Thanks, John. I appreciate it!
A Reminder On What To Scan, And Why
A Public Service Reminder...
As you may or may not know, I'm always looking for resources on old and new kits so that I can sim them in OpenRocket, or (hopefully) build or clone them someday. I'm sure that a lot of others are too.
When you've got an old kit, please check to see if the instructions, fins, and decals are archived either at plans.rocketshoppe.com, or JimZ's site. If what you're building isn't there, or are somehow different, or the image they have lacks any kind of reference to it dimensions (including thickness), is bad (e.g. diecrushed fins), or they only have is a drawing of the fins, I'd ask you to scan yours with a ruler, and post them either here, at YORF, or at TRC (preferably all 3). Photos are good for documentation. But scans are far easier to gather information from.
Did you know that Estes has changed its tags over the years? Sure! Who doesn't? Those tags can be really helpful for a BAR in IDing the variant they want (either on Ebay, or trying to clone). Including that information will help a lot of people.
Did you know that since the 1970s Estes instructions have part numbers and revisions? This may help you pin down the year that your kit was made. The longer a kit has been in production, the more likely that it has somehow evolved over time... Especially the older kits. Hand cut balsa gave way to diecut (crushed) fins. Balsa nosecones were replaced with plastic, then balsa, then plastic again. Shapes of nosecones evolved over time. Engine mounts have changed locations and sizes (Remember the short-lived short E motor Estes had back in the 90's?). Decals change on occasion (and not always for the better... (Estes Wizard)). Even body tubes have changed lengths (There's the Cherokee D with the 16.35" body tube that was later changed to a 18" body tube). All these changes lead to a plethora of variants (I'm looking at you Big Bertha... Alpha... and especially YOU, Omega!), and there's always a chance that someone that is out there that is looking to create that rocket that they got (or didn't get) for Christmas, or their birthday that year. You'll help them (and me) if you can scan those instructions.
Many times I've found that the drawings of a rocket's fins are off. Tracings outlined from them often causes them to become too large, or the angle or lengths that were given by the person doing it was off. There's nothing quite as frustrating as spending time trying to recreate your old favorite (including wasting valuable decals), only to have your eye constantly drawn to something that just seems... Off. Then to find that your resource didn't proof the drawing or measurements. RocketReviews.com has more than it's fair share of really bad .rkt files and poorly simmed fin templates.
These things are SOLID GOLD... Nothing can bring a rocket to life quite as much as the colorful decals that came with a kit. Sure, there are those who don't want to have a cookie cutter version of their rocket (and more power to them). However, often it's the markings that drew many of us to a specific design. It'll help a whole lot of old BARs recapture that feeling of having an old rocket that they lost to time, or scratch that itch they had when they weren't able to buy/build the kit of their childhood dreams. Again, keep in mind that the longer the kit's been in production, the more chance that there have been changes to the decals.
I've found that .png and .tif files are much more reliable for creating useful tracings of in making my .ork files. However, sometimes my browser doesn't like .tif files, making them a pain sometimes. Pdf files are great (sometimes), but I can't always right click and copy an image, making them a source of frustration as well occasionally. Then there's .jpgs. Jpegs are common, but extremely problematic for me. Unfortunately, my skills with high power (read: expensive, or feature laden) image processing software is very limited (by my knowledge on how to use them, or ability to purchase more intuitive versions). Jpeg files compress images in a manner that frequently makes finding edges a royal PITA. Toss in a curved edge, and the frustration only increases. DPI? Maximize this. 300 is good, 600 is better. Please remember to have a ruler in your scan, as well as something indicating the thickness of the balsa, or other flat parts (oddball centering rings and the like). A Digital Micrometer is a very useful tool to have for gauging thicknesses. They aren't really expensive (mine was less than $20 USD at Harbor Freight (I brought mine with me to China)), and I'm sure you'll find it useful for other things once you've got one.
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