Ordering parts and planning the build (7)

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After spending a couple of weeks strategizing about the build and the tech to go into it my friends invited me and my wife to come visit them in Michigan for the 4th of July. Since we live in a big city there aren’t a lot of open spaces where you can perform a launch without having to worry about trees, power lines, and population, so I thought this would be a great chance to get in a few launches and collect some telemetry data that I can use to plan further iterations. The only problem: I had no rocket.

With only 10 days before we left on our trip I needed to order all of the parts, receive them, assemble them, and hope everything dries in time to be able to pack it all up for the road.

I had already been looking at Apogee for inspiration on body designs and what kinds of materials are commonly used. Normally I might stray from the more expensive specialized retailers and try to buy the raw materials from cheaper businesses, but with the time crunch I figured I could streamline the process by purchasing all parts that were designed to work together.

I settled on the Estes BT-60 (Body Tube #60, 41.6mm) for a few reasons. It was large enough to fit the camera payload and telemetry electronics without being so large it would be too heavy or experience too much aerodynamic drag. Apogee had a clear payload tube, fiberglass engine compartment, nose cones and other components in this size. It was also very close to the diameter that I had already used in my computer modeling, so I could easily adjust the digital models to be accurate to the real build without too much re-working.

In total, there are just over a dozen body components that I needed, and some other tools and supplies that I used to assemble it. Here’s what I went with:

I probably could have done well to order a fin jig like the one they sell on Apogee, and perhaps some vice grips as well, but I had a deadline and I was just going to go for it! Unfortunately USPS delayed my order by a couple of days, but I did receive everything just with enough time that some late nights made up the difference.

In my next post I will show you how I put it all together, as we get closer to our first launch day!