This blog covers the day to day progress of water rocket development by the Air Command Water Rockets team. It is also a facility for people to provide feedback and ask questions.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Simple break-wire trigger

We've had a number of requests now for how to add an external trigger to the Servo Timer II for the very slow launches that the built-in G-switch may have trouble detecting. I've added a tutorial on how to add a simple break-wire option to trigger the timer on launch. In most instances it should not cost anything.

Friday, November 25, 2011

Shadow pressure test, and deployment mechanism

We have been making good progress on the Shadow. During the week we tested the deployment mechanism and made a short video of how it works.

Today we pressure tested the launcher and rocket to the full initial launch pressure. This was the first time we had the rocket and launcher up to this pressure, so we were happy when everything worked. We even tried to see how hard it will be to launch the rocket at the full pressure. This was nice and easy and shouldn't be an issue on launch day.

The recent updates from the last week have been posted to our main website with photos here:

The update also includes the deployment mechanism video.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Alternative Fuels

This weekend we flew with some “alternative” fuels in our water rockets. OK so technically they weren’t “water” rockets, but hey still it was a bit of fun with the kids. From a scientific point of view it was interesting to see how these fuels behaved.

Fuels Tested:
    - Bread crumbs (dry)
    - 100’s and 1000’s (dry)
    - Sugar (dry) - the other kind of “Candy” motor :)
    - 2 minute noodles (cooked and in broth)

So how did they go? … read on:


Friday, November 11, 2011

Shadow Launcher work

We’ve had a busy week in the workshop working on the Shadow. We’ve been mostly focusing on getting the launcher complete, so we can pressure test it and the rocket. We want to test the pressure chamber before we attach the payload bay and fins, because if it bursts, it would be wasted effort. However, we can only test the pressure chamber with the launcher.

The latest set of updates with photos is available here:

Here is a progress photo of the launcher release mechanism. This launcher is being built for 500+ psi pressures.


This post has no purpose other than being posted at 11:11:11 on 11/11/11 .... Happy Binary Day. :)

Tuesday, November 08, 2011

From The Web #1

As you trawl through the interwebs, you often find interesting things that are relevant to water rockets. As I collect these, I'll try to post them here.

  • Build Your Own Servo Controller
    Here is a tiny PICAXE-08M board that's very affordable and should be fairly easy to adapt to make a simple servo controller for parachute deployment.
    You could do all your configuration through it's serial port so there would be need for only minimal external components. You could also solder one of those small Assemtech G-switches directly to the board to detect launch.
  • PL Premium in Oz
    Water rocketeer Voytek Szapirko contacted us last month with the news that he was able to find PL Premium for sale at his local hardware store Bowens in Melbourne/Hallam for $6.99 a tube.Thanks for the tip Voytek! :) If you are from Victoria keep a look out at your store. We don't have the chain here in NSW, but hopefully other stores here will catch on with the need for PL.
  • Retro Water Rockets from 1959
    Apparently you need to wear a tie to launch these:

Saturday, November 05, 2011

Looking Up

I've uploaded the flight report from last weekend to our main website here:
On this flight day we flew with the out-rigger boom again but this time looking up at the rocket to watch the parachute deploy mechanism in action. The update also contains photos and a highlights video from the day.

Thursday, November 03, 2011

Migrating Videos to New YouTube channel

As we did a couple of years ago with the website, we’ve finally decided to bite the bullet and start migrating all the videos from the current YouTube channel to a specific Air Command Water Rockets Channel. I’ve been wanting to do this for quite a while since the existing channel was only ever a temporary one. With the normal slow down over the Christmas period, it will be a good opportunity to do so. We have a number of videos spread across Vimeo, MySpace, YouTube and several other hosts so we will consolidate all these into the single channel. It will be easier to make up playlists of related videos and keep them all organised, especially as they relate to each project. I’m also hoping to upgrade the YouTube channel so we can provide extra features.

The biggest drawback is that the comments from people will be lost, links to the videos will be broken, but if I don’t do the migration now, it would just get worse into the future. I am backing up the comments though. Expect videos to start disappearing over the coming weeks/months from our current channel, and they will be re-uploaded to the new channel over time. I will also update the links to the video from our website, or where I can.

Some of the older videos were also uploaded only in lower resolution, so where I can I will re-compress these again at higher resolution before uploading.

If you have been subscribed to our youtube channel and wish to continue receiving subscription updates please subscribe to our new channel here:

All new videos from now on will also be uploaded to the new channel.

Thanks everyone for your support