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1st Launch=Comedy of Errors

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Pippen

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My husband has always done the launch honors with the kids but his work schedule has made it impossible this summer so I figured if it was gonna happen it was gonna have to be me. I haven’t launched any rockets since way back in my high school days. A pity, I know. ;)

We headed out to the school field yesterday accompanied by my three kids plus their friend and armed with a few of these plastic Estes mini rockets from a starter set I pulled off the bargain shelf at Michael’s. My older son has a number of rockets but the others didn’t so I thought this would be fast and easy and fun. We’d glued them up with plastic cement a few days before and everything looked good. They seemed as sturdy as one can expect from a 6 inch plastic rocket. My daughter’s was in particularly fine form: adorned with Disney stickers and dubbed The Princess Zoomer.

While trying to coax an engine into position, my son broke the launch lug off of Rocket #1.

Rocket #2 got off the ground, so unexpectedly fast and high that we lost it. We did eventually recover it in an area we never expected given the wind direction, only to have the engine mount pull entirely out of the rocket the next time we tried to insert an engine. What do you do when the engine fit is too tight?

That left only The Princess Zoomer. Realizing that neither of the others survived, my little 6 year old daughter promptly began to howl that she didn’t want hers launched. Finally she capitulated to peer pressure, pushed the button with much fear and trepidation, and everything went perfectly. The Princess Zoomer flew once, twice, three times without a glitch…and then broke in two pieces when the kid who recovered it the last time tripped and fell. :kill:

Ahhh…well, it wasn’t pretty but all four kids got to launch and they all had fun. The rockets are broken apart but not broken. I can’t say that I am feeling particularly fond of plastic cement at the moment. :rolleyes:

Our regular launch stuff is still missing after being moved out after a basement flood but it looks like it’s time to try hunting it down.
 

Dbarrm

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What a day. At least you had fun and thats what this is all about.

Dan
 

eugenefl

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In some regards the day went quite normal. A lot of experienced rocketeers have days just like the one you described. Lots of hearts and wallets can be left on the field. On the other hand, it's too bad you experienced some of those failures early in your rocketry outing! Depending on the rocket type, you'll eventually find that the plastic cement glue is rarely used anymore. I think I only use it for gluing 2-piece nosecones together.

Either way, thanks for sharing. I can see the comedic value in what you guys experienced. Not to worry though, we're not laughing at you, but with you 'cause we've all been there!
 

jflis

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oh man... we've *all* been there before. Bet most of us still have the t-shirt... :D

Point is, you went out and *did* it! Congrats. The next time will be better, and after that even better, but take note.... if you stay with this hobby, another day like that is lurking just around the corner some place... :)
 

shreadvector

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there are different type of plastic cement. AND tube type plastic cement is only for use on styrene plastic (it is also applied to paper tubes and rings and allowed to "soak in and dry" so that they can THEN be attached to a plastic part using plastic cement. The pre-soak impregnates the paper parts with some plastic from the dried cement so they can be cemented to the plastic parts).

http://home.earthlink.net/~mebowitz/safety.pdf

Originally posted by Pippen
My husband has always done the launch honors with the kids but his work schedule has made it impossible this summer so I figured if it was gonna happen it was gonna have to be me. I haven’t launched any rockets since way back in my high school days. A pity, I know. ;)

We headed out to the school field yesterday accompanied by my three kids plus their friend and armed with a few of these plastic Estes mini rockets from a starter set I pulled off the bargain shelf at Michael’s. My older son has a number of rockets but the others didn’t so I thought this would be fast and easy and fun. We’d glued them up with plastic cement a few days before and everything looked good. They seemed as sturdy as one can expect from a 6 inch plastic rocket. My daughter’s was in particularly fine form: adorned with Disney stickers and dubbed The Princess Zoomer.

While trying to coax an engine into position, my son broke the launch lug off of Rocket #1.

Rocket #2 got off the ground, so unexpectedly fast and high that we lost it. We did eventually recover it in an area we never expected given the wind direction, only to have the engine mount pull entirely out of the rocket the next time we tried to insert an engine. What do you do when the engine fit is too tight?

That left only The Princess Zoomer. Realizing that neither of the others survived, my little 6 year old daughter promptly began to howl that she didn’t want hers launched. Finally she capitulated to peer pressure, pushed the button with much fear and trepidation, and everything went perfectly. The Princess Zoomer flew once, twice, three times without a glitch…and then broke in two pieces when the kid who recovered it the last time tripped and fell. :kill:

Ahhh…well, it wasn’t pretty but all four kids got to launch and they all had fun. The rockets are broken apart but not broken. I can’t say that I am feeling particularly fond of plastic cement at the moment. :rolleyes:

Our regular launch stuff is still missing after being moved out after a basement flood but it looks like it’s time to try hunting it down.
 

powderburner

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I am sorry to hear that you had such a high mortality rate. Believe it or not, the 'normal' model rockets that are made from balsa and cardboard (and only use plastic for the nose cones, and maybe fins) are more durable than many of the 'ready to fly' plastic junk.

At least you did not have any of your rockets destroyed by the recovery crew stampeding over them?

You will learn quickly to carry some goodies with you in your range box, like some spare launch lug material, and some CA adhesive to tack it on temporarily. Hey, it beats having to go back home to make repairs and waiting for another day to launch.

Anyway, before you go out and stock up on replacements you should know that Hobby Lobby will probably be running a half-price sale on rockets in the next few weeks. It's worth waiting for.
 

n3tjm

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For those chap plastic rockets, I use super glue to build them, and then line the walls over the joint with masking tape to help hold em together.

I had launches where everything went perfect, to launches that I should of stayed in bed. My last launch was fun... but I lost an I-ROC, and numerous broken fins or details off of several of my other birds.
 

adrian

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My first rocket launch, some 12 years ago, was with the then Estes Patriot Starter Set. (The rocket itself seems to have been re-released as part of the "Enduring Freedom" set - at least, this version looks similar to mine, with BT-60 body, 18mm motor, and inaccurate fins. :))


The launch field was about 10-15 minutes' walk from my house. And another 10-15 minutes' walk back, when it turned out the first batteries I'd grabbed to stick in the launch controller weren't quite as fresh as I thought, and failed to fire the igniter. Fortunately, I had some newer batteries at home.

Back at the launch field, I set up the pad again, put in the motor, and taped the igniter in place. (Cobra plugs hadn't been invented then.) Only I hadn't heard of rec.models.rockets or TRF in those days, this was my first model rocket, and I wasn't sure whether there was a chance that the taped igniter might stay stuck to the rocket and try to take the launch box with it - or worse, block the nozzle and cause the motor to explode. So I deliberately put fingerprints onto the tape to make it less sticky. It worked. I pushed the button and nothing much happened because the igniter had come loose. The second igniter didn't do much better.

I was down to one igniter. It was starting to rain. I'd originally picked the Patriot because it was the only approximate scale model available as a starter set and I reckoned that if I didn't take to flying model rockets, I could at least convert it to a plain scale model. It was beginning to look like this was a wise precaution.

Fortunately, igniter number 3 did its job. The rocket flew went straight up, put out its parachute as intended, came down safely, and all of a sudden it wasn't a wasted trip after all. And the Patriot never did get converted to a static model. :)
 

huxley

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Congrats on getting out and having fun(?)!

On my Estes and Quest rockets, I use plain 'ol Elmer white glue almost exclusively. The have held up to a C motor just fine! Elmers yellow carpenters glue will work great too.
 

sandman

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Well, at least you got to fly.

Sunday at NARAM was a bit dissapointing...my X-20 Deuce did a very broad arc (not unstable it seemed to be a thrust thing) and flew "through" a tree...well, the rocket did...three fins didn't make it trough.

It's repairable.

sandman
 

Pippen

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Thank you all for your encouragement, tips and stories. Everything didn't come off as I'd hoped but I wasn't too discouraged. By the time the kid tripped and split open my daughter's rocket I thought it was a perfectly absurd ending to the outing.

The problem must have been in the plastic cement since the flier that was linked indicated that non-toxic plastic cement doesn't work on the plastic used in kits. That minor little detail was missing on the instructions; I don't suppose it would have been too child friendly of Estes to state that only toxic substances would work with their product.

Powderburner, as a former HS science teacher I am a veteran of equipment failures too numerous to mention. :rolleyes: So I packed five spare batteries, a pair of scissors, and a small screwdriver in my box. I have duly noted your suggestions and added tape and CA. I also added five Spiderman band-aids because you never know when one of those babies might come in handy. ;) We'll be back!

Adrian, do you still have that Patriot?
 

Elapid

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can be used to help coax *snug* motors into the MMT.
 

rabidsheeep

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Originally posted by Pippen
and then broke in two pieces when the kid who recovered it the last time tripped and fell. :kill:
if its any consolation my friend tripped and broke his shoulder diving for a big daddy as it was coming down on a parachute :D
 

Pippen

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Originally posted by rabidsheeep
if its any consolation my friend tripped and broke his shoulder diving for a big daddy as it was coming down on a parachute :D
These things are all relative, I see. Was the rocket okay? ;)
 

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