Construction Rating: starstarstarstarstar
Flight Rating: starstarstarstarstar_border
Overall Rating: starstarstarstarstar
Manufacturer: Art Applewhite Rockets

Brief:
Won this Art Applewhite saucer kit as part of the 2009 EMRR Rocket Video Contest. www.artapplewhite.com offers numerous cool oddrocs in various styles (saucers, pyramids, monocopters, hourglass/spools, etc) and sizes (i.e. 4" to 18" diameter saucers). I had been thinking about scratch building a saucer for sometime, and am glad I got hold of this kit first. The finished kit is as strong as anything I would have scratch built and much more light weight.

Construction:
Parts provided by kit:

  • Card stock for top and core assembly
  • One thick 10.25” plastic picnic plate for the bottom
  • One thick walled 29mm motor tube
  • One 3/16” launch lug
  • 3” x 6” x 3/32” basswood fin stock
  • 4 pages cardstock printed with patterns ready for cut out
  • 6 pages of instructions
  • 1 plate cutting guide

Tools and materials required:

  • Scissors and/or utility/exacto knife
  • Elmers white glue is recommended (I used Titebond II wood glue)
  • Devcon 2 ton Epoxy or clear, 30 minute epoxy
  • Clear enamel is recommended
  • 150 grit sandpaper

The top half and core are constructed using cardstock and white glue (I used wood glue). As mentioned in a previous review, plates and bowls are used to keep things centered up and to apply uniform pressure when gluing the core to the top half. Simple, easily executed technique that I would have not thought of myself. Up to this point everything was constructed out of card stock and seemed fairly flimsy.

After using the plate cutting guide to cut out the core hole from the plastic picnic plate, the plastic picnic plate is placed over/around the core and glued together at the core. At this point the build was getting more sturdy.

A fin can is created by cutting fins from the basswood, and gluing to the provided motor mount. I glued the provided 3/16” launch lug to the fin can as instructed. I also added a 1/4” launch lug to the fin can, as I prefer to launch from a wider diameter rod. The fin can is then glued into the core.

At this point, the kit was complete except for finishing. With the addition of the fin can, the kit was surprisingly strong to me. I have no doubt, the kit will hold up to any g motors and likely many larger motors.

Finishing:
The original flying saucer kits are available in fluorescent green, fluorescent yellow, fluorescent orange, white, smiley, and hot pink. I ordered the white figuring i would paint it a mixture of colors. In the end i decided to paint it silver and apply silver monokote on the top portion of the rocket.

My final weight came in at 2.5 oz, instead of the manufactured listed 1.5 oz. I think the extra ounce was due to the addition of monokote, the extra launch lug, and overapplication of epoxy.

Construction Rating: 5 out of 5

Flight:
For the initial launch, I loaded up an Aerotech G64W-4. The instructions describe using friction fit for motor retention. In lieu of friction fit, I opted to loop 20 gauge steel write around the nozzle of the motor and through the provided 3/16” launch lug. The saucer was then placed on a 1/4” rod. Launch winds were 10 mph.

Everyone at the launch was surprised by how quickly the saucer leapt off the pad, how high the saucer went, and how straight the saucer flew. The saucer quit ascending almost immediately upon motor burnout.

http://www.flickr.com/photos/bguff/sets/72157622785756553/

http://www.youtube.com/user/bguffer#p/u/1/CTGjvCq_VQo

http://www.youtube.com/user/bguffer#p/u/0/Milflcco0fU

Recovery:
After reaching apogee, the saucer turned over and started flipping/fluttering toward the ground. I'm not certain flipping is normal behavior of saucer recovery. If not, I suspect the flipping had something to do with the extra weight I added during construction. Regardless, the saucer descended slowly and safely, and everything was recovered intact ready to fly again.

Flight Rating: 4 out of 5

Summary:
If you are looking to build a saucer, definitely consider checking out www.artapplerockets.com. This kit produces a great saucer, and definitely teaches the builder that light weight materials can be used to create very strong rockets.

Overall Rating: 5 out of 5

Comments:

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DAU (July 21, 2003)
The only thing I would improve would be to mark the center of the plate, and the center of the cut out template. If Art were to build a jig for the plate, that centered the plate and poked a center hole, it would be a lot easier to center the template. Other than this, the rocket was an easy built. From start to finish, about 2 hours (including waiting for glue to dry). Flights are fantastic. I've flown it on an F20 and an F23. The rocket rips of the pad, and then drag takes over. The recoveries have been slow and gentle. Since the F20 is one of the loudest little motors out there, this would be a spectacular school demo rocket: loud, colorful, interesting and easy to recover.
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S.S. (October 25, 2003)
With this design, you can burn pounds of AP, one motor at a time! I just flew it today. Winds were steady at 15-20mph. Noone was flying. I put my 29x10.5 Saucer up on a G40 with the ejection charge removed. Despite the wind, she went straight up. It's awesome to see such a small rocket with such a big flame under it. The motors work so hard to achieve such little altitude. The recovery was the best. Mine always stops, turns over and falls gently to the ground! I can't wait to build my 38mm saucer.

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