Tuesday, December 30, 2014

New Hybrid Parachute Recovery Mechanism Tutorial and Video

This week, we are happy to announce a new type of Parachute Recovery System for rockets of all types, which combines the best features of an Axial System (large volume) and a Radial System (simple construction, and high reliability) to create a Hybrid system that is better than the sum of its parts.

The tutorial explaining how to build and operate the Hybrid Deploy System, as well as a detailed explanation of the advantages this new design can be found on our website at the following link: http://www.uswaterrockets.com/construction_&_tutorials/Hybrid_Deploy/tutorial.htm
If you would like to see a video showing how we build and tested the Hybrid Deploy, check out the link below to the video on our YouTube Channel: http://youtu.be/_x7sSLBN8zk
Let us know what you think!


Saturday, October 18, 2014

PL Premium now available in 4oz Tube!

Our friend Bugwubber on the WRA2 Water Rocket Forum (waterrocketforum.com) recently discovered that PL Premium Construction Adhesive is available in a small re-sealable tube! We located the small tube at our local home improvement store, and confirmed it is available from online merchants like amazon.com and others. The part number to order is: Osi Sealants/henkel Adhesives #1451588.
This new packaging option may make it easier for Water Rocket makers around the globe to obtain this adhesive where it was previously unavailable or cost prohibitive to ship due to the large and heavy caulk cartridge container. This small tube is perfect for water rockets because the screw-on cap prevents the unused potion from curing when not in use.

You may find that the 4oz tube is too small if you follow the obsolete and wasteful splicing tutorials that have been copied over and over since the late 20th century, but this 4oz tube is perfect for the efficient splices that we created for our rockets. You can see our tutorial for splicing using our modernized technique on our YouTube Channel at the following link:
The new splicing method has been repeatedly tested and can hold around 200PSI if you take your tine and follow the splice instructions closely. Pressure testing of the new splice is available at this link:
Using this splice technique, this 4oz tube should be enough to build more than 10 very large water rockets, similar to the one shown in this video:

We hope that this new packaging proves useful to our friends overseas where PL Premium has been hard to obtain. Let us know what you think!

Monday, September 22, 2014

Make: Rockets: Down-to-Earth Rocket Science

U.S. Water Rockets is pleased to announce the publication of the new book: Make: Rockets: Down-to-Earth Rocket Science, by Mike Westerfield.
Hot off the press!

This book is a must-have for anyone interested in model rocketry. It is an incredible resource for beginners and experts alike. This book covers every aspect of model rocketry and includes detailed step-by-step instructions for building and flying a vast number of different types of model rockets, from simple soda straws, to multi stage solid propellant rockets, and even water rockets with servo parachute recovery.

The book is filled with an incredible amount of photos and illustrations, and tons of construction tips never before collected in a single place. Bolstering the value of the book is the amount of meticulously researched and documented science that is explained in plain English, which brings the highly technical aspects of rocket science within reach of everyone.

And if you haven't guessed it by now by looking at the book cover photo, U.S. Water Rockets was involved with the creation of the Water Rocket chapters in this book! It was great fun helping to create this wonderful model rocketry resource, and to help introduce Water Rockets to a wider audience. Who knows, this book may inspire the next Air Command to take up the hobby, like our contribution to the Water Rocket segment on MythBusters did!

Keep in mind that because of the long lead times involved in publishing a book of this scope, the book was finalized before we published our "Do It Yourself Low Cost Altimeter with Servo Deploy" (http://www.uswaterrockets.com/documents/LaunchPad_AlTImeter/manual.htm) and also before we completed our innovative new "Radial Parachute Deploy System" (http://www.uswaterrockets.com/construction_&_tutorials/Radial_Deploy/tutorial.htm), plus many other groundbreaking designs on our website (http://www.uswaterrockets.com).  Be sure and check out our links after you read the book for the absolute latest in Water Rocket research.

Show your support for the rocket hobby by reading this book, and remember that the holidays are fast approaching - this book would make a great gift!

Thursday, June 26, 2014

Low Cost Altimeter With Servo Deploy!

U.S. Water Rockets is pleased to announce the release of the LaunchPad AlTImeter, the Model Rocket Altimeter that you build yourself using the FREE plans and software that are available for download on our website!   
The LaunchPad AlTImeter was designed to meet the needs specific to both Pyro Rockets and Water Rockets,  and it is packed it with useful features.  Even so, the designers worked tirelessly to keep the project cost very low!  


Some of the main features of the LaunchPad AlTImeter design include:
  • Peak Altitude Report (up to > 32,000 feet)
  • <1 foot (30 cm) Altitude Resolution
  • Automatic Apogee Detection with Deploy Trigger Outputs
  • Configurable Deploy Output Polarity
  • Configurable Deploy Delay
  • Automatic Launch Detection detects slow acceleration  (small nozzle water rockets)
  • Direct Servo Deploy Driver Output
  • ~3.3V Digital Deploy Output
  • Visual and Audio Feedback
  • Low Power Texas Instruments MSP430 Microcontroller Core
  • Low Cost
  • Easy to build (Extensive Documentation on USWaterRockets.com)
  • Free Plans and Software Downloads
  • Operates from 3.7VDC to 10.0VDC (Max 6.0VDC if Servo is used)
  • Weekly Tutorial and Demonstration Videos (Click Here to Subscribe)

To keep the cost to the end user as low as possible, we chose the Texas Instruments MSP430 LaunchPad development board as the core for the platform, and added a few simple components to create a very easy to build project.  By using the MSP430 LaunchPad as a starting point, we have provided a path for those who are using our previously released ServoChron Servo Timer system to upgrade to a fully functional peak recording altimeter with servo motor deploy.
To lean more about the LaunchPad AlTImeter and find out how to make your own, please visit the new section of our website: Click here for the LaunchPad AlTImeter Documentation.

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Water Rocket Chase Camera Mark II

We've just posted an update to our Water Rocket Chase Camera Project which shows how we repaired and improved the Chase Camera Pod that was destroyed in the collision with the Rocket Thrust Water Column in the first part of the project.  The new design was modified so that it would avoid meeting its demise in the same way, and we achieved some success in preventing the damage with the new style Chase Camera design, while obtaining some amazing exterior footage of the rocket through the entire flight.

The project update is available on our website at: http://www.uswaterrockets.com/research_&_development/chase_camera/report.htm and the video for the new update is on our YouTube Channel at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6nlwjnlZe6I.

Don't forget that our Big Announcement is only 2 days away. You're not going to want to miss this one!

Sunday, April 6, 2014

All New Parachute Deployment System Tutorial

Anyone who builds and flies rockets knows how frustrating it can be when the recovery system malfunctions, and the rocket does a swan dive into the Earth. This almost always results in the total loss of the rocket, and anything that was aboard the rocket at the time.  We decided to change all that.

The loss of the rocket itself can be quite painful, as some rockets are made from many bottles and a great deal of time was spent carefully joining them together. The loss of payload can mean an expensive micro camera or altimeter will need to be replaced. But the loss of the deploy system itself is perhaps the most frustrating result, since the commonly available deploy system plans are very time consuming to build.

Chances are that anyone building a Water Rocket Parachute Deployment system went on the internet and downloaded one of the many designs that have evolved from Robert Youens original Horizontal Deploy system, created over a decade ago. Back in those days Water Rocketry was in its infancy and parachute deployment was very primitive. The Youens HDTT system broke new ground and was a major step forward in reliability.

The idea was such an improvement on prior work that it became a de-facto standard and has been copied by many people, with only slight tweaks to personalize the design. The core idea has been copied so many times, yet the only refinements that seem to have been made are cosmetic changes adding complexity to the build that make it more difficult and time consuming and less reliable.

After witnessing the frustrations people were having building these increasingly complex plans circulating the internet, we decided it was time to start over and come up with a clean slate approach that was more reliable, since we wanted a high reliability system for some expensive experimental payloads we plan on launching.

We eventually developed a new concept that is extremely reliable and turned out to be much easier and less costly to make than any other system ever devised. We have named out new parachute system the U.S. Water Rockets Radial Parachute Deploy System.

We have recently completed a complete new tutorial that shows how we developed and built this new system, but we also have documented how the system works, and how it can be adapted to multiple types of water rocket designs.

The new tutorial can be viewed at the following link:
U.S. Water Rockets Radial Parachute Deploy Tutorial

Saturday, March 1, 2014

Water Rocket Selfies with a Chase Camera

Our team has a reputation for being fond of aerial photography. We once did the math and found that we have flown at least one camera on over 99.6% of our launches. We've also been keen on finding new and unusual ways to record video and photos of our water rockets in flight. We have invented a lot of concepts that we are very pleased to see are being emulated and expended upon by others flying rockets of all types.

We've recently announced our latest idea for a new and unique way of viewing water rockets in flight. Click on this article link to see the all new Water Rocket Chase Camera Project!