My 1/96th Scale Flying Saturn V & Mobile Launcher

Discussion in 'Space & Aeronautics' started by WeeVikes, Sep 27, 2007.

  1. Mike_BAR

    Mike_BAR American Rocketeer

  2. buckeyetim

    buckeyetim New Member

    Mike, Amazing work on this project. I just completed the same SaturnV and now I'm building a flying model. What problems caused your chute not to deploy and how heavy was your flying weight? I've built kits until trying this Saturn V to fly, so any tips are appreciated.

  3. jleslie48

    jleslie48 Member

  4. WeeVikes

    WeeVikes Member

    Thanks, Tim. I'm glad you enjoy the model.

    In a nutshell, here's how I built it.

    If you've seen the pictures of the flying Ton Noteboom Saturn V at Jon Leslie's website, then you now have an idea of what I did. I basically followed the design concept of having the vehicle separate at the interface of the S-II and the lower portion of the Interstage. The combined S-IC/S-II stages are a tube made of rolled posterboard, cut to the appropriate size. This tube is reinforced with corrugated cardboard rings glued to the interior, 5, I think. The roll patterns, corrugated sections, USA's, United States', etc, were treated like plastic model decals. I printed the original model parts on cardstock, carefully cut them out of the sheet, and glued them into place on the tube. (In hindsight, I could have printed the United States on regular paper instead, but since they were already printed on the cardstock, I figured waste not.... Gluing these wraps onto the body tube adds a fair amount of strength to the structure.

    Two of the reinforcing rings (the one at the base of the vehicle, and the one at the opposite end) have holes in the center of them that are the same size as the outer diameter of an Estes BT-50 body tube. I used a length of BT-50 as the combined D12-3 engine mount and as the conduit for the ejection gasses. Pretty standard. As I recall, I had to join two BT-50s and trim them to length, as they were too short as-is.

    As you can hopefully see in the attached picture, the upper ring/bulkhead in the S-II section is offset from the top of the stage. This allows for the ring at the bottom of the Interstage to slip inside it, allowing the stages to mate, and also creates a parachute compartment. This is where my design error came into play with regard to the parachute deployment. The rocket was designed with three parachutes: one for the S-IVB/Apollo, and two for the S-IC/S-II. There is a 1/4th inch dowel that runs thru the centerline of the Interstage, S-IVB, Apollo, and becomes the LES tower. You can see the bottom of this in the sketch. The S-IVB parachute was tied to this dowel. It's deployment was perfect each time. Along with the upper stage parachute, the lower stage parachutes were in the parachute compartment. My hope was that at separation, the friction between the lower parachutes and the ring at the bottom of the interstage would be sufficient to pull the 'chutes out of the compartment. Well, would'nt you know it, it wasn't. On the second flight, the two lower 'chutes remained stubbornly wedged between the BT-50 & the outer wall of the S-II. I had a feeling that might happen, but hoped for the best. DON'T MAKE THE SAME MISTAKE I MADE!!! Now that my rebuild is almost finished, I'm going to just tie all the 'chutes to the the S-IVB, attach a shock chord between the two, and be done with it. I'm a little worried about tangling, but I actually had that happen with my first flight and everything came back ok, so I can live with the possibility.

    To tie up some loose ends, I used strips of cardboard as fin anchors. If you've ever seen the big Estes model, you may have an idea of what I'm getting at. Basically, I cut slits in the engine fairings at the base of the rocket, stuck the strips thru the fairings, and glued these anchors directly to the body tube. The model's fins were then glued around the anchors, and I filleted the fins to the fairings. This added a lot of strength. As I use removable clear plastic fins that are attached to the model fins, the extra strength is crucial. The S-IVB/Apollo is basically built out of cardstock, albiet with the internal details omitted. I made my own centering rings/bulkheads to help with strength and shape. As I said before, I used a dowel as the structural backbone of this portion, which worked beautifully. It's been a long time since I designed a built this part, so when I tell you I don't think I used any nose weight in the CM, hopefully you'll understand.

    Oh yeah, the vehicle, with engine, weighs about 11 oz.

    Hopefully that give you an idea of how I put it together and will help you with your build. If I can answer any other questions, draw any more pictures, or whatever you need, I'd be more than happy to help a fellow Ohio resident get his S-V off the ground!


    Attached Files:

  5. jleslie48

    jleslie48 Member

  6. WeeVikes

    WeeVikes Member

    Man, and I thought I was over the top...

    That's going to be beyond cool when you get it done. I can't wait!

    Now, I'll let you get back to it...

  7. Mike_BAR

    Mike_BAR American Rocketeer

    Flying Saturn V Parachute Deployment

    Excellent model and build.

    Sounds like a good design on the parachute compartment. You may need to change your parachute packing technique. There is a technique to roll the three parachutes together. The chute for the upper stage will pull the lower stage chutes out of the compartment.

    I have read about the technique on another forum. You may want to post a message at The Rocketry Forum. Many model rocketeers will be happy to advise you. There are a few card modelers there too! Most of them post in the Scratch Built forum. Good luck.

  8. WeeVikes

    WeeVikes Member


    Thank you for the advice. That's something I'd never thought of.

    I will take your advice and check in with them. I much prefer my original parachute arrangement, and this may be the ticket to reliable recoveries from now on.

    Again, thank you.

  9. Mike_BAR

    Mike_BAR American Rocketeer


    I sent you a private message since my reply is straying from card modeling.

    Just so everyone can get a glimse, here is an example of what you want to do!

    Click here for photo of flying Saturn V model rocket parachute deployment.

    What a great project. Please post your results.

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