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The Model Rocket Show
89 minutes | Jan 3, 2022
12: State of the show, and a deep dive into The Model Rocket Safety Code.
We’re baaack! Daniel The Rocket n00b gives the update what’s going on in his world. and the state of the program. Then Gheem and Jesse join forces to do a deep dive on The Model Rocket Safety Code. This is a perfect episode to share with someone just getting into the hobby, and to enjoy as a refresher maybe for yourself!
68 minutes | Aug 21, 2021
11: Frank Burke and His RC Rocket Gliders
Model Rocket Guy Jesse U (left) with our guest, Frank Burke In this episode, Model Rocket Guy Jesse U of The Rocketry Show sits in for the N00b. Jesse talks with Frank Burke, maker of a number of amazing, large, radio controlled rocket gliders. Frank uses AeroTech’s long burning composite motors to loft these models vertically, and then controls their long, gliding descent with the RC controller he’s holding. As Frank discusses in the episode, it’s not as hard to get started with these rocket gliders as you might think, if you’re a traditional 3-fins and a nose cone kind of rocketeer. In fact, Frank can help, as he sells the kits for these fabulous birds at his website, Dyna Soar Rocketry (click here to visit the site). On his site, Frank has most of what you need to get started, including the right motors, instructional videos, and a radio settings page. To see the rockets discussed in the latter half of the episode, click on the link to Dyna Soar rocketry and view the pictures. Thanks to Frank for joining us on The Model Rocket Show, and thanks to Jesse for stepping in for the N00b!
55 minutes | Jul 1, 2021
#10: Randy Boadway – eRockets.biz and Semroc
Our guest this week is our esteemed sponsor – Randy Boadway, owner of eRockets.biz and producer of Semroc kits and parts. We have a great conversation, lots of fun, and Randy even tells me what the “best wood glue in the world” is! Randy has one of the best jobs in the world – owner of the world’s largest supplier or model rocket kits and parts. Here’s a picture from his office, featuring the Semroc Mars Lander. As a member of the Wright Stuff Rocketeers, Randy hosts build nights once a month at eRockets. And during the time of pandemic, lots of people have been able to join via Zoom, making tours more accessible, even to people who live far away. Thanks, Randy!
77 minutes | May 15, 2021
#9: Chris Michielssen – Model Rocket Building!
Our guest, Chris Michielssen’s fantastic blog I found Chris Michielssen’s blog, Model Rocket Building (which you can visit by CLICKING HERE) shortly after I got started in this hobby back in 2014, and in it I found a wealth of knowledge. Chris is a real craftsman. His blog lays out builds, usually from start to finish, and is full of tips and advice to get good looking builds. Just by visiting Model Rocket Building on a daily basis, my own builds quickly went from rough, beginner’s models to much more polished looking, because I was able to easily adopt some of his building techniques. If you haven’t checked it out, you really ought to be reading Chris’ blog. Especially if you’re building a more challenging model – say, a Saturn V or Little Joe kit – Chris has probably already tackled it, and has hints for good building as well as traps to look out for. In addition, Chris has his own line of model rockets, unique kits called “Odd’l Rockets,” featuring flying pigs, little green aliens, and some pretty cool looking fighter jet style kits, as well as some useful accessories and motor mount upgrades (thicker tubes for longer lasting and sturdier rockets). The website is HERE, and if you’d like to order some kits or accessories, you can do so at our show sponsor, eRockets.biz, by clicking HERE. I first met Chris in person at NARCON 2019, which feels like ages ago, with all that’s gone on since then. He was such a great guy to talk to, and I’m thrilled he joined me on the podcast. Detail of Chris’ Dr. Zooch Mercury Redstone – a very challenging build By the way, if you’re wondering what happened to Field Notes 2020, Part 2… Well, there was just too much recorded material. Editing was taking far too long. This was supposed to be two nice little episodes for last Christmas and New Years, and here we are nearly halfway through 2021. The project was more ambitious for the time I had to devote to it. But there are some nice little moments in there, I think, so look for bits of field recordings as Easter eggs at the end of future episodes. The top two pictures are from Chris’ blog, and used with permission.
68 minutes | Mar 6, 2021
Field Notes 2020: Part 1
2020 was a tough year. Rocketry really helped some of us get through it. I took a recorder along to almost every launch I went to, and the result is this 2-part series, Field Notes 2020. Because of the uncertainty, I wasn’t sure I’d be able to fly at all this past year. The NAR prohibited organized club launches for a while, due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Eventually, I made it out to some casual, 2-3 person launches. And then the clubs were able to fly again. Despite the difficulties, I might have had more actual flights this year. At club launches, I spend a lot of time chatting with people, and don’t always fly as much as I mean to. Informal launches are where I fly much more frequently in fewer hours’ time. I introduced Little N00b to flying this year. He seemed to enjoy it, for a bit, until the excitement became a little too much for him. Two A-motor flights to start the year – it was better than nothing. I finished a few new builds early in the summer, and they looked quite nice. I get nervous flying a model rocket when it turns out too nice, but they’re made to fly, so I eventually make myself do it (when the wind isn’t too bad!). I flew my first Semroc models, the Cherokee D and Bandit, two “Retro-Repro” kits from earlier Estes designs. When the club got back together, I wasn’t sure if I was more excited about the rocketry, or just seeing other people again! I took along my new camera and tried to capture some launch photos. I didn’t really get the hang of this at first, and it would be later in the season when I would get my first decent liftoff shots. But I did get plenty of what I call “rocket boudoir photos,” rockets on the ground with the chutes out after a safe recovery. I spent a lot of time after launches taking pictures. I didn’t always find the rocket I was looking for, but I got some nice shots of flowers and bees. And other peoples’ old, lost rockets. It turned out to be a rather nice summer with mostly good weather. I hope you enjoy the episode.
10 minutes | Jan 25, 2021
Season 2 Episode 1 Teaser: Field Notes 2020
The N00b has hours of audio to edit. I took my recorder along to document (almost) every single launch I went to this year. There weren’t as many formal launches as we had planned, obviously, but I still managed to fly quite a lot. A big two-part episode is coming – Field Notes 2020. But since there’s so much audio to wade through, here’s a short episode of a few highlights you’ll hear in the full length episodes, a teaser episode.
84 minutes | Dec 7, 2020
Workshop! With The Rocketry Show Guys
After a hiatus (you know, it’s 2020…), we’re back with The Model Rocket Show! This episode is a classic “workshop” episode fans of The Rocketry Show have come to enjoy – and the N00b is joined by Jesse and Gheem from The Rocketry Show! CG is there, too, but just listening quietly in the background (you know how Gheem and the N00b can ramble on…) In the first half of the show, we answer listener questions, including one from a Patreon patron which slipped through the N00b’s email for a while (sorry about that, Les!). After our break, we get to talking shop with a fun, longwinded conversation which culminates in… MURDER!!! …of the N00b’s Mercury Redstone escape tower. A lot of rocketeers have been frustrated by a build over the decades, and sometimes smashing a piece which is getting your goat feels like the only solution…
59 minutes | Sep 7, 2020
James Duffy – Scale Modeling, FAI, and more!
In this episode, we chat with James Duffy, an accomplished scale modeler and competitor in FAI international model rocketry competitions. James’ main specialties in scale modeling are the Bumper WAC – an early American two-stage sounding rocket consisting of a captured German V-2 first stage with a WAC Corporal cobbled on top as a second stage… Bumper 8 lifting off from Cape Canaveral James Duffy’s scale Bumper WAC …and the Little Joe test vehicle, which NASA used during Project Mercury to test the launch escape system (the Little Joe II was later used for the same purposes for Project Apollo) and heat shield. One impressive model James has flown in international competitions is his 1/12 scale Little Joe. We discuss scale modeling and get his advice, and James tells us about FAI international model rocketry competitions. The American team has made a bid to hold the World Championships here in the United States in 2023. This would be the first time the international fly-offs will have been held in the U.S. since 1992. Also, check out Spacemonkey Models (CLICK HERE), James’ company selling the most detailed scale model V-2 available anywhere. It’s a static model (which means it doesn’t fly), but it can be converted to a flying model rocket with a conversion kit sold by Apogee Components (CLICK HERE to get it). You can also buy the Spacemonkey V-2 itself from Apogee. I have one of the Spacemonkey kits, and it’s a gorgeous thing. James has a thorough video tutorial series for building the V-2 on his YouTube channel. CLICK HERE to go to the playlist. The kit comes with four different decal sets, so you have what you need to build one of four different iterations of the V-2, and the decals fit almost perfectly to the Estes V-2, so with a Spacemonkey kit you have the decals to build three more flying models!
56 minutes | Jul 20, 2020
Gary Rosenfield of AeroTech and Quest Aerospace
In this episode, we talk with Gary Rosenfield, who founded AeroTech Consumer Aerospace in 1982. AeroTech makes ammonium perchlorate composite propellant motors, often referred to as simply “composite motors.” This distinguishes them from the traditional model rocket motors, which use black powder propellant. AeroTech is known for making high power motors, up to the enormous M, N, and O impulse motors. But they also make low and mid power motors for model rocketeers. A small selection of AeroTech reloadable motor casings Around 2014, AeroTech merged with Quest Aerospace, a model rocket company which manufactured kits and black powder motors. The motors were rather similar to the Estes black powder motors, but included the much-loved Q2G2 igniters. An Estes C6-5 on left, with a starter. An old Quest C6-5 on right, with the Q2G2 igniter. Q2G2’s were fast igniters. That is, they required less amperage to fire, and with a small black pyrogen tip, they were great for igniting black powder clusters – configurations of two or more motors. With clusters, it’s important to have all motors ignite simultaneously, or the rocket could leave the pad with one or more motors unlit. This can sometimes result in a less-than-straight flight trajectory, and it’s what makes clustering a fun challenge! Following an accident in a port in China, through which Quest’s old motors were exported to the U.S., Quest motors and igniters became unavailable for a long time. Bill Stine, who had founded Quest, challenged Gary to create an A-impulse motor with composite propellant. Gary accepted the challenge, and after a long period of development and experimentation, the new Quest composite motors became a reality. Dubbed “Q-Jets,” these little 18mm motors are the same length and diameter as standard A/B/C model rocket motors, but because they contain the more energetic AP composite propellant, Quest/AeroTech can get a D powered motor into the smaller sized casing. A Quest Q-Jet D motor, top, is the same size as an Estes C engine, bottom. The narrow part sticking out on the right of the Q-Jet is the ejection charge well. This is because AP propellant has a higher specific impulse than black powder propellant. Q-Jets are fast, fun, zippy motors. And AeroTech has lots of different AP motors for rockets of all sizes. You can get Q-Jet’s from our sponsor, eRockets.biz, by clicking here. And you can get AeroTech motors from eRockets by clicking here. And, hey, if you appreciate eRockets sponsoring The Model Rocket Show, let owner Randy know when you place your order! I’m sure he’d love to hear that his support is appreciated.
50 minutes | Jun 20, 2020
The FAQ – Questions, Volume 1
In this episode the Rocket N00b answers some model rocketry questions – some beginner’s questions commonly asked on online forums, as well as a couple questions sent to him through social media. “What’s the Best Glue?” Yes, we know. This question gets asked a LOT online, and some rocketeers get tired of seeing it. But it’s a good sign – it means there are new people entering the hobby all the time. That’s good for us, as it means more people to support our vendors of kits and motors, as well as greater awareness of this safe and awesome hobby. The long answer is on the show (the N00b does tend to ramble). The short answer: for most model rocketry applications, you want to use white or yellow glue. Brand is pretty unimportant – pick one you like. The bond formed between paper and wood with these glues is stronger than the materials themselves. If a fin breaks off, it’s not the glue that failed – it’s probably that the body tube’s paper has ripped off, or a fin has snapped at the root. Here’s a video sent to the N00b by Kirk G. showing a strength test of various white and yellow glues. Obviously the construction technique here is quite different from what you’d be doing when building a model rocket, but it does illustrate the point that these glues are plenty strong. Here’s the link to the Titebond page showing the differences between Titebond I, II, and III. And here’s a quick video from Titebond comparing the three glues. We also talk about epoxy, CA or super glue, plastic cement, glue sticks, and finally, hot glue (DO NOT USE HOT GLUE). The plastic cement the N00b mentioned (but couldn’t remember the name) was Plastruct Plastic Weld. eRockets.biz The rockets the N00b mentioned during our sponsor segment – eRockets.biz – were by New Way. You can look at all the New Way kits eRockets carries by clicking here. “Do Engines/Motors Go Bad?” A lot of times, people will have rocket motors from a decade ago or more. Many people on the forums ask if they’ll still be good. The fact is that model rocket motors, whether they are black powder or composite motors, do not have an expiration date. The important thing is how they’re stored. If they’ve gone through a lot of hot and cold temperature cycles over the years, the propellant grains can crack, making them more prone to catastrophic motor failures, or CATOs. But people have flown 30-40 year old motors with no problems. Some composite propellants, such as White Lightning or White Thunder propellants, can have some surface oxidation on them, making them harder to light, but that’s about it. Again, temp cycling may be a problem, but if properly stored, they don’t really “go bad.” If you’re not sure, you can always soak old motors in water and dispose of them, and get new ones. Or, heck, fly ’em. That’s what minimum safe distances are for! (Click here to see the Model Rocket Safety Code.) “How Do You Fill the Seam Between Two Body Tubes?” Some kits come with two short body tubes, instead of one long one, and you’re supposed to join them together with a tube coupler. A follower on Instagram asked the Rocket N00b, “How do you fill in the seam so it looks like a single tube?” It can be done easily. But the first thing to ask yourself is if you actually want to do that. There are two good reasons not to fill in that joint. The first is if the rocket is to be painted two colors, and the color separation coincides with the length of the body tubes. Here’s one of the N00b’s favorite Estes rockets, the Cosmic Explorer. The top is black and the bottom white. If you paint the rocket first, with the top black and bottom white, and only glue the tubes together at the very end, you’ll have a perfect color separation – a straight line, no bleed through of the black paint onto the white – and because of the color difference, you won’t see the seam. The second reason is you might want to convert the rocket into a payload carrying vehicle. Some kits come with a payload section. Instead of a hollow tube coupler, they come with a balsa bulkhead called a nose block. But even if there’s just a coupler, you can make your own bulkhead from heavy card stock, balsa, or basswood, add a small loop of Kevlar string, and now you have a payload section. Instead of blowing off the nose cone, the rocket will separate at the coupler during parachute ejection. You can fly your payload (such as an altimeter) in the upper section and keep it safe from ejection gasses. The Estes U.S. Army Patriot is a perfect kit for this conversion. So is any kit with two tubes. But if you do want to make one seamless tube out of two, you can use Elmer’s Carpenter’s Wood Filler. Thin it until you can brush it on with a paint brush, and coat an area around the seam about two inches long. Once it’s dry, sand it smooth. Even if the tubes are a little uneven in their thickness, the wood filler can cover that up. The rocket will be slightly thicker in that spot, if you measure it with a digital caliper, but you won’t see it. The Estes Hi Flier XL comes with a two part body tube. Elmer’s CWF brushed on the joint and sanded smooth can conceal the line. “What Kinds of Cameras Can You Put On a Model Rocket?” A number of small video cameras can be attached to a model rocket to record the flight. A very popular kind is called an 808 keychain camera. This little “spy camera” looks like a key fob. They’re cheap and compact, and can simply be taped to the side of a rocket with electrical tape. These little cameras range from very cheap (less than $10) to not so cheap (some cost between $70-90). Quality varies a lot, but even the cheap ones may be good for fun. Little cameras like this can simply be attached to the side of a rocket with electrical tape. MateCam seems to be a popular brand among rocketeers. Aside from video quality being on the better end, MateCams have a larger lens assembly. You can take one apart and arrange its guts to fit a special project. The little cameras the N00b mentioned are called flash drive cameras. There are a number of kinds of so-called “flash drive cameras,” but the ones referred to here can be found on eBay for less than $9. Here’s video of the hidden camera payload rocket, the Ceres B booster with ICU2 payload, the design of which came from Mike Westerfield’s book, Make: Rockets: Down-to-Earth Rocket Science.
55 minutes | May 11, 2020
K’Tesh! A Chat with Jim Parsons, OpenRocket Wizard
The Omega booster and Cineroc, simulated in OpenRocket by our guest, Jim Parsons In this episode, we talk with Jim Parsons, who was once described as "the Chuck Norris of OpenRocket." OpenRocket is free model rocket design and simulation software which runs on Java. You can download it here, and play around with it if you've never tried it before. OpenRocket is a great tool - and it's free. But it does have its limitations. If you make a sim of a kit, you might notice that it doesn't look exactly like the kit you're building. One big difference you'll notice is the nose cone. All nose cones in OpenRocket (except for the elliptical ones) come to a sharp point, which isn't the case in most model rockets. Usually nose cones are spherically blunted. Jim Parsons' OpenRocket version of the Estes Der Red Max, with an accurately-shaped nose cone Now, for a flight simulation, this may not matter much. To find the center of pressure, model rocket simulators use what's known as Barrowman equations, a system of mathematically locating the CP on a model rocket. These were derived from the math used in sounding rockets, and were published as an R&D report at Naram X in 196X by James Barrowman. (Click here to see the N00b's interview with James Barrowman at NARCON 2017). One of the simplifying principles of Barrowman equations are the assumption that all nose cones come to a sharp point. But what if you want a simulation that looks like the actual kit? What if you're trying to clone a historic, out of production model? Or you want a good reference for decal placement? Jim has figured out how to trick OpenRocket to simulate accurate looking kits of all kinds. Some are quite challenging, because of features on the model that OR isn't built to re-create. Check out this masterful sim of the Estes QCC Explorer. The intakes on this model were challenging. Read about it here. While most of K'Tesh's sims can be used for flight simulations, due to the limitations of OR, there is the occasional model sim which is mostly just for show. The A.C.M.E. Spitfire, by FlisKits, is one such example. This version of the A.C.M.E. Spitfire is about as close as OR can get. The N00b has used some of Jim's files and images to figure out the decal placement and paint scheme measurements on a number of builds, like his recently-completed Semroc Bandit and Semroc Cherokee D. The N00b's Cherokee D, a Retro-Repro by Semroc Jim joins us from China, where he lives and works. He and the N00b discuss OpenRocket, chat a little about model rocket history, and the challenges of pursuing the hobby while living in China. Check out K'Tesh's master list of sims on The Rocketry Forum by clicking here : https://www.rocketryforum.com/threads/kteshs-openrocket-files-index.148212/
45 minutes | Apr 15, 2020
FlisKits – Nothing Flies Like a Flis!
In today's episode, The Rocket N00b talks about FlisKits, the independent model rocket company started nearly 18 years ago by Jim Flis. We take a look back at an annual tradition of CMASS - the Central Massachusetts Spacemodeling Society - known as the FlisKits Anniversary launch. Since we cannot currently hold public launches, due do the COVID-19 pandemic, here's your chance to listen back to some fun launch audio and dream of the day when we're all let outside again! One of the unusual rockets showcased during the day was Claude Maina's Streaming UFFO - a saucer made of foam cups, carrying long rainbow streamers into the sky with it. The Streaming UFFO lifts off. Photo courtesy Jim Flis The highlight of the annual launch was always the Frick-N-Frack drag race. In this episode, you'll hear the last drag race, featuring 11 two-stage saucers. Multiple Frick N Frack two-stage saucers take flight at once. Photo courtesy Jim Flis A number of FlisKits upscales also flew that day. Here's a large, high power Deuces Wild, flown by Curtis Heisey. If you are a NAR member, you may have seen one of these in the pages of Sport Rocketry Magazine. We also hear from Jim Flis just before he retired from the company, all about how he got started, why he moved on, and what he loves about rocketry and rocketry education. Jim Flis holds a prototype Saturn V - a potential FlisKits release. Photo courtesy Curtis Heisey In the second half of the show, we hear from Ray DiPaola, one of FlisKits' new owners. Sounds like FlisKits is in good hands, and has plans for the future. The N00b's own FlisKits Tres in progress - a large, 3-motor cluster with canted motor tubes.
31 minutes | Mar 28, 2020
Pilot – Welcome to The Model Rocket Show!
In our first episode, Daniel The Rocket N00b tells us his "origin story"...how he got into Model Rocketry, and gives an overview on what to expect on future episodes. The Rocket N00b and his fleet.
1 minutes | Mar 14, 2020
Introducing: The Model Rocket Show!
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