Project Gemini Update
Project Gemini is back on track… luckily I did not a schedule for completion, setting myself up for failure, so there is no pressure. This weekend I am focusing all of my efforts on the avionics package. In July I modeled up an avionics assembly in a SolidWorks 3D program. This 3D program is an invaluable tool, as it lets me design, fit and perfect an assembly before I make too many purchases, and cut and drill too many parts. With many of my past projects I always cut and drilled on the fly, basically whatever it took to get a avionics package installed andsecured. For a single altimeter system, this approach is accetable, however, I wanted to use redundant system in the Black Dahlia, and I wanted to incorporate a few terminal blocks to help with wire and small harness management. Modeling everything first in SolidWorks has allowed me to place components so taht I use the available space effectively and efficiently. Of course noting will replace ground testing for avionics reliability, but I have relieved the stresses associated with design. Another plus, id the design is scalable, up or down.
Another added feature of having access to a 3D design program, is the ability to print 1:1 scale drawings to use as templates for semi-precision hole drilling. I say semi-precision, as in my case I am freehanding the holes on the Harbor Freight drill press, and there may be slight inconsistancies (user error) in exact hole placement. To compensate for this, many of the holes are slight over-sized to reduce binding and fit. Mother nature has porvided a glorious weekend, so all of my efforts have been outdoors. Most of the holes have been drilled, and I will do a preliminary assembly of the parts laster this evening, stay tuned for more updates.
“Get Busy Liv’n or Get Busy Die’n”
My daughters high school marching season has finally come to a close, and now I can get back on track. It is truely amazing how much effort it takes, when you are a band parent, and you volunteer your time and efforts to support the band through a busy and fast paced marching season. Nevertheless, there was no rocketry projects updated or started during this time, August thru October…
Starting from where I left off, I have started working on the Gemini project again, focusing my efforts on the avionics assembly. I have also ordered another motor for this vehicle, a 54mm (1600ns) motor, which will compliment the 1200ns motor already in hand. More on this project in following posts.
That is pretty much it for now… my winter building season has started; once I near completion of the project Gemini vehicle (The Black Dahlia), I will start work on a Madcow Phoenix. I have a number of H and I-class Loki Research loads that are waiting to go in this rocket. I also have a mild start on another rebuild, a blast from my rocket past; the 4″ NCR SA-14 Archer. This should keep me warm on those cold southern nights.
“Get Busy Liv’n or Get Busy Die’n”
A quick update: Southern Thunder 2013 has come and gone; my lovely wife and daughter attended the event with me on Saturday, the only day we could manage. My daughter and I flew a couple rockets each, while my wife shot lots of photos. I have posted the photos to my Facebook page here: Souther Thunder 2013 album
With the event behind me, I will be focusing my efforts now on completeing a number of unfinished projects, mostly small mid and low power rockets, as well as the resurection of the Black Dahlia rocket for Project Gemini. I need to move the projects into a more completed phase so I can start on new projects; such as the Madcow Rocketry 4″ Phoenix that I picked up last month to accompany a new Loki 38/240 motor I purchased from the stimulus sale. While I was at ST2013, I also picked up a large motor order that I had placed with Chris’ Rocket Supplies. This order contained Loki Research relaods and hardware ranging from 38mm thru 76mm to inlude many H thru M relaods. I should be set for motors the remainer of the 2013 flying season, and the begining of the 2014 season.
Currently, as rain falls outside, I am utilizing the 3D modeling program, SolidWorks, to model up the avionics package for my Black Dahlia. I am waiting on two final components, and then I can finally begin and end the avionics phase of the build. To compliment the recovery for the Black Dahlia, I have purchased a 60″ chute from Rocketman; it is a very nice and well constructed main chute. More on Project Gemini in the next update post.
Get busy living or get busy dying…
Project Gemini Update
Minor update to the Gemini Project: I am rebuilding my crashed scratch built Public Enemy Extreme Performer. I am using a 36” piece of PML phenolic airframe tubing to replace the missing sections of airframe. These tubes have been glassed and will soon be ready for sanding and final prep for paint. I have selected a Giant Leap Pinnacle nosecone and a Rocketman 60” chute to compliment the final vehicle configuration.
As the airframe is heading towards completion, I am turning my focus towards the avionics. The avionics bay will be constructed from a Blue Tube 2.0 kit. It will be designed to carry two SL 100 altimeters with 9v battery sources (1ea). I’m no electrician, and on every avionics bay I have ever set-up, I struggle through the selection of proper components to build a reliable unit. Generally my avionic bays are very simplistic, which to some extent is desirable, but this time I want something bullet proof & reliable. I do not wish to over engineer the assembly, but I do want it to be well engineered… does that even make any sense?
I thought the project was hitting a major set-back last week when I realized that I had lost the snap ring and washer that are part of the Slimline boat tail retainer. But a quick email to Giant Leap Rocketry, and I was able to purchase a couple pieces of each; they should arrive in the mail early next week.
Since I started Project Gemini, the project seems to have no rhyme or reason. In the next update, I will hope to shed more light on that. There are no revelations, as Project Gemini is a personal goal… Pass or fail, it is all on me!
So Let’s Get Busy Living… or Get Busy Dying!
There are two things that determine the quality of a paint job; the quality of the products and the quality of the preparation. Yet, of all of the processes in model rocketry, sanding paint jobs is my least favorite task. The down time in between coats seems like forever, and clean-ups are usually quite messy. Now I’m no expert on the vast selection of paint materials used to create beautiful paint jobs, so I stick to what is available from the rattlecan; specifically Krylon and Rustoleum. In recent years I have settled on Rustoleum as the brand of choice for most colors and some primers. But for the topic I wanted to focus on a primer known as KILZ. This primer is an interior oil-based primer that tackles tough stains including water, smoke, tannin, grease, pet stains. The primer is a high solids primer, meaning it applies a solid coat to cover and kill the stains that can ruin interior paint jobs.
I discovered this product by accident; I was working on a rocket, got in a hurry and did not buy any primer, and was not close to a store to go get some. I rummaged through my in-laws work shop and ran across a can of KILZ that my father-in-law used to spray water stains on his walls inside of his house, just before he repainted. He had no further use, and I was in a crunch, I gave it a go. To my surprise, the primer sprayed evenly and thick, and was not prone to run if you sprayed to heavy in one location. As I sprayed the rocket, I began to see the tube spirals and wood grain disappear… Something that would take several coats of the other primers from Krylon and Rustoleum to do. I was impressed. Within 20 to 30-minutes, the rocket was dry to the touch, and in 24-hours, the primer coat sanded like a dream. My best description for KILZ would be “liquid chalk” in a can. Continue reading KILZ, a High Solids Primer
[Note: Sale Has Ended]
Just a heads up, Loki Research is offering a killer starting high power package for anyone wanting to fly in the 38mm motors and reloads. A link is supplied below to the Loki website and stimulus sale. Essentially you order two H144′s and two H160′s, and Loki will throw in the 38/240 complete motor. That is a savings of $70!!! This deal is perfect for anyone just starting out in high power, as it would allow that person to get their level 1 (TRA or NAR), with three reloads left to kick around with. I highly recommend you take advantage of this offer, because you may never see a deal like this again!!
With the acquisition of this awesome package deal, I am now in search for a rocket I can fly them in. I’m thinking the Mad Cow 4″ Phoenix would love to be my 240 newton field agent!!
Project Gemini Update
Where to start… Project Gemini has been dismantled. None of the components originally acquired to build and support this project exist anymore, save for the logo. I have decided to take Project Gemini in a new direction; the project will not be utilizing all of the latest innovations in rocketry like the parameters outlined in the last effort, but will instead concentrate more on rebuilding and giving new life to a rocket that led me to my exodus from rocketry. The rocket that nailed itself, not only into the ground, but what I thought was a nail into the coffin of my love for rocketry. I am referring to the Black Dahlia rocket. The Black Dahlia was a heavily modified Public Enemy 4″ Extreme Performer (built old skewl). This rocket was originally built in 2007 and helped to revolutionize my 2nd attempt at a return to rocketry (BAR #2). Here is a video link to that return to rocketry first flight:
The Black Dahlia would not fly again until 2009 at the Southern Thunder 2009 event. This was the nail into my rocketry adventures that was so hard to remove, here is that fateful footage (video courtesy of Kyle Cornelius):
As I pondered the fate of Project Gemini, it dawned on me that I still have the fincan from the Black Dahlia wreckage. You see, I was smart enough to keep it, if only as a reminder of what rocketry once meant to me. So as I pondered, it became clear to me, that this fincan remnant would become the cornerstone of Project Gemini. A few weekends ago, I took the fincan out of storage, and evaluated what was usable, and what still needed to be cut away. I stripped the paint off of the fincan, cut off the broken airframe, squaring it up, then installed a coupler tube… first time I have mixed epoxy since 2008… it felt good.
In the next update I will layout the future for this project, and provide build status as needed. Project Gemini and the Black Dahlia vehicle have new life, as do I.
Get busy liv’n or get busy die’n