An easy to build 3FNC rocket, built for my first shot with a reloadable motor.
The kit contains a 4" kraft paper body tube, two centering rings (plywood) included, nose cone, 36" chute, elastic shock cord, 3 plywood fins, 29mm motor mount, and a 1/4" Launch Lug.
This was a really easy kit to build. I spoke to LOC briefly regarding the fins, as they don't use TTW construction. I was concerned, but was told that during testing the TTW fins were crushing the motor tube on hard impacts. Who am I to argue? I have faith in Barry, so I built the fins "stock". I used an eyebolt for the shock cord, and added a couple of feet of strap nylon to boot. I didn't look too closely at the instructions, so I couldn't testify as to their accuracy. Having built several kits before, this looked to be a straightforward construction job. Per typical LOC style, everything fit in its place, and required no coaxing. I left the rear centering ring off till the end to give the small fin tabs a good once over with epoxy on the inside of the body tube.
I used nothing but epoxy for construction, and tried Elmer's Fill 'N Finish for the first time.
If I were to add anything to this kit, it would be another centering ring (I added one) and eyebolt for the shock cord.
I am still learning different ways to remove the spirals, and I came mighty close this time. I expect that my next effort will get rid of them entirely. The Elmer's Fill 'N Finish was the closest I came to entirely filling the spiral's yet. The rocket looked great when it was done. Some decals would have been nice, but I suppose that no decals gives you the opportunity to be creative in your finish as well. I had planned to get some vinyl cut for it, but the day after it was built, the conditions were great for a launch, so up it went! I liked the rocket so much when it was finished that I took it to a local automotive paint shop for a final finish. They painted it for free, and did an awesome job! Gloss paint sure does show up a lack of finishing skills!
Construction Rating: 4 out of 5
The only motors I was willing to fly this day were G75 black jack motors. I sure love the smoke! As I said, this was my first shot with a reloadable, and never having seen it done, I was concerned that there may be more to it than it seemed. Especially after seeing sooo many people on RMR suggesting that you get someone else to show you the first time. No problem, I hope it isn't just luck, and they continue to be easy for me.
I used cornstarch packing material for wadding, and added some machine threads to the rear CR for motor retention, along with a bolt, and a washer. I installed one on either side of the motor tube, but only put one in for the flight. The rocket went together without issue, and on to the pad. I can count the number of AP motors I have burned so far on my fingers, usually I only have BP to burn.
It took what seemed like forever to light the motor, some smoke started to trickle out of the hole cut in the red cap, and I held my breath... Then it took off, and up and GAHN! Great flight, slight wind cock, but it was a little windy. It landed in the worst possible location, with soy fields all around, it chose the road to land on. It suffered minor fin damage, and lots of scratches to the beautiful paint job! Hmm, maybe I should ask for a refund on the paint job! The fins stayed on just fine, and will be easily repaired (only aesthetic boo-boos anyway). The short delay (6 seconds) seemed about right, and the chute popped just after apogee.
The shock cord that was supplied was used in flight. I added 3 feet of strap nylon to it, which I attached to an eyebolt with a quick link. The eyebolt was on the forward centering ring, along with 2 washers, and two nuts to hold it tight. Realizing that I would not be able to get inside to tighten the nut ever again, I doused it with epoxy prior to installing the centering ring. The corn starch peanut packing material seemed to do the job, as I used all of the supplied BP, and there was not a scorch or burn on anything. It drifted for awhile, and not surprisingly, hit the ground! It ended up about 1000 feet away from the pad, where it was recovered by the enthusiastic young guy I brought along for the task of running after it.
Flight Rating: 5 out of 5
The price of this kit was great. I picked it up from Hobbylinc for just over $50(US), anything I added was on the floor in the basement, so $50 is about what it cost me. I hate it when $50 becomes $100 during the build! I can't think of one bad thing to say about this kit, other than I wish it was twins!
Overall Rating: 5 out of 5