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Center Cores  
bulletStarting with three 5 X 5 (60" X 60") sheets of the finest Baltic Birch 1/4" thick, the fin pattern was drawn on.
bulletDry wall screw were used to hold the sheets together.



bulletA guide was screwed to the fins and the center cores were done.
Outer Cores  
bulletThe outer cores also of 1/4" were cut in a manner similar to the center cores.
bulletHoles for the binding wood screws were marked on each side of the fins. These marks also show the direction of each screw.  Overall half the screws go from the left side to right side, and the other are reversed.  For alignment nails were placed in the holes.
bulletAs all rocketeers have done since the dawn of time, once the fins are cut you just have to put them next to the body tube to see what it looks like.  The Black Brant is no exception.
Lay Up  
bulletEpoxy was generously applied to each of the outer cores.  The nails were used to maintain alignment while the wood screws were driven in.
bulletOf course no rocket website would be complete without the obligatory photo of someone mixing epoxy.  Like we've never seen that before.
bulletAfter the epoxy has hardened the fins were stood up for inspection.
Test fit  
bulletWith the fins bonded together it was time to test fit the fins into the motor mount.
bulletAs I stepped back and looked at the rocket, all I could say was "Wow that's big!"
bulletUsing a hot-wire bow the leading and trailing foam edges were cut.
bulletThe foam pieces were then epoxied to the the fins.
bulletUsing the hot-wire bow again, the foam was shaped to match the leading and trailing edges.
Carbon Fiber  
bulletClose to 30 hours (July 30th-Aug 1st) were spent putting the carbon fiber on the fins. This proved to be a monumental task.  One I don't wish to repeat soon.
bulletTotal amount of Carbon Fiber applied in two days was 20,880 square inches.  That's a lot of fiber.
bulletI decided to lay up the fins on the driveway which had more clear space.  This proved to be a big mistake as the sun rose, it beat down and heated the fins, making the epoxy go off instantly. 
bulletI erected "SHELTER" and this gave me enough shade to begin an assembly line process.
bulletCF was laid on the first fin, then the second.  While I was doing the third fin, I placed the first fin in the sun.  The epoxy had already gelled pretty firm and was no longer tacky.  Placing it in the sun made it rock hard, and I was able to do the other side.
bulletGood thing Melinda is a cat lover, this gave me plenty of containers to rest the fins on.
bulletOriginal plans called for three layers....I've settled for only two and still think I could've gotten away with one.
bulletFins were designed and sim'd at 25 pounds each....Actual weight 30 pounds.  Close enough for three "P" motors.




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This page looks best when viewed on my computer and was last updated on 01/24/09
THE BLACK BRANT PROJECT on the verge of insanity