Last weekend, 27-29 July, I flew a mostly 3D Printed Rocket at URRF. I was hopeful that the nosecone and fins could hold up to the stresses of launch.
I took my own advice and bought the Flashforge Creator X 3D printer. It has two MK8 print heads, for printing two colors, and an aluminum plate. So far I like it. I’m using ABS plastic and so far have had no jams. I’ve replaces the Kapton(tm) build plate covering once so far. I beat it up after seven or eight builds. The initial instructions suggest a plate temperature of 90C. I’ve had better luck with parts sticking to the build plate at 110C.
My initial interest in 3D printing is to make model rocket nose cones with a capability of carrying small payloads. Getting a 3-D printer has given me a opportunity to develop some ideas. I’d like to have a nosecone that can carry small circuit board payload. The version described here does not have that capability, but it is a step toward that goal. It includes a shell of a nosecone. I’ve included some internal bulkheads, though I’m not sure they are needed. The nosecone needs to survive the launch pressures. The bulkheads will need to be reduced, but could be thickened, to carry a payload.
I had the chance to go to the URRF, in Potter NY June 21-23,2013, sponsored by URRG (Upstate Research Rocketry Group). I was able to successfully launch my PML D-Region Tomahawk, and figure out how to use a new Boostervision HD.
Long term plans for the Tomahawk are to cut out a section of the tube for an electronics bay and learn to implement a dual deploy system, then, if it survives, learn to use hybrid rocket motors. My goals for URRF were to demonstrate a safe first flight of the Tomahawk and obtain flight video of a launch. Continue reading