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Last updated: Jan 20, 2009
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April Meeting Minutes (4/23/2009)

The April 2009 MASA meeting was held on the 20th at Aero Systems Engineering in Plymouth.

A total of 9 people attended the meeting.

Next Launch: The next regular launch will be on Saturday, April 25.  [Late breaking announcement, the April launch will be postponed one week due to poor weather.  The April launch will now be held on Saturday, May 2.]

Next Meeting:  The date and location of the May meeting will be announced soon.  The topic will be contest rockets and how to prepare for June's big contest meet.

TARC:  Some of the recent TARC activities and qualification flight attempts were discussed.

Outreach Season:  The busy time of year for school and group rocket outreach activities is upon us.  Watch the mailing list for announcements and opportunities to Pay Forward!

Planet:  Jeff is looking for submissions for the MASA Planet newsletter.  Please send him those articles, photos, kit reviews, etc...

Regional Contest:  MASA will be holding its first ever official NAR regional contest on June 27 & 28.  Details are available on the web site.

NARAM Fly-It / Take-It:  Remember to work on those rockets to donate for kids to fly and take home with them at NARAM 51.  All donations must be turned in to Carol by no later than the June launch.

NSL:  Memorial Day weekend in Wisconsin - roughly a 6 hour drive from the Cities.  At least some MASA members are planning to be there.

2009 Badges:  Rick is starting to mail out the 2009 MASA name badges to those people who have paid their 2009 dues.

Show & Tell

  • Lyle Merdan brought his custom fin jig - "standard rocket assembly tool version 1".  He talked about his sales at NARCON and plans for the product.

  • Jason Colt brought along a heavily modified Stormcaster.  It's intended to release trails of tracking powder throughout the entire boost phase of the flight.

  • Ted Cochran brought along a newly-built Semroc Hawk boost glider and Semroc Drifter

Meeting Topic - Making Your Own Decals

A discussion was held about techniques, materials and methods for making your own waterslide decals.

Alan Estenson talked about printing decals on laser printers and/or copy machines.  Every machine can be somewhat different.  You typically need to experiment (and waste a few sheets of decal paper) to find the right printer settings.  Paper is available from many different sources.  Alan showed some decals that he had created and various rockets with homemade decals.  He also talked a little about redrawing decal scans from old kits using a vector graphics program to clean up and improve the artwork.  Alan uses Xara Xtreme for that purpose.

Alan also shows what happens when you put colored homemade decals on top of colored paint.  The decals aren't opaque, so the paint shows through them and makes the colors look different.

Dwayne Shmel talked about his use of the Alps printers to create custom decals.  He brought along a bunch of examples, and his upscale 2.6" Der Red Max with homemade decals.  The Alps printers aren't sold new in the U.S. anymore, but you can still find used ones on Ebay.  The custom color ribbon tapes for them can still be found, but can be expensive.  The Alps is the only practical method for making your own decals that have white areas.  Getting the best results from the Alps is both art & science, but there are several great resources on the Internet where you can find information.

Dwayne recommended as a source for some neat label and decal stock.

Jeff Taylor talked about using Adobe Illustrator to create artwork.  Jeff makes waterslide decals using laser printers and copiers.  He brought along four rockets for which he had created very cool custom decals - his "Mars Lander styled" Outlander, NARCON 2007 Deuces Wild, NARCON 2008 Space Shuttle, and October Sky Festival VF-261.  He also said that it may require experimentation to get the best results in a particular printer, and you may need different settings for clear paper versus white paper.

[Here are links to some useful resources.]
Two types of blank paper stock for waterslide decals:  laser (can be used in laser printers, copiers, and Alps printers), and inkjet.  Paper can be purchased either clear or white.  Inkjet decals require a spray fixative to seal the ink. 

Sources for decal paper:

 Tips on making and applying decals:

 Programs for creating your own decals:  Adobe Illustrator, CorelDraw, Xara Xtreme, Inkscape, Word, Powerpoint, many more.

 Font resources:,,,,,,,,

 Resources for rocket decal scans and decal files:

 Sources for purchasing pre-printed or custom decals:

(Alan Estenson)

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