Saturday, December 27, 2014

Extra Centering Ring Punches

Where possible, I try to incorporate a few extra features on the Odd'l Rockets kits to make them stronger and easier to assemble.

Here's some centering rings from the Pigasus and Little Green Man kits.
On the left is the lower engine mount centering ring. The ring is punched for movement of the engine hook - pretty standard.

On the right is the upper ring.
On the bottom is a second smaller "relief" for the upper end of the engine hook. This allows an easier fit over the engine hook and the engine tube won't be compressed inward.
Right above that is a small hole for the Kevlar to pass through. Again, no extra pressure on the engine mount tube.

Sunday, December 21, 2014

Nose Cones Have Arrived!

That's 45 Little Green Man and Pigasus nose cones just arrived from Balsa Machining Service.
A little more expensive to produce, they are not a standard diameter or shape.
Now to print instructions, cut tubes, make decals and bag'em up!

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

New Long Boat Tail Design? FAIL!

I was playing around with a new design.
Sort of a Sci-Fi V2 style with a much longer tail cone.
This sketch is just a rough starting place.

I'd seen pictures of nose cones being made from body tubes before.
Long triangular pieces are cut out and the long edges joined.
Can't be too hard - right?
The low end of the drawing shows a BT-70 tapering down to a BT-50.

I won't go into too much detail, the end result wasn't that good!

The BT-70 tube was marked for four sections, much like marking for fins with a wrap around marking guide.

The BT-50 engine mount tube was marked in quarters and those measurements made on the low end of the BT-70.

I tried curved cuts first, there was too much overlap at the centers.
Straight cuts were tried and those edges matched up pretty well.

Here's why you've never seen this type of long boat tail in a kit!

The internal and external body tube seams show up when the tube sections are pulled in and joined up.
Oh well, lesson learned. One 9" tube tossed. Back to the drawing board.

Friday, December 12, 2014

Christmas RUSH!

I've checked with all my vendors.
The Pigasus and Little Green Man kits are all sold out!
There are still other Odd'l kits and accessories available.
You can get matching Pig and L.G.M. T-Shirts at the Odd'l Rockets Cafe Press store. CLICK HERE

There won't be any more kits until I get another order of nose cones. That probably won't happen until after Christmas.
I'm going to call BMS and add to the nose cones order
Thanks to all the buyers and I hope you all have a Great Holiday!

P.S. Be sure to send pictures, you might see them on the Odd'l Blog!

Sunday, December 7, 2014

Orion Parachutes - Look Familiar?

If you haven't seen it yet, check out the Orion splashdown video CLICK HERE

When I designed the Odd'l Rockets multi-sized parachutes I based them on the Centuri Saturn V chutes. The Centuri chutes had 64 printed gores in alternating red and white.
64 gores on an model rocket sized 18" parachute looked too busy so I settled for 32 panels.

I was very surprised to watch the Orion splashdown video and see the three red and white parachutes.
All three chutes are slightly different. But in the (above left) picture, the right side parachute looks like the Odd'l parachute! Or vice-versa. It wasn't planned this way, sometimes things just work out.

The parachute kits are available from JonRocket, Balsa Machining Service, Apogee, Uncle Mike's Rocket Shack and in the Pigasus and Little Green Man kits.

Thursday, December 4, 2014

Making Raise Springs

Odd'l Rockets Raise Springs don't come fully assembled.
The springs are just that - a spring with a long straight wire out to the side.

The brass tube extensions are cut by hand.
The added tubes are less likely to catch on the engine hook.

If you use a Raise spring, keep it under the end of your model away from the nozzle. Don't slide it right under a launch lug that is a few inches above the end.
The tail end is cut off and a weird tension bend is made to hold the tube on. The bend takes four steps.
The tube is slid on and turned. Turning the rough cut end of the wire cuts a shallow groove inside the tube. That groove and the tension bend locks the tube on the wire.
Do me a favor - Don't pull the brass tube off the end of the spring. You might not get it back on!

125 Raise springs later I've had enough for one afternoon.
My fingers are dirty and sore!

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Pig's Fly to Apogee

More Pigs and Little Green Men are on their way to Apogee Components -
They went out last Friday and should be listed soon.

JonRocket already sold out of Pigasus kits and had one Little Green Man kit still available. (EDIT: All the vendors are sold out of Pigasus and Little Green Man kits)
After these are gone it'll be a few weeks before any more kits will be made. I'm out of nose cones and custom cones take extra time to schedule.
This picture is from a schoolyard launch on November 30. 

Sunday, November 30, 2014

How Not To Use A Raise Spring TIP

The picture to the right is how not to use a Raise Spring . . . 
Odd'l Rockets Raise Springs should go under the model - not up the side of the rocket as shown here.

Your rocket could get hung up at ignition and not leave the launch rod. You could also scratch up the side of your rocket as it scrapes against the spring coils.

Set the Raise Spring UNDER the model. The spring is designed to raise the model a few inches above the blast deflector. The weight of the rocket locks the spring on the launch rod.
Keep the brass tube arm away from the nozzle flame. You could burn a hole in the brass tube!

Friday, November 28, 2014

Odd'l Rockets T-Shirts!

Just in time for the Holidays!

The Little Green Man is now on T-shirts from Cafe Press:
CLICK HERE to go to the store.

There are some other appropriate products also ready . . .

Just in - Springs!

These came in much faster than expected!
They can sure fit a lot in a small box - 2,111 springs!
The over run was 111. You do pay for the over run, though.

Now comes the fun part - cutting the brass tubes and hand bending the locking extension arm.

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Happy Odd'l-days!

Hopefully in time for Christmas orders -

Another litter of Little Green Men and Pigasus kits are going out today! Parts prep, printing and bagging takes more time than you might think.

Other Odd'l stuff and more Adeptors will be available!

Sunday, November 23, 2014

More Raise Springs!

I went to fill a vendor order for RAISE Springs and realized -
I'm almost out!

An order has been made for 2,000 more!
That's right, 2,000 more.

Friday, November 14, 2014

Spudnik Kaboom!

Roger Smith took a great sequence showing the A10-3t engine cato in the Spudnik at last week's Bunnell Blast.

Scroll down about halfway and step through the sequence.
It always looks different than you remembered.
The Spudnik got about 10 feet in the air, the engine spins off to the right. The fireball remained below rising up the launch rod.

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

What's In The Box?

In the box is a well padded old MPC Ceramic Blast Deflector.
The guy who makes the Odd'l Rockets Blast Deflectors will be making a new mold from the original MPC Deflector.

The new deflectors will be larger with a 3 1/8" wide base diameter. The larger deflector will be more effective with larger diameter models.
The new deflectors are improved with a (flat) rolled lip under the bottom. This makes the deflector stronger than the old MPC ceramic domes and less likely to break.
My supplier is busy! The new BLAST! deflectors "should be available" after the first of the year.

Saturday, November 8, 2014

Upscale Odd'l Break-Away - YouBee at Bunnell Blast

Roger Smith had his YouBee (an 6:1 upscale of the Odd'l Rockets Break-Away model) readied for flight at the Bunnell Blast, November 8 and 9.
I helped him carry it to the HPR pads. We were going to slide it down a launch rail when I noticed a fin had worked loose at the root edge.
Roger was busy with a drill and epoxy for a re-try on Sunday.

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Little Green Man on Cover of Peak Of Flight Newsletter

The Odd'l Rockets Little Green Man continues to pop up everywhere!

This time it's on the cover of the latest Apogee Peak of Flight Newsletter -
You can see the whole issue, #377 - CLICK HERE

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

L.G.M. Invasion!

Paul Rudin (RocketGeekInFl on TRF)
Posted a picture of his Little Green Man

"Launched my daughters this weekend. 
This was actually one of the straightest flying rockets of the day. 
Real crowd pleaser!!!"

Monday, October 27, 2014

Scott Heider's Little Green Man

A blog comment and pics from Scott Heider:

"Since you requested pics, I thought that I'd share a few of my just finished Little Green Man. I built mine stock per the instructions. 
Thanks for creating such a fun kit!" 

Every space man needs his Ray Gun!

Great work Scott! Thanks for sharing!
Let me know how it flys!

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

SPUDNIK Flight Testing

I launched the SPUDNIK twice yesterday morning, both times with a A10-3t engine. Both flights were stable to about 100 feet but there was corkscrewing.

The Odd'l Rockets Sputnik (with the 3" foam ball) flys vertical  without any "coning" or corkscrewing.

The problem is trying to drill out a straight 1/2" hole for the engine mount tube. If the line of thrust is off by a degree or two the rocket won't fly perfectly vertical.
Add the uneven surfaces along the top and it probably won't fly without some spiraling.
Drag and weight are other considerations. On both flights the model was nose down and ejected the engine at half the altitude.
I know - MORE POWER! A larger engine (B6-2 or C6-3) would get it higher in the air but still doesn't solve the mount hole reaming and deflection from the uneven top surfaces.

The inset picture shows the micro clips connected to the igniter. If you have a Sputnik rocket, be sure the clips have no chance of getting caught up on the legs!

The Spudnik won't become a kit. There just isn't a way to ream out a straight hole for the engine mount tube.
This isn't a loss by any means. I'm only out a few dollars for the potato and two engines. You'd be surprised how many models are built, flown and not released.
I might fly it at a club launch but wouldn't want to release it for sale with the stability concerns.

Monday, October 20, 2014


Here's one I'm looking forward to testing!
Gary Minton emailed the suggestion for a Spudnik. I wish I had come up with the idea!

I had ordered a few "stress ball" potatoes. They were too heavy to fly!
Gary found these spuds, I ordered them from China.
After 30 minutes of drilling and gluing here's the finished prototype.
It'll soon fly with an A10-3t engine. 
Keep your fingers crossed!

Sunday, October 12, 2014

Bunnell, FL, N.E.F.A.R. Launch

The Little Green Man had it's thirteenth flight at the NEFAR monthly launch on October 11.

There was a slow turn during boost with an Estes C6-5 to about 650 feet. The 12" Odd'l parachute brought it down with no damage.

This guy is popular, cameras always come out when he flys.

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

More LGM and Pigasus kits!   and

now have more Little Green Men and Pigasus kits in stock!
Both vendors also carry the new Flame Resistant Shock Cord.

Monday, October 6, 2014

Pigasus on NAR Facebook Page

Here's Beth Johnson's PIGASUS
posted on the NAR's Facebook page.

Great work Beth!
Thanks for posting the picture.

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

. . . I Say Potahtoe

Gary Minton spent more time looking for a better potato than I did. Here's what he found - 

First, I had a sample stress-ball potato sent out. It's too heavy and I can't drill out for an engine mount tube like I do for the Sputnik kit.
These new spuds weigh only 18 grams each, half of what the stress ball potato did.
That leads me to believe these might be Styrofoam.

An order has been made for the first six. They've got to coming from China. The delivery estimate date is Thursday, October 23, 2014 - Monday, November 10, 2014!
Another typical day of research at the Odd'l Rockets workshop.

Friday, September 26, 2014

Drilling Soft Foam Potatoes

I wasn't successful trying to "drill out" an engine mount hole in the stress ball potato!
I can easily drill and hollow a hole in the round ball Styrofoam Sputnik model kits.
But the soft, heavy rubber potato won't fly! In this form, it won't end up being a kit.

I night do a "one-off" carving a potato out of white Styrofoam. Then I'll have to get some foam safe paints.
I haven't given up on this one, I think it'll be pretty funny.

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

You Say Potaytoe . . .

From an email suggestion from Gary Minton.

Okay, I found a potato.
Now make it fly!

It'll be a Spud-nik!      Hah!

Sunday, September 21, 2014

Little Green Man Decals

I'm just starting to get good flight reports from the Little Green Man kits.

If you've built the kit, you know I include some extra decals.
Some builders have problems with water slide decals. The extras are there just in case.

Here's some decal tips -
1. Always wet the model surface where the decal will be placed. That gives you a wet surface under the decal allowing you more time to slide and adjust it to the final position.
2. Soak until the decals easily slide off the backing paper. I'll usually soak the decal in water for about 20 seconds, remove it from the water and let it set on a paper towel until I need it.
3. Soak and apply each decal separately!
4. Slide just a small part off the backing, place that small exposed part on the model. Hold that end on the model and slide the backing off under the decal leaving just the decal on the model.
5. A wet Q-tip makes a great tool for rolling out air bubbles under the decal.
6. In the upper left corner of the decal sheet is the kit name and decal copy. Before using a large model decal, try transferring that word block onto the model.
You can get an idea of the soak time, how the decal slides off the backing and transfers onto the model. Just remember to remove that "test" decal.
It's good practice and you won't waste a kit decal!

The idea of including extras comes from FlisKits. Jim Flis will typically include an extra shroud.
Shrouds are sometimes hard to get right, the extra gives you a second chance for a better fit.

Friday, September 19, 2014

Odd'l Inspired Designs?

Here's two models that may have had some Pigasus influence in their designs.

Dick Stafford's Cochon d' Eau (French for Water Pig) is a water rocket.
The wide bottle fits the pig profile well. He built it for his grand kids.

Tom (Babar on TRF) posted pictures and a video of his Squirrel rocket.
It was stable on B6-4 engines but might need nose weight for C6-5s.
The TRF thread and video is HERE
Both great designs!

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Cutting Pigasus Kit Parts

Whoever thought it would be fun to start your own rocketry company has never had to bag up kits!
I don't buy pre-cut tubes, most are 34" long to start and all are cut to size. Even the smallest length tubes are cut by hand.

I'm prepping more Pigasus kits and needed "snouts".
Here's thirty-one noses all cut to 9/16" long. I don't need this many noses right now but I've learned to cut more than you need for the next litter of kits.

Sunday, September 14, 2014

Maker Faire in Orlando

Some Odd'l Rockets were on display at the Orlando Maker Faire on Sunday.

I was concerned about small kids grabbing the rockets.

Roger Smith ( made this great sign!

Saturday, September 13, 2014

Making Adeptors

I made up ten Adeptors last week.
The central bolt is originally 1 7/8" long, too tall on top of a blast deflector so it's cut in half.
After cutting in two, the bottom is filed flat. The raised bolt on a camera tripod only allows a few turns. The filed flat bottom on the Adeptor gives you a additional turn to better lock it down.

A hole is drilled through the side, then threads tapped for the thumbscrew. The thumbscrew is cut shorter so it won't be in the way of the rocket fins or engine flame.

An additional fender washer is included n the bag to cover the large center hole in the newer Estes Blast deflector plates.
Then comes the printing and bagging. All in a day's work!

The Odd'l Rockets ADEPTOR is small, but it will make a big difference in how you launch rockets.
When mounted on a camera tripod there is no more wet, grass stained and sore knees. Launch pictures are easier to take and come out better.
Its much easier to connect up the micro clips when the rocket is above waist level.

NOTE: For safety, it's not necessary to raise the camera tripod legs to the full extension.
Extend the tripod legs one segment and keep the tripods center of gravity low.
Or, tie a gallon jug of water to the hook under the center base of the tripod.

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Flame Resistant Shock Cord Sales

Sales of the new Flame Resistant Shock Cords are going well enough to be added to the Odd'l Products line.
The flame resistant elastic shock cord is 1/8" x 8 yards.
There's enough in each package for eight models at one yard per rocket.

Most kit supplied shock cords are too short. Bare rubber deteriorates quickly when exposed to hot ejection charges.

NOTE: While this treated shock cord can get blackened by soot from an ejection charge, it will last much longer than other untreated bare rubber or elastic cords.
At present the Flame Resistant Shock Cord is available from

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Little Green Man Instruction Correction

Tim at Apogee Components built a Little Green Man and found a mistake in the instructions.
Under STEP 16, there is the phrase:
Note the Right Eye is slightly larger than the Left Eye (This is incorrect!)
Looking down on the nose cone (from above), the right eye is the larger one.

It should read:
Note the Left Eye is slightly larger than the Right Eye
(The copy is now corrected in the picture above and in all new printed instructions)
The instruction illustration has always been correct.

If you have any problems with your build, I can send you a "flipped" eyes print that will fit any reversed right-left eye ovals.
I apologize for any inconvenience. It seems all kit instructions go through some revisions.

Tim also adds:
1. "I didn't need them, but the kit comes with several duplicate decals. They are there, just in case you have problems putting them on. But they do go on easily, so you probably won't need them either.
2. The kit comes with balsa wood fins, and they have lots of curved edges. Because of this, there is a chance that the wood can split along the grain. The hands and the toes are the most vulnerable to breaking. You might consider reinforcing those parts by laminating a piece of paper to the wood with some wood glue. I wish I would have done that on my rocket, as my Little Green man bumped it's toes and snapped one off. A little bit of super glue fixed that, and it is as good as new.
3. Because this rocket has pipe-cleaner antenna on top, there is a chance that they could alter the flight path of the rocket. Be prepared for this and have spectators stand a little further back when launching the rocket."

In response:
1. Extra decals are included! Some builders have problems with water slide decals. The extras are there for that reason.
2. My prototype models have had many flights on them. The feet are glued in such a way to reinforce the grain directions. I've had no cracks in the legs or feet. Regarding the hands, there's really no chance of the hands splitting where they are located.
3. The pipe cleaner antennas (even bent) will not effect the vertical path of the rocket! You'll just have to see a flight to believe it.

Last note: Do not use the Quest C6-5 engines in the Little Green Man or Pigasus rockets.
Please use Estes engines!

Little Green Man in the Wild!

It's always good to see an Odd'l kit made by somebody else!

David Armstrong posted a pic of his Little Green Man on the NAR Facebook page. It looks great!

(To be honest, I didn't even know there was a NAR group on Facebook. I'm not a Facebook fan but I'll be checking back more often.)

David's L.G.M. is sporting a darker green finish and a blue belt buckle. (It looks like he's got a tan, maybe returning from a beach vacation.)

If you have any Odd'l pics you'd like to share, please send them to me and they might end up posted on this Odd'l blog!

Sunday, September 7, 2014

Flare Test, Orlando R.O.C.K. Launch, September 6, 2014

The replacement for the Powered FLIC in the Odd'l Rockets Combo kit might just be the FLARE, shown at the left.
It's second test flight was at the Orlando R.O.C.K. monthly launch.
I tried an A10-3t engine.
While the flight was very stable, it seemed almost too fast off the launcher.
Even with the tail cone drag, the A3-4t engine would be a better choice.
More flight testing will follow.

The new Odd'l Rockets LITTLE GREEN MAN had another stable C6-5 flight.
Here the L.G.M. reclines after touchdown.

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Return of the Little Green Man Video

Roger Smith has been busy with his video editor.
The revised Little Green man video shows an added C6-5 flight from last months Bunnell NEFAR launch.
The Little Green Man is very "vocal" on this new video. 

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Flare / Bell Bottom Build, Part 2 Design Process

Here's the back view with the shroud over a 5/60 centering ring.
There's no engine hook, the engine is slid in place and gets a wrap of masking tape over the BT-5 tube.

The extended shroud isn't as strong as I would like.

Below the centering ring I'm adding a short "nested" shroud.
This will but up against the centering ring and be even with the back end of the outside shroud.

The entire model was dry fitted to see the finished shape.
I'll probably keep the launch lug short, right beneath the hole in the shroud. It's never easy to trim the lug end even with the angle of the shroud.