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#1 to #160 (Updates)



Each flight log entry usually represents a launch or test day, and describes the events that took place.
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Day 69 - FTC Rocket
The T-8 FTC deployment mechanism main components.
Detail of the electronics bay
Latch mechanism in the latched position.
Latch mechanism in the open position.
Spring loaded nosecone section
Another view of the nosecone.
Payload section ready to be fitted to the top of the FTC rocket
Reverse view of the payload section.
Deployment mechanism attached to the top of the FTC rocket.
Detail view of the fins. The fins and glue still need a final coat of paint.

Date:  9th November 2008
Team Members at Event:
GK and PK

FTC Rocket

It's been quite a few months since we started work on the FTC rocket. We usually worked on it when we had a bit of spare time while working on the other rockets. Our FTC rocket is based on a T-8 FTC tube.


The body is made from a 0.36mm wall thickness FTC. We've wrapped it with one layer of glass fiber strapping tape. It has about 1 L capacity.

Nozzle and End cap

We made an end-cap out of some PVC we had on hand and the nozzle is based on a 15 mm Gardena nozzle. The one we bought from the local hardware store came with an outside thread. We machined an adaptor with a matching thread that fits snugly inside the FTC. We then epoxied the nozzle inside the adaptor. The seal for the end-cap and nozzle is provided by an o-ring that sits against the FTC. Just behind the o-ring is a groove that allows us to shrink the FTC into it to hold the end-cap and nozzle in place. We borrowed this technique from Urie's water rockets.


The fins are made of 3mm plywood. The Dremmel tool came in really handy in cutting these out. We tried to glue them directly to the outside of the FTC but the PL does not hold well to the strapping tape. We have instead attached them to a split sleeve made of FTC and taped that to the body. This lets us remove the fins and place them on another FTC rocket.

In order to secure the fins a little better than just glue, we essentially sewed them to the sleeve with 4 loops of wire.

Payload Section

The payload section contains the parachute, flight computer, batteries and altimeter. We went with a split nosecone for the deployment design, as it meant we would not have to be pushing the parachute out of the thin tube. The nosecone can be made longer or shorter depending on the parachute size requirements.

Several weeks ago Tim Chen had discussed with other forum members a similar spring loaded "clamshell" design for an FTC rocket, but no specific diagrams or photos are available of his design.

The nosecone is made from the plastic end cap that comes with the FTC and a half a plastic Kinder Surprise egg. mmmmm .... chocolate ....

The two halves of the nosecone (shells) are made from another piece of FTC.

The hinges at the top of the nosecone are made from two strips of ripstop nylon glued to either side of each shell and wedged between the nosecone and FTC end cap.

The two shells are spring loaded to open when deployed. The spring is made from a piece of PET plastic from a regular bottle. This also acts to help get the parachute out of the shells. The plastic is just attached with a couple of wires.

The shells overlap the main payload section and are held in place by a latch mechanism made from a paperclip. This latch mechanism is operated by a small RC servo motor which in turn is controlled by the flight computer. We had to make up a smaller version of the flight computer to fit inside the FTC.

All the components inside the main payload section are attached to a piece of Coriflute material. This lets us slide the entire mechanism out of the payload bay.

Having the servo horn stick out the side of the FTC tube is not ideal aerodynamically but sure makes it easy to setup and lock the nosecone in place. With a smaller servo we could place the entire mechanism inside the FTC.

Coming up

We still have a bit more work on this rocket before it is finished but we hope to launch it at the next NSWRA launch day. We should have it complete for the NSWRA open day.

We will launch this rocket from our medium launcher fitted with the 15mm release head and a 1200mm long launch tube. The launch tube will act as the guide rail.

The first flight is likely to be around 160psi to evaluate the rocket's performance before trying at a around 200psi on the next launch.

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