Saturday, June 22, 2013

The largest rocket I'll ever build

Non-operational, unfortunately.

The body tube is a 6 foot length of 30" diameter concrete column form from a construction supply place (Whitecap). The fins are two layers of corrugated cardboard, laminated with corrugation in perpendicular directions, lined and attached with black duct tape. The nose cone has a frame built of 2-by-2's, then is made with cardboard and covered in a mylar. It was painted with Rustoleum indoor/outdoor latex using a roller. It is kept from tipping by lashings to the playset behind with long, thick zip-ties.

Perhaps the most impressive part is that I had only three days to acquire parts, assemble, and paint it. So most of the work was done late at night, in unusually high winds. No time to smooth out body tube spirals on this beast.

The very top was meant to look like the escape tower of the Saturn V, but most of it was broken off by a rambunctious young guest at the birthday party the day before. Given more time, my idea was to make this part into an actual rocket that could launch off of the top, just as the actual escape tower was meant to do. Alas, the whole thing has found a permanent position elsewhere in our yard, under a big tree, so that won't happen.

As always, I learned something about materials and techniques during the build. My big lesson on this one? Duck brand tape is far superior to the Scotch brand duct tape.

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