6" Big Daddy Upscale!

The Rocketry Forum

Help Support The Rocketry Forum:

This site may earn a commission from merchant affiliate links, including eBay, Amazon, and others.


Well-Known Member
Jan 25, 2009
Reaction score
Hmm....I don't know how to start this thread, so I'll just go out and say it.

Many of you know "rocwizard" and "daveyfire" from here on TRF. I regularly chat with them on AIM. Well, one of those chats I was having with them, rocwizard, the instigator that he is, sent me pictures of some of the rockets that regularly fly out at BALLS, Tripoli's annual EX launch. Well, he then invited me to come out there! Dang you rocwizard! I told him that since BALLS was about 9 months away, I would do my absolute best to get out there. It's a very far trip for me - all the way from Florida to California. Long plane trip!

Anyways, I told him that I'd like to fly something out there, if I did go. At first I thought that I would go all out and build a gigantic rocket, since it is BALLS, ya know? I considered building a 12" diameter Big Daddy, which would be a 4x upscale of the Estes kit. Well, after looking at how much that would cost me, which would be somewhere around 500-700 smackers, :eek: I decided against it.

Along with building the 12" Big Daddy, I had considered building a 6" version also. Well, after eliminating the 12" BD, I still wanted to build something. I kept looking into the 6" version. It looked more and more enticing every time I looked at it! Then, the icing on the cake sealed the deal. I found that I could buy a 48" inch length of 6" phenolic tubing from PML for only 30 bucks. If I get that cut in two, I can build TWO 6" Big Daddies! That absolutely sealed the deal - I am going to enter HPR with a bang!

Considering that I'd have two rockets, I wanted them to be different somehow! I consulted with Carl Tulanko about this. He recommended to me that I build a "heavy" and a "light" version. I thought, "Whaddya mean, Carl?" He told me something like this, "Well, look at it this way. If you're going to be building two, but you want them different, here's the best way. Build one very light, with minimal additional weight. No glass, minimal epoxy, and 1/8" ply fins and CR's, and build it with a 38mm mount. You can then fly this rocket all day long on Pro38 G, H, and I motors!" I was like, "WOW...great idea!" He continued on with, " Then you can build the heavy version. This heavy version would be a rocket that you can push and push and push and it won't fall apart. So, this one you can slather on the epoxy and fiberglass, and not worry about it!" This was way cool, and I decided to go for it. So, now I am going to describe to you the two versions.

LIGHT version

  • 6" by 18" foam and glass nosecone
  • 24" PML phenolic body tube
  • 1/8" ply fins
  • 1/8" ply CR's
  • 38mm and 2 29mm motor mounts
  • Minimal epoxy, and little if no glass
  • 5-8 pound projected weight

HEAVY version

  • 6" by 18" foam and glass NC
  • 24" PML phenolic body, reinforced with one Giant Leap Kevlar sock, then covered with a Giant Leap fiberglass sock
  • 1/4" ply fins, made in a layered fashion, which would be glass-wood-Carbon Fiber-wood-glass
  • 1/4" ply CR's, times three
  • Fin can reinforced with expanding foam between the lower 2 CR's
  • One 54mm motor mount and two 38mm mounts
  • 15-20 pound projected weight

I believe that I will be able to do this over the summer, and the cost for BOTH of these rockets should be less than 400 dollars. I would think that they will be a definate challenge, and I hope that the kind folks here at TRF will help me!

Thanks for reading,

I was wondering when you would start up a thread on these. Be sure to keep us updated, and I will try to help in any way that I can. As I am sure everyone else here will.

Best of luck, and like David said, built it strong, just in case our motors give it more of a ride than anticipated:rolleyes: :D
Rocket of my Dreams,do you have any drawings,or screen shots from rock sim?
You know, If it's going to be an upscale, shouldn't it be called something other than a Big Daddy?
Like Bigger Daddy, Big Ol' Daddy, Great Big Daddy, Big Grandaddy, Who's Your Daddy, Great Big Ol' Grand Daddy.
I could go on and on but you get the idea. What you gonna name it? :D

Thanks for the kudos guys - I hope it'll be as awesome as I hope it'll be! Slim, maybe this weekend we can go over names, ok? :D ;)

I have been doing some cost analysis. Here is a price list of the items that I would be buying from Giant Leap Rocketry:

Product Quantity Price Cost
Large diameter EASYGLAS - linear foot 4 $1.29 $5.16
Phenolic Airframe B-6.007 48" 1 $31.95 $31.95
Airframe Sock of Kevlar, length in feet 4 $3.29 $13.16
2 part Expandable Foam 24 oz 1 $14.99 $14.99
Phenolic Airframe Cutting, 6.0" and larger 1 $4.50 $4.50
ACME Conformal© Rail Guides for 6.00" - Red 2 $2.75 $5.50
Phenolic MMT-1.525 (38mm) 12" 3 $3.59 $10.77
Phenolic MMT-1.145 (29mm) 12" 1 $3.24 $3.24
Phenolic MMT-2.152 (54mm) 18" 1 $6.24 $6.24

Shipping $13.75
Total: $109.26

How am I going to pay for all of this, you ask? Simple. Years upon years of hard labor. Nah, J/K! I have applied for jobs at several places around town, where i hope to earn between $100 and $150 a week. Paid every two weeks....drool. Ah, the joys of not having to pay for a car, or room and board, :D. Actually, probably half of that is going to be put into savings....for bigger and bigger rockets! Just Kidding!

Not to mention all of those goodies above, there's also the fact of plywood for centering rings and fins, epoxy (below), a plane trip out there :)eek:), food, hotel, etc. I can get a round trip flight out to Califronia for about $300, then the hotel would be around $30-$50 a night, I would think, then food, so factor in about $30 a day... expenses start racking themselves up quick!

So, now, as a help to anybody else considering entering HPR, I'm going to provide a price list of whatever I can that I would be using on this project. These prices are all from <a href="https://www.uscomposites.com">US Composites></a>

635 Thin Epoxy Resin with 3:1 Medium hardener

1 gallon resin, 42.6oz hardener (what i'll probably be using to glass with) $44.50

5.5oz '1st Quality' 4 Harness Satin Weave Carbon Fiber Cloth, 30" width: $17.00/running yard (This is for the 'heavy' version, for laiminating the plywood fins together. I'll probably end up buying 2-3 yards)

6oz E fiberglass, Plain Weave, 38" width, $3.95/yard (This is for laminating the exterior of the plywood on the 'heavy' version)

Now I'm not sure what kind of filler to get for the reinforcements in the fin fillets, both on the MMT and exterior. I would think that I would get the 1/4 inch chopped strand fiberglass for the fin-to-MMT joint, and "Phenolic Microballoons" for the exterior fillets, since the page says that it creates the lightest density paste compound and it has the easiest sanding characteristics of any filler. Opinions?

That's it for the stuff from US Composites, I would think. Not cheap, but absolutely necessary for this project. Dang man, HPR ain't cheap, but it's a helluva lot of fun to do! :D :D :D

Also, I am thinking that I will use 12-20 minute epoxy for 'tacking' the fins to the MMT, then reinforcing everything with the filled epoxy, AND then filling the entire cavity with expanding foam. Opinions?

More later. This post is long enough already. :D

Thank you all in advance for your help and support.

^^^^ See? Exactly the kind of hints and tips I'm looking for! Thanks Doxiedog!

$100 to $150 a week! Awe c'mon even Mcdonalds is paying more than that these days, of course if you're still in school you dont want to push yourself too hard with a part time job, so $100 to $150 a week would probably be a realistic goal, If you are still in school whatever you do, dont quit just because of some chintsy part-time job, biggest mistake you'll ever make(I speak from experience here!) That piece of paper just might be your meal ticket later on in life! Other than that good luck on those 2X Big Daddys, for some reason I've always loved the short stubby rockets, they just seem to have that "stay out of my way or I'll crush ya" kinda look!:kill:
Yeah, I'm still in school, albeit dual-enrolled at the local college. It's easy beyond easy, I'm there only three hours a day, three days a week! So, I'm thinking that I can work about 5 hours a day and be okeedokee, getting about $6 an hour, at least that's what I'm hoping for.

The bit about "tacking the fins" then going back and filleting them: THIS IS GOOD :) On my minimum diameter M project, I tacked on the fins with regular ol' 5 minute epoxy and then filleted with Aeropoxy over the top. Of course, they didn't get to see all of the forces of flight, but they did survive a trip to Mach, being tossed around in the sky at Mach, and a 700 mph plow-in into the Black Rock lakebed! :D

Also be sure to coat the edges of the plywood fins on the heavy version with at least a light coat of epoxy, perhaps even place a strip of fiberglass over it. This will prevent delamination of both the carbon/fiberglass laminate and even perhaps the plywood itself. Been there, done that too :p

Oh yeah, one other suggestion: try a 54mm MMT in the "light" version too. That way, if you ever get the itch, you can try it on the fun long-burn 54mm motors like the J180 and the J135 (with maybe 2x G80s to get it off the pad straight)! And you can always adapt down, but never up ;)

Good luck on the job search! Keep us posted on the project.
See all the forces of flight!? See all the forces of flight?!!?!?!!!! Are you nuts!? I'd like to call a trip to mach AND a lawndart into the playa all the forces of flight, at least the hardest one!

I called the places that I applied to today. One place said, "we're not looking for someone of your...caliber at the moment." I wonder if that's a good thing or a bad thing. The other place I called said that they hadn't had a chance to look at all the applications, but they would make a note on my application that I called. I think that's a good thing, since it shows initiative and possibly desire...I hope they call me!

Originally posted by jetra2
I'd like to call a trip to mach AND a lawndart into the playa all the forces of flight, at least the hardest one!

Not just a lawn dart... a POWERED lawn dart under 600 lbs of thrust... :D

Ask Eric how well the fins were attached. We tried to pull the rocket out by em... no luck. We ended up digging it out with a piece of allthread :)
Like David said, I can attest to the fin strength. They weren't coming off any time soon.

Dont' worry though, it wont lawndart, i'll make sure to that!;)
Originally posted by daveyfire
We ended up digging it out with a piece of allthread :)

I don't have to use it often, but when you really need it, a shovel is a pretty darn handy piece of range equipment to keep around.
Hi all,

I don't have any build pics or anything yet, but I do have something to share real quick. This link will take you to a 620K PDF file describing the technique I will be using to make my nosecones. Any hints, tips, or thoughts on it would be mucho appreciated!


Good news!!!


As what? As a bagger at local grocery store. Yeah, so what! I get money outta the deal! I should be able to start on this rocket soon! Hopefully I can start on it by mid-May and work on them through the summer!

YAY! :D :D :D


Latest posts