This is really a pretty basic rocket. I really got it to try something other than an Estes kit, and figured that it would be best to start with something simple. One of the cool things about this rocket (and every other rocket I have from Custom) is the mylar parachute. The rest of the rocket (motor mount, shock cord mount, fins, etc) is all just like Estes stuff. I'm not a big fan of painting and detail-finishing, so a major plus in my book was that it's just two colors of paint, and a few easy decals for a nice looking rocket.
Probably the best thing about this rocket, though, is its performance. It's fairly light for its size, and (at least compared to most of my other rockets) screams off the pad. In fact, on its very first launch, the motor was announced to the bystanders, and got quite a reaction for its lift-off speed. It goes pleasingly high on a B6-4, and goes out of sight on a C6-7.
After the first day of launching, I noticed that the shock cord was nearly burned through just above the shock cord mount. This and other, similar experiences have led me to believe that this is a weak point of Estes-style shock cord mounts. As the hot ejection charge gases and burning particles move forward during ejection, the wadding (or other protective equipment) keeps the chute and most of the shock cord from getting fried until they can get out of the tube, but the part of the shock cord that stays in the tube, the part just above the shock cord mount, isn't fully protected, and gets burnt. As a test remedy, I tore out the shock cord and put in another mount, only this time I used Duco Cement to glue in a bent piece of paper clip, to which I attached a steel fishing leader. I then tied the remaining elastic shock cord (with nose cone and chute) to the other end of the steel leader. No burn-through problems any more.
Unfortunately, during the 1997 Oct 4 launch, I lost the excellent mylar chute because I forgot to close the snap swivel shut before launching it. Even without the chute, it recovered fine with simple nose-blow recovery. This has led me to believe that this model is a good choice to test alternative recovery devices. I have built a small, 6" wide X-form or cross-form parachute (out of one of those anti-static plastic bags that computer hardware comes in) for use in this model. As of 1997 Nov 8, I haven't had a chance to test it yet, due to the incredibly lousy weather around here (3 straight weekends of nothing but rain! :( )
Update... Well, that x-form parachute failed, but the rocket recovered just fine on with nose-blow recovery again. I have, for the moment given up on x-form parachutes.
Update...I got frustrated trying to stuff the wadding and streamer or parachute into this rocket with that steel fishing leader and bent paperclip in the way, so I ripped them out. I went with a LOC-style shock cord mount, using a short piece of Kevlar® line (about 8 inches) tied into a big loop, with one end of the loop epoxied into the body tube. The shock cord is then tied to the part of the Kevlar® loop that is exposed. This has worked well so far.
In conjunction with the shock cord mount change, I also made a very large streamer (7" wide, 70" long) from gold-colored mylar sheets leftover from christmas wrappings. I'm planning to time this rocket with this chute to get some idea of what it might take to make a streamer duration model.
|Description:||Your basic 3FNC (3 Fins and a Nose Cone), but a particularly nice one at that.|
|Purpose:||For me, this was my foray into the world of rocketry beyond Estes.|
|Motors:||A8-3, B4-4, B6-4, B8-5, C6-5|
|Max Altitude:||??? (My guess is about 1100ft or more)|
|Length:||20.75" / 52.6cm|
|Diameter:||0.976" / 24.8mm (Custom MT-50, Estes BT-50)|
|Weight:||1.0oz / 27g|
|Recovery:||12" mylar parachute|
|Nose Cone:||near-parabolic, plastic|
|Notes:||Just an all-around nice, inexpensive, easy-to-build, good-performing rocket.|
Brief: Was a great rocket, easy to build, easy to launch, Great for a day of family fun! Construction: 2 body tubes, both .976" 3 die-cut balsa fins 12" parachute 2 centering rings Quick release motor mount Blowmolded nose ogive nosecone Water-slide decals Pros- easy to build fast and simple Cons- waterslide decals haard to use, but ...