Sunday, October 9, 2016
An Email About Rockets and Family Tradition
We corresponded earlier this year as a result of comments I made about your Model Rocket Building Techniques segment of the NAR website. I thought you might enjoy hearing about a “different” class of model rocket builder.
For the past thirteen years we have launched rockets at our family picnic in the fall that celebrates my wife’s birthday. The rockets now belong to the grandchildren. The event began with one rocket 13 years ago, and has grown to 14 this year. Family members get to specify the colors they want the rocket to be while the children of friends pick from the group they see when they come. I build enough to ensure that anyone who attends will get a rocket. Because they now occupy space on dressers, I have had to be more attentive to quality.
Here’s a summary of the techniques used on 7 Estes Alphas, 6 Estes Baby Berthas and 1 Estes Expedition:
· Balsa parts treated with three coats of Elmer’s Carpenter’s Wood Filler, sanded after each coat
· Fin fillets done using Titebond No Run, No Drip
· Fuselage marked using aluminum angle piece
· Tamiya acrylic paint (airbrushed)
· Tamiya tape for masking
· Three coats of primer
· Three finish coats
· All Estes standard parts including rubber shock cord and paper mount
On these low powered rockets we have never had a shock cord or mount fail. The kids put in the wadding (with help) then put stickers on their rockets and then launch. Because of the stickers, I prefer to buff the rockets with a paper “shop towel” after the final coat dries. Hard to see in the attached photo but it gives them a nice semi gloss finish and the stickers stay on. Thanks again for all of the tips. Attached is a photo of the six family rockets.
Can you imagine - 13 personalized model rockets and a launch at Rick's Wife's Birthday Party. A great tradition and something they'll always remember. Thanks for writing Rick!