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  1. #1
    Join Date
    21st July 2017
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    8

    Tips on building old Estes Saturn V

    I was crawling in my attic and found some old model rocket kits and stuff that I put up there many years ago. I found an old Saturn V kit that I never built. I was really into model rockets back in the 1962 - 1967 time frame and again in the 1988 - 1994 period when I got into high power rocketry. I have not launched a model rocket since my son was in grade school in the mid 90's so I could not remember when or where I bought the kit. The label on the box and the instructions are missing and I am not sure what happened to them. Since I am retired and have time I was thanking about building it and was Googling for the instructions. I came across an old thread in a fourm that said that some of the parts were fragile and that someone offered some replacement parts that were better. I don't know if this is still the case so I wanted to ask here. I believe that I bought it in the late 1990's and It is in a long narrow white box. I found some instructions at https://www.estesrockets.com/media/i...7_SATURN_V.pdf and was wondering what the best materials and techniques might be to build it stronger since I have been out of the hobby for many years.

    Thanks Mike


  2. #2
    Join Date
    3rd October 2016
    Posts
    16
    The fins/fairings of the older model are made of vacu-formed plastic and are subject to landing damage. The fins on the new reissue are 2 part styrene. Sirius Rocketry offers a replacement fin/fairing combo that is much sturdier than the original. Downside is it adds more weight to the backend, which may affect stability. You may have to compensate with added nose weight. They also offer a replacement Apollo capsule/LES tower which is more robust than the original. They are in the "Moldin' Oldies" section under parts. Currently they are out of stock on the fins/fairings.
    Materials/techniques for LPR rocketry is mostly unchanged, with the possible exception of Kevlar as a heat resistant shock cord. While Estes doesn't use it, most modelers now use a Kevlar/elastic shock cord combination in their builds. Not bulletproof, but much more durable than elastic or rubber alone.
    You may want to check out Chris Michealssen's blog also. Enter "Estes Saturn V build" in the search box to pull up his archived posts on this build. Lots of tips and heads up on possible pitfalls: http://modelrocketbuilding.blogspot.com/
    (Warning: There are about 50 posts for this build, spanning two or three months. Very comprehensive).
    Good luck on your build. Keep us posted!


  3. #3
    Join Date
    18th January 2009
    Location
    Niagara Falls, NY
    Posts
    481
    Estes sells the new fins separately as well. https://www.estesrockets.com/rockets...v-plastic-fins


    Sent from my iPhone using Rocketry Forum
    http://chrisudy.blogspot.com
    Flying LPR since 1982
    NAR L1 - Aug 2015 - LOC Caliber ISP on H115DM-8
    NAR L2 - July 2017 - Madcow Frenzy (4") on J270-10

  4. #4
    Join Date
    18th August 2012
    Location
    Athol,Ma.
    Posts
    1,026
    Welcome back to rocketry and welcome to TRF.
    I followed Chris's blog when I built my Sat V. It is the definitive Estes Sat V build IMHO, it's certainly worth a look through.
    Mike L.
    NAR #97175
    CMASS & MMMSC
    L1, LOC Cyclotron
    L2, Madcow Areobee Hi

  5. #5
    Join Date
    18th January 2009
    Location
    Orlando, Florida
    Posts
    2,096
    Thanks guys -
    Here's the address for all the Saturn V posts:

    http://modelrocketbuilding.blogspot....E%20Saturn%20V

    It goes from finished model to the start of the build.
    Go to the bottom of the page and keep hitting "Older Posts" to get to the start.
    Hans "Chris" Michielssen
    Old/New NAR # 19086 SR

    www.oddlrockets.com
    www.modelrocketbuilding.blogspot.com
    http://www.nar.org/educational-resou...ng-techniques/
    Your results may vary
    "Nose cones roll, be careful with that."
    Every spaceman needs a ray gun.
    Look out - I'm the Meister Shyster!

  6. #6
    Join Date
    3rd October 2016
    Posts
    16
    Correction: I double checked. It's actually 71 posts from April 28 to June 13, 2011. Here's the URL for Part 1:
    http://modelrocketbuilding.blogspot....t-1-parts.html
    Use the chronological menu on the right to click on subsequent parts. Whew!
    Chris, I tried the URL you listed above. It only displays one page of results. And none on the actual build. When I clicked on older posts a blank page came up saying "No posts with label E Saturn V". Laters.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    21st July 2017
    Posts
    8
    Thank You for the info. I will be checking out the link and looking at replacing some of the parts. The Sirius Rocketry website shows that the molded fairings are sold out though. I have coated all of the inside of the body tubes with a very thinned down slow cure epoxy.
    Mike

  8. #8
    Join Date
    27th March 2013
    Location
    Has Changed
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    9,385
    Just spotted this... Haven't had a chance to check out Chris' website yet.

    The old Estes version popped the parachutes out the top, and used a cluster of three C6-3 motors. There was also an adapter set for converting it to take a single D13-3 (later that changed to the D12-3) motor. My band teacher (who I bought my Centuri Saturn V from) told me of his disastrous flights. Two motors ignited in his cluster, and the rocket crashed. He also talked about how the parachutes were a problem in the Estes kit.

    The Centuri version split like the current versions of the Estes kits do. Estes changed theirs after the merger. If I had an original that I was going to build and fly, I'd go with the Centuri recovery system, and the D (adapted up to E (or larger)) adapter.

    http://plans.rocketshoppe.com/centur...2/cenKS-12.pdf

    Dreaming of making the rockets I dreamed of as a kid (and then some).


    NAR L1 Cert flight: Sheridan, Oregon, USA. Sept. 19, 2015. Flew Deep Space OFFl on an I357T-14A Blue Thunder

  9. #9
    Join Date
    3rd October 2016
    Posts
    16
    +1 to what K'tesh said. Forgot about the motor mount. Using a longer engine tube gives you added versatility than just flying with the D engine and 150' apogee. You can still use a D with the orange Estes spacer. Just don't do what my friend did. He used an E-9, and his Sat 5 promptly did a U turn and slammed into a basketball court at high speed. E-9s are for lighter rockets, E-12s have a higher thrust for the big boys, and gets it up to stable speed leaving the launch rod. Enjoy the build!

  10. #10
    Join Date
    21st July 2017
    Posts
    8
    This kit has a motor mount for a D but won't a composite E engine fit and be better?

  11. #11
    Join Date
    27th March 2013
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    Has Changed
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mrappe View Post
    This kit has a motor mount for a D but won't a composite E engine fit and be better?
    You could do it that way, or just use/make a longer engine hook. Springs from old windshield wipers are a common source for the DIY method. You could still use a composite if you wanted to, just use the orange adapter for E to D flights.
    Dreaming of making the rockets I dreamed of as a kid (and then some).


    NAR L1 Cert flight: Sheridan, Oregon, USA. Sept. 19, 2015. Flew Deep Space OFFl on an I357T-14A Blue Thunder

  12. #12
    Join Date
    3rd October 2016
    Posts
    16
    You're right, a composite E will fit the D mount and take it higher. The rear lip on the composite will act as a thrust ring, so you don't even need the spacer. But for a couple dollars more, you can mod the mount to take all 24 mm motors, including black powder E motors. An "E" tube ( about 4" long) and an "E" engine hook will let you fly ALL 24 mm motors. Plus, the black powder motors are much cheaper. The newest Estes reissue of this kit has an E motor mount. Have a great build and happy flying.

  13. #13
    Join Date
    18th January 2009
    Location
    Niagara Falls, NY
    Posts
    481
    I replaced the motor mount (mine is not the most current release, but the release prior) with a 29mm mount for the newer Estes 29mm black powder motors. I did add some nose weight.

    Chris


    Sent from my iPad using Rocketry Forum
    http://chrisudy.blogspot.com
    Flying LPR since 1982
    NAR L1 - Aug 2015 - LOC Caliber ISP on H115DM-8
    NAR L2 - July 2017 - Madcow Frenzy (4") on J270-10

  14. #14
    Join Date
    21st July 2017
    Posts
    8
    When I was last in model rocketry Estes did not make any engine > D I just saw them the other day at Hobby Lobby. At that time I was more into hi power so I still have Aerotech/ISP 29,38 & 54 mm cases of various lengths in my barn. I think I may have a 24 mm case also. I will have to look. I have some boxes of Enerjet A,B & C engines but I would not fly them. I guess a 29mm mount would allow you to fly most anything with adapters. I was just thinking of an E because when I last saw one of these fly on a D motor it looked like it hardly went up high enough to deploy the parachutes. Maybe my memory is not accurate

  15. #15
    Join Date
    3rd October 2016
    Posts
    16
    Your memory is accurate. Rocsim shows apogee of about 125' on a D12-3. BP E12 is about 450', 29mm BP E16 is 600', and 29mm BP F15 is about 660'. Composites probably even higher, if you don't shred the fins. Good luck.

  16. #16
    Join Date
    22nd January 2009
    Location
    Plano, TX
    Posts
    3,076
    Quote Originally Posted by Mrappe View Post
    ... At that time I was more into hi power so I still have Aerotech/ISP 29,38 & 54 mm cases of various lengths in my barn. I think I may have a 24 mm case also. I will have to look. I have some boxes of Enerjet A,B & C engines but I would not fly them ...
    Sounds like you have a nice collection of vintage motors and hardware. Whenever picture posting is fixed I hope you'll share here.

  17. #17
    Join Date
    18th January 2009
    Location
    Atlanta, GA
    Posts
    1,257
    Quote Originally Posted by K'Tesh View Post
    Just spotted this... Haven't had a chance to check out Chris' website yet.

    The old Estes version popped the parachutes out the top, and used a cluster of three C6-3 motors. There was also an adapter set for converting it to take a single D13-3 (later that changed to the D12-3) motor. My band teacher (who I bought my Centuri Saturn V from) told me of his disastrous flights. Two motors ignited in his cluster, and the rocket crashed. He also talked about how the parachutes were a problem in the Estes kit.

    The original Estes version, as your band teacher had, and described, was available until 1985. Another big problem with it was it used two main body tubes (corresponding to the S-IC , and SII stages) so that it would fit in a smaller box for retail. I have a built D-motor adapter, and one still in the bag! Keith Niskern (who designed the Centuri Saturn) had moved to Estes and re-designed the Estes kit, incorporating only his Saturn's internal structure, with single long body tube and recovery system in the SII stage instead of the cramped Apollo SM! Everything else was as it was in the old Estes kit, and it was released in 1988 but only stayed available until 1994.


    The rocket the OP describes is the 1999 version (technically North Coast By Estes), which was a 24mm, cardboard ring modification of Niskern's Centuri Saturn V (which originally had balsa centering rings, and 1.6" stuffer tube to hold the original three 18mm motor cluster). It also included the now-redundant plastic parts from the original Estes version.

    The two releases since then (2010 and 2016) have had small modifications here and there. The 2010 version included a small cutting guide for the fairings to fit better on the rocket. For some reason this was left out of the 1999 and the 2016 versions.


    ---- Oh, and I had a Centuri Saturn V that I attempted to launch for the first time on July 16, 1969 (later in the day, same day as Apollo 11 launch). Even with a car battery and Sure Shot igniters, I only got one C6-5 lit. The movie I shot was pretty chaotic and over exposed, but it showed the Saturn basically jumping over the car, landing sideways, and on ejection, messing up the escape tower and ruining a fin and fairing. The next year I joined the Atlanta NAR section, and a member there had modified his Centuri Saturn V to fly on a single MiniMax F94 or FSI F100 motor. Much nicer!
    Roy Green
    nar12605 L2
    Southern Area Rocketry

  18. #18
    Join Date
    21st July 2017
    Posts
    8
    Other old stuff I had in closet.


  19. #19
    Join Date
    21st July 2017
    Posts
    8
    "Sounds like you have a nice collection of vintage motors and hardware. Whenever picture posting is fixed I hope you'll share here. "


  20. #20
    Join Date
    3rd October 2016
    Posts
    16
    Mrappe,
    That vintage stuff could be valuable. Might be "collectibles". Keep the kits unopened and, as you said, don't light up the engines. Might not be usable or worse, dangerous. "I used to be a millionaire, until my mom threw away my comic book collection". Laters.

  21. #21
    Join Date
    21st July 2017
    Posts
    8
    The Bandit has balsa nosecone and payload bulkhead which is cool. Haven't seen that in a long time. I am not sure what the small blue motors are.

    Mike

  22. #22
    Join Date
    21st July 2017
    Posts
    8
    Does anyone make centering rings that fit this to a 24 or 29 mm tube or should I mod it myself?

  23. #23
    Join Date
    3rd October 2016
    Posts
    16
    Here's one source:
    http://www.erockets.biz/bt-101-1/
    BT-50 is the 24mm motor tube, BT-52H is the 29mm tube, also called LT115. Wouldn't recommend using the existing centering rings and widening the circle if you plan on using composites. Composites and fiberboard or cardstock centering rings don't mix. Your mount may rip out. Plywood is stronger. Always check for stability after final assembly. And epoxy, at least for the motor mount.

  24. #24
    Join Date
    19th February 2017
    Location
    The world, probably
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    351
    Quote Originally Posted by Mrappe View Post
    The Bandit has balsa nosecone and payload bulkhead which is cool. Haven't seen that in a long time. I am not sure what the small blue motors are.

    Mike
    Composites- AeroTech Blue Thunder is likely what they're talking about. It's AT's "fast" formula so good for heavy rockets. The E30 is probably the motor of choice- around $30 for 3 and plenty of kick. I'm personally a fan of E15s- same case size (Estes D) but AT's white propellant, so slower burning, plus they look amazing. I'd fly them in anything under a pound as long as the winds are fairly low.

    I would agree that cardboard CRs aren't composite worthy. An E15 would be OK assuming you get good glue joints, but that's not exactly trivial- the best method I've seen is:
    -Put a ring of glue where the fore CR will go.
    -Put the MMT halfway in, not touching the glue.
    -Add more glue for the aft CR and put the MMT in the rest of the way.

    (I had most of this all written up like 4 hours ago but then I lost cell service...)



    Sent from my LGL44VL using Rocketry Forum mobile app
    NAR #104043

    crmrc.org

  25. #25
    Join Date
    18th January 2009
    Location
    Atlanta, GA
    Posts
    1,257
    Cardboard will be JUST FINE --- if you take normal strengthening methods. Three or four triangular cardboard or balsa gussets glued between the CRs and the inner tube. Then when you install the assembly in the larger tube, add gussets between the end CRs and the outer tube. That's all you need at least through F and possibly G motors. (note, I believe the Apogee 1/70'th Saturn V uses cardboard and gusset assembly throughout, and flies just fine on a G80) No need to add the weight of plywood, though if you want to use one plywood ring at the rear just for transmitting the power to the outer tube, that's fine as long as you check the weight distribution.
    Roy Green
    nar12605 L2
    Southern Area Rocketry

  26. #26
    Join Date
    19th January 2009
    Location
    Washington D.C.
    Posts
    14,974
    Ditto Roy on most of his last post:.
    I still have my original Saturn-V completed in May 1970, I retired this bird after 139 flights on July 20, 1999 at Goddard Space Flight center's Apollo 11 30th anniversary launch. Most of her early flights were on the 3- C6-3 Clusters until a Cato of one motor ruined the adapter, there after She flew on D13-3 and D12-3's until her retirement. Gusseting the Lower stage centering rings was one of the best modification I did to my original Saturn-V. I'm sure they were the reason this model survived several BP motor CATO's over the years.
    While this model originally had those always too short rubber bands very early in 1972 I changed the recovery system to Kevlar/Elastic and Never had a bit of trouble with getting the original twin 24" chutes to deploy along with the little 8" on the Apollo capsule.

    I'm sure the new versions that separate at the third stage with a yoke to lower the upper section makes it easier to recovery it is a bit more involved in construction. still worth the time if you intent to cluster BP motors. APCP just isn't my thing.

    My intent was to replace this Saturn-V with another customized to take 5-C6-3 motors but I've never gotten around to building it.
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails Click image for larger version. 

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    Last edited by Micromeister; Today at 03:12 AM.
    Keep em Flyin Micronzied
    John
    Mrcluster/Micromeister
    Nar-15731
    Co-moderator MicroMaxRockets yahoo group.
    http://groups.yahoo.com/group/MicroMaxRockets/
    Narhams Section 139 - ROMCC

  27. #27
    Join Date
    3rd October 2016
    Posts
    16
    Mike,
    At this point, I'm guessing you're probably confused at the differing opinions. Reality is, there's more than one way to skin a cat, as the saying goes. A set of reinforced cardstock/fiberboard centering rings can work with composite engines, as well as lite ply. My post was about stock cardstock rings in general, not specialty reinforced cardstock rings. In fact, Tim Van Milligan, owner of Apogee Components, has an excellent video on constructing gusseted centering rings for the Apogee Saturn V here:
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SYo6...utu.be&t=2m22s
    As you can see, it involves gluing on the gussets, and letting them dry. Then filleting the joints, and letting them dry. Then gluing the rings on the motor tube, and letting it dry. Then filleting the ring/tube joints, and letting them dry.......
    OR, you can spend two minutes and epoxy two plywood centering rings to your motor tube. Looks like you have plenty of mid/high power experience to decide logically which way to go. As I mentioned previously, always check for stability after doing modifications, and add nose ballast if necessary. Composite engines should have no problem handling the incremental weight of plywood over cardstock.


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