Thursday, February 28, 2013

Easy Methods for Removing Bottle Labels Tutorial Video

Anyone who has built a water rocket can explain to you how tedious it is trying to get the labels off of soft drink bottles so that they can be reused for this purpose. The labels themselves and the adhesives used to adhere them to the bottles have changed over the years, and the traditional method of simply ripping the label off and stripping the glue residue away with a solvent no longer works very well. In the process of building many large volume rockets over the years, we devised a very easy way to remove the labels from most types of bottles. It was the first tutorial we made for the tutorials section of our website.

In addition to our website, we have also begun creating and uploading video versions of our tutorials to our YouTube Channel. While recording the procedure for the video version of our bottle preparation tutorial, we stumbled upon a second easy technique for removing the labels by melting the glue with heat, and we decided to document both methods and let everyone decide which way was best for their bottles.

In an odd coincidence, just days after wrapping up filming for the new video tutorial, while we were putting the finishing touches on the new video, we received a suggestion from Tony Proano via our Facebook Page explaining the very same heat melting technique we had just discovered. Tony had figured this out long ago, so we would like to give a tip of the hat to Tony for developing this method first. Nice work!

The following video tutorial presents both techniques for removing the labels:

Along with this video tutorial, we have the very detailed step-by-step illustrated web based tutorial as well. We will be updating that tutorial with the second method as suggested by Tony in the coming days. Click here to see a complete list of all of our online tutorials.

Monday, February 11, 2013

New Water Rocket Parachute Deploy Tutorial Video

After several of years building rockets and finding ways to increase our personal best altitudes, we realized that there was a lot of unexplored territory in different areas of water rocketry which we found appealing. In many cases, traditional designs and methods of construction had remained unchanged for over 10 years, and many of them seemed overly complex and perhaps could be a barrier to attracting new people into this fun hobby.

We decided to take a clean slate approach to building water rockets to try and find new ways of doing things, or ways to make traditional techniques easier and more attractive to potential new people. By choosing this goal, we hope to inspire others of you to revisit old methods and look for improvements or creative new ways to do things.

We first focused our attention of making a simple and inexpensive method of activating a servo to control a parachute system, and from that effort emerged the ServoChron™ low cost servo deploy timer.

From the feedback we received from people who were interested in ServoChron™, there were many people who wanted to add a parachute system to their Water Rockets, but were intimidated by the intricate and complex looking traditional deploy systems which they were able to find. This feedback led us to focus our attention on creating a parachute system that is extremely easy to make and takes only a few minutes of valuable time.

The following video presents our simple U.S. Water Rockets Axial Deploy Parachute Recovery System, and demonstrates how incredibly simple it is to make.

The video also includes a demonstration test flight showing how the system operates, which employs a new type of external camera rig for a unique view of the system in action.

To accompany the video tutorial, we have also produced a very detailed step-by-step illustrated web based tutorial for this project, and loaded it with tons of photos and extra construction tips. The web based tutorial and the free template files are available on our website. Click the link below to see the web version:
U.S. Water Rockets Axial Deploy System Construction Tutorial

The new system can be triggered using any popular water rocket timing mechanism, such as a Tomy Timer, or and air-speed flap. We use the ServoChron™ for our flights, since it is very rugged and inexpensive. If you would like to use the ServoChron™ for your system, the related pages describing the ServoChron™ can be found at the link:
ServoChron Servo Parachute Recovery Timer Quick Start Guide and Construction Page

In conclusion, we would like to remind you that we have several other updated construction tutorials on our website, and several more of them nearly completed. Look for these tutorials at:

Sunday, February 3, 2013

All New Water Rocket Axial Parachute Deploy System Test Flight Video

We have uploaded a new video to the U.S. Water Rockets Channel on YouTube. The video documents one of the test flights we conducted to validate the new U.S. Water Rockets Axial Deploy Parachute Recovery System. This new system is very easy to make and can be powered by a Tomy Timer, an Air Flap, or as in this video, we used a MSP430 Launchpad based ServoChron™ servo timer because we needed to have precise control of the deploy time.

The object of this test was to confirm that the new deploy system was robust and powerful enough that it would function properly even when the rocket was moving at high speed. This situation can occur if the parachute time delay is miscalculated and the parachute is initiated while the rocket is still on the way up, or is coming down already. A high speed deploy can also potentially happen if the rocket does not reach the intended altitude, or deviates from the predicted flight path. 

To simulate the worst-case scenario of a high speed deploy, the B-1A test rocket was launched at a steep angle on a ballistic trajectory, and the ServoChron™ timer was programmed to initiate the parachute deploy 2.5 seconds after apogee. By intentionally initiating a late deploy on a ballistic rocket, this flight would prove the new deploy system design was a success. For this flight we used three onboard cameras to record the flight test for later analysis in the event something went wrong.

Click the links below for the related construction plans:
U.S. Water Rockets Axial Deploy System Construction Tutorial
ServoChron Servo Parachute Recovery Timer Quick Start Guide and Construction Page

For many other construction tutorials and water rocket articles, visit: