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Official Armadillo Q&A thread

Posted by: John Carmack - Tue Jun 15, 2004 8:01 am
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Official Armadillo Q&A thread 
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Post    Posted on: Fri Aug 22, 2008 4:14 am
New update is now up!

http://armadilloaerospace.com/n.x/Armad ... ews_id=360


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Post    Posted on: Fri Aug 22, 2008 2:18 pm
Glad to hear things are generally going well. Sorry to hear about the required launch waiver for tethered flights... incredibly bad timing for the LLC teams scrambling to get things going. Kinda like making me get a license plate for my vacuum cleaner.

Is there any avenue for us, the fans, to help make some noise?


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Post    Posted on: Fri Aug 22, 2008 3:28 pm
DanielW wrote:
Is there any avenue for us, the fans, to help make some noise?


Fans are usually valued for being noiseless :)


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Post tethered launch, physical oxymoron.   Posted on: Fri Aug 22, 2008 11:10 pm
DanielW wrote:
Kinda like making me get a license plate for my vacuum cleaner.
Kinda makes me think John Romero would have something to say about that :?

Nick


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Post    Posted on: Sat Aug 23, 2008 3:27 am
Scienkoptic wrote:
What do you use to bevel edges. how do you maintain consistency. This must be pretty important in your application.


I made a beveler with a straight air die grinder for performing the tank bevels. It has wheels and rolls along the tank edges, and I just rotate it around the periphery and dry cut away the material I need to at a set 30 degree cut. After beveling, the hemispheres are cleaned thoroughly, and assembled using a tank band (kind of like a corset), that brings the edges together for proper alignment. Then root tacking and welding, etc...
Will see if I can get some pics up on flicker..


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Post    Posted on: Sat Aug 23, 2008 4:07 am
Yahoo! Update! Definitely condolences on the silly FAA reqs. That methane work is interesting. Good luck! Can't wait to see something fly, either LLC or the RRL!

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"The rockets are burning, the dreamers are at full swing/ And you know in your heart that the farsighted see better things." ~ "Farsighted" by Five Iron Frenzy


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Post    Posted on: Sun Aug 24, 2008 1:43 am
Solo wrote:
Yahoo! Update! Definitely condolences on the silly FAA reqs. That methane work is interesting. Good luck! Can't wait to see something fly, either LLC or the RRL!


We actually had a good day with the methane testing today. We have a better igniter now that lights every time (had lots of no lights), and the latest engine survived 30+ seconds with no erosion after the run. Very exciting!
We have killed several spark plugs during recent testing though, as we are getting some resonance that is at a frequency that shatters the ceramic in the spark plug, and has even loosened a couple of our swagelock pressure transducer fittings.
One of the modules is currently being fitted with that engine for tethered tests. Hopefully it will be in the air soon.


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Post Methane Engine   Posted on: Sun Aug 24, 2008 2:17 am
I noticed in the photo's from the website update that you have to check erosion through a destructive inspection process. Are those cuts at a point you could reweld? How long does it take to weld all the pieces together? Are there inttermediary steps in the engine assembly that do not involve welding or are they handing you a pile of components and then it's all you from that point on?

Marc Hopkins
Orange, CA


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Post Beveler and Destrutive Inspection   Posted on: Sun Aug 24, 2008 6:12 pm
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Will see if I can get some pics up on flicker..


That would be cool!

I've been keenly interested in your progress since I first got wind of it. I have three customers that were principles in EAC and I would have sold my business and gone to work sweeping floors for them if I would have ever gotten a chance.
Unfortunately they didn't get picked for SS1 & I think they've folded their tent
(or gone back to endoscopes)

I have experience in investment casting. Would any of these assemblies ( engines) lend itself to being cast?


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Post Re: Methane Engine   Posted on: Sun Aug 24, 2008 7:19 pm
MarcHopkins wrote:
I noticed in the photo's from the website update that you have to check erosion through a destructive inspection process. Are those cuts at a point you could reweld? How long does it take to weld all the pieces together? Are there inttermediary steps in the engine assembly that do not involve welding or are they handing you a pile of components and then it's all you from that point on?

Marc Hopkins
Orange, CA


We cut the chambers off to move them to the next injector. We visually inspect the engines after each run. We only cut the engines up if something went wrong. We have run engines that have some erosion before that have stopped eroding, when the injector face got thin enough to transfer some heat. But if the conditions are too much, it just melts through. One of the RRL engines had around 30 to 40+ runs through it with no erosion and just some oxidation inside. It only melted due to a lean condition from a glitch we had. The current engine is pretty much rock solid.
Time to weld- depends on what changes have been made with each generation. I would say an average of 8 to 12 hours of machining and deburring/finish work, and 4 to 6 hours of welding.
All machining currently happens first, then welding. Machining through weld areas can be problematic due to varying zones of hardness, and is best avoided if possible


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Post Re: Beveler and Destrutive Inspection   Posted on: Sun Aug 24, 2008 7:30 pm
Scienkoptic wrote:
I have experience in investment casting. Would any of these assemblies ( engines) lend itself to being cast?

I think the tolerances and requirements would not yet allow that, and it would also require a high temperature alloy such as 310 stainless. Maybe in the future though...
John has looked into some 3d powdered sintering methods, but while the industry is close it is not quite capable of what he wants. If something comes out that meets the right conditions, maybe.


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Post    Posted on: Sun Aug 24, 2008 10:11 pm
Scienkoptic, we are huge fans of McMaster as well, but never use the hard copy catalog. I have #114 still sitting in the box, and UPS is next door. Send me an address and I'll ship it to you.

James, it's great that you guys share so much information, on here and when talking to you at conferences. My steel welding has gotten pretty good in the process of welding the frame of XA-0.1B; I'll try to get a photo up somewhere. I'm about to take on learning aluminum TIG for tanks and will probably have questions.

Do you weld with the torch in one specific hand? In all the various positions to weld the frame and test stand, I've just been switching back and forth to whichever hand is most convenient for the angle. I don't know if I'm ambidextrous or if I just don't know any better.

At Space Access we talked about making art out of bits of rockets, and I have a couple of ideas I think you'd find interesting. Send me an email sometime.

Ben Brockert
Project manager (and main welder)
Masten Space Systems
bbrockert@masten-space.com


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Post McMaster and stuff   Posted on: Mon Aug 25, 2008 1:05 pm
Quote:
Do you weld with the torch in one specific hand? In all the various positions to weld the frame and test stand, I've just been switching back and forth to whichever hand is most convenient for the angle. I don't know if I'm ambidextrous or if I just don't know any better.


I would suggest learning to hold the torch in both hands. Depending on what you are welding, you may end up holding the torch with your toes!

You'll have to learn to weld blind ( you can't see the puddle)
You may have to operate the foot pedal with your head, butt, or elbow.
You may have to weave yourself into a tight position where you can't even flip your shield.

When I was about 7, my father let me run a pass with his stick welder. I'm left handed and he's right handed. He suggested I learn to weld with both hands and said that if I got good at it, being ambidextrous would be a more valuable skill. I ran the pass right handed. It looked pretty bad. He was right though. You'll develop this skill unintentionally. Some things just can't be welded in the position you would prefer. You try it the other way and it's awkward, but you get better at it. Then you stop thinking about it and it just happens.

Aluminum. A whole different ballgame! I think it's not hard to weld until I try teaching someone else! Welding steel is a cakewalk. Most squarewave machines make it a lot easier, but you still need to learn how to watch the puddle and how to position the fill rod. I think fill rod position is the most critical skill. When I watch people learning, I mostly see them keeping the rod too close to the arc plasma. The end of the rod drips off before they can even get it close to the puddle! If you are not using a machine with some cleaning function, it is essential to clean the work area thoroughly. any oxides will prevent a good weld. Aluminum Oxide melts at a higher temp than AL.

yes I'm interested in the McMaster. I do use the online catalog a lot, but I still like to know whats out there. I don't have time to browse their website to find out.


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Post    Posted on: Wed Aug 27, 2008 7:42 pm
Looks like the first test flights of the Armadillo powered Rocket Racing League plane were successful.

http://www.marketwatch.com/news/story/r ... &dist=hppr

John, Matt, James, did any of you get to ride on one of the test flights?


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Post    Posted on: Wed Aug 27, 2008 7:51 pm
fatron wrote:
John, Matt, James, did any of you get to ride on one of the test flights?


No. At the moment, the electronics box is sitting in the passenger footwell, so there is no seat on that side. We're hoping to fix that in the future so passengers can go along for the ride.

Another article here: http://cosmiclog.msnbc.msn.com/archive/ ... 95499.aspx


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