Saturday, August 29, 2009

Three Projects Really

Paul Breed of Unreasonable Rocket, we think at the SAS09, stated that building your rocket was not enough, that there was a whole separate and equally (if not more so) project of coding to make sure everything works as it should, when it should, where it should. Let's just say, we completely agreed. Those rackin, frackin little COMs...

*starts strangling a computer...*


Pardon me.

We absolutely agree with Paul. Yet we disagree. There are actually three projects involved here.

The first acknowledged is building the rocket. We have assembled The Wind at Dawn, are nearing so with The Pale Glow of the Stars, and we are manufacturing The Bright Flash of Chicxulub. Aluminum is your friend. Stainless steel is your sadistic bully in grade school.

The second is the coding. Even on a single rocket, if you shift things, as happens when you are working with a mock-up/prototype, you have to rework bits of the code to make sure everything stays in balance when you fire. Especially with our design.

There is still a third project though. This predates the others and is ongoing until the project is finished. This one is funding the whole endeavor. Team Phoenicia has been chasing down sponsors with a large club for a while now. We have been extraordinarily lucky. Or just plain persistent.

We have been asked by other people, sometimes from other teams and sometimes from people in other competitions, how we have been able to get so many sponsors. The truth of the matter is that we have been pounding the pavement for some time. Seeking sponsorship isn't for the faint of heart or those without endurance. You have to keep knocking on doors, asking people, and networking to get what you need. You seriously wear out your shoes. Proverbially or real. And sometimes you even suffer from burnout.

In truth, Team Phoenicia has had about a 5% success rate. For every sponsor you see on the side, we have had around 20 turn us down. 20 presentations. With 10 man-hours of work for each one. On average. Some more, some less. For each sponsor, we've invested around 210 man-hours. For our total sponsorship, that's almost 1500 man-hours.

That is a project in and of itself.

Whether it's enough, we'll see.


Paul Breed said...

>Aluminum is your friend.
>Stainless steel is your sadistic bully in grade school.

I just spent the weekend machining a 1/2lb Stainless steel fuel injector and catalyst support plate out of an 8lb chunk of 316 stainless. That is the best Machining quote I've ever heard.

Paul Breed(Unreasonable Rocket)

Will Baird said...

o.O An 8 lb chunk...the pain...the pain...

Any and all suggestions for dealing with stainless are welcome. And then some. We've picked up polycarbide end mills and whatnot, but ... evidence from someone that's further down the road is ALWAYS welcome.

Thanx for the compliment.

Lots of luck with your flights.

Paul Breed said...

Get your feeds and speeds right.
Using 5 flute coated carbide bits I used the following:

1/4" bit 1200 RPM 4IPM 0.050 per pass.

3/8" bit 850 RPM 5 ipm 0.0625 per pass.

1/8the bit 2200 RPM 4 ipm 0.035 per pass. (Started at 0.050 per pass reduced the cut in deep slots)

If the feed rate is too slow the stainless hardens. Must keep up the feed rate. The rates above are about 75% of what my references say they should be.

I also drilled holes for the pocket starts so the end mill did not have to plunge into stainless. Where I could not pre drill I ramped the bit in at a shallow angle of 5 degrees.

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