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  #21  
Old 07-06-2017, 04:22 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BEC
Lee, edited my post.

I will say that Rex's rationale seems plausible. The motor hooks with the finger tabs do need to go over further to install/remove a motor and maybe someone at Estes (before John Boren) decided that momentarily deforming the base of the body tube to get the motor in or out was not a good idea for the target users of the kit.

The details of the motor mount assembly have changed several times that I know of and I'm still gathering data for where I have gaps in the chronology. But this last change - to push the motor mount assembly aft 1/4 inch - is pretty recent. It's happened in the last handful of years.

The reason I asked Bob Sanford about the face card of that new packaging is that up to the latest ones I've see, the projecting motor tube is not shown in the illustrations. Instead it's flush to the aft end of the body tube as it has been since the beginning of the Alpha. Yet more minutiae.....


Bernard,

No big deal on mentioning me instead of Rex ...

I recently pulled out an old Semroc kit I'd received free years ago, and I had started the build and then put it away. I just pulled it out of storage a few days ago and was surprised to see that it was built with the motor tube flush with the aft end, and it was very difficult to pull the motor hook out enough to slide in the motor, since the hook hits the main tube and requires some deforming. I find it harder and harder to grab the ends of those old-style hooks on small rockets. Ahhh, the ravages of old age ...
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  #22  
Old 07-06-2017, 07:24 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BEC
We're going to do regular Alphas rather than IIIs....the III's 50th anniversary is a few years off yet, and sadly we can't invite Mike Dorffler to attend when that comes around in - what - 2022? I will have to figure out how to build one safely in about an hour and a half, but I think I can do that.


The Alpha III (K-56) was released in 1971 and first appeared in catalog no. 711. It did not get the roll patterns/Estes logo decor scheme until 1973.
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  #23  
Old 07-06-2017, 11:15 PM
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Thanks Mike. So 2021 will be the 50th year for the Alpha III.

I cringed and paid full retail ($16.99) at HobbyTown this afternoon for an Alpha with the new face card like the one Bob posted to start this thread. Without actually removing the contents from the package, the rocket parts look identical to the last few iterations. Same nose cone, same big thick "centering cylinder" for the motor mount and so forth.

Lee - I have mixed feelings about the motor hooks with the big finger tab on them myself - for the same reason as you suggest.
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  #24  
Old 07-06-2017, 11:27 PM
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Here (see "Building the Astron Alpha": http://www.ninfinger.org/rockets/no...a/69est050.html ) is one of the K-25 Alpha motor mount configurations, from the 1969 Estes catalog (see: http://www.ninfinger.org/rockets/no...a/69est010.html ). Instead of having a fully-notched rear centering ring, this variant used a solid rear centering ring (which the builder partially-notched to fit the motor clip) that was glued in place nearly halfway up the motor mount tube.
Quote:
Originally Posted by BEC
Bob,

OK - thanks.

I'm starting on this huge spreadsheet that will be based on using each different version of the instructions for the rows to try to lay all this out. That's the only way I'm going to even be able to try to keep it all straight.

Even the K-25 Alpha (BNC-50K, cut your own fins) has at least two different motor mount arrangements. Since then the big changes were die cut, then laser cut fins, going to a blow-molded nose cone (at least two shapes at different times) and several motor mount variations. And then there's the livery changes, culminating (for now) in the one you started this thread with.

I flew a BNC-50K/cut your own fins by tracing around the SP-25 pattern Alpha at NSL, done up in the simple two-color livery, but substituting the white with gold for the 50th year. That one was a little hard to find on the ground.... Parts for it came mostly from a late 1960's kit I got on eBay but which arrived with a crushed main body tube. Fortunately the one constant for all Alpha variations I've seen is a 7.75 inch-long BT-50 for the body.

Note to others reading this: by "Alpha" in this context I mean the K-25, later 1225 Alpha and it's bulk-packaged and starter/launch set packaged compatriots and not Alpha II, III, or IV (though I believe the Alpha IIs all have 7.75 inch BT-50s as the main body as well).
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  #25  
Old 07-07-2017, 12:27 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by LeeR
Bernard,

No big deal on mentioning me instead of Rex ...

I recently pulled out an old Semroc kit I'd received free years ago, and I had started the build and then put it away. I just pulled it out of storage a few days ago and was surprised to see that it was built with the motor tube flush with the aft end, and it was very difficult to pull the motor hook out enough to slide in the motor, since the hook hits the main tube and requires some deforming. I find it harder and harder to grab the ends of those old-style hooks on small rockets. Ahhh, the ravages of old age ...

Could be worse. You could be new age.
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  #26  
Old 07-07-2017, 12:40 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by blackshire
Here (see "Building the Astron Alpha": http://www.ninfinger.org/rockets/no...a/69est050.html ) is one of the K-25 Alpha motor mount configurations, from the 1969 Estes catalog (see: http://www.ninfinger.org/rockets/no...a/69est010.html ). Instead of having a fully-notched rear centering ring, this variant used a solid rear centering ring (which the builder partially-notched to fit the motor clip) that was glued in place nearly halfway up the motor mount tube.


Jason,

I have the original instructions for the first Alpha I built (probably in 1968 or 1969), which has the thin centering rings for the motor mount. I also have copies of later versions that show the thicker ones arranged as shown in the yellow "Model Rocket Manual" pages in some catalogs. That arrangement was pretty much the way it was done until the big thick single cylinder was introduced....sometime after the nose cone became plastic and the fins were being die cut.

That arrangement - as shown in your link - is actually the way I prefer to do it when I build an Alpha.....

NOTE: the fin pattern on that catalog page is NOT quite right. Or at least it doesn't quite match the SP-25 pattern, the shape of the subsequent die cut fins (which are very close the SP-25 pattern) or the current laser cut fins (which are slightly smaller and with more sweep). However, if you order laser cut K-25 fins from Semroc, that's the shape you will get (unless Randy Boadway has changed the cut files after he bought Semroc). Fin shapes are a whole 'nother long discussion
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  #27  
Old 07-07-2017, 01:20 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BEC
Jason,

I have the original instructions for the first Alpha I built (probably in 1968 or 1969), which has the thin centering rings for the motor mount. I also have copies of later versions that show the thicker ones arranged as shown in the yellow "Model Rocket Manual" pages in some catalogs. That arrangement was pretty much the way it was done until the big thick single cylinder was introduced....sometime after the nose cone became plastic and the fins were being die cut.

That arrangement - as shown in your link - is actually the way I prefer to do it when I build an Alpha.....

NOTE: the fin pattern on that catalog page is NOT quite right. Or at least it doesn't quite match the SP-25 pattern, the shape of the subsequent die cut fins (which are very close the SP-25 pattern) or the current laser cut fins (which are slightly smaller and with more sweep). However, if you order laser cut K-25 fins from Semroc, that's the shape you will get (unless Randy Boadway has changed the cut files after he bought Semroc). Fin shapes are a whole 'nother long discussion
By "thin centering rings," do you mean the flat white card stock ones that--in kits such as the Astron Farside--were often glued to the BT-20 motor mount tube *and* to a BT-50 stage coupler?

I always preferred that "two doughnut-type centering rings" kind of motor mount as well (the "modern" [but anything *but* better] thick, heavy BT-20 to BT-50 motor mount 'centering sleeve' is only fit to be cut into multiple "doughnut-type" centering rings).

That "yellow catalog pages Alpha fin planform" sounds like yet another variation to add to the history mix... I wonder if that particular Alpha (those yellow pages are from the "Model Rocket Manual" catalog insert, which begins here: http://www.ninfinger.org/rockets/no...a/69est048.html ) was, back then, a sort of "school bulk rocket," where teachers would buy batches of Alpha parts and use those Alpha plans (with that included fin pattern) so that the kids could build their rockets? (I wonder this because in those days, a lot of people around the country had to buy model rocket supplies and building supplies by mail order--that 1969 catalog also offered paint, glue, sandpaper, hobby knives, and Photo-Flash "D" batteries for that reason.)
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  #28  
Old 07-07-2017, 05:09 AM
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While personally I like the red and black livery the most, I have to say that I really like the new look.
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  #29  
Old 07-07-2017, 01:19 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rex R
I discovered a possible reason for the protruding motor mount tube (and a solution). the (now) stock motor hook is too wide to allow for the tube to be flush, one can't get a motor in or out of the tube. fortunately semroc/erockets has old style motor hooks that will work.
Rex

Just cut the finger tab off and flip it around to the other end. I do that by the dozens when we build E2X Generic rockets at our school.
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  #30  
Old 07-07-2017, 02:01 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by blackshire
By "thin centering rings," do you mean the flat white card stock ones that--in kits such as the Astron Farside--were often glued to the BT-20 motor mount tube *and* to a BT-50 stage coupler?


Yes, exactly. I can never keep straight which is RA-2050 and which is AR-2050 which is why I didn't call them out. The very first Alpha version used the thin rings. I have the instruction sheet from my first which shows the model this way. (see attached scan)

I built a clone earlier this year in that fashion and painted it in the suggested color scheme. It has been flown a couple of times and I am planning to ask Bill Simon to autograph that one at the September affair at the MoF. I will then put it up on the shelf next to the models I have signed by the Estes', Carl McLawhorn and Lee Piester.

Quote:
Originally Posted by blackshire
I always preferred that "two doughnut-type centering rings" kind of motor mount as well (the "modern" [but anything *but* better] thick, heavy BT-20 to BT-50 motor mount 'centering sleeve' is only fit to be cut into multiple "doughnut-type" centering rings).


YES! Though I haven't actually take a razor saw to the "centering sleeve" yet....but have thought about it. The one advantage it has is speed of assembly. In a model like the Generic E2X or Skywriter, which also both use it, it makes a little more sense based on how those go together with the fin unit, but in an Alpha - no.

Quote:
Originally Posted by blackshire
That "yellow catalog pages Alpha fin planform" sounds like yet another variation to add to the history mix... I wonder if that particular Alpha (those yellow pages are from the "Model Rocket Manual" catalog insert, which begins here: http://www.ninfinger.org/rockets/no...a/69est048.html ) was, back then, a sort of "school bulk rocket," where teachers would buy batches of Alpha parts and use those Alpha plans (with that included fin pattern) so that the kids could build their rockets? (I wonder this because in those days, a lot of people around the country had to buy model rocket supplies and building supplies by mail order--that 1969 catalog also offered paint, glue, sandpaper, hobby knives, and Photo-Flash "D" batteries for that reason.)


Interesting idea - using that fin pattern and bulk body tubes, etc. in a school setting rather than buying actual Alpha (or Alpha II) kits. I've never actually seen Alpha IIs in a catalog, but know they were aimed at the educational market. In some forms they were identical to contemporary Alphas and in at least one case I think I can document they led the evolution of the Alpha with the introduction of die-cut fins and later plastic nose cones vs. BNC-50Ks. Perhaps I'll go down that rabbit hole *after* I get the main Alpha line understood as well as I can....
Attached Files
File Type: pdf Original Alpha instructions 1967.pdf (780.6 KB, 21 views)
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