Saturday, February 7, 2009

TAP pursuit update

As I'd mentioned at the bottom of my L3 cert entry I continue to build experience pertinent to becoming a TAP member for San Diego's Tripoli club.  Dok and Kurt encouraged me to fly more M and larger motors, use a broader range of electronics, and fly hybrids.  Here are some direct and indirect updates:

1. I've flown a total of 2 M motors now (M1297 and M2030G) and I've planned an M1939 flight in my L3 rocket in March.
2. I purchased a G-Wiz LCX altimeter and I'll use that at the March launch as well.
3. I also purchased a radio transmitter to track small fast rockets up to several miles away on the ground and 50 miles in the air.  I plan to never lose another rocket.
4. I've started to research the purchase and use of hybrid motors but I'm having trouble locating a vendor.  Jack at What's Up Hobbies doesn't carry them so the search continues.

5. I also bought a set of incredibly powerful composite material tutorial videos from Dave Triano at Shadow Composites.  I knew most of basics video with the exception of his use of heat-shrink tape to optimize the matrix/reinforcement ratio to roughly 1:1.  The content on video 2, however, revolutionized my view of filling/priming, finishing.  The third disc covers vacuum bagging for irregularly shaped parts and I'm beginning to tool up for that process.  I highly recommend this set of 3 DVDs!
6. I used to paint very well using Krylon rattle cans.  This last year something has changed and I don't think it's my technique.  All of a sudden I get copious orange peeling and cracking defects while painting.  My theory is that the EPA has pressured paint companies into lowering VOCs and switching away from flurosurfactants.  I'm tired of sucking at this so, after reading this article featuring a gorgeous paint job, I purchased an HVLP paint gun, Martin-Senour car paint from Napa, and a 20 gallon air compressor.  I've only used their glossy, gray primer thus far but the results are blowing me away.
7. Finally I've decided to learn airbrushing to improve the appearance of my final paint jobs.  I bought an airbrush and started to learn flame painting.  I'm doing a bunch of practicing in Corel Painter and Illustrator using my Wacom tablet as well.

In a future entry I plan to post my rocketry résumé and provide updates as I add experience.

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