Digit wrote:With a view to ending up wanting to scratchbuild professional, record breaking rockets like many of my role models on here, could I please get some opinions on what machinery is 'necessary', and what is 'nice to have'? And what would be the ideal order to procure them in over say between now and Thunda 2.0
To be honest Digit I don't believe you need much in the way of machinery to build scratchbuilt Mach 2+ capable rockets. Rolling your own CF or FG airframes doesn't require any machinery. Maybe a curing oven if you're using epoxy that will benefit from a high temp post cure? Making fin stock is pretty much as simple as stacking layups on glass with Glad Bake on the top and bottom and then putting another piece of glass on top to keep it flat. Granted some here will tell you to not do that (ie "sandwiching" the layup with glass) but I've had good results with that technique.
Nose Cones.... Well, those are a little different. If you're looking to custom fabricate 6:1 or 7:1 FG VK nose cones I suspect Nic will be the one to speak to. That said the Performance Rocketry VK NCs that Blake carries are pretty damn good for the money.
Finally I've been pretty pleased with AeroPack's minimum diameter motor retainers. Granted they're probably a little longer than necessary but they're great for "off the shelf" minimum diameter motor retention.
I've scratch built rockets that have traveled in the Mach 1.7-2.2 range with the above techniques and hardware. To be honest about the only machinery I'd like to sort is a router for beveling fins (I've got one btw, just haven't built the fin beveling jig) and one of those nifty laser wood cutting thingamabobs so I could make better sleds for nose cones to hold all the various electronics I fly for these types of flights.