John Simmons's (BAR-08) "Ahpla" 2 Stage Alpha Variant

This is an upscale to BT-55 of the classic Alpha from the 1970's, but the fins are mounted backwards.... thus the name "Ahpla"...  Alpha spelled backwards.

It also utilizes through-the-wall basswood plywood fins and is powered by a 24mm motor.

Additional I designed a ring finned booster for this rocket. The booster has holes in it to induce the "Magnus Effect".  The idea is to make the booster spin, and that spin creates lift that will slow the booster down prior to ground hit.

The nose cone is made from pine, custom turned on my wood lathe.

I made the fins from (3) ply's of 1/32" basswood, glued with Gorilla wood glue, and then clamped.

Decals are from Tango Papa.  They were kind enough to upscale the standard Alpha decals just for this project.

Stability was calculated by Open Rocket, and verified via swing tests as a single stage, and with the booster.


Ahpla: Photo Shoot
Ahpla Drawing: Pictorial Views
Ahpla Drawing: Exploded Views
Ahpla Drawing: Sectional View
Ahpla Drawing: 1st Stage Presentation
Ahpla Drawing: 2nd Stage Presentation
Ahpla Ring Fin: Paper Forming
Ahpla Ring Fin: Paper on Form
Ahpla Ring Fin: Glue Application on Form
Ahpla Ring Fin: 12 Layers of Paper on Form
Ahpla Ring Fin: Wax Paper
Ahpla Ring Fin: Sheet Metal Clamping
Ahpla Ring Fin: Sanding & Cutting to Length on Lathe
Ahpla Ring Fin: Sanded & Cut to Length
Ahpla Ring Fin: Drilling Holes
Ahpla Ring Fin: Dremel Sanding D-Shape
Ahpla Ring Fin: Ring Complete
Ahpla: Basswood Plywood 001
Ahpla: Basswood Plywood 002
Ahpla: Basswood Plywood 003
Ahpla: Finished Fins
Ahpla: Nose Cone
Ahpla Booster: TTW Construction
Ahpla Sustainer: TTW Construction
Ahpla Sustainer: Masking Tape Centering Rings
Ahpla Sustainer: Nose Cone Ballast Overview
Ahpla Booster: Nose Cone Ballast Complete




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