The good news is the new pads for my sander came in (picture on left). The bad news is that means I have a LOT of sanding to do. I took advantage of the weather last week to start the lengthy process of sanding, filling, priming, and sanding again to get a nice smooth finish on the rocket. The glassing of the wings turned out a bit messy because of the limited space (about 1.5”) between the trailing edge of the wings, and the leading edge of the fins. I couldn’t find a way to properly keep enough weight on the curing fiberglass to provide the same clean surface I ended up with on the wing tops and fin can. Worse, I can’t really fit an electrical sander in that area, so I’ve had to create all sorts of sanding devices to get into that area. You can see what looks like multiple colors on the wings and fins in the picture on the left. This is indicates in some areas I have sanded through the top layer of fiberglass into the Kevlar. That’s not necessarily a good thing,
so I’m now using a different technique to smooth out rough areas, and even out all of the surfaces. I cleaned the surfaces, and sprayed a first coat of primer. The primer will even out many of the smaller pinholes and rough areas, but more importantly, it will allow me to see very quickly when I’ve sanded through into the fiberglass with the big difference in color. My first pass turned out smoother than I had anticipated, but up close, it still looks like Mickey Rourke’s face – that’s not a good thing. I have three major areas left on the rocket:
I still need to install the switches, terminal blocks altimeters, GPS devices, and RF trackers into the rocket and AV-BAY.
The Nosecone shoulder still doesn’t fit into the upper sustainer. That means more sanding, or, worst case, cutting the shoulder, and replacing it with a new home-made shoulder from a coupler. I also may need to add weight to the nosecone, and probably foam it. I’ll also need to make bay’s for tracking equipment, install all-thread, a bulkhead, and weight bearing anchor.
3) Sanding & Painting
My plan is to put a really nice airbrushed paintjob on the rocket. Black base with winding flames is my current plan. This will require a very smooth surface, which means lots of priming and sanding. I’m going to wait until the weather turns a little nicer so I can do this outside, and avoid ruining all of the surfaces and cars in nice garage. My wife hasn’t said anything yet about all of the dust, and I don’t want to push my luck.
II will probably be taking a break for a bit on the construction side. Work travel is picking up a lot, three of my four daughters need pinewood derby cars made by mid march, and I still haven’t finished those crayon rockets I gave my kids for Christmas. With that said, I’ do plan to finish #1, #2 by next month so I can get a ‘practice’ launch in before the big event in April. Hopefully my leg will have recovered enough for some rocket hunting