Sunday, December 13, 2015

Merry Christmas Y'Al!

Merry Christmas from all of us (me) at Odd'l Rockets!

Check out the video of the (out of production) Wedgie flight
Special Thanks to Roger Smith for production of the video and music.

Monday, November 30, 2015

International Up! Cup Launch

From the Model Rocket Fanatics page on Facebook - 

Frank Baeyens took this picture of his son's UP! CUP before a recent launch in Geels, Belgium.
Frank added: "Flies surprisingly well. Going to give it a probably final farewell on a Klima D9 at the next launch."

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Odd'ls at N.E.F.A.R.

Cris Morris flew her Odd'l Little Green Man and Pigasus at the November 14 NEFAR launch in Bunnell, Florida.
Both flew straight and true with C6-5s in the 15 mph winds.

On the left is my Quest Tomahawk, another C6-5 flight.

Thursday, October 29, 2015

What's In A Name?

I've been asked before, "Why the name, Odd'l Rockets?"

I had always been attracted to Odd-Ball rockets ever since I made a Sputnik-Too back in 1970. It was a perfect small field flyer. I remember being surprised that it was stable, I was expecting the worst.

The name is simpler than you might expect.
Take the word MODEL and remove the "M" and "E".
You are left with ODL ROCKETS.
Add another D and an apostrophe and you end up with -

The company name says what we do, we make Odd - Model Rockets.
Odd'l Rockets also rhymes with Model Rockets.

The Sputnik-Too design was one of the first published Odd-Rocs and was added to the logo.
The oval shape was used in the early Estes and Centuri logos. The Red and Yellow colors were also used in early logos designs.

To check out the original Sputnik -Too, CLICK HERE
Odd'l Rockets produces a much easier to build version of the Sputnik-Too, simply called the Sputnik.

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Rocket N00b Adeptor Picture

Daniel Petrie submitted some launch sequence pictures for the upcoming 2016 Rocketry Forum calendar.
Daniel is right, there should be some LPR pictures in the calendar!
Visit Daniel's rocket blog at:

Look close and you can see he's using an Odd'l Adeptor on the camera tripod launcher.
They are using the tripod correctly, the tripod legs aren't fully extended. This raises the launch "platform" high enough for easier access and keeps the center of gravity low.

Daniel's comments about the Adeptor:
"Oh, and as for the Adeptor, it works great. . . It's a nice, simple idea, which I really needed at the time, because I didn't want to figure out the best way to build a second pad for a 3/16 inch launch rod. And since most camera tripods (including mine) have a bubble level, you can really assure that you've got the rod pointed vertically."

The above picture reminds me of the old catalog pictures, like this one from the 1971 Centuri catalog.
There was always three people launching a rocket, usually in poses like Daniel's launch crew.

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Odd'l Parachute on TRF

From the Rocketry Forum:
Bernard Cawley was testing a prototype of the new Jolly Logic Chute Release.
Something in the last posted picture looked familiar.
His Big Bertha was recovered using a 15" Odd'l parachute with a four inch spill hole.
Thanks Bernard - Looking good!  

Saturday, October 10, 2015

Odd'l Birdie Flown at N.E.F.A.R.

At the October 10 N.E.F.A.R. launch, Danielle Moon launched her Birdie with an A10-3t.
It's always good to see one of your kits fly stable! Thanks Danielle!

Sunday, September 27, 2015

Break-Away Test Flight Video

I tested the new Break-Away rocket twice at the last NEFAR launch on September 12.
Jimmy Yawn shot video and posted the first B6-4 flight.
To see the launch and recovery, CLICK HERE 
Scroll down to the Break--Away.

EDIT: The C6-5 Break-Away flight has also been posted. Thanks go to Jimmy Yawn.

Sunday, September 20, 2015

Odd'l Products in Sport Rocketry Magazine

From the NSL 20015 coverage in Sport Rocketry - 

Kaitlin poses with her Odd'l Rockets Pigasus named "Peppa".

The Odd'l Blast ceramic blast deflector was featured on the Rocket News and New Products page.
The Little Green Man is spotted in the JonRocket ad.

Saturday, September 12, 2015

More Break-Away Test Flights

The new Odd'l Rockets prototype BREAK-AWAY had two more successful test launches September 12 at the monthly NEFAR launch in Bunnell, Florida.

First up with an Estes B6-4 to an estimated 350'. The second C6-5 flight reached 700'. Stable and true!
Ejections popped the model into six segments and it recovered horizontally.

Here's the model after landing with no damage.
This rocket falls faster than a parachute rocket would making a good small field model. It's recommended that it be flown and recovered on a softer grass field.
I should be able to start on the instructions soon! 

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

New Break-Away Launched!

The new Odd'l Rockets BREAK-AWAY test prototype was launched at the soccer field this morning.

Perfect boost with an Estes A8-3. Apogee was at about 200' and ejection popped all six sections.
It did a wiggling serpentine down, landing on the grass with no damage.

It'll still need a few more test flights with B6-4 and C6-5 engines before it can be re-released.
Fingers crossed!

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

New Version Of An Older Kit!

Now that it looks like I'll be home for a while, I can concentrate on more products.

There is a good reason why the Odd'l Rockets Break-Away kit was out of production.
I was using ST-10 tubing  it's much stronger than the current BT-50 tubes. That last order of ST-10 tubes that had thinner walls, almost like the BT-50s.
With Semroc's future unsure (before it was sold) I had to find a stronger tube source. I ended up going with the BT-50H heavy walled tube.
The new Break-Away diameter a little narrower than before, but not by much.

I came up with a better way to tether the sections without using the short internal plastic lugs.
The couplers will be longer so the model won't be wobbly.
The nose cone is a bit shorter but still retains the parabolic shape.

There are a changes in the design. Odd'l kits are sometimes modified for improvement.
The Break-Away was a good seller and always a hit at club launches.
The model is built and will be test flown soon!

Friday, August 14, 2015

An Odd'l Parachute Endorsement!

A post from TRF:

From Jerry -
"I love using my well used/broken in 18" JonRocket parachute. There are no more memory fold lines. It's very soft and fluffy. Even the shroud lines are super soft from all the talc and not hard and whiskery. I have had dozens of flights with this chute and it just gets better like a well worn hat or shoes."

Hi Jerry,
That's good to hear!
I designed those parachutes for JonRocket and BMS. They are also used in RSR amd Odd'l Rockets kits. My goal was to produce the best LPR parachute out there.
The chute material is 1.5 mil thick, a bit thicker than most kit parachutes.

Three choices on diameter (12", 15" or 18") and three choices of spill hole size.
They are red and white for high visibility and look a lot like the Apollo and NASA Orion mission chutes. This makes them perfect for both sport and scale models.

Regarding shroud lines,
The best shroud lines have a high percentage of cotton. They will last longer and not easily melt like thread made with Rayon or Polyester.

Sunday, August 9, 2015

Flame Resistant Elastic Test

That's a LOT of elastic!

Here is bundles of 1/8" wide x 8 yards elastic, drying after soaking in a flame resistant solution.

I've flame tested the elastic before when I first settled on the solution ratios.

On this test I'd take pictures.

It's a simple test, holding the elastic close above a candle flame.
In the test the elastic was about 3/8" above the flame.

Here's the result - 
The top line of elastic didn't get the flame resistant treatment.
At just a few seconds the elastic melts and catches fire.

The lower elastic was soaked in the flame resistant solution.
It was held above the candle flame at the same height and for the same time. There is just a slight distortion and yellowing of the elastic.

Please note: The Odd'l Rockets treated elastic shock cord material is flame resistant, not flame proof.
Over time, elastic and plain rubber shock cords can deteriorate from the ejection charge flame and heat. The flame resistant treatment will extend the shock cord life. There may still be some smoke discoloration after flights.

Sunday, August 2, 2015

More Adeptors, More Adeptors!

Today I cut, filed, drilled and tapped 35 Adeptors!
These will be going out to the vendors shortly.

It takes almost a full day to get this many made.
(It's just me - no other employees)
My hands are sore and I've got a new blister.

Friday, July 31, 2015

A Note on the Pigasus and Little Green Man

No doubt about it - 
These are the most popular kits in the Odd'l Rockets lineup.

The kits sell to all age groups, but some are bought by kids.
Younger flyers are attracted to the bright colors and comical design.

That is my concern - 
While they may look like an easy build, a 10 year old will need help from a parent or someone with rocketry experience.
Kids typically won't closely follow instructions. They might leave out the nose weight or have trouble gluing the large wings on the pig. If the finish isn't smooth the water slide decals won't adhere well.

If you buy one for a younger flyer, there is a reason it's rated
Skill Level 3.
Just be close by to help with the build.

Sunday, July 5, 2015

New, Wider BLAST! Deflector Coverage

Under a BT-60 based model - 

Here's the flame "hit" on the side of the new, wider Blast! Ceramic Deflector.
This new design better protects wider diameter models against flame flashback which could damage the underside of a model.
To the lower right of the black soot you can see where the flame ended up - some flame was redirected to the flat metal deflector.

BT-5 to BT-70 models - Covered!
BT-80 rockets? Maybe not!

Sunday, June 28, 2015

New Logo?

I fixed the Odd'l Rockets Logo.
It was designed in 2009 before I really knew how to adjust and play with the type.
The old version is above, the new version below.

I know, subtle changes. I had some spare time between shows on the last cruise.
The new logo will be integrated into instructions whenever new pages are printed.

Sunday, June 7, 2015

New, Larger Ceramic BLAST! Deflector

I just got the first shipment of Odd'l Rockets Ceramic BLAST! Deflectors in the mail!

On the left is the older deflector, on the right is the new wider design. The molds were made from an actual MPC ceramic deflector.
The new design works well with most all LPR models.
The hole at the top is drilled for a 1/8" rod and is easily enlarged for 3/16" rods with a small jewelers file.

Check your Odd'l Rockets vendor for availability.
If they are not there yet, ask to be notified when they arrive.

Tuesday, May 26, 2015


If I'm not doing shows, rocket production takes up most of my time.
Odd'l Rockets Parachutes are going to the Astronaut Hall Of Fame in Titusville, Florida.

It takes some coaxing to fit and fold a 18" (maximum) diameter parachute into a 3" x 4" zip bag!
Here's 75 parachutes after a two hour folding session.
The Odd'l parachutes are 1.5 mil thick, a bit stronger than a standard vendor chute. They still open easily at ejection. The red and white colors are opaque and very visible in the air and on the ground.

25 packages of Flame Resistant Shock Cords will go to Apogee in the next day or so.

What an exciting life I lead. Hah!

Thursday, May 21, 2015

New Odd'l Steampunk Design?

This is what you draw up when you have too much time on your hands.
Steam punk designs are big right now, this one is a Jules Verne Victorian style.

It would be up to the builder how much detail is added.
There are gauges, dials, tunnels and plenty of rivet heads.
The riding figure will sit on the model in profile, "sandwich board" style.
The canvas covered fins are based on the da Vinchi flying machine drawings.

This is the first drawing. The silhouette body isn't correct. 
The "man" will be holding the brim of his hat. The other hand will be on a throttle.
What do you think . . . should I proceed?

Saturday, April 18, 2015

New BLAST! Deflector Prototype

I finally received the first prototype of a new Odd'l Rockets BLAST! Deflector.
On the left is the original smaller BLAST! Deflector. It is gray and pitted after hundreds of LPR launches.
(The older deflector didn't show any pitting until after a few hundred launches. The pitting is not deep and doesn't effect the use of the deflector.)
On the right is the new prototype. The new version is the same size as the original MPC ceramic deflector it is based on.

Here's how it fits over a Quest blast deflector plate.
The new ceramic BLAST! Deflector solves many concerns.

  • Made from kiln-fired clay, it is non-conductive. Micro clips attached to the igniter can touch the ceramic deflector and not short out.
  • The parabolic shape directs the nozzle flame to the side and away from the base of the rocket. There is no "bounce back" of flame or sparks to char the low end of your rocket.
  • The wider base of the new deflector is more effective with 18mm and larger 24mm engines.

As soon as I get my first order, they will be available from Odd'l Rockets vendors.

NOTE: Don't clean your BLAST! Deflector in a dishwasher or immerse it in water. 
To get rid of the soot after a launch, simply brush off the loose crude with damp toothbrush or a damp paper towel.

Monday, April 13, 2015

Camera Tripod Launcher Tips, Part 2

To improve tripod stability -
Tie a weight to the bottom hook found on most camera tripods.
A water jug works just fine.

If you are launching in low or no winds this might not be necessary for up to D engines.

NOTE: Camera tripod launches are only safe for up to E engine power.

To use the Odd'l Rockets RAISE SPRING - 
Keep the brass tube on the lower end of the model, away from the engine hook.
Find a place where the spring will support the rocket and not bind preventing the rocket from easily sliding up the launch rod.

Thursday, April 9, 2015

Camera Tripod Launcher Tips, Part 1

If you are using the Odd'l Rockets ADEPTOR, you can launch rockets off a standard camera tripod. The Adeptor attaches onto the exposed camera screw.
No more ground level attachment of the the micro clips, no more wet grass and stained knees.

You should always think safety when using this or any launcher set-up.

There is no need to fully extend the tripod legs.
Simply extend the legs to the first "stop". This will put the blast deflector at waist level and keep the center of gravity low.

TIP: To take some of the lead wire weight off the igniter -
Tie your cable leads around the angle adjustment handle.
No more pulled out igniters!

This acts also as a "gantry". When the rocket is launched the leads fall to the side, away from the engine flame.

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Kitting Up Sputniks - Part 6

This is only a small part of kit production.

Instructions have to be drawn up - the hardest and most expensive part of the kit. I save money on that, I draw up my own.
But there's more - Print the instructions, print and cut out the header cards and buy the correct size kit bags.
Add in shipping boxes and packaging supplies. And, I'd better renew my business license, too.
That check I just got in the mail goes right back into another parts order to BMS for more laser cut fins.

Looking at all that is involved, I don't complain about kit prices anymore.
I didn't mention, you sell your kits to distributors at a wholesale price. There goes the bulk of the profit!
When kits are bagged, you can't just throw in the pieces and staple on the topper!
You have to think about shipping and storage. 
How can the nose cone be protected from dings? The engine hook is placed in the engine mount tube away from balsa.
Sometimes the laser cut balsa sheets are inside the instructions for protection.
On this Sputnik kit, the dowel antenna legs are set into a fold in the instructions.
Decals are covered with waxed paper to prevent sticking on other parts.
Engine mount parts are in one zipped bag, recovery system parts are in another.

Compared to the large vendors, Odd'l Rockets is a small operation. I read somewhere that each Estes kit is produced 10,000 units at a time. When you deal in large numbers, bulk parts are cheaper and your profit is higher - if the kit sells.

If you want to go into kit production, you'd better love this hobby. After you've bagged a few hundred kits, the "glow" fades away! I still enjoy doing most all rocketry related activities.
Doug Pratt said it best years ago: "Do you know how to make a small fortune in Model Rocketry? Start with a large fortune."

Saturday, March 28, 2015

Kitting Up Sputniks - Part 5

The kit antenna legs were 1/8" X 12" dowels.
I've since changed to bamboo skewers.
This was for two reasons. Bulk dowels were inconsistant. Some broke on landing and many were warped.

The bamboo skewers are very strong! They are also sharpened on one end which makes it easier to insert into the pre-drilled holes in the styrofoam ball.
Bamboo also adheres well using white and yellow wood glues.

Those tapered ends are very sharp.

I sell a lot of Sputnik kits to school groups. I don't want a young builder to hurt himself with the sharpened bamboo.

The sharp tips are taken down by sanding four at a time on some 100 grit sandpaper.

Here's a hundred or so of the skewers with the tips sanded down to a blunt end.

I'll go through the bunch and throw away any rough and warped antenna.
Any discolored sticks are also thrown out.

Thursday, March 26, 2015

Kitting Up Sputniks - Part 4

Thirty BT-5 engine mount tubes were cut to size.

Sure, you could buy them pre-cut, but you'll save 10 cents per kit by buying longer tubes and cutting them to size.

A "Stop Disk" is glued in at the top of the engine mount tube to prevent the ejection charge from frying the inside of the ball.

These are actually a double layer plywood glued together with a "high tech" clamp.
Make 30 of these.

Here's the small parts bag for the Sputnik kit.
Thirty of these were made up.

Next up, 25 sets of four dowel legs will have to be prepared.

Monday, March 23, 2015

Kitting Up Sputniks - Part 3

After drilling the antenna holes, the tip of the Sharpie is rotated near the edge.
This outlines the holes so the builder can easily find them.

When building the Sputnik, the dowel legs must be gently rotated and wiggled into the drilled holes. By doing this slowly, the dowels will find their way into the holes at the correct pre-drilled angle.

Drilling for the 3" long launch lug is next.
This is the hardest part of the preparation and can ruin the work done up until now if the drilling isn't straight down the engine mount tube.

A BT-5 tube with a dowel glued in is used for support. The 3/16" dowel used for the lug hole drill must be guided down the length of this support tube. It had to be reinforced with the interior dowel.

TRIVIA: A 1/8" diameter launch lug actually has a 3/16" outside diameter.

The 1/2" support tube (with hardwood dowel interior) is slid into the 1/2" drilled hole.

The last Sharpie mark is the lug hole, running inside the ball along the side of the engine mount tube. It is 3" long and goes all the way through the ball.

As the sharpened 3/16" dowel is pressed through the ball, it is checked for straightness traveling along the inserted support tube in the ball.

Keep pressing and drilling until the sharpened end goes all the way through the top of the ball.
Keep your hand away from the top of the ball or your palm could be skewered!

Thursday, March 19, 2015

Kitting Up Sputniks - Part 2

Without the right tools, getting a consistent angle on all four of the antenna legs is difficult. If you've ever tried to drill the legs on a Sputnik you know what I mean.
The cut out center hole of a template is set directly over the drilled engine mount hole.
A Sharpie pen makes marks while the template is held in place.

(Looks like I'm due to make another card stock template for the antenna marking.)

This is a drilling tool I made and used since the first Sputnik kit was made five years ago.

A 1/2" hole was drilled into the wood block and a long 13mm engine casing glued into place. You can see the casing slid into the engine mount hole already drilled into the ball. The Leg Jig tool actually slides down flush with the surface of the ball.
The angled black line shows the travel of the leg drilling dowel. A 1/8" hole was drilled through the middle of the jig.

A 1/8" diameter dowel was sharpened and marked 1" from the point.
With the jig casing in the 1/2" hole the dowel is slid into the angled hole. The dowel tip is lined up with the Sharpie dot marks made in the last step.

The dowel is pressed into the ball up to the 1" deep mark on the dowel.

From the side view you can see the dowel mark almost at the surface of the ball.

This is repeated four times on each ball.
The jig is rotated to the next hole mark and the dowel pressed in up to the 1" mark.

Repeat on 29 more balls.