Saturn V: Interstage and Escape Tower

I made some more pieces for the wooden Saturn V.  Today I worked on the Interstage between the second and third stages.  I also turned the escape tower which was a little trickier.

Here’s where the parts are located on the real thing.



The first and second stages of my wooden rocket are ~3.5″ in diameter.  So, I needed to laminate some bigger pieces of wood together.  It’s Souther Yellow Pine.



After knocking the corners off with the bandsaw, I roughed it out on the lathe.



The part is conical and needs to be hollow so the nozzle of the third stage can pass through.  The first step was to turn the piece down to a little larger than the base of the conic on the right end.  Then, I made a tenon on the smaller end to grab in the chuck.  The tenon was a little longer than I wanted so I removed material until there was only a little bit left.  A quick whack on the lathe with the piece removed the extra.



Once I had the piece chucked up, I drilled as large of a hole as I could through the part without it being too large for the smaller end.



Next, I increased the diameter of the hole from the large end of the cone.  Hollowing from a wider area to a narrower one is easier than the reverse.  I left parallel edges near the wide end  to allow me to chuck the part up.  This allowed me to flip the part over and chuck this end up to work on the outside of the conic.



After flipping the part over in the chuck, I started work on the outside of the conic and cleaned up the inside.  After a lot of test fits against the third stage I finally arrived at the correct size for the small end.  From there, I just removed material in between the ends using a straight edge as a reference.



Here’s the part after some sanding.



After completing the Interstage, I turned my attention to the escape tower.  The real tower has a truss structure beneath the rocket section but I’m going to make it a solid piece.  I started with a Poplar dowel supported at both ends.



I gingery turned the part down using a skew chisel being careful not to snap the fragile piece.  Here it is before I rounded the nose and separated the piece from the tail stock.



I got most of the nose formed before the support dropped out.  After this, I finished the nose with sandpaper while supporting the piece with my fingers.  After sanding all of it, I parted the piece off and trimmed the little nub left with a chisel.



Here’s all the parts together so far.  I’ve included a 12″ ruler for reference.  It is getting tall!  Everything but the escape tower fits in with a tenon.  It just sits on top.  Maybe I’ll add something later.


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