Building for FAI Spacemodeling competition requires learning some design and construction methods that may be new to many U.S. model rocket competitors. The learning process takes an investment of time, effort, and money, but the skills are well within the reach of a good U.S. competition modeler. These construction methods may also be useful for NAR competition events.
The links below provide information on a variety of construction methods, technical data, competition techniques, and vendors. Some of the links below do not specifically address spacemodeling, but the materials, techniques and information are quite applicable to one or more spacemodeling events.
- Building Models for International Rocket Competition, Sport Rocketry magazine, May/June 2007
- Lightweight Fiberglass Body Tubes (Dave O’Bryan)
- How to Manufacture Composite Paper (Chris Flanigan)
- Kapton Tube Construction (George Gassaway)
- FAI Streamer and Parachute Duration Secrets (Steve Kristal)
- Paper Tube Construction (how-to video by Steve Kristal)
- Building Paper Rockets (Steve Kristal) (briefing slides for video)
- Paper Tube Construction (George Gassaway)
- 40mm Tail Cone Pattern [.pdf] (George Gassaway)
- Foam Ejection Plug Fabrication (Andy Tomasch)
- Build a Fiberglass Mold (Composite Structures Technology)
- Mold a Fiberglass Part (Composite Structures Technology)
- Vacuum Bag a Wing (Composite Structures Technology)
- Foam Cutting and Vacuum Bagging (Charles River R/C Club)
- Building Tips (Charles River R/C Club) – wings, tails, hinges, covering, and much more
- Heat Sink Streamers [.pdf] (Kuczek)
Technical Information and Computer Programs
- XFOIL – design and analysis of subsonic isolated airfoils, including low Reynolds numbers
- XFLR5 – analysis tool for airfoils, wings and planes operating at low Reynolds Numbers
- Airfoil Tools – Tools to search, compare and plot airfoils
- MH-Aerotools – aerodynamics of model aircraft
- Adrel – the altimeter used in FAI spacemodeling competition (US distributor is North Coast Rocketry)
- PerfectFlite – mid-size timers for staging of scale models
- Finding Thermals – Apogee newsletter article on finding thermals (Gassaway and Mizoi)
- Kestrel – measure and track wind velocity and temperature to detect thermals
- Wireless Thermal Detection System – a rapid-responding system for detecting thermals (Kevin Kuczek, 2021)
Materials and Supplies
- Aerospace Composite Products (ACP) – fiberglass, epoxy, carbon fiber, vacuum bagging, carbon & fiberglass tubes & sheet
- Apogee Components – vacuum-formed FAI nose cones, rocket components, FAI competition kits, and more
- Blick Art Materials – source for plastic shipping/transportation tubes and ink for coloring S3A plastic parachutes
- Composite Structures Technology (CST) – fiberglass, epoxy, carbon fiber, vacuum bagging, carbon & fiberglass tubes
- Fibre Glast – carbon fiber, kevlar, fiberglass, resin, gel coat & much more. Excellent “learning center”. Yes, it’s spelled correctly.
- Goodwinds – carbon tubes for S8 models and tower launchers
- Galactic Manufacturing – lightweight kits for FAI competition
- Into the Wind – fiberglass tubes for tower launchers, extendable poles for thermal streamer
- McMaster-Carr – industrial supplies, tools, materials – everything but the kitchen sink…well, actually, they have sinks too
- Micro Fasteners – small screws and fasteners
- Micro-Mark – miniature tools, hard-to-find items and materials
- North Coast Rocketry – 10 mm tubes (48″ for pistons), 10 mm coupler stock, Adrel altimeters and batteries, building accessories
- Specialized Balsa Wood – Contest-grade balsa wood (also see balsawoodinc.com)
3D Printing and Rapid Prototyping
- Craftcloud – 3D printing at low cost. Many options for materials and accuracy/resolution.
- Hubs – 3D printing at low cost. Many options for materials and accuracy/resolution.
- Shapeways – 3D printing at low cost. Many options for materials and accuracy/resolution.
- Galactic Manufacturing – Custom 3D-printed and laser cut parts for scale models or other applications.
- Ponoko – Online laser cutting and engraving
- eMachineShop – Custom CNC machined parts
|40mm Single Body Wrap Pattern||May 27, 2014, 11:48 pm||9 KB|
|40mmtailcone||May 27, 2014, 11:48 pm||5 KB|
|Building_Models_for_FAI_Competition||May 27, 2014, 11:48 pm||5 MB|
|FAI Mandrels||May 27, 2014, 11:48 pm||21 KB|
|Heat_Sink_Streamers||May 27, 2014, 11:48 pm||1 MB|
|Piston Launcher Head for 10.5mm||May 27, 2014, 11:48 pm||21 KB|
|WSMC Tower Launcher Ring||Other||May 27, 2014, 11:48 pm||332 KB|
|How to Manufacture Composite Paper||October 31, 2021, 6:08 pm||706 KB|
|Ereader with Remote Wireless Thermistor (Kevin Kuczek) - April 2022 Update||April 17, 2022, 1:55 am||717 KB|