Monday, July 5, 2010

Epic repairs session

I had lots of time tonight, so I managed to get a lot done on repairing rockets.

My biggest project was the Alexi Leonov, a slightly modified Estes Loadstar. It hadn't been built too well from the beginning, and these latest mishaps just made it worse. The fins were crooked and loose, the booster didn't fit right, the booster motor mount was crooked, and my original decorating was pathetic. It's five years old, and back then my finishing abilities were limited to putting decals in sortof maybe the right places. No paint, just decals and some random stuff written with marker. It was ugly.

And then it got worse. Last February, I fried the upper stage motor mount and replaced it, badly. Two weeks ago, it pranged and ejected the motor mount - the glue joints had failed. Then I knocked it over and it lost a fin.

So, I decided to give it some justice. Proper fin job, better internals, and a nice looking paint job. I peeled off the decals, rubbed most of the adhesive off. Removed all the fins but one each on the booster and sustainer. Sanded all fins smooth, and sanded the body tube where the fins had been. Drew up fin alignment guides in Word, printed them out, glued all fins on nicely with superglue; the firsy round of wood glue fillets is drying.

Then I started on the internals. I removed a broken centering ring on the upper stage motor mount, cut a new one from cardboard, and glued it to the motor tube. I reglued a centering ring on the lower stage motor mount to better align the motor. Finally, I cut down and sanded the interstage coupler so it fits perfectly.

If you're confused, don't worry. Pictures are coming, as well as a really nice looking paint job.

Second, I worked on the Deltie Thunder's boost pod. I cut out the crimped section of tubing and moved the glider hook and launch lugs further up. (I checked stability; it's good even with the shorter pod.) I sanded the broken bits on the hook to fit the matching hook on the glider and added outside plates for stiffness. Finally, I filled the dent in the balsa nose cone with wood filler, sanded, and coated with wood glue.

Third, I added protective layers of glue to the 5x13mm motor mount of the Multi-Goon to protect it from ejection charges.

Fourth, I reglued the nose cone on the Sudden Mach. It's now fully repaired and ready for business.

Fifth, I reglued a few paint chips on the Svetlana. The baffle and the Heli-roc will have to wait for later, though.

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