pallen_2006 | Dec 16, 2009 @ 04:26 AM | 5,568 Views
Well my order from Giant Leap Rocketry came in. I now have all recovery components for the rocket. In the most recent order I received the rest of the nylon shock cord (12 more yards), two more Kevlar Parachute protectors, the drogue parachute and the main parachute.

I also have begun the (rather tedious and slow) process of applying internal fillets to the fin/body tube joints. Each joint will have about 1.5 ounces of epoxy injected into the correct area. Then I use the special tool of gravity to get the epoxy to settle overnight into the proper area. This means I can only do 1 (or 2 if I push it) fillets in one night....Continue Reading
Posted by pallen_2006 | Dec 08, 2009 @ 02:16 AM | 5,531 Views
I made more progress this past weekend on the rocket. I finished the electronics bay, which involved mounting the arming switches for the altimeters, running all the wiring for the 4 charges (8 wires total for that), and the wiring for the switches (4 wires for those). I also drilled 4 small "sampling holes" for the altimeters to read the air pressure changes. I'm satisfied with how it turned out.

I also finally epoxied the fin can/motor mount assembly into the aft tube. Now it's ready for internal, followed by external epoxy fillets.

I've also included some pictures of some of the recovery devices. More will be added once obtained later....Continue Reading
Posted by pallen_2006 | Nov 23, 2009 @ 08:20 PM | 5,812 Views
Still working on the rocket.

I have began priming and sanding the fore tube. There's lots of work in finishing a rocket this size. At this scale, it seems that everything takes twice as long to do and takes four times the materials.

I now have all the electronics, I just have to finish mounting them on their respective boards. The mounting boards for the electronics are 1/16" balsa core with 2 layers of 10 oz/sq.yrd. on each side. They turned out very strong, and nice and thin, as I was hoping.

I made the bridle (the "Y" of shock cord) for the nose cone recovery harness.

Also, since the fin can is done, I thought I would try a little experiment to "make sure it's strong."

Model Rocket Recovery Harness Test (0 min 6 sec)
...Continue Reading
Posted by pallen_2006 | Nov 13, 2009 @ 01:47 AM | 5,978 Views
I've made much progress on the rocket project. The fin can is now complete, which is exciting. The aft tube has the Kevlar sock in place, which needs A LOT of sanding before the finishing Easyglas Sock from Giant Leap Rocketry will go on. Then I can finally epoxy the whole fin can in place.

The nose cone is complete, with a whole structure allowing me to have fully adjustable nose weight for stability margin purposes.

All bulkheads are complete and I now have the motor casing from Cesaroni's Pro-54 line. I'm not sure which K the first flight will be on, but any of them for the 6 grain case will put the rocket in the 4500 foot altitude range.

Next will be sanding the aft tube, applying the Easyglas sock, and installing the fin can. Also, the electronics bay will be completed....Continue Reading
Posted by pallen_2006 | Oct 02, 2009 @ 09:31 PM | 6,128 Views
Now that I certified level 2 for rocketry, I really got that "level 3 bug." So my newest rocket is by far the largest I've done. I'm not sure if I will ever do my level 3 flight, but I'm documenting the build so I could put together the required Cert3 "package" that's required. Plenty of performance is available with level 2 motors anyway. See attachments for performance estimates based on Rocksim 9.

This time, I'm doing a scratch build. Significant progress is already done, as I've been working on it for a month or so in "spare" time at school.

See picture captions for more info on materials and methods.

Here's some specs:
Length: 106 inches = just under 9 feet
Diameter: 5.4 inches
Projected weight (dry) = 18-20...Continue Reading
Posted by pallen_2006 | Aug 26, 2009 @ 03:20 PM | 5,634 Views
The J350 certification flight went perfectly. Sorry no video but we got some good pictures. On Sunday I flew it 2 more times, each on I motors.

The J350 put it up 2678 feet. The I300 (purple flame) put it up 1481 feet and the I285 (red flame) put it up 1467 feet.
Posted by pallen_2006 | Aug 20, 2009 @ 08:31 PM | 5,709 Views
This is my level 2 high power certification rocket. Level 2 means I will be able to fly up to 5120 Newton-seconds of total impulse, or a full "L" motor. It is a Public Missiles Eclipse, built stock except I'm not using the "Kwik-Switch" motor mount, which means I will be able to use the 38/1080 motor case in it.

I am planning on doing the first flight as my certification flight this weekend at the MARS club launch. The motor will be an Aerotech J350W. I will be using PML's Co-Pilot V2.0 altimeter for dual deployment. There will be a drogue at apogee and the main at 600 feet. Expected performance is about 3200 feet per Rocksim, and 350 mph. Hopefully in flight pics and a video are to follow.
Posted by pallen_2006 | Jun 18, 2009 @ 06:14 PM | 6,134 Views
The Traxxas 1/16 Revo VXL and Slash 4WD VXL are finally here! I got the Revo and it is so much fun. It's so fast, dare I say that it's too powerful?! No that's impossible. When I run it with two batteries, I can't keep the front wheels on the ground.
Posted by pallen_2006 | Jun 11, 2009 @ 01:39 PM | 6,510 Views
Here's my newest plane. I put it together yesterday and I already have about 10 flights on it. It's a blast!

Running it on the 3S setup for outdoors.

Quick video here:

Electrifly Yak 54 (1 min 40 sec)

Posted by pallen_2006 | Jun 07, 2009 @ 10:17 PM | 6,486 Views
I finished doing the CAD for the 1/32 balsa sheeting that will sandwich the vertical stabilizers. There are 4 pieces that interlock together to make sure the grain can run parallel to the "long" edge in each piece. This will create the most rigid structure.
Posted by pallen_2006 | Jun 05, 2009 @ 09:45 PM | 6,391 Views
I made some decent progress on the vertical stabilizers. It might be overkill but here's the design (overkill is better than too weak in this application!):

-1/16 ply core piece
-1/16 balsa on either side of that
-sheeted (with lightening holes) on either side of that

Result: 5 layers adding up to .25 inch thick vertical stabilizers.

The pictures are only the 3 inner layers (minus the strip stock parts). Sheeting will be cadded and added soon.
Posted by pallen_2006 | May 17, 2009 @ 11:02 PM | 6,185 Views
So this is as far as I am now on the 48 inch rocket canard. Most of the laser cut stuff is done in CAD now. All that's left is the vertical stabilizers and the control surface pieces.

The winglets on the canard ("canardlets?") are not going to be solid; they're just there for a demonstration of how they are attached with carbon pins.
Posted by pallen_2006 | Feb 07, 2009 @ 11:01 PM | 6,305 Views
I finished the parts of the wing box. You can see that the side walls and formers are now in place at the rear. I also lightened the ribs appropriately but I cannot update the assembly to reflect this without it being a tedious (and annoying) task. I included a sketches so you can at least still see how the ribs are lightened.