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REV 2.4 - Wed Aug 10 18:48:48 2011

Custom Rockets
SAM-X
P.O. Box 1865
Lake Havasu City, AZ 86405
(800) 394-4114
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SPECS: 14.38" x .976" - 1.6 oz
ROCKSIM FILE: Right Click to Download
SpaceCAD FILE: MISSING - please submit here
REC'D MOTORS: Booster B6-0, C6-0, Upper Stage B6-6, C6-7

Rating
(Contributed - by Royce Clay, Jr.)

Brief:
Two-stage, 12" parachute, missile-like styling. Skill level two.

Construction:
The kits components include:

  • Sustainer:
  • One body tube 9" long x 0.976 Dia.
  • One motor tube (for 18mm motor) 2.75" long
  • Two centering rings
  • Four die-cut balsa fins and eight decorative fins
  • Estes-type (approx. 12" 1/8" elastic, and three fold papermount) parachute attachment
  • Plastic nose cone
  • Booster:
  • One body tube 2.75" long x 0.976 Dia
  • Centered inside another body tube 2.5" long x 1.325" Dia. with two centering rings
  • One motor tube (for 18mm motor) 2.75" long
  • Two centering rings
  • Four die-cut balsa fins
  • One tube coupler
  • A 1.5" .125" Dia. launch lug.

Instructions: Very easy to follow. Illustrations: Simple and clear. Assembly Order: Logical and straight forward. Templates: N/A. Very easy to construct, no "gotchas". Every thing fit together very nice, and the model as a whole is very sturdy. Special Tools: N/A. The kit and supplies came from Hobbytown U.S.A. Redmond, WA.

Finishing:
No special requirements for finishing. There were no instructions regarding decal placement, although there is included "Launch Instructions" that briefly describe sanding sealer, how to apply water slide decals, and prepping the model for flight. I think the model looks great when finished. The decals really add that "finished look".

Construction Rating: 4 out of 5

Rocket Pic

Flight:
The PROs and CONs of flight: The only con is the motor retention is cheap and dirty. If you don't get the right amount of paper tape on the motor, well...you know the recovery system will not deploy...and the model might end up in the brambles. Good thing the model is sturdy, not a scratch. I have flown the model only on B6-0 and B6-6, due to the size of the field, and the amount of use by R/C glider enthusiast. The model flies straight, uses wadding and besides the taping together of the engines the prep is straight forward.

Recovery:
The shock cord is the three-fold-paper mount and some white glue inside the body tube. Pretty easy construction, the recovery was just like it should be, fast enough to keep the model in the field.

Flight Rating: 4 out of 5

Summary:
I like the Custom Rocket Kits. The models are robust and fly great. The models themselves look great with paint and decals. The only CON I have is the staging.

Overall Rating: 4 out of 5

[Submit your Opinion]

GUEST's OPINION:
10/07 - "Hmm. Reading the comments, I was surprised. My grandson built one of these and flew it twice without problems, except the 2nd time it floated into a cornfield and was lost. First flight was on a B6-0/B6-6 and the 2nd was on a C6-0/C6-7. He followed the directions exactly, though. I loved the flight of it, so I built one also building it specifically according to the directions. The flight was awesome on a B6-0/B6-6, except the 2nd stage didn't light. The ground was pretty soft, though, and it just crimped the upper part of the tube a little. I fixed that with epoxy. I now know to rough up the inside of the upper stage motor a little with sandpaper to better assure ignition. I haven't flown it again since the repairs, but I expect it to fly perfectly. It is one of my favorite rockets! James." (J.R.G.)

GUEST's OPINION:
10/07 - "I purchased a SAM-X kit on Saturday, and can attest that it now comes with a small hunk of clay for nose weight. An additional slip of paper warns that you must install it, and gives directions, telling you to roll it real thin and stick it in the hole at the bottom of the nose cone. Well, that "hole" is full of plastic "flash" on my kit... they might have mentioned drilling it out first. I suspect, as clay rarely works well for me, that I will weight it with a similar amount of epoxy and computer screws." (C.G.)

GUEST's OPINION:
02/03 - "This is my favorite rocket. I painted mine white also. I did have a few problems with it. The first problem is the fins. I guess they gave me a pretty crappy fin-sheet. The tips of three fins snapped off while taking them out, due to a split in the wood. I had to glue the fins back together. Now they look perfect. The only other problem I had was with the thin decals. Every time, and I mean “every”, I tried to stick them on they ripped in half. I wound up using decals from the Estes bull-pup and hornet-remember the hornet? Well anyway now it looks like an arctic camouflaged SAM" (A.S.)

GUEST's OPINION:
12/02 - "I built my Sam-X completely stock and used fill n finish, yellow glue and paint (no CA, no extras). I flew it on the C to C combo with a few pieces of wadding and the stock chute and had no problems with stability. Flight is straight and fast. The decorative balsa strips under the nose should not be omitted they do add necessary weight." (A.H.)

GUEST's OPINION:
04/02 - "I spent a lot of time on this kit and was rather proud of the result. My first and only flight was with a C6-0 booster and a C6-4 in the sustainer. The flight was awesome, liftoff straight and true, the sustainer lit perfectly and went completely out of sight! I reluctantly wrote the rocket off only to have a motorcyclist ride up a while later with the sustainer. Now I have the top half of the rocket and no booster (which couldn't find either). Suggestion: Use B motors!" (J.M.D.)

GUEST's OPINION:
04/02 - "In my opinion most all of the Custom Rocket Kits are marginally stable. Differences in finishing and chute loading are enough to put it over the edge of stability. What it needs is extra nose weight to assure positive stability. I urge the last opinion giver to fish his Sam-X out of the trash, weight the nose, and give it another try." (R.V.)

GUEST's OPINION:
03/02 - "I purchased the Sam-X. Oh trust me I put time into this rocket, (because this was my first 2 stage rocket) So I built it good nice detailed work, ya know. Well on it first flight it took off, 30 feet in the air it was back flipping and stuff. Then it aimed down for a lawn dart but went horizontally extremely fast. I retrieved the rocket and threw it away after trying it one more time. Both times it was a failure. It was the most horrible rocket I had ever owned!" (M.S.)

GUEST's OPINION:
06/01 - "I lost this kit on its maiden 2-stage flight. Turned almost horizontal right off the pad - second stage was straight as an arrow across a corn field and out of sight. I saw someone else's do the exact same thing. We thought it was tip-off, but maybe it was too unstable. We both used the B6-0/B6-6 combo. Kit is easy, solid, looks nice. I still have the first stage, will probably scratch build the main rocket. Very accurate review. This was my first Custom kit, probably not the last." (D.J.)

GUEST's OPINION:
06/00 - "When I finally flew this rocket, I didn't get second stage ignition (suspect the tape sheared) the rocket augured in from about 300 feet, and landed in a freshly plowed field, and buried the nose cone to the shoulder. The CA filled fins and body tube showed nary a scratch." (R.V.)

GUEST's OPINION:
05/00 - "I am in the process of building this rocket. I ran it thru Rocsim to confirm the altitude predictions. I was shocked to find it was unstable. I quick got a piece of string and did a spin test. Ssure enough, flew backwards. I will be adding at least .2 oz to the nose which will knock off at least 200 ft. It may be a plus, in that the it will slow down the rocket enough to see it go up. I agree that the design is robust. I used CA to seal the fins and it is turning out very rigid. I want to know if the reviewer had the same stability issues I have?" (R.V.)

[Enter Rocket Specific Tip]

SPECIFIC ROCKET TIP:
05/05 - "Insert the smaller BT/coupler unit into the exterior booster BT (step 4) from the top down, opposed to the bottom up as the directions show. Then invert the tube assembly and push the exterior BT down against the BT/coupler unit resting on a table. This will give a self aligned flush upper connection between the coupler and external BT. If you follow the directions for this step, it's harder to obtain a flush upper connection since the BT/coupler unit extends beyond the larger exterior BT on the bottom, and the amount of insertion has to be adjusted by wiggling the BT/coupler inside of the ext. BT." (J.R. )

SPECIFIC ROCKET TIP:
04/02 - "To be certain of stability, on this rocket you should add significant (3/4 oz) nose weight. variations in finishing an chute loading may result in unstable flight" (R.V. )

[Enter Flight Log]
Date Name Motor Ejection/
Altitude
Wind Notes
05-04-2003 Donald Besaw Est SU B6-0/Est SU A8-5 Very Early 0-5 mph winds - Great first very stable flight that was unfortunately cut short due to drag seperation or early ejection on the sustainer. Unbelievably, there was NO zippering whatsoever.
05-11-2003 Donald Besaw Est SU B6-0/Est SU A8-5 Apogee - NC Down 0-5 mph winds - Great flight. Added masking tape to NC, got a complete flight this time. No damage.
06-23-2005 Donald Besaw Est SU B6-0/Est SU A8-5 Didn't See 0-5 mph winds - Very nice flight, nice straight boost and good staging, noticed some minor wobbling after sustainer ignition. Didn't see ejection for this one either. Recovered after a short walk. No damage.
08-22-2006 Clive Davis Est SU B6-0/Est SU B6-6 Didn't Record 5-10 mph winds - First stage was fine. Second stage, the nose cone seems to separate from body tube while under thrust. All parts recovered intact.
04-22-2000 David Fergus Est SU B6-0/Est SU B6-6 Just Past (1-2sec) 0-5 mph winds - great flight very high, long walk
05-20-2000 David Fergus Est SU B6-0 None - Staging Failure 0-5 mph winds - sustainer had nice ballistic flight path, landed in bush so no damage
06-24-2000 David Fergus Est SU B6-0/Est SU B6-6 Just Past (1-2sec) 0-5 mph winds - another great flight with a long walk
04-21-2004 A Funk Est SU C6-0/Est SU C6-7 Didn't See 0-5 mph winds RIP - Rocket took off at a 45 degree angle after leaving the launch rod, went horizontal after staging, and took off out of sight. Found the bottom stage only. Seemed quite unstable..should have added some nose weight! Status: Lost
07-03-2010 Chris Gonnerman Qst SU B6-0 / Est SU A8-5 Apogee - NC Up 10+ mph winds - My first staged flight, and everything worked perfectly. Must be beginner's luck...
08-13-2005 Daniel Griswold Est SU B6-0/Est SU B6-6 Didn't See Calm Event: JMRC-August
- Straight flight. Good staging/booster separation
09-11-2005 Daniel Griswold Est SU B6-0/Est SU B6-6 Apogee - NC Up 5-10 mph winds Event: JMRC-September
- Shock chord burned through. No damage to nose cone or sustainer
09-11-2005 Daniel Griswold Est SU B6-0/Est SU B6-6 Apogee - NC Up 5-10 mph winds Event: JMRC-September
- Shock chord burned through. No damage to nose cone or sustainer
07-27-2008 Chris Halinaty Qst SU B6-0/EST SU B6-4 Didn't See Calm Event: NARAM-50
-
07-28-2008 Chris Halinaty Qst SU B6-0/EST SU B6-4 Apogee - Perfect
(1000 ft)
Calm Event: NARAM-50
- Shock cord burned through. All parts recovered.
10-16-2004 Mark Jones Est SU B6-0/Est SU A8-5 Didn't See 0-5 mph winds - Beautiful stable maiden flight. Separated nicely. Instructions now call for adding clay to nosecone. This has probably eliminated the stability issues mentioned in other entries.
07-23-2005 Linux203 Est SU B6-0/Est SU B6-6 Apogee - NC Down 5-10 mph winds - Really hangs in the air if sustainer engine ejects with charge
07-27-2008 Mike Lysic Est SU C6-0/Est SU A8-3 Didn't See 0-5 mph winds - Great flight, straight boost, good booster/sustainer seperation, good recovery. rocket has flown on this configuration many times although I've replaced the chute with a streamer, good idea.
05-27-2002 Ron McFerren Est SU B6-0/Est SU A8-3 Didn't See 0-5 mph winds RIP - First flight for this rocket. Boosted straight but sustainer took off at 45 degree angle on ignition. Lost sight of it and never found it. Status: Lost
07-28-2001 MikeyR Est SU B6-0/Est SU B6-6 Apogee - Perfect 0-5 mph winds - Finally! Got it to stage!
04-25-2002 MikeyR Est SU B6-0/Est SU A8-5 None - Staging Failure 0-5 mph winds - Gotta give up. Didn't work again.
04-25-2002 MikeyR Est SU B6-0/Est SU A8-5 None - Staging Failure 0-5 mph winds - No damage again.
04-25-2002 MikeyR Est SU B6-0/Est SU A8-5 None - Staging Failure 0-5 mph winds - Not good. No damage in soft cane field
06-07-2002 MikeyR Est SU B6-0/Est SU C6-7 None - Staging Failure Calm - Crashed again. Rotten rocket.
06-11-2005 Jim Rupp Est SU B6-0/Est SU A8-3 Didn't See 10+ mph winds - First staged flight in a long time. Launch was off angle a little, and staging occured seamlessly. Rocket went up into the clouds, but a couple peopled had tracked it to a pool 1/6 mile away. Recovered with no damage. Lots of fun!
11-15-2009 Howard Smart Est SU C6-0/Est SU A8-3 Just Before 0-5 mph winds Event: Fiesta Is.
-
08-28-2010 Howard Smart Qst SU B6-0/Est SU B6-6 Apogee - Perfect 5-10 mph winds Event: Fiesta Is.
-
03-30-2001 Casey Smith Est SU C6-0/Est SU C6-7 Didn't See Calm - Well, it was fun to build, looked great, the sustainer must have homed in on a plane, it suddenly went at a 60 degree angle and disappeared. Time to buy another!
12-30-2006 Gerry Williams Est SU C6-0/Est SU C6-5 Didn't See 0-5 mph winds Event: Gerry Williams
- Maiden Flight--Booster hung on launch rail, but motors took off w/upper stage, scary corkscrewed flight to upper ignition, flew very high until engine ejected, no chute deployed. Thought it LOST until dog walkers returned it an hour later. :-J
06-18-2006 Gene Wolski Est SU B6-0 / Est SU B6-6 Apogee - Perfect 0-5 mph winds Event: Pole Green Park
- NAR Bronze two stage flight - great flight!
10-04-2003 Larry Zeilmann Est SU B6-0/Est SU A8-5 Apogee - Perfect 0-5 mph winds - Great flight nicely staged

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