Posted: December 10, 2012 in Uncategorized
Finally launched the Harpoon!
Flawless launch at Midwest Power 10. Only real issue is I lost the fairing that covered my Go Pro camera, but that was actually by design. I was really worried the fairing would collapse and I would loose any good video. I had read about making an Adruino motion sensing switch on a blog at the University of Illinois Engineering website (my Alma Mater) a few years back and thought it would make an interesting solution to my issue. I built a few prototypes, and eventually settled on a design that would blow the fairing off the rocket if a photosensor detected returning laser radiation over a specific threshold. In the video below, you can see the fairing collapse right at 1:55), the Go Pro picking up the laser dot, then shortly afterward, the fairing is blown off the rocket by a small BP charge. Watching the landing from the ground, I was also a bit worried at the end that the rocket would land on a local farmhouse. Luckily, it missed by a few hundred feet.
Full scale Harpoon Launch
The Harpoon has a very unique booster. I can reconfigure the rocket as necessary to fit any configuration of Motor’s I want within a 7.5” tube. Here’s a few photo’s to try and show how it works.
I’ll I have to do is make a new thrust plate, and centering rings to fly a completely different motor configuration. 100% of the motor thrust is transitioned to the bottom of the rocket, where it should be.
Next year The Harpoon will fly on one large 150MM center motor, and several smaller air starts for effect. In the meantime, most of my winter building will be on a super-secret new project……
Posted: August 19, 2012 in Uncategorized
My wife and kids are off at the inlaws this weekend, so I thought it would be a good day to do some clean up. I pulled out all of my rocket’s larger than 7.5” diameter for a group shot
From left to right: 7.5" / 10ft Patriot : 10" / 9.5ft Maximum Thrust Thunderbird : 11.5" /16ft Harpoon : 9.25" / 18ft Iris : 7.5" / 13ft Nuclear Sledgehammer
For perspective, I put a 4 Grain Cesaroni Pro150 in front of the Iris.
Posted: July 22, 2012 in Uncategorized
Another LDRS 31 has come and gone. As usual, the hosting club put together a really nice event. The first day was much like my first day at LDRS 30: hot and dusty. You can always tell the weather by how my feet look at the end of the day. I was scheduled to launch the Pizza rocket for the Discovery channel first thing Saturday morning. Of course, I had a major last minute electronics failure. My WRC+ handheld unit decided it didn’t want to turn on. It’s a matched pair to the transceiver in the rocket, which meant I had to replace the electronics entirely. A quick trip to Wildman’s trailer, and I was back in business with a missileworks PET2+ timer. I quickly built a sled to install it into the nosecone of the pizza, and reprogrammed it to go off about a half a second after engine burnout. I didn’t have the right equipment to install a power switch, so I opted for the “twist and go” method – this may have been my downfall.
The good news is the Pizza had a great flight. I wasn’t too surprised at how well it flew, as I had at least 30 computer simulations before this launch. To build the simulations, I had to make a lot of assumptions (guesses…) because the underlying software was really built for traditional rockets, and wasn’t totally confident in the math, or aerodynamics. Since the Discovery channel was filming me as I was watching the rocket, I wasn’t able to video, or photo the launch although – I did get some video of the setup, and the discovery channel film crew before the flight
Filming the sharp entertainment crew filming the oddrocs.
Luckily, several other people were taking photo’s that day, and Chris Dondanville was nice enough to upload all of his photo’s to flickr. Below is a nice burst of shots of the Pizza rocket launch
The bad news is the new electronics malfunctioned, and the parachute failed to come out. Either I programmed the electronics wrong (unlikely – I checked the programming after the launch), or the battery failed. I didn’t anticipate that the rocket would sit idle on the pad for about two hours in 100+ degree heat before the launch. I opted to use a radio shack private label brand nine volt battery. Probably a bad choice given the environment.
The rocket is very light for it’s size (about 30 lbs), with a lot of drag, and it’s built like a tank. Crash landing had absolutely no effect on the rocket that I could find – it’s ready for the next flight. At the end of heat one, I was in the lead of the odd roc competition, primarily because every rocket before mine either cato’d, or disintegrated in flight. I can’t reveal whether or not I won
Posted: May 23, 2012 in Uncategorized
I fellow park flyer commented the other day that my blog doesn’t adequately represent my rocket collection, and frankly, he’s right. My girls are enamored with finding things around the house and yard and asking “Dad, can you turn this into a rocket”. The answer is usually yes. About 80% of my rockets are actually odd-roc’s, so I’ve decided to post some photo’s of just a few in my collection. Yes, you’ve seen my night launch saucer, my dining room table w/ pizza, and my collection of crayon rockets, but that’s just a small sample. An odd-roc is any rocket design that isn’t the basic 3FNC, which is three fin’s and a nosecone. I’m a big saucer fan – in fact I’m beta testing Art Applewhite’s largest delta design to date – 36 inches in diameter. I’ll post a review after I’m finished with the build and first flight. I also found a kitchen sink at the dump the other day – that will be my ultimate test.
Posted: March 26, 2012 in Uncategorized
UPDATE: This will now be flying at LDRS 31 in New York. I’ve dramatically reworked the electronics so I can now house a professional high speed HD camera in the gold exhaust port on the right side of the rocket.
Working on my major project for the Thundersrtuck Launch starting this Friday, March 30. Launch will be around 3pm March 30th.
This is a full size AGM-84 Harpoon Missile.
Height: 16 ft
weight: Approx 200 lbs fully loaded
motors: 3 6 grain 75mm M class motors, ~ 20000 Ns total impulse (which makes it an “O” motor, my first!)
For perspective, that is an 8 foot ladder in the photo above
Thank goodness I’m in good shape – to get this photo I had to carry the two upper sections of the rocket solo up the ladder and into the booster.
Posted: November 8, 2011 in Uncategorized
I built this saucer for the annual MWP 9 Night launch. Since the night launch has a limited FAA altitude ceiling, traditional rockets just don’t cut it. The RGB LED’S on the saucer are controlled by an Arduino controller which I can control with my phone via Bluetooth. Cool to change the patterns while the saucer is on the pad.
Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to make the launch this year. Next year I plan on embedding the LED’S into the rocket in a matrix so I can transmit scrolling messages to the rocket from the pad kind of like this one, but much bigger