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October 4, 2011


I also blog a bible study, and I am reminded that our creator is a designer too.  I believe he works like the glaciers, slowly developing his perfection.  I have no problem with the evolution of the human body, but I believe a change marks the change to a spiritual being.  So design is fun by our being created in his (spiritual?) image.  We too are designers.

I learned about drafting from my engineer father, but art skill was also part of the process then.  Function for design includes packing stuff in a given space.  Camping trips and moving taught me to put the big heavy stuff in the front first.  The small stuff fills the voids.

An aircraft may require a graceful form, but it also demands balance, structure, and must fit available components.  I often had in idea for form that had to be modified to fit the crew and engines.  Here I have a form that may fill a need if I can get the cargo in.  You have seen the Tigre before, but a small version was considered.  I made a bubble for the fat head pilot to fit the design.

Kitty Cub

A solid model in CAD can confirm major parts fit, but a lot more detail will cause changes along the way.  This frame has bumps that fit landing gear, and there is no room for the servo to fit in a thin section of the wing.  Here is a series showing basic shapes, initial refinements, and more detailed mechanical systems.


Sometimes a radical technology may be available if thermal protection can be cheaper in flat panels, so I consider the bizzare too.

Angle Angel

This can be hard to package or to sell to the potential market though.  Even when package is clearer, the method of structures can vary.  I considered a rapid prototype plastic bulkhead until I got the price estimate.  It was cheaper and lighter to use plywood and balsa wood, but a challenge to shape and fabricate.

My present designs are all still changing daily.  I again look at possible use of rapid prototype parts printed fropm plastic, but only if cheap and light.  I can buy a complete part printing system for less than the price I was last quoted for one part!

You can see the package getting tight here, as each stage has two fan motors, two batteries, and rocket motors installed.  Structures are not yet detailed.  The colored balls mark the ever changing center of gravity of each stage and the combined vehicles.

Trouble is still in the wings in these images.  Initial frame concepts are stopped when I see that control linkagfes will not fit internally.  A control horn on the elevons should not stick out in the air flow, so I will have to more the servos.  I am also not liking the size and mass of my first closable inlets.  They may not be needed on the suborbital first stage any way.

Remember, these are model airplanes.  A full scale spaceplane may package differently as engines have different proportions in large scale.  Engines used on the B-1 bomber or the F-15 are long and thin instead of short and fat like electric fans.  There will be a totally different design job for smaller engines and bigger fuel tanks.  Balance has to change as speeds change and the tanks are being drained.  Balance also affects the landing gear configuration, as the first stage becomes tail heavy when the second stage is gone.  Are we having fun yet?  Somebody has to keep the engineers employed!

Well these images are like all photographs; they are history now.  Edison discovered thousands of ways NOT to invent the light bulb.  Now you see some ways not to build a space plane.  Like the Lord I move real slow, but sure.  Daily interruptions allow me to think a little before I jump into the next great mistake.

Remember, this is only one of three stages intended for the mission now.  This is the easy one compared to the second stage.  The first stage is a simple capsule, nearly completed in design now.  I did the second stage once before because it offerd more challenges.  This time I may have a few less ways not to build that stage.  Then I get to go out in the shop and discover how dumb my drawings are this time.  I left a trail of dissapointed shop technicians in the wake of my design career.  They can tell you all about engineers and designers



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