Thursday, April 30, 2020

Estes Orange Bullet #7295, Part 6, Fin Tip Weights

Set the nose "weights" on first without glue.
Notice there is a very small angle cut into one corner. This fits against the trailing edge of the fins.

There are two sides to the weight pieces. The laser cutting makes one side rounder than the other. I've marked the backs with pencil. The laser "rounded" side got the gray paint.

In the bottom picture, the back sides are getting a shot of "77" spray adhesive. White glue probably wouldn't stick well to the orange paint already on the fins.

I used a knife tip to position the weights. This allows me to set them down visually without my fingertips blocking the view.
Note the blade tip is stuck to the adhesive on the back, not piercing the side of the card stock.

Soap In The Decal Soak Water?

Over the years on TRF I had an ongoing  feud with a builder/flyer named John Lee. 
His forum name was  Micromeister. He build a lot of MicroMaxx downscales.
He knew all about LPR and MMX model rocketry. If you asked a novice (or silly) question, he'd let you know. He tried to put me in my place a few times.

The following is not meant as any disrespect towards Mr. Lee. I actually miss reading his responses.
On forum posts I sometimes see a recommendation to add a drop or two of dish soap to the decal soaking water.
Here's a TRF post about decals and detergent and a Micromeister response from March, 2015

The Question:
"I'm not certain where I got the idea that I needed to add a drop of liquid dish detergent to the bath, but I think it's on the printed instructions from Estes...who supplied the water slide decals with the kit. So they should know, right? I mean, they would know that these aren't vinyl stickers or not, right?"

Micromeister response:
"Good god man;
If they told you in the instructions to jump of a bridge would you? 
DO NOT put detergent in Water slide decal water. This Printed Error has been disproved for DECADES. Don't do it.
You may have seen this MIS-information in Estes instructions or from some of the other decal printing guys, Excelsor I believe Had or Has this mistake in their instructions he's been told many times about the error.

To be honest this all started DECADES AGO with the Plastic model folks. One of the giants of the time (mid 80's IIRC) Suggested a drop of detergent "Might" help.. Well that started the craze and it perpetuated itself On and On to this very day. you'll read this suggested in the premier Plastic Model mag Fine Scale Model. but the practice has been disproved over and Over these many years. On static models the lifting is not as pronounced as on our flying models. But reguardless of what model your appling decals to "Just Don't Do it"."

There it is, complete with John's misspellings. 

After he let you know he was correct, he'd end the response with "Hope this helps!"
Micromeister passed away in 2018.

TIP: This is one time I might agree with Micromeister by not adding a drop of soap to the soak water. I don't know if a bit of diluted soap allows the decal to slide around any easier. I've never found it necessary, just wet the location before sliding on the decal. 

The soap might just break down the adhesive on the back of the decal.

Wednesday, April 29, 2020

Estes Orange Bullet #7295, Part 5, Ends & Edges

Here's the model glued together with the launch lug.

I didn't like the nose cone joint seam. I went back, filled then primer/filled it. Probably not needed as the black bar decal would cover most of it.
The fin weights were laser-cut from thick card stock.
TIP: I like to seal and "round" the edges with a smoothed, even bead of white glue.
Lay the bead on the edge, the picture on the right shows the glue bead after it is smoothed and even using the side of a finger tip. Let dry, it should give you a slightly rounded edge that won't de-laminate.

The first round of orange paint didn't give the shine I was looking for.
Some very light sanding and the second "wetter" coat brought up the gloss.

TIP: The final heavier "wet" coat of paint is tricky. It should be sprayed on thicker than a mist coat but not so much to cause a run.
Notice the painting wand - a dowel with an engine casing glued on the top. All models are sprayed horizontally to prevent runs and drips. After spraying keep it horizontal, slowly turning the dowel and rocket until the paint starts to "skin" over.

Funny TRF Post - "CRUNCHIES"

75Grandville wrote on TRF:

"I remember having a Mosquito as a kid (40 years ago). These days I usually classify them as "crunchies." I wonder where my rocket landed? CRUNCH! Ooops - there it is (was)!"

We've all been there - done that!

Tuesday, April 28, 2020

Estes Orange Bullet #7295, Part 4, Nose Cone

I did as much prepping as I could while the nose cone was being sent out.

The main body got a white undercoat and smooth sanding.

I probably should have waited, this involved more tight filling than I would have liked.

The nose cone filled and primed, slid on and the fairing centers marked.

I lightly sanded the filler/primer areas where the fairings would be glued. Slightly flattening the rib contact points helped close up the gaps on the sides.

Discontinued Centuri 1974 Plastic Nose Cones?

The question came up on Y.O.R.F. - 
Why did Centuri discontinue some of the plastic nose cones in 1974?
Some posts wondered why later run kits included longer nose cones, instead of the shorter ones shown in the catalog and face card pictures.

These plastic nose cones were introduced in 1971 and were revolutionary for their time.
Where other vendors sold plastic nose cones with a glued in shoulder base, the Centuri nose cones had "snap-in" shoulders allowing the nose cone to be used as a small payload section.

My response posted on Y.O.R.F.:
The discontinued nose cones might have had something to do with the "snap-in" shoulder base.
The shorter nose cones were more prone to cracking when snapping in the shoulder.
The shorter cones (minus the shoulder) could have been kept in some designs that didn't require the snap in base.

Centuri had to add an addendum to the kit instructions explaining how to either carefully snap in or glue the base into the nose cone.

Here's a Centuri nose cone showing the interior snap-in groove from my Centuri Screaming Eagle build from 2014: CLICK HERE

Monday, April 27, 2020

Fixing The Estes Launch Controller, Part 2

Notice the knot, it ends up inside the plastic casing wall to provide some strain relief.

I used the old cut off end to set the correct distance from the end for the new knot.
About 1/4" was stripped off the ends exposing the bare wires.

The wires were soldered onto the contact plates.

The plates were pressed back into the housing, the knot set just inside the wall.

New alkaline batteries were installed.
The back cover screwed on.

To test the controller -
Clip the micro clips together. Insert the safety key, the continuity light should come on.
Press the launch button, the light should go out.
Release the launch button, separate the clips.

Check your micro clips.
If they ends are bent, you can flatten them with smooth pliers.

Here's a launch controller up for auction on Ebay.
Notice the red lead wires wrapped tightly around the body of the controller. The wire out the top is sharply bent and wearing against the plastic exit hole.

TIP: Always wrap your lead wires off the controller body. Leave the wire at the top loose with no tension where it leaves the controller body.

TIP: I applied a square of red tape on the launch button. It makes things a bit more interesting than just the overall yellow plastic.

Estes Orange Bullet #7295, Part 3, Fin Fairings

The fairings are glued on the body tube.
I used my aluminum angle to be sure they are on straight.

The side view shows a gap along the sides from the curvature of the tube.
Normally I would sand a curvature under a fairing like this, but the balsa is thin at 1/16". This will need some glue fillets in the gap.

I make a pencil mark on the rear contact point of the root edge. It gives me a visual point to line up against the bottom of the fairing.

Here's the fins and fairings in place, awaiting delivery of the nose cone.
Notice the fairings above the body tube top. These will glue to the slid in nose cone.

Sunday, April 26, 2020

Estes Orange Bullet #7295, Part 2, Fin Fairings

The original fairings were called "Body Ribs". I don't know why they were part of the design, maybe to keep the nose cone on at ejection. The nose cone shoulder was short!

The fairings have a taper at the front.
The pictures show the before and after.

Draw a pencil line at the start (high side) of the taper, try not to sand off the line as is it shaped with a sanding block.

Set the fairings side by side and adjust the end thicknesses.

I went ahead and filled and primed the fairings.
It's be hard to fill after the fins are glued on.

The Definition of a Build Pile

Posted by Les on YORF -

"Did someone say build pile? This is from 2016 - and it has grown since then . . ."

If your wife ever says: "Don't you have enough rockets?"
You can respond: "Don't you have enough shoes?" Or . . . show her this picture. 
And I thought I had a stash of un-built kits.

Saturday, April 25, 2020

Estes Orange Bullet #7295, Part 1, Parts

The back side of the face card tells the story. I would assume more "Designer Signature Series" kits are in the works.

Parts are good quality. Parts re few, typical of a small featherweight recovery model.
This was a pre-production kit, the nose cone was not yet supplied. I understand the balsa nose cones were turned by BMS.

Parts of interest:
At the top, the fin "weights". On this version, the weights are laser-cut card stock, not cut from lead sheet.

The original plan called for BFS-20 or 1/16" stock. The fins in the new kit are 3/32" thick, the fairings are 1/16". The center lines are lightly laser cut.

Fixing The Estes Launch Controller, Part 1

I probably have four Estes Electron Beam Launch Controllers. I also own a Quest and a BMS Mighty D controller.
I typically use a 6 volt Estes or the 12 volt BMS controller at the schoolyard soccer field launches. The Estes controller needs a repair every few years.

Here's where the launch failures can start.

Where the red lead wire exits the controller body, the insulation can wear. The interior wires are thin and too many flexes can break it.

On the left, the two screws were taken out, the back plate lifted. The batteries were removed.

The "L" shaped cover piece was glued on. I had to pry it off using the screwdriver of my pocket knife.

These are the two contact points that will be worked on.

Pull the metal plate off, straight up with pliers. It'll take some wiggling to get it off. The wire will come with it.

The contact on the left side is held in place with a small Phillips head screw.

I'm certainly not a electrician!
Hold the metal parts with pliers when they are heated with the soldering iron.
Place the soldering iron tip on the solder. When it melts, pull the old wires free.

Friday, April 24, 2020

Estes Orange Bullet #7295, Background

In March of 2011, I did a post about finding the plans for the Estes Orange Bullet.
Here's the post from 2011 - CLICK HERE
Estes is releasing a new kit version of the Orange Bullet under the heading of the "Designer Signature Series".

From the kit face card:
"In 1961, Vern Estes, founder of Estes Industries, designed the Astron Scout, which was the first Estes model rocket packaged for sale as a complete kit.
The Orange Bullet was the prototype for the Astron Scout."

I mentioned in the blog post that the Estes Orange Bullet (1961) and the Centuri Lil' Hercules (1965) shared design elements. The trailing edges of the fins were wider than the root edge length and both models had weights on the fin tips. Lead or brass weights? More lead?
I assembled a Centuri Lil' Herc kit in the late 1970s. I remember gluing the washer weights on the fin tips thinking they were unsightly. You couldn't see the round weights in any of the catalog pictures. They were very noticeable on the finished model.
Here's a link to the Semroc Lil' Herc instructions: CLICK HERE

Thursday, April 23, 2020

Mosquito Spamming?

When you have a blog, there is always somebody trying to sneak in SPAM ads in the comments.

Here's a shot of the original post, where I drew up some Estes Mini Brute decals for the Mega Mosquito build.

This was in the comments:
Jason RoyApril 17, 2020 at 10:49 AM
"They might also assume that sleeping inside this net can be uncomfortable. Truth is mosquito nets can still be very fashionable, depending on how you choose to install the net. mosquito net tent"

I found it funny - it's a mosquito reference, right? 
It was immediately deleted.

Estes MRN Orbital Transport Laboratory Build, Finished

Well, this was a fun build. I had always wanted to build one since I first saw it in the Model Rocket News. I'm happy with the finished model.

Some observations: 
The dowel attached fins are hard to line up.
There is not much room for wadding, parachute and the nose cone shoulder.
Friction fitting! (I hate friction fitted engines)

The recommended engines are the OOP A5-2, B4-2 and C6-3. Empty weight of the finished rocket is 1.60 oz. My Odd'l Pigasus (another stubby model, close to BT-60 size) weighs 2.50 oz and flys fine with B6-4 and C6-5 engines. My first launch will use a B6-4.

Wednesday, April 22, 2020

Old MicroMaxx Igniter?

For whatever reason, I dipped all my MicroMaxx (MMX) igniters to be used in 18mm engines. I can't find my spool of nichrome wire. I did have some old, original MMX igniters.
These igniters (pictured to the left) were the type used in the original Quest MMX "Silo" style launcher. To see the Silo launcher: CLICK HERE
These encased igniters were plugged into the launcher so the nichrome ends (at the bottom) made contact. The small rocket was simply slid over the wire "V" at the top. Many silo launches were unsuccessful when combined with the Quest controller and 9 volt transistor battery.

In the picture to the left, the plastic housing is being pried open. The two halves are friction fit and should come apart easily.

Here's the open halves of the housing.

The igniters is held in place with what looks like a piece of masking tape. Carefully lift out the igniter and peel off the tape.

On the right is an igniter you can use with your existing micro clip controller.

I like to use square toothpicks to hold the igniter in place. Round toothpicks could act like a plug, where the square sides (in a round nozzle) allow for some venting.

With the igniter wires slid into the nozzle, there isn't much room for the toothpick. The end on the toothpick was tapered with a sanding block.

NOTE: The toothpick isn't shoved into the nozzle, it only holds the igniter in place. In rare cases, MMX engines have exploded when the the igniter and plug are forced in too tight!
Usually, you gently slide the igniter in the nozzle, then set the rocket engine and igniter on a toothpick. The weight of the rocket holds the toothpick in the nozzle. The low end of the toothpick rests on the blast defector.

Estes MRN Orbital Transport Laboratory Build, Part 16, Nose Weight & Shock Cord

The instructions called for one NCW-1 Lead Weight! LEAD - Between the lead weights and a square of asbestos on the Centuri LIA-50 launchers CLICK HERE, how did we ever survive rocketry in the 1960s and 70s?

The lead weight weighed in at 0.12 oz.

This model is short - I'd feel better if there was a bit more weight in the nose. The nose cone was drilled out for some clay weight.
Mark the center. Start the hole with small diameter drills and work up to larger ones. Don't go too deep.
TIP: Use a wrap of masking tape around the drill bit as a depth gauge. Be careful using a wood drill, balsa chips easily.

Nearer the outside of the shoulder base is the screw eye location.

I measured out some clay to .25 oz, twice the NCW-1 lead weight. This was pressed into the drilled hole.
TIP: Notice the screw eye turned to the side so it won't contact the body tube.

The 36" long shock cord was attached to the body with a tri-fold mount.

The other end was tied to the screw eye using a Duncan Uni-Knot.
An overhand knot was tied about 1/3 the way down from the nose cone. A 12" Odd'l parachute with attached snap swivel was clipped onto an overhand knot loop.