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."