Accumulating "Spare Parts"

Jiggs Henry

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Greetings Rocket friends and happy Friday!

I am relatively new to the hobby, starting back in August, and I have a handful of RTF and 1 of 3 skill level 1-2 kits completed. I notice a lot of you recommend using a spare this or that when trying to fix minor mistakes in your builds, and I was curious how these spare parts are collected. Other than things like the Estes Designer special and the older mix n match products I've seen I can't imagine how you end up with extra parts lying around.

I know the obvious answer may be that you have to order the spare parts that you need from the manufacturer of the kit or equivalent part from elsewhere, but I am just curious how you long timers ended up with your spare parts bins/boxes.

Appreciate your time!
 

RocketTree

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Welcome!
A lot of folks are scratch-builders, so having all different kinds of tubes, rings, and various parts is a necessity. You can buy these from many different places, but most of my low power rocket nose cones are Estes brand, tubing and rings are Rocketarium, while the high power components are mostly LOC. In Canada, there is only a couple stores that stock the majority of those parts. They should be relatively easy to source in the USA. For example, Estes sells a 3 pack of BT60 nose cones, 4 pack of BT55... etc.

If you use OpenRocket, that would help in determining which parts you will need for a specific build. I usually order all sizes of tubing and rings to save on shipping costs for future designs. Just recently took inventory of my 'spare' parts - 32 nose cones, 36 body/motor tubes and enough centering rings for many years of scratch building. It can be addicting.
 

COSTransplant

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Seems like every time I get an idea in my head for a rocket, I purchase parts -- and always spares -- so that when I get ready to build, I have everything close by and handy.
 

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Jiggs Henry

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I feel so silly totally forgetting about scratch builders! I'm pretty sure I'm not there yet but it could be something I check out in the future - I have a steady supply of some heavyish cardboard tubes from my label printers at work, but I imagine they're probably not great for rocketry use. I've been stockpiling some just in case though, if nothing else I can use them to make a cradle to work on stuff..
 

tsmith1315

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I notice a lot of you recommend using a spare this or that when trying to fix minor mistakes in your builds, and I was curious how these spare parts are collected

Previous mistakes, design changes during build or after a few flights, broken rocket junkyard, ordering extra pieces when buying kits from a shop (get spares while the shipping is already covered)…

I have a steady supply of some heavyish cardboard tubes from my label printers at work, but I imagine they're probably not great for rocketry

I defer to this thread:
https://www.rocketryforum.com/threads/does-everything-looks-like-rocket-parts.167404/

BTW, what are the dimensions of those tubes?
 

Jiggs Henry

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A nice thread indeed! Since I am still very new to this - what is the best way to take the measurements? I'll get some photos of them this evening/this weekend and post them here, maybe next to something relatable for scale. They're pretty short lengthwise so they would have to be connected together to make them longer unless I could make something stubby out of them.. The larger of the two sizes is pretty thick so I kind of thought I could glue the ends together with wood glue and bypass a coupler but again, probably not a great idea lol.
 

SMR

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Previous mistakes, design changes during build or after a few flights, broken rocket junkyard, ordering extra pieces when buying kits from a shop (get spares while the shipping is already covered)…

I defer to this thread:
https://www.rocketryforum.com/threads/does-everything-looks-like-rocket-parts.167404/
Every rocket is an organ donor. Eventually, having a bunch of extra parts gets to be a clutter nuisance, and you look for ways to get rid of them. Our club in WI (WOOSH) has a swap meet / garage sale / give away event at a launch every summer. Make the drive, I'll save you a box of stuff.
 

neil_w

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A nice thread indeed! Since I am still very new to this - what is the best way to take the measurements?
A caliper is the best tool for the job, but if you don't have one then just do your best to measure the inner and outer diameter and length. And weigh it.
The larger of the two sizes is pretty thick so I kind of thought I could glue the ends together with wood glue and bypass a coupler but again, probably not a great idea lol.
NO. Always use a coupler.
 
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Jiggs Henry

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Every rocket is an organ donor. Eventually, having a bunch of extra parts gets to be a clutter nuisance, and you look for ways to get rid of them. Our club in WI (WOOSH) has a swap meet / garage sale / give away event at a launch every summer. Make the drive, I'll save you a box of stuff.
Very enticing but I don't think I could explain to the wife the logic in driving from Gulf coast tx to WI for rocket parts 🤣🤣 appreciate the kind offer though!
 
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I clone a lot of vintage rockets from plans, so I order parts for them from various vendors.
Many parts only come in multi packs (centering rings, thrust rings, engine hooks, launch lugs, etc.).
So I wind up with a lot of extras.
 

Sooner Boomer

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How do you end up with spare parts? Well, you start with four Baby Bertha kits. The Baby Bartha was originally intended to fly on a single 13mm motor. Then you don this->
bb group 1.jpg
bb group 2.jpg
clockwise from top; single 29mm, 3 x 18mm, single 18mm, single 24mm.
 

cerving

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LOL, half my fleet is "spare parts"... they're inoperable for one reason or another, so I set them aside for when I might need something from them. I must have 8 or 10 LPR fin cans of different sizes... all that's left from some lawn dart. Plus the miscellaneous bulkplates, couplers, tubes, etc. that I acquire for projects that I haven't started yet...
 

BigMacDaddy

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You mentioned it but just to reiterate -- the Designers Special Box is great for parts and a good investment.

You can also cut spent motor up on a chop saw to make engine blocks, can salvage the springy metal parts from old windshield wipers to make engine retainers, can use Kevlar kite chord or cheap braided elastic you can buy in sewing section of big box stores for shock chords, can make parachutes from the heavier duty shopping bags it seems stores are giving out these days, can turn some mailing tubes into rockets (bit heavy), wrapping paper tubes (bit flimsy), or alcohol bottle tubes (better weight) into airframes, plastic Easter eggs and anything else that tapers into a nosecone or transition, etc...

Of if you have a 3D printer you can do all kinds of stuff...
 

teepot

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I started with kits and after a few years started scratch building. I have a lot of everything. I get almost all my parts from Balsa Machining Service. They have every thing you need up to 3" tubes. They also sell some nice kits. The 3" School Rocket is a real good kit. It comes with either a 24mm mount or a 29mm mount. 20221118_172316[1409].jpg 20221118_172344[1410].jpg They also sell motors. As others have said. You get odds and ends from crashed rockets or builders packs or left over bits from builds. I have a rocket I call bit and pieces. It is made with parts of tubes that were left overs. Rockets are like potato chips. once you start you eat the whole bag or cover your celling with rockets.
 

Padruig

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The first donor for spare parts will be salvage from other crashed/damaged rockets. A destroyed rocket will always have some parts that can be salvaged and reused.

After that comes buying some specific parts needed for a repair. Either from a supplier or, if lucky, a local hobby store will stock some common parts.

Following that comes scratch builds where one has some of the parts needed for building or modifying a rocket but not all of them. At that point one starts looking at particular parts to stock up on, building a personal inventory.

It's that path that experiences led me down and it's a logical and fairly natural progression.

It's how I know right now that I have 5 BT-5 tubes, 3 BT-20 tubes, 4 BT-50 tubes, 1 not quite BT-50 tube needed for if a particular Centuri rocket needs repairs, 6 BT-55 tubes, sections of some BT-56 tubes, 6 BT-60 tubes and 2 BT-80 tubes on the basement shelf right now.

In the short term, do yourself a favor and order a couple packs of BT-20 and BT-50 tube couplers. They are always good to have on hand for repairs and tube reinforcement. :)
 

hobie1dog

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I started with kits and after a few years started scratch building. I have a lot of everything. I get almost all my parts from Balsa Machining Service. They have every thing you need up to 3" tubes. They also sell some nice kits. The 3" School Rocket is a real good kit. It comes with either a 24mm mount or a 29mm mount. View attachment 546725 View attachment 546726 They also sell motors. As others have said. You get odds and ends from crashed rockets or builders packs or left over bits from builds. I have a rocket I call bit and pieces. It is made with parts of tubes that were left overs. Rockets are like potato chips. once you start you eat the whole bag or cover your ceiling with rockets.
I never tire of looking at the ceiling in your garage.
 

bwayne64

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I started with kits and after a few years started scratch building. I have a lot of everything. I get almost all my parts from Balsa Machining Service. They have every thing you need up to 3" tubes. They also sell some nice kits. The 3" School Rocket is a real good kit. It comes with either a 24mm mount or a 29mm mount. View attachment 546725 View attachment 546726 They also sell motors. As others have said. You get odds and ends from crashed rockets or builders packs or left over bits from builds. I have a rocket I call bit and pieces. It is made with parts of tubes that were left overs. Rockets are like potato chips. once you start you eat the whole bag or cover your celling with rockets.
This is better than any Christmas decorations !
 

dr wogz

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You acquire spare parts over time.. a part here, a bit there.. they slowly add up to a box or two of "parts" after a while..

  • damaged / unrepairable rockets = spare parts
  • Secret Santa received kit (not interested in it..) = spare parts (don't tell the sender!)
  • Rocket kits on clearance / on special / 50% off = spare parts
  • you want to upgrade something; fins, shock cord, etc. you buy the min qty* / standard package. whatever is left over = spare parts
  • buy two kits / buy a cheap kit to 'round up' the order (to say, $100 even, to get the break in shipping, etc..) = spare parts


* A sheet of balsa, a 50' roll of 1/16" Kevlar, a bag of nosecones, etc..
the "Mean Machine" is a good source for 'spare tubes' :D
 

Donnager

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I have generated many spare Estes subassemblies, and the accompanying unused parts by using, or attempting to use Titebond 2 to place centering rings or couplers.

Kidding aside (at least a little), I've bought a couple of the builders kits, which are great. If I think of something I want to build but I need the parts from 3 kits to make it, I'll have some bags of mismatches for future spares.
 

smstachwick

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Every now and then one of my rockets crashes and goes into my parts bin in its complete form. Ever seen pictures of the hangar with the wreckage of TWA Flight 800? My drawer looks a bit like that.

I also do conversions to two-stage configuration, using two kits. I end up with a number of spare noses, recovery systems, and body tube segments for this reason.
 

mh9162013

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As a BAR, I've never built a kit in stock form. So after almost every build, I have something leftover, like a streamer, parachute, thrust ring, launch lug, balsa sheet, main body tube, nose cone, etc. After building a handful of kits, I have a bunch of spares now.
 
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