(Contributed - by Joe Balsamo - 01/01/02)
Single stage, tube-finned, 38mm rocket with a 3" transitioning to a
2.14" payload . The rocket is very suitable for Level 1 certifications.
3" LOC main body tube with 6 tubes used for the tube fins. 38mm
LOC tube is held in place by two centering rings. The kit comes
with a fairly long elastic shock cord, 2.14" tube section, plastic
and plastic transition. I made some modifications to this which I
will describe below.
The rocket is quite easy to build and the instruction sheet is fairly well
written. I built it stock except for the recovery system. I don't like elastic
shock cords. I no longer have an AT Sumo because the elastic broke
during ejection. I have now replaced all of the elastic in my fleet with either
nylon recovery harnesses.
On the Cyclotron, I drilled out two 180 degree opposing holes each about
1/8" in diameter in the forward . I then strung a length of
Pratt Hobbies 1/8" tubular
, both ends through the holes, knots tied about 4" from each
end, then the ends epoxied to the motor mount. Thus creating a Kevlar
harness, the closed loop end now reaching just below the lip of the main
3" tube. Now, I can attach to this either tubular nylon, tubular Kevlar
or whatever. The Kevlar
may someday wear out, but it will take a very long time. Plus, I usually shove
a small amount of into the motor mount itself, so the brunt of the
blast is taken by that.
I like SkyAngle chutes, so I ditched the LOC and recover on a
SkyAngle 36. I use a Kevlar
chute protector to protect the chute.
I am also a big fan of the Aeropack system, so I included an Aeropack motor
on my Cyclotron. The bottom of the Aeropack is flush with BT.
The only other thing I can add is to make sure you rough up the body tube
and the fin tubes, use a good quality and make all your fillets. Nothing
is holding the fin tubes to the body tube other than glue, so this is key. I
used a long wooden down to create the fillets once the tubes were attached to
the body tube. LOC gives a good technique to build the fin tube structure, so I
recommend using their technique.
I epoxied the bottom of the payload tube to the top of the plastic LOC
and attached the nose cone to the top of the payload tube using a
plastic pop rivet.
Finishing is typical of any kraft paper tube type rocket. Fill the (I
use Elmers Fill-n-Finish), the rocket, and paint.
In the case of this particular rocket, I decided to test out the new
Dupli-Color Mirage color-changing paint. I get mine locally at Kragen, but
AutoBarn on the web sells it as well. I chose the Purple/Green color as that
seemed to look better (at least on the can top in the store) than the
Gold/Magenta or Silver/Green. I used Fill-N-Finish and sanding until I got a
fairly smooth surface. I then used Dupli-Color white primer in a couple of
coats to get a near-glass smooth finish. I then applied the three-part
Dupli-Color as per the instructions on the paint kit. First the flat black
basecoat. Then the color changing paint itself. Then finally the clear coat. I
really like how it came out and I get a lot of positive comments about my paint
job, so it seems others do as well. I painted the inside of each of the tube
fins with a simple brushed-on flat black enamel and the same for the bottom end
of the rocket. I don't like bare areas on my rockets showing through and
sometimes for certain acres, flat black painted on just works out real nicely.
½ out of 5
I've flown my Cyclotron a half dozen times now and it is a great flying rocket!
Straight as an arrow and looks very cool as it blasts off. Most of the time, I
try to remember to put a small amount of wadding up the motor mount tube before
inserting the motor. I have forgotten a few times and no harm seems to have
come from it. I use a Kevlar
chute protector and it seems to work just great. Motor retention is via
Aeropack, as noted above, and I find that the transition fits into the body
tube fairly loosely on my Cyclotron, so I use masking tape to attain a
not-too-tight fit. My Cyclotron has flown on the AT H238, G69 and Pro38
I170. Great flights, all of them.
As I noted already, I've completely replaced the LOC recovery system with my
own. My system works flawlessly. It is the above mentioned tubular Kevlar
harness, attached to that is a 30' length of very heavy duty Kevlar
"mule tape". SkyAngle36 is attached to this via a kwik-link and I use
chute protector. All works great.
½ out of 5
This rocket is a great looking and flying rocket. The only area of change that
I would recommend would be in the recovery system as I've already noted. Though
I was already an when I bought this kit, I feel that it makes a great L1
rocket. Also a good "small field" rocket with G size engines, but yet
you can bust loose at larger fields with an I.
½ out of 5
(by Mike Walsh, JR. - 04/01/02)
Tube Rocket, with transition
I received the package, and the kit was well packaged. It included 2 main body
tubes, a 3.1x 34 long tube, and a 2.14 x 12 body tube,
as well as nose cone, transition, motor mount parts. It also comes with (6)
3.1 Tube couplers, which are used for the fins. They are pretty durable.
As well as (2) ½ diameter launch lugs. The only common thing is the
assembly of the Motor mount, and the shock cord anchor system. I did not
receive any instructions, but I had some idea as to how to build it. I
constructed the entire motor mount assembly using 5-minute epoxy. I requested a
29mm motor mount, which is what he sent me.
I didn't get any instructions for this kit, as it was a Beta test. But I had
an idea of how to build it. I looked at the basic parts. I got a vision of how
to build it in my head, then I got to work. It is relatively easy for the
intermediate flyer to build. The tube couplers are butted against each other,
as well as the . Once you get the first coupler on, the rest of them
are simply butted into place. I used spring clamps to help clamp the portions
together, so that I could ensure a good bond between couplers. The only mod I
made, was to scuff some glassine off of the contact points, to help the epoxy
adhere better. I used basic 5 and 15 minute epoxy. Everything went together
without a hitch. I cant really give any con's about this kit.
Pros: It is rather easy to come up with exotic ideas for paint schemes, for
instance, like I did on my rocket, you can paint every other tube coupler (fin)
an alternating color, to give it an "exotic" touch. I used Rustoleum
Primer and paint. Cons: If you want to paint the inside of the couplers, it
will be extra work for you.
½ out of 5
First flight was in March of 2001. I used a G64-4w, and I upped the ejection
charge a little, since it was a larger diameter. I used a simple screw and a
washer for retention. After passing it through , and putting it on the pad,
it was time to witness the moment of truth. It lit instantly, and whistled off
the pad. The ejection charge went off just as the rocket hit , and the
36" parachute opened beautifully. It drifted a little ways, but was
recovered. Upon recovering it, it was found that one of the tube couplers had
"caved" in. The simplest and quickest remedy was to "pop"
it back out.
Next up, I loaded her up with a G125-5t. A
pass through RSO and she was on the pad within 5 minutes. After the usual
countdown, the motor lit, and it practically exploded off the pad, and up to
about 750 feet. The chute deployed, and it had a flawless recovery. No problems
with the tubes this time.
I teamed up with a friend of mine, and we loaded up an H128-M for it. After
a few problems with igniters, she took to the air, to about 1200 feet. The
chute deployed right on cue, and I had to walk a little further, but it was an
impressive flight, nonetheless.
I flew the rocket again about a year later, on a G64, and then an H128.
Both flights were flawless.
½ out of 5
I'd suggest this kit for the intermediate flyer, as it requires a little
patience to build, but if built right, it will reward you with some good
flights. This kit always gets attention at our launches. It's waiting for an
Aerotech I200 :)
½ out of 5
(Contributed - by John Lee - 11/14/09)
Tube Finned, 38mm Motor Mount, Parachute recovery
The LOC Cyclotron looked to be a fairly simple build suitable for somebody with not too much HPR experience.
It was a kit I had around for a while but did not get around to building because of few opportunities to launch
anything in the HPR .With some prospects for flight opening up, I dug out this kit and got to work.
The first thing that struck me as unusual about this kit was that the directions did not direct me to start with the
motor mount. Instead, the came first.
Six tubes were provided already cut to length. The tubes were divided into three pairs and then an Estes angle was
used to put a straight line along the lengths of three of them.
The tube pairs were then compared for length to make sure that they were all identical. One tube was a bit longer
than the others but a belt sander quickly solved that problem. Some 15 minute epoxy was mixed and a brush was used to
paint it along the lines scribed onto the three tubes so marked.
The tubes were then pushed together in pairs, checked for alignment and set on a concrete floor to stiffen up.
About half an hour later, the tube fins were stiff enough to continue work.
Strips of masking tape were placed at either end of the tube pairs to serve as dams. Some 20 minute finish cure
epoxy was then mixed and poured into the creases between tubes. They were set aside to harden and a day later the pairs
were turned over and the opposite creases were treated to some epoxy .
Construction of the motor mount was a simple affair. It consisted of a 38mm motor tube and a pair of centering
rings. The interiors of the rings needed a bit of sanding to fit over the motor tube, but that was easily accomplished.
A line was marked 1/4" from either end of the tube and the the rings were epoxied into place. When the epoxy had
stiffened, a substantial epoxy was laid down on the forward end of both rings. When that had stiffened, a fillet
was also placed on the rear side of the forward ring but the rear of the aft ring was left unfilleted for now.
A member on warned me that the tube fins for this rocket were made from coupler tubes instead of the body tube
and, as a result, do not close perfectly when arranged around the BT. I found that this was indeed the case. He solved
this problem by slipping some plywood spacers between the tubes. I considered doing this. However, while I think that
is the best way to go, I did not do so. I had no plywood of the appropriate dimension sitting around and I was
impatient to proceed.
I decided to leave a small gap between each pair of 2 tube fins. Accordingly, I mixed some 5 minute epoxy and
brushed it on to one of the tube pairs. The pair was then applied to the BT while the BT was sitting on a concrete
floor, to keep things straight. When this initial pair had set up, I brushed some epoxy onto each of the remaining 2
pair and the applied them, judging the spacing with nothing except my eyeballs.
The plastic nose cone had quite a bit of flash on it as well as some ugly valleys at the mold lines. I used a
razor the scrape away the flash and then sandpaper to smooth it down. I was still not satisfied so I applied some
Squadron green putty to the valleys and set it aside to dry.
The plastic transition, on the other hand, had no problems with either flash or mold lines. It was ready to go so
I put some epoxy on the small end and slipped the payload tube over it. I then had to use a rag and some alcohol to
clean up the excess.
By this point, the epoxy on the motor mount had hardened. I checked and found that the outer diameter of the
centering rings fit the body tube just fine and that no sanding was needed. I mixed some more epoxy and applied a
generous ring around the circumference about 8" up from the aft end; that was as far as I could reach.
The motor mount was then pushed in until the forward ring was about 2 inches in and another ring was applied just
forward of the aft end. The motor mount was then pushed the rest of the way in and the rocket was stood on its tail to
let the excess epoxy drift down and form fillets.
A couple of days later I got back to the the nose cone. The excess putty was sanded away and that removed most of
the obviously visible problems.
The instructions say that the nose cone can be either epoxied into the payload bay or friction fitted with tape. I
almost epoxied it since I never do the payload thing but decided that I might change my mind later. Accordingly I put
some tape on the insert of the NC and gave it a tight fit to the payload bay.
The gaps between tube fin pairs was handled by slipping some cellophane tape into the gap and then pulling it up
against the joint in the tube fins from the back side. The ends of the tape were folded up to blockade the ends of the
tube. This gave a bottom to the trough that needed to be epoxied. Epoxy was then poured into the trough and allowed to
set up after which the tape was removed.
The LOC shock cord mount is an effective piece of low tech. A piece of nylon cord is provided. A loop was tied
into the middle of the cord and then overhand knots were tied at either end. A piece of masking tape was then used to
place the outside ends of the cord against the inside wall of the BT. Four minute epoxy was then slathered over the
tape and string and allowed to set. This method has worked very well for me with some smaller LOC rockets. The question
arose in my mind, though, as to how effective it would be with a larger and heavier rocket. People on TRF chimed in and
offered the testimony that it worked just fine on even heavier ones. This was gratifying to hear, but I added another
layer of epoxy and broadened it out to cover a larger area, just to make sure.
As designed, the nylon cord is attached directly to a long piece of sewing elastic. I decided to make
an addition here and tied in a 6 foot length of heavy Kevlar
to the nylon using a double sheet bend. The other end of the Kevlar
was bent to the elastic. I did this for two reasons. First, I like the looks of a longer recover train and second, I
plan on using a Kevlar
blanket for wadding; the addition of the Kevlar
cord will keep the elastic from being in the direct path of ejection gasses.
Another modification I made was with the . The kit came with a 1/2" tubular lug. I wanted to used a
linear lug for a instead but was stymied by the tube fins until realizing that the rail would fit through the
tubes. The next issues was of a standoff to account for the thickness of the tube fins but examining the lug showed
that its base was thicker than the tube walls. I decided to fashion a standoff anyway because all I had were
#6x3/4" screws and those would have penetrated the body tube far enough to create a snagging hazard. 5/8"
would have been perfect.
I traced the lug on a piece of I had handy and cut out the standoff with a razor knife. The resulting
standoff was too thick so I took it to the belt sander and slimmed it down. When examining it afterward, I found that
the screws would just barely protrude through the BT and I considered it just right. A line was run up from the center
of one of the tubes fins and the standoff was epoxied into place.
The actual installation of the lug will wait until after the painting. I considered a tip from TRF to
the insides of the tube fins but, because of an impending launch opportunity, decided to wait and see how it fares
without the additional strengthening. Because of that, the Cyclotron was ready to begin the finishing process.
The first step in the finishing was to take the rocket to the booth and prime it with Kilz. It went on rather thick.
I decided that at the range most people would be seeing this one, filling spirals was not worth the effort.
The Kilz had a couple of days to dry and then was sanded to remove the rough buildup of material that had
accumulated in some places. The rocket was then taken to the booth and given 2 coats of a metallic charcoal gray. My
intent was to get all of the body but I left the tubes and the nose cone alone.
The gray had a few days to dry and then I masked off the top and the bottom with Frog tape and aluminum foil. The
rocket then went back to the booth for a darkish metallic gold, almost bronze. After a few hours, I turned it around
and painted the back end as well. A few days later I removed the masking and it didn't look too bad.
After the painting, I remembered that I still had to install the lug. The lug was placed and the screws were
driven through the balsa standoff. They were then removed and some epoxy was squirted into the holes and smeared along
the back of the lug. It was then placed and the screws driven home.
As with every other LOC kit I have seen, this one does not include decals. Instead, their web site provides PDF
files to download and print out your own. This strikes me as reasonable since some would rather use their own finishing
scheme. The problem I had was a lack of white decal paper on hand and printing on the clear usually leads to the
underlying color shifting the printed color. I contacted Gordon of Roachwerks/Excelsior to see if he would print them
for me since he always does a fine job. He took a look and then pointed out how expensive they would be and suggested I
print on label paper. I normally slam kits that come with stickers instead of waterslide decals but the price was
enough to make me reconsider. I printed out all 8 pages on a color laser printer on label paper. As with most LOC
patterns, I had more decal than I needed or could use.
The main element of the decorating scheme was the large words "Cyclotron" on a variegated background and
meant to wrap all the way around the body tube. Needless to say, this one image took three full sheets. I started at
the top and was quickly reminded of why I prefer waterslides; they are more forgiving of initial placement. Eventually
all three sheets were cut out and placed but I had to make an extra cut out for the lug.
The sheets I printed included 4 schematic representations of what I assume to be a cyclotron printed with red on
yellow. It also included 4 stylized atoms depicting the electron orbitals. I decided to use 3 of each and alternate
them around the tube fins.
The only 2 other elements of the printed sheets I decided to use were the LOC/Precision logo and a smaller version
of the Cyclotron logo used as the main body wrap. I cut them out and applied them on 2 sides of the payload bay.
For some reason, my laser printer did not do a great job of melting all the toner on the decals and I found some
of it rubbing off. To mitigate this problem, I sprayed the entire rocket with some gloss coating to fix the toner in
place. With that, the rocket was ready to fly.
Construction Rating: 4 out of 5
One of the nice features of this kit was that it came with a 38mm to 29mm . Had I known this, I would
have started on it sooner. As it happened, I was glad to have the adapter since my source for 38mm motors did not show
up for the maiden launch.
I fitted an Aerotech G77-4R motor into the adapter using tape to bind the on the motor to the thrust
ring on the adapter. I then inserted the assembly into the motor tube of the Cyclotron and again taped the thrust ring
to the 38mm motor tube. The rocket was hooked up on the rail and I found that the rail did indeed fit just fine through
the tube fin.
When the launch button was pushed, the motor took a little while to come up to pressure and then emitted a roar
that prompted a cub scout present to request that I "not do that again". The rocket rose off the
and took to the air. The flight was straight and the rocket exhibited no weather cocking into the wind we had. The
chute ejected at apogee and opened properly. The rocket began to drift down. The rocket came to rest at the opposite
end of our field and there was no damage. Unfortunately, I had exhausted my supply of 4 second motors.
The Cyclotron came with a nice nylon parachute but I did not use it. I had ordered a custom 12 36" chute
from K&S for a Mercury Redstone but found to my dismay that it did not fit. The LOC chute did fit the Redstone and
the custom chute fit the Cyclotron so I switched them. The custom chute worked beautifully.
Flight Rating: 5 out of 5
The Cyclotron turned out to be an easy rocket to build and a good flier. It would provide a good L1 project and would
be a nice addition to any fleet.
Overall Rating: 4 out of 5
It should be noted that the kit I built was apparently a fairly old one that had been sitting in the stock of my
local hobby shop for a long time. A member of TRF reports that since 2007, the tube fins are made from the same stock
as the main body tube instead of coupler stock. This should result in a better build. Persons wishing to follow this
rocket are invited to check here: