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Box O’ Parts Scratch Build
Rocket Design Contest

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In the tradition of the Estes and Fliskits Design of the month and RMR Descon, EMRR is pleased to announce a new contest. Todd Mullin is our illustrious host for this event.

The concept of the contest is simple. The reality won’t necessarily be as easy!

  1. Box up some of those pesky spare parts that you have lying around and send them in to EMRR.
  2. EMRR will mix and match all of the parts received and mail you back a box of parts to build your creation from.
  3. Design your best rocket from your Box O’ Parts and name it.
  4. Write a how-to article, along with pictures and templates, to allow someone else to build your design.
  5. Document your flights. (Allowable impulse range from MMX to G, inclusively).

Box O PartsThe more variety in the parts that you include in your box, the better! Nose cones, body tubes, plastic model parts, balsa fin stock, card stock, decals, damaged rockets, or even a flashlight or a hub cab from a ’57 Chevy! Well, okay, maybe not a hubcap, but think about that weird part that you've had in your spare parts bin and always wanted to use on one of your rockets, but could never find quite the right use for it! Be creative! (example - click for larger view)

Each box of parts must include at least one nose cone, a section of body that fits the nose cone, at least one motor tube, a set of launch lugs or rail buttons, some fin stock, and a recovery system (parachute or streamer) and shock cord. The parts being generally compatible (e.g. a MMX motor tube does not go with a 4" Diameter nose cone or G10 fins).

Use one of these three sizes of boxes to mail in your parts (the post office will send you the boxes for free):

Priority Mail Shoe Box

Priority Mail Box O-1097

Priority/Express Mail Tube Small

Be sure to include your name, mailing address, phone number and e-mail address with your box of parts so that we can return your new parts to you or contact you if we have any questions!

Not all the parts that come in your box must be used. However, as with most scratch build contests, you can only use what comes in your box (or even the box itself)! Glue, paint, tape and nose weight are the only items that can be added that don't come in the mail to you.

Some others provided parts for the contestants including:

EMRR ApogeeRed Arrow Hobbies

The contest will be judged by a panel of EMRR staff, contributors, and the most creative kit manufacturer's and designers. The judges will be Nick, Dick Stafford, Lance Alligood, and James Gartrell of EMRR, Jim Flis of FlisKits, David Miller of Sirius Rocketry, Scott Branche of Rokitflite, Layne Pemberton of Pemberton Technologies, Bob Cox and Todd Mullin.

The judging criteria will be:

- Finished appearance (50% total)
  - Styling and use of received parts(25%)
  - Craftsmanship (10%)
  - Paint/Decals/Artwork (15%)

- Flight Performance (20% total)  - Was it safe? Was it stable?  Did it reach a reasonable altitude for a model of its size/engine class?
  (Bonus points for non-standard recovery:  +5% for glider or helicopter, etc.)
  (Bonus points for multi-engine: +1% for each additional engine)

- Write-up (30% total)
  - Well-written instructions that others could replicate (20%)
  - Good photos (10%) (We would like good clear photos, at least of build process and finished product.  In-flight photos must be included but will not be graded for picture quality).

  • Each entrant may enter (1) entry.
  • Each entry must include at least (1) photo of ALL of the parts in your box.
  • Each entry must include at least (1) unpainted/unfinished photo, (1) Static and (1) Flight photo, however, to allow others to be able to build the rocket from your article, more pictures, templates, and drawings are encouraged.
  • Entry photos, templates, or drawings may be GIF, JPEG, BMP, or PDF - or - if you don't have an electronic photo, e-mail us for a mailing address and we will scan them in for you.
  • The winner will have first choice from the pool of prizes available for the contest, the runner up getting second pick, etc.
  • Boxes of parts must be received no later than March 1, 2008.
  • Boxes of parts will be sent back to you no later than March 15, 2008.
  • Submissions must be received no later than July 6, 2008.

TRFSee also the TRF Discussion Thread

E-mail your intent to enter to EMRR using the feedback link. You will be confirmed and a mailing address will be provided to send your box of goodies to.

(Even if you can't play or win, thank these sponsors by supporting them!)

Art Applewhite Rockets
UFO Picture Any Style of Flying Saucer kit of your choice of design up to a 29mm motor mount. (click on parts)
(1) VEGA or (1) VIPER - (click on parts)
Link Out
ARA Press
Spaceship Handbook A copy of the Spaceship Handbook by Jack Hagerty and Jon C. Rogers, published by ARA Press. Over 100 Data Sheets on 75 different spacecraft. (see review)
SpaceCad Logo
(1) SpaceCAD Registration License which you be able to use for all your future builds!
Mad Cow
Mad Cow Rocketry

(1) set of parts for a Batray (click on parts)

Link Out
Red Arrow Hobbies
Parts Assortment

Red Arrow Hobbies - Special Double Parts Assortment

$35 Shopping Spree in FlisKits Parts Section
Public Missiles

(1) instruction manual and set of parts to build an MR1 (click on instructions)
Rokitflite Fake Wulf

(1) bag of parts that will create a Fake Wulf (click on bag)
Mercury Engineering
Mercury Engineering
Mutant Daddy

(1) collection of parts that assembles into a Mutant Daddy (click on parts) PLUS a Rocket T-Shirt
Chris Halinaty
(Counted toward 2008 EMRR Challenge)
Semroc Parts

$25 worth Semroc Parts Assortment
Anonymous Guest
6 Pack

A Model Minutes 6-Pack was purchased by a member of the Alamo Rocketeers and donated for this contest. (click on parts)


Chan Stevens Swiss Army Pic (50%) Finished Appearance= 43
(20%) Flight= 10+18
(30%) Write-up= 23
Doug Gardei The Avenger Pic (50%) Finished Appearance= 44
(20%) Flight= 19+1
(30%) Write-up= 28
Les Bradshaw Remote Gaurdian Probe Jinx 1.2 Pic (50%) Finished Appearance= 45
(20%) Flight= 17+1
(30%) Write-up= 27
Jim Myers Junkyard Transport Pic (50%) Finished Appearance= 43
(20%) Flight= 18+3
(30%) Write-up= 26
Todd Mullin Longsword Starfighter Pic (50%) Finished Appearance= 48
(20%) Flight= 18+1
(30%) Write-up= 23
David Mackiernan U.S.S. Fred G Sanford Pic (50%) Finished Appearance= 37
(20%) Flight= 16+10
(30%) Write-up= 24
Craig Zicafoose SpaceShipTwo Pic (50%) Finished Appearance= 45
(20%) Flight= 18+0
(30%) Write-up= 25
Ray King Bad to the Bones Pic (50%) Finished Appearance= 46
(20%) Flight= 19+0
(30%) Write-up= 22
Bill Cooke Salvage 90 Pic (50%) Finished Appearance= 41
(20%) Flight= 18+3
(30%) Write-up= 24
Jon Chrisman Bio-Hazard Pic (50%) Finished Appearance= 39
(20%) Flight= 20+2
(30%) Write-up= 25
Tom Benson Cobra 11 Pic (50%) Finished Appearance= 37
(20%) Flight= 19+5
(30%) Write-up= 25
Kevin Johnson Feersum Endjinn Pic (50%) Finished Appearance= 42
(20%) Flight= 19+3
(30%) Write-up= 19
John Partridge Black Death Pic (50%) Finished Appearance= 40
(20%) Flight= 18+0
(30%) Write-up= 24
Matt Gillard PROCRASTINATOR Pic (50%) Finished Appearance= 37
(20%) Flight= 18+4
(30%) Write-up= 23
Heather Myers Shoe Box Lander Pic (50%) Finished Appearance= 38
(20%) Flight= 17+1
(30%) Write-up= 25
Will Newman Avenger GT-12 Spaceracer Pic (50%) Finished Appearance= 39
(20%) Flight= 17+2
(30%) Write-up= 16
Brad Shea Outlandish Pic (50%) Finished Appearance= 30
(20%) Flight= 16+0
(30%) Write-up= 26
Dan Bihary Salvage 1 Pic (50%) Finished Appearance= 40
(20%) Flight= 9+3
(30%) Write-up= 19
Brian Coyle Xebec Kaku Pic (50%) Finished Appearance= 39
(20%) Flight= 8+0
(30%) Write-up= 22
Paul Morris Black and Blue Pic (50%) Finished Appearance= 32
(20%) Flight= 16+2
(30%) Write-up= 17
Chris Rhodes Zodiac Pic (50%) Finished Appearance= 32
(20%) Flight= 13
(30%) Write-up= 16
Paul Lane No Name Pic (50%) Finished Appearance= 27
(20%) Flight= 15
(30%) Write-up= 18
Zoe Balkwell Bon Bon Pic (50%) Finished Appearance= 29
(20%) Flight= 16
(30%) Write-up= 14


  • Are templates allowed in lieu of parts. Example--nose cone?
    • Sure! One of the main things that I was going to make sure was in every kit that went out the door was several sheets of paper and a bit of card stock for rings, transitions, cones, paper
  • Centering rings are not mentioned in parts requirement, so presumably we'll all have to cut these from the box unless we get ample balsa/basswood for fins/rings.
    • Don't know what rings I'll have sent to me, but having a backup plan in case you don't get ones that you like is always a good idea...
  • Decals are mentioned in the judging criteria--are we allowed to make our own, or must they only be provided?
    • I'd like to think that I'd get enough decals to send out some with every kit, but I can't guarantee that I will. I would say that you could print on the above mentioned paper and afix that to the rocket, but you can't add decal paper to your kit unless someone happens to send some in with their box.
  • I haven't decided for sure yet but I think I am going to send a completed (and flown) rocket along with the minimum required parts just to throw everyone for a loop.
    • I don't see a problem with all of the parts being connected... Just as long as it not just total junk and that's not all you send!
  • Can we let the judges participate in the builds? What if any/all judges are allowed to participate but are not allowed to have INPUT on their own design?
    • Each builder's score will be an average of all the judges. The judges are eligible to enter, they just won't score their own builds.
  • I read the contest outline. I see we are supposed to send parts, and those parts must work cohesively together. But then it sounds like the parts will be reallocated at some point? I'm not clear on the whole thing. Is this just a general parts roundup, or do you want enough stuff from each person to make a whole rocket? For instance, I can include enough parts to make a whole rocket....cone, tube(s),chute, engine hook, piece of kevlar and elastic, launch lug, couple sheets of cardstock, balsa, some decorative doo dads..and of course, the box itself. Can even include some CR templates if need be. Does that sound about right,,,am I on the right track?
    • It would be preferable that you include at least MOST of the stuff you listed, but not necessarily ALL of it. And throw in some weird stuff too... You never know what someone will build out of that 7-11 Slurpee (tm) cup lid! Think of it as "Care package" meets "kitbash"
  • Are timers and altimeters permitted?
    • Sure.
  • What about fill'n' finish?
    • Standard finishing supplies are allowed.
  • Is two part foam an acceptable "adhesive" if used to bond tubes and things together?
    • Yes, but only is used as an adhesive. Two part foam cannot be used to form new parts, i.e. molding a new nose cone.
  • Is the upper limit on clustered rockets 160Ns total or is the limit PER motor?
    • 160 Ns total.
  • Is there a limit on the TYPE of tape?
    • No. Tape can be used though only for adhesion or decoration, but not to form new structural parts.
  • To get the cluster bonus do all motors count or only those that actually ignite - assuming that the intent was to light all of the motors and none were for "show" if 7 motor cluster and only 6 light is that a +6 or +5% bonus?
    • For clusters, it's intent. But you have to make a pretty good effort to get all of them to fire...
  • Can I add a screw eye if I need to because these were left out of my package. (Just one?)
    • Yes. Add as many as you feel you need.
  • I saw someone suggest that he could take the leftover parts and grind them up and place them in wood glue to in a form to make a nosecone - that sounds like a no no in the same way the foam used in that way is a no no - am I getting the right spirit of this?
    • Technically it would be within the rules as it is only using what came in the box (or the box itself) and glue to form the parts. If you want to ruin your blender by mixing cardboard and wood glue in it, go for it.
  • Does saucer style recovery give a bonus or a demerit?
    • Neither unless a particular judge has a thing about saucers....

* The actual number of prizes issued will not exceed 3/4ths of the number of contest entries (e.g. if there are 10 prizes and only 10 entries, only 7 prizes will be issued). EMRR assumes no responsibility for the prize once it leaves our or the prize donor's location. EMRR is not liable for any damages or injury caused by the assembly or use of the prize.

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