New Tooling Test - 1/4" Rockets

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Date: 2006-03-28


I've been eagerly awaiting the arrival of some new custom tooling I ordered from Rich Wolter. What's the first thing you do when you get new tooling? Take photos of course, for bragging with all your mates!

Seriously though, new tooling has to be tested, so some baby rockets were quickly rammed. I can't complement Rich enough on his work, the tooling is just beautiful to use. The plate I had made carries a "universal spindle" similar to that of the SBR toolset, and a shorter one of geometry similar to Rich's stock bottle rocket tooling. My passion for Rich's stock bottle rocket toolset knows few bounds, but one issue I had with it was the lack of a good taper on the stainless pin that made up the central core. This often lead to binding on the clay of the nozzle and difficult extraction. Rich has corrected this minor issue with the lastest toolset, the spindle having a more conventional taper, all extraction issues are gone.

I've designated the spindles "wolter-long" and "wolter-short" for appellative purposes, leaving "sbr" and "wolter" to refer to the previous toolsets. It seems appropriate as their geometry is very similar, except for the spindle length. The traditional SBR has a much shorter nipple section and quite a different divergence section. The throat of the "wolter" tooling is more narrow than the new tooling and the convergence nozzle formed by its A rammer is steeper than the new A rammer.


The rockets worked great.

They performed pretty much the same as rockets made on the corresponding older spindle. But it is quite nice to have all the options on the one piece of tooling.

The 1/2" Veline Red star was far better this time than in previous tests. Its larger size may have helped. The colour wasn't washed-out, but was a bit pinkish, or maybe even purple. I actually found the colour quite attractive. Most importantly, it is bright and pretty quick burning.

The D1 stars I used came from the batch of "58 KNO3" that is well known for being, well - crap. I've only got a few left which I use on tests like these where it doesn't matter. They will shortly be gone, yay!


title type size
Wolter-Short with D1 Glitter Video video/x-msvideo 5.393 Mbytes
Wolter-Long with 1/2" Veline Red video/x-msvideo 3.405 Mbytes
Pre-Test Picture image/jpeg 32.456 kbytes
1/4" Tooling plate. image/jpeg 53.135 kbytes