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SEMROC Apollo Capsule LES Tower Assembly Jig
Positioning jigs for assembling the LES tower from tiny sticksMaker/DIY
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This jig helps you cut to length (slightly generous so you can trim/sand the bits) and assemble the LES tower for the SEMROC Apollo capsule as used on Saturn and Little Joe II models.
The flat tower-side jig helps with a precise hold on tower parts, and the vertical jig allows you to assemble the inner components in 3 dimensions, without splitting the connecting ring - this looks lots nicer.
The pusher piece is there to help remove the flat tower sides from the jig, and distribute the pushing forces across the multiple joints and sticks, so that if you work carefully, you can get the whole thing out of the jig unbroken.
Pictured side-by-side above are my 2nd LES tower (and capsule) and the broken remains of my first. The second definitely has more finesse, though it's not perfect.
Hey, if it was easy, it wouldn't be fun!
Materials and methods
For my LES tower, I used Tightbond Molding and Trim glue, which optimized both no-run gluing and assembled-unit elastic flexibility - which meant i had a little wiggle room to bend the internal assembly with the ring as I placed it in the tower.
This, my second LES is not perfect, but much better than my first, and I didn't have to pull as much hair out this time, now that I have the jigs.
Note that you can use the flat tower-side jigs for holding two completed sides vertically, and gluing the connecting pieces in place at 90 degree angles, then flip the assembly over and do the other side.
Look closely at LES documentation and note that the North and South sides of the tower are mirror-images of the East and West sides. You can do it all with a single jig, but have to position the N and S sides vertically in the jig so the crossbars of the E and W sides line up in the right (mirror) orientation - i.e. you may have to swap or rotate the N and S sides as you set them up vertically in the jig.
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