It's been a week of tin-rattling and seeing red here at the Special Project Bureau's mountaintop headquarters as we finally knuckled down to slapping some paint on our Vulture 2. We threw the matter of our magnificant spaceplane's livery over to you, our beloved Low Orbit Helium Assisted Navigator (LOHAN) fans, and you responded …
.... "I'm just off to buff my spaceplane" isn't an euphamism? I'm shocked :-)
Consider it added to the lexicon for future deployment.
"added to the lexicon for future deployment"
Benefit of hindsight, of course, but next time you could start with the colour scheme at the same time as the outline design, and then get the beast printed in colour, not white? Ooh, and I'd make sure they've upgraded to a gloss 3D printer.
Polishing my monocoque?
A Cunning Plan
A 3D 2D printer?
Looks to me
Like a burning ring of fire.
Have you actually test flown it yet? You know, just to make sure it flies, before spending all the time of the paint job...
We can't fly it unless we can see it. Flight test plans are afoot.
"An ounce of appearance is worth a pound of performance."
...as true in this context as it is in the workplace at review time.
You know you can feed the design into simulation programs to make sure it flies...
X-plane for one:
Yes. We've been in touch with some of the ArduPilot developers. They suggest we do this and it makes sense.
It really only needs to "fly" for the few seconds while the rocket burns.
After that, it will just be "falling with style."
I do worry about just how fast this thing is going to go in a nose down attitude, and whether the on-board auto-pilot will be able to control it at high speed...
Icon vaguely reminiscent of a rocket exhaust.
How much effect does the smoothness of the surface have on the aerodynamics of the craft? If there's little difference between the cuttlefish finish and glossy perfection, then by all means, implement just a minimal amount of sanding/priming (saving time for other more useful beer-related purposes). However, if there is a significant difference (in favour of glossy perfection), then it would be just terrible if Vulture 2 failed in its mission because you didn't put enough effort into the decorating.
On small aircraft, smoothness is pretty important(*). Balance that off with the weight gain from the paint.
(*) I suspect that a sharkskin-type surface would give better results but that'd be hard to pull off with current technology. +1 for the idea of a higher resolution printjob.
Actually, many years ago in Omni magazine(?) there was a very interesting article about this very topic. When doing test flights on some new business aircraft they discovered that the performance was fractionally better when they still had the tufts fitted to show airflow over the wings. They played around and eventually used a corrugated film just like the stuff used for those cards you could tilt to see two different images (yes I know it probably has some precise technical name but I decided I don't care). Having the ridges running parallel with the leading edge of the wing gave a much cleaner boundary layer and so smoother airflow compared with a polished surface.
As a rocketeer with decades of experience, I say the moderately-smooth finish you have achieved is pretty much ideal. A slight surface texture leads to a boundary layer adhering to the surface, which results in a rolling-vortex airflow which is really quite amazingly slippery. This is similar to the golf-ball texture that Mythbusters applied to a car, which actually improved fuel efficiency in spite of the thick layer of clay on the car. In this case, you have the texture along with a weight REDUCTION which is pretty much ideal.
Smashing work, chaps! You deserve a hearty pint.
Never before has watching paint dry been so fascinating.
From my own model building experience, all this painting and sanding - it's the dust, you know - is thirsty work. Have one on me !
It's going to look gorgeous !
It would probably take a ton more sanding to get that texture out, though I am surprised the primer didn't smooth things out more.
That said, I think I like the slight texture - it makes it look more like the old cardboard rockets I used to fly as a kid. And the colors came out really nice too.
Yes, I expected the primer to fill a bit more. Agreed about the texture, and I don't think it's an issue really.
A bit late I know, but I agree with the consensus.
I don't think the slight surface roughness will hurt at altitude with or without with the rocket running, but given the wing chord and likely gliding speed once Vulture 2 is down where the air is thick enough for it to matter, the surface roughness will most likely help with boundary layer control and improve its glide.