8.25" Upscaled Estes Der Red Max

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Well-Known Member
Jun 17, 2009
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Idaho Falls, ID
Hey guys... been awhile since i've been around... had a life altering experience (divorce) but it was most definitely for the better!! WAY happy now! Awesome Girlfriend to boot!! Anyhow, When last I was on, I was working on a 5.5" Rapier from Black Hawk R&D... that has since been finished and flown... Here's a pic of the liftoff...

Anyhow...new project... this will be my L3 cert rocket... since AHPRA has decided to go by the rules this year, I need to get my L3 as I'm been making M and N motors as well as the L2 stuff...
I've always loved the Estes Der Red Max, and decided I would upscale it for my L3...went with 8.25" OD Sonotube, a foam/glass nosecone, and aluminum honeycomb core composite fins... the fins have a 3/4" Oak edging on them.
Fins will not be 'glassed, as even on an M, I don't think she'll see over about 550mph...
Motor Mount is for a 5" casing that we're playing with, but I have plans to make 4", 3", 54mm, and a couple of cluster mounts for it... 3-54mm MMT's fit in there quite nicely! This will give me a range of motors/configurations to fly it on.
I didn't take any pics of the fins before I made them, but here's a pic...
I used 7/16" thick Aluminum Honeycomb, sandwiched between two pieces of 1/8" birch ply. I simply can not tell you guys/gals how INCREDIBLY STIFF these things are... they weight about the same as a fin made the same size of solid 3/8" ply, but I'd have to say they are easily stiffer than a fin made from 1" ply...
The whole purpose in doing this was to try to avoid needing nose weight.
The center piece of the nosecone is a 1 3/4" dowel, which will run the entire length...I'm hoping between the dowel and the 'glass on the NC, I won't need any weight, except with maybe the shortest of 75mm cases... Although I don't ever intend to fly this on anything less than the 75/3500 casing.


P.S. I know the edges of the ply look like crap... That'll all be fixed!! :rolleyes:
Yeah! What David said!

I'm hoping to attend BALLS this year, and I'll be bringing for one, a 6" Big Daddy Upscale to fly on a PPL K motor (color yet to be determined) and a 8" Quiktube rocket very similar to your to fly on a PPL 75mm L motor! Should be a lot of fun if I am able to go!

:D :D

At this point, it'll depend on what other projects I have for Balls, and how much room Mark Clark or Robin has in their vehicles to take it up there... I'm flying to Reno this year and renting an RV...

Hey Dick... I was given a 4'x8' sheet of it by Mark Clark one day when I was over BS'ing at his house...he got 2 or 3 sheets from some aero-salvage yard. I know you can buy in online, I'm just not sure were... I've also been told it's available in kevlar and I think CF...

Just curious. Iv'e seen the other materials for sale but not the aluminum. Thought maybe it was salvaged from a radiator or something :) Looks like those fins will be plenty tough.
Fins are done except for final sanding. I'm heading over to the Trailer Trash Aerospace shop to make the nosecone today and get the booster tube and couple epoxied together and the fin slots cut, MMT epoxied in and foamed.
Hopefully I'll remember to bring the digital camera to the shop!!

As always good Ol'e McMaster-Carr has Honeycomb in ABS, Kraft paper, polypropylene and New this year Alum panels and aluminum composite panels 12" x 12" , 24" x 24" and 24" x 48". in a number of thicknesses, cell openings and a couple different densities.

Obtw the phenolic impregnated Kraft paper honeycomb is exceecing strong. We laminate .020 alum. or polycarbonate sheet here at work, At 300lbs I've jumped up and down on the stuff without damage to the panel. If I were building Huge rockets I'd be using this for fin fillers and centering rings.
Thanks micro! If I ever build a high power rocket again I'll give this stuff a look-see. By any chance do you guys have scraps leftover? Not necessarily of useful sizes, just to eyeball firsthand.
Sad day... after laboring away about half the day, as I was making the final alignments on the Barney Rubble lathe to hot-wire the nosecone to shape, I discovered that the coupler at the base of the NC is not round...it's out by a good 1/4", which is going to cause some problems, so it's not going to be done for Springfest. I'll have to make a new coupler, and go from there...
The fins are final trimmed, and just need a good going over with an palm sander. Coupler has been epoxied into the booster, top CR has been epoxied to the MMT, fin slots have been marked, but not yet cut.
The NC was the biggie... I can have the rest of the rocket assembled in a day, but that NC is going to be a bit of a chore...it's WAY longer than anything we've done before and that presented it's own set of problems. It'll get done, just not in time for Springfest.
Anyway, here are a few pics...
Here's a shot of the Barney Rubble lathe... the powered part isn't hooked up as it's undergoing a change... to hot wire the cone though, we planned on turning it by hand anyway...
Since this cone is longer than any we'd ever done, it had a whole lot of wigglin' going on at the tip, so I drove a drywall screw into the center dowel, and left it hang out. Then cut a small 'V' in a piece of ply, and clamped that ply to the workmate. After I aligned everything, with the screw laying in the notch, it's VERY solid...

We don't call it the Barney Rubble Lathe for nothing!
Here's a shot of the nosecone base with the first five foam squares stacked on... I used small pieces of double sided carpet tape between each piece to keep everything together, but this proved not to be ideal... Once the cone is covered in 'glass it doesn't matter, but on the next cone I do like this, I'll use 3M Spray adhesive... quick, and it's works great.
Well, The fin slots are cut, but while at Springfest, I ran into a guy selling Fiberglass sock, and purchased enough to do the airframe. I'll have to clear the 'glass out of the fin slots when I'm done, but it should make it much easier to get a nice finish. I think we came up with a solution for the out of whack NC.... If we still can't get it to work, I'm going to scrap that one, and build a new base.
I've made arrangements to get an AMW Red Rhino M for my L3 cert.
I'm also planning on flying it first with one of my own loads... either Red, or White... I figure on the White it'll look JUST like an Estes sized rocket with the smoke and all.
I'd planned on putting the GWiz in the booster, near the top of the upper CR, but after conferring with Kevin at Trailertrash Aerospace, we decided it should go in the NC. Safest place for it...and no heat to boot.
I won't be able to do much on it until monday, as today is propellant making day! Have a couple new recipes to try out, including Green, and I'm going to make some Pink... haven't made that in awhile!

sounds cool Ron, are the Red Rhinos certed? I have heard rumors about those and skids but I cant find a reliable source.

That green formula sounds cool, I love green even though they can be hard to light.
I spoke with Paul a few days ago at AMW... Red and Blue are now certified in all the hardware currently available from what I understood. They just certified 15 loads, including a Skidmark for the 54/2550 hardware.
A Skidmark for the 75/7600 is coming soon...fire danger was too high last week.
The official announcement will be very soon I'm sure.
Being a fellow Der Red Max upscaler, (though not that big!) I can't wait to see pix of the finished project!:D
Thanks Joe... I'll be working on it on thursday...next day off.
Once the nose cone is done, the rest should almost fall together.
I'll keep you all posted on the progress...