Saturday, February 28, 2009

Sugar Motor Data

  This is the test data for the motor used in
the RU-486, discussed in the previous post.
I thought about posting a pic of the actual
motor, but to a non-rocketeer, it looks like
a boring aluminum tube. To a rocketeer it
looks like an aluminum rocket motor that's
boring because it's not lit.
  I've been into making sugar motors for
about 8 years now on an unsteady basis. I
started developing this Bates grain motor
right after my initial successes with small
disposable motors. Initial ground tests of
all motors were done with a peak reading
pressure guage in order to dial in the correct
nozzle size. I flew the 4th and 6th motors,
the 6th being the RU-486 flight. This is the
first time I've gotten to test these motors
on a proper motor test stand, unfortunately,
the pressure transducer had a broken wire,
so there is no chamber pressure graph.
  We believe that the strain guage was not
properly calibrated and the unexpectedly high
ISP number bears this out. There is no doubt
though, this is an extreme motor.
  I recently adjusted my motor labelling
nomenclature. 638-B7 means, Cooking batch
#6 for any 38mm motors, B for Bates geometry,
7th bates motor produced. Labels packed with
the reloads hold additional data, but this is
enough to I.D. the motor when referring back
to my notes.

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Sweet Flight, Sudden Ending!

This is the 2nd, and last, flight of the RU-486.
Yes, I named it after the "Morning After Pill".
Just the thing for a Saturday or Sunday morning.
The 1st flight the day before was on an Aerotek
I161 motor, this flight is on an experimental I947
motor burning Sorbitol diet sugar and Potassium
The launch was on 7/8/07 deep in the heart of
Pecos County, Texas. Courtesy of WestTex Tripoli.
The photographer was lucky to catch it, it was
already hauling ass. In fact, the acceleration
was so high that the control altimeter shifted
backwards causing the contact pins to pull out of
the connector body on the wireing harness. Pulling
one contact with pliers is tough, pulling all 4 at
once is impressive. Of course, with the altimeter
disconnected, the rocket ended up in a hole. A
deep one. I had to borrow a shovel.
Basic Specs: 5ft tall, 2 1/4"dia., ACME Fincan,
38mm motormount, Adept ALT-S2 altimeter,
rigged for single chute recovery.
I gave it a lot of thought before posting an
unsuccesful flight as the first rocket pic on here,
but it's important to remember that one usually
learns more from failure than success. This is a
great pic anyway, and it makes a flashy intro to
my sugar motor research which will be expanded
upon in the next couple posts.

Monday, February 23, 2009

Welcome to Retropolis

I'm not a MAD scientist, sometimes I'm not
even grumpy, sometimes. Man, those may look
like jumper cables, but they've got the potential
to jump start an elephant.
  If you have a taste for the classic Buck Rogers
vision of the future; zap guns, mad scientists,
robot sidekicks, and rocket ships with open
cockpits [so that everyone can see YOU styling]
Retropolis Transit Authority is the place for you.  
   I'd rather reveal my sources after I'd already
bought some shirts for myself, but money is tight
and this site is too cool not to support one way
or another.  Check the links there too, the artist;  
Bradley W. Schenck  has several sites to look at.  
Go to;

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

ZZakk's Origin

This is the original ZZakk's Garage sign. It still hangs in my
workshop. A while back I got a quote of $500 to have it
done in neon.  Maybe someday.  The following is what my
brother Keith wrote about the sign when he started ZZakk's
Garage blog.

The Origin Of Zzakk's Garage

In 1980 I made this little sign and put it up in my apartment
in Clifton Park, New York. I was visiting Texas while my
brother worked on his Triumph Bonneville motorcycle in
my kitchen. 
After we both moved back here it went up in our garage,
where he pursued his various hobbies while I practiced 
new songs for my band, late into the night. Many cold
beers and stuff were enjoyed, and our guests always had 
fun and maybe learned a thing or two.
He kept the sign all these years, and I named this site in
honor of those days gone by.
Posted by KeithAlanK   Friday, September 30, 2005

I had an upstairs apt at the time, and the apt security
would get on you if you did more than check the oil
in the parking lot. The snow was deep that winter too.  
OTOH- Keith & Zard had a ground level apt with a
big patio door to roll through.  Maaan, the place stank
of gasoline and rancid motor oil for months, a change
from college dude dirty laundry, but the job got done,
and I was in the wind come springtime.
My 1st motor rebuild, I learned a lot.
Thanks guys, I'm still grateful to this day.

I always liked the tagline; "Don't ask us to borrow tools!"
Sounds a little confusing, but; "Neither a borrower,
nor a lender be."

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Welcome to ZZakks Laboratory

   Welcome to the first entry at ZZakks Lab.
Please bear with me as I learn my way around 
the place, and get this carny act up and moving.
   If you're not yet familiar with ZZakks Garage 
blog, you should be. The Garage is one of my
brother Keith's several blogs and is well worth a look
on a routine basis. This would've been the Garage
but he used it first [more about that later]. 
   In any case, I'm definitely the mad scientist type
so the Lab fits me well. As time goes by, you'll see
many of my science experiments, hobby projects,
sketchpad scans, pirated art, blather, vitriol, and

rare insights, very rare.