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Winner Third Place!

Deuce-4 Heavy Payloader
By: Mark Schrader

Atached is my Deuce Bash entry. Please let me know if you need any other information.

Mark Schrader

The inspiration for this design came from the Boeing Delta-4 Heavy and Lockheed-Martin Atlas-5 heavy lift rockets. It is basically a conventional Deuce with the addition of a 10-inch payload section and two conventional parallel boosters. The payload section has a four-inch parachute bay aft. The parallel boosters separate after motor burn out and recover on 12-inch parachutes. At liftoff they are positively attached until motor ignition using a unique method. In the event of no ignition or late ignition, the boosters are held in place for safety.


The sustainer consists of a 7.5-inch piece of BT-60 (from a Baby Bertha) and the Deuce canted twin 18 mm motor mounts. On top of this is a balsa 1.5-inch T60-70 transition (from the parts box). I hollowed this out with a Dremel tool and glued a motor spacer tube inside to duct the ejection gases. I used a inch screw eye at the top of the balsa transition to anchor the recovery system

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I use 6-inch lengths of styrene plastic square stock to retain the parallel boosters. After drilling small holes in the plastic and roughing up the body tube with sandpaper and a #11 blade, I attached the plastic stock with 90-minute epoxy.

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Payload Bay:

The payload bay is a 10-inch piece of BT-70 tube and the nose cone is a balsa tube I got in an ebay auction lot. I glued an Apogee Components bulkhead and centering ring four inches from the bottom to create a parachute bay. I glued a loop of 300 lb kevlar ™ line to the bulkhead with 90-minute epoxy to which I would attach the recovery system.

Parallel Boosters:

The parallel boosters consist of 6 3/4 inch lengths of BT-60 (from a Patriot kit), two Deuce nose cones (one from the kit and one from my Secret Santa parts package), and two motor mounts (again from Secret Santa package).  The motor mount is installed so that the motor will be flush with the bottom of the booster when launched.   More about this when I describe the booster retention system.

The key feature of the boosters is the mounting system.  The mounts consist of two-inch pieces of plastic stock which nest inside the plastic stock on the sustainer.  The two-inch stock is mounted on a one-inch piece of sheet styrene stand off that is the same width and thickness as the square stock. 

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Launch Lug Alignment:

I used 3/16-inch launch lugs. The upper lug is glued to the BT-70 tube and the lower lug is glued to the fin as shown below.

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Body Tube Wrap:

The payload tube is finished with a wrap of white label paper. I used MS PowerPoint to create a 10" X 7" box in which I placed the graphics. NASA for obvious reasons, FlisKits the prime contractor, Boeing and Lockheed Martin the subs, Apogee for component and simulation support, and Estes for propulsion. The BT-70 tube has a circumference of seven inches so this went relatively easy.

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Booster Retention System:

The most unique feature of this model is the positive retention system designed to keep booster attached in the event that they light late or not at all. The system consists of two wire nails inserted into each booster, CA’d and epoxy puttied into place. I then tie a small loop of beading elastic to an 18” loop of sewing thread. The thread is attached to the top of the styrene stock on the sustainer, led under the booster, and the beading thread loop is attached to the two nails. The elastic takes the slack out of the thread loop and holds it in place until the motor exhaust burns through the thread. I attach the thread-elastic loops with the motor in place and run the thread beneath the nozzle and hold it in place with the plastic ignitor cap Motor thrust holds the boosters in place and at burn out they fall away and deploy 12-inch mylar parachutes.

Below is a schematic that shows the retention system:

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First flight was on a pair of central C6-7s and C5-3 motors in the boosters. Boost was moderately slow and the rocket turned slightly into the 5-8 mph breeze. The long burn of C5-3s kept the boosters attached until near apogee and they separated and deployed their chutes. The C6-7 delay was a little too long as the sustainer arched over and headed down. Ejection was a couple seconds after apogee and the 24-inch mylar cute brought the sustainer to a good landing. Only damage was a chip from one fin due to landing on hard turned earth. For the next flight I’ll use C6-5s and B6-2s.

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Bonus Points:

Although I didn’t use all the parts that came in the Deuces Wild kit, I did launch the parts I didn’t use in the payload compartment…

Link to a full size picture of the finished model.


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