InmventorEd Presents:

Rocket Tales

By Inventor Stan E. Delo

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Introduction...

    While working for what could only be described as an "interesting" fellow on Vashon Island, rebuilding Lotus sports cars, we often had numerous opportunies to engage in small talk, as the work was quiet in nature most of the time. During one of these chat sessions, I started to mention my interest in things aero-nautical and aero-spatial, whereupon he mentioned that if I was interested, he had a rocket motor that he had no use for?!? Now I will be the first to maintain that civil rocket engineering is generally Not a good idea, but I just couldn't resist the suggestion that I might be able to aquire a rocket motor to imolate myself with.

    Being the rube that I was, I asked if he would consider letting me look at it, and if he might be interested in letting me talk him out of it. He said, "Sure! Come by my place on Saturday and take a look."

    I then went over on Saturday morning, wondering if it was going to be just another one of his goofy pranks, that he was becoming somewhat famous for. Much to my surprise, in the back corner of his garage was an Honest-to-God  Bomark  rocket engine, About 5 feet tall, and 16 inches or so in diameter, replete with the LOX and liquid hydrogen manifolds, and the double-walled combustion chamber and nozzle, that were truly works of art  in Stainless Steel, apparently.  

   The incredibly cold propellants are used to cool the motor on the way to becoming propellents in this sort of motor, that was apparently in brand-new condition. It had never even been test-fired, as the banded-on identification tag confirmed. Kinda Ominous to my way of thinking... WHY had it never been tested? It occured to me that it may have failed to pass the Quality Control inspection, so it didn't really seem like a good idea to try to light the candle, if you will, and it would probably cost about $20,000 to light it for like 4.2 seconds...  "Gee, I dunno Jeff......" I said...."  

  No problem Stan!  You can have it for free!!"  A guy has to wonder about an offer like this, so I asked him why, and here is what he related to me, as nearly as I can recall it...

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Creative solutions...

    Now as we all hopefully realize here on the InventNet forum, inventions are simply solutions to problems, either real, or imagined to be real. In the case that Jeff related to me, the problem happened to be that a crab fishing boat had drug it's anchor during an extreme high tide in very high winds up in Alaska, and had been beached on a sandy shore thereby. This is not an insignificant problem for a steel boat that is about 100 feet overall, and the fact that the skipper stands to lose 10's of thousands of dollars for every day that he is stranded. It  is a good incentive for problem solving, if you will, let alone the embarrassment factor of being stuck on the beach, for like 3 months, while all your buddies are raking in the big bucks  as they go by every day, and chuckling as they go to the Bank.

    As you might imagine, people of this sort tend to be very resourceful, and the skipper in this case was a good example of *creative thinking* in action, when he happened to attend a government auction, and saw four Bomark rocket motors up for auction, for the pathetically low price of $150 apiece, whereupon he purchased them on the spot. Mind you that it said very clearly on the aforementioned identication tag that these motors were ostensibly  rated at 200,000 lbs of thrust each, (I think it might have been 250... can't remember).

    Perhaps you are catching my drift here... He was planning to weld brackets onto the shoreward side of his boat, with the idea of mounting said motors on the side of his crab boat, and then firing all four of them simultaneously, to push his packet off of the beach during the highest available tide...

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Reality Check...

    Our resourceful skipper then thought to seek professional advice as to how to proceed to make his idea into a realistic proposition. He had a buddy that he knew from high school that had become an accomplished mechanical engineer over the years, among other things, and he then went to him to figure out how to implement his idea properly. After explaining what he was proposing to do, his engineer pal burst into hysterical laughter for an akwardly long period of time, and when he was finally done laughing for the most part, the skipper ventured...  "What's wrong with it? You don't think it will work or something?"

    The engineer, after wiping the tears of amusement from his eyes, and composing himself a bit, proceeded to explain as best he could...

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Reality Sandwich...

    It went something like this...   "Frank (for want of an Actual name) I will use an analogy to try to explain."

    You see that sheet of sheet-rock over there?  ...Yea, sure...

  OK...Imagine that you want to move that sheet of rock across the room.... Most folks would pick it up and carry it across the room, although some might drag it across the floor. What you are proposing is much like attempting to move the sheet-rock by taking a very large sledge-hammer and striking it very firmly in the center of the sheet....

     I would imagine that they would have punched 4 very neat, (or perhaps  Very Messy) holes in the hull, tearing the fuel connections off in the process,  and causing an anomalous event to occur, let us say. (Distinctly different than  the desired outcome.) Neatly installed inside the boat.

    Case closed....

The resourceful skipper then Gave Jeff two of said Bomark rocket motors, one of which Jeff subsequently gave to me for free.... It made a really cool coat rack due to the LOX manifold in-feed tubes, which curved upwards to a vertical position in a very graceful manner, when it was placed in the launch position.

 

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