Another Newbie!

The Rocketry Forum

Help Support The Rocketry Forum:

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


Mar 1, 2004
Reaction score
Hey all, I'm a newbie too, back into rockets after being away from it since I was a kid. I'm now 36 and my kids love it, and then love the Estes Air Kits too, when we're in a pinch and don't have any engines.

I'm loving loving the hobby though. It's exciting, fun and you can always find somebody to watch you launch!

I have built a Custom Product Razor (now in tree after 4 good launches), this one is really great to build with kids, it goes together very fast (I have 3 kids, 2/4/6 yrs old).

I have also built another Custom Products rocket that is about 29" long but the name slips my mind. We flew that one about 6 times this weekend.

I've have also built others, but now I have my sights set on a FATBOY or a BIG DADDY. My spectators want something bigger and easier to see!

OK, here are the questions:

1) I like super glue but what does everyone else use?
2) I like fuses rather then ignitors and so do my spectators? Anybody still use them?
3) What do you all use for a "fin assembly jig"? It's hard to sit and hold them and still get them straight at all.
4) Is it worth it to join the NRA? $62 is steep.
5) Got any great tips for me? Let 'em fly (a very small rocket pun).


Welcome back to rocketry as far as super glue i use it to set my fins but then i use a good wood glue to seal the edges but for larger rockets i use epoxy
The more, the merrier!

As to your questions, BOY, you sure know how to start off with a bang!
Your first one happens to be about a subject that has been covered pretty extensively here on TRF, and you can try to find some of these old rants by using the TRF search button. I can tell you I like to use white Elmers-style glue for low power stuff, because it is easy to use, odor-free, inexpensive, and works pretty well. I stock up during the back-to-school sales when it is dirt cheap.
CA also has it uses, though, especially for tacking a fin or a part in place so you don't have to hold it while the white glue dries. There are lots of good uses for CA.
I use epoxies some, but for 90 percent of low-power construction, you really don't need it (white glue will do the job).

Fuses? They may work great, but the igniters come (free) with the Estes and Quest motors.

Fin assembly/alignment jig? Several other people have been asking about those things too. They seem to be collectible now, and are priced accordingly. If you find a source for these goodies, let us know!

Worth it to join NAR . . . hmmm . . . lots of possibilities for sarcasm here. Considering all their good points and bad, on the whole it is probably a good idea to join. I should probably re-up too. Like you say, it is kind of expensive (IMHO).

Great tips? My best advice is: keep checking in here on TRF

First, welcome. You're going to love it here on TRF and it will *certainly* help you get the most out of getting back into the hobby! :)

One point I'd like to make concerns fuses. If you mean where you put a fuse in the motor and light it with a match, I would recommend to not do this for several reasons:

Using fuses like this make your model rocket a firework under the law and it would be under the juristiction of the fireworks laws in your area.

Should something go wrong at the last second (like, say a plane overhead or a kid running toward the launch pad), you have no way to abort a launch

Upon launch, the hot/burning fuse material is spit out with the high risk of grass fires while your attention is directed *up* to watch the rocket.

The ignitors are easy to use and give you full controll over the launch of the rocket. Would hate to see you get hurt or get in trouble with the law...

Good luck and keep us posted! oh, and we here at TRF LOVE photos of your rockets and launches! :)

Greetings from the U.K and welcome to the Forum ,

Im a relative newbie myself having been into Rocketry since around Xmas time and have leeched as many good ideas and plagarised every cunning plan anyone here as ever told me !

Answers to questions time .....

1) Glues are like horses for courses. With Superglue its great when you are putting something in one spot , BAM , no messing , you know exactly where it needs to be , end of story. However , I use a General purpose glue for my low powered stuff and in particular for FINS. Non-superglues tolerate you needing to play about to get positioning correct SGs dont !

2) Never heard of fuses (Im new !) but if its how I imagine it sounds then Im never likely to try either ! Ignitors work for me and it if aint broke , I dont try to fix it.

3) Im trying to get a version of a jig. Being in the UK doesnt make it easy to source one. I will recommend the following method do you however for doing 90 degree fins.

Lay the BT in a adjustable slot/groove/channel so that two fin pencil lines are just above the level of your work surface. Place waste balsa on your work surface close to , but not against the BT.

Place your fin on the waste balsa but up against your BT. Adjust the width of the slot/gap/channel so that the fin lies along the pencil line for where your fin goes on BOTH sides. Keep tweaking till you are happy both fins sit on your pencil lines and look 180deg to one another. One you are happy the dry fit position looks right , glue the suckers !!

Allow to dry etc , rotate BT thru 90 degrees and repeat !

4) Not a clue !

5) Read the forums , our biggest screwups are commited on everyone elses behalf and we shall write about them and here you shall learn from them , oh yes , and hopefully youll not follow in our footsteps !

I like what everyone has said about fuses. They probably are dangerous. I think I'll quit using them for this reason. I seem to have trouble with the ignitors or rather not the ignitor but the launch controller not delivering enough juice. This problem just screams "replace the batteries" so I had better try to make sure that they are always fresh, etc.

Thanks to all,

I too like superglue for my rockets :) I find they set quicker, giving them less time to go wonky. I use white glue for fillets on slower/lower powered rockets and use epoxy putty for fillets on the bigger/faster ones.

Just to emphasise on the fuse issue, picture this scenario:

You've got the rocket on the pad, fuse set up. You light it. It is only an inch away from the motor nozzle, and a sudden gust of wind blows the pad over so the top of the launch rod is pointing at you... If you have a fuse, it would keep burning and ignite the motor. If you had an electronic controller, you could *easily* stop the countdown, and pick the pad up again.

I cant really help you with the fin jig... I remember seeing a link to a website that told you how to make one for Mid Power Rockets, which you could "downscale" for LPR use. But, as usual I have forgotten it :rolleyes:

I wouldnt know about the NAR, but the UKRA (The UK equivelant) is certainly worth joining, just for the insurance!

Welcome to the forum! If you have *any* questions/problems, just post here and we will do our best. Also, we **LOVE** pics :D


If you're using the Estes starter kit-type launch controller, it's very easy to kill the batteries after a couple of sessions. I use one (haven't had time/money/inclination to build a more powerful system) and I always carry spare batteries in the launch box. The other thing I've noticed personally, is the Quest TigerTail ignitors suck. I try to stick with the Estes-type.

Welcome to the hobby!
Originally posted by trailboss
I like what everyone has said about fuses. They probably are dangerous. I think I'll quit using them for this reason. I seem to have trouble with the ignitors or rather not the ignitor but the launch controller not delivering enough juice. This problem just screams "replace the batteries" so I had better try to make sure that they are always fresh, etc.

Thanks to all,


You can go to our website to the Free Stuff link and download plans for a very simple launch controller and launch pad. This launch controller can be built to use dual 6V lantern batteries or set up to use your car battery (my personal favorite).

Go to

It's about the 4th link down.

Originally posted by jflis
Should something go wrong at the last second (like, say a plane overhead or a kid running toward the launch pad), you have no way to abort a launch

Too true, I've seen launches aborted very late in the countdown for one reason or another.

You mention lack controller troubles, you might want to upgrade to new launch controller, if you do theres some stuff of the forums about what to buy or how to build your own.
welcome to the best rocketry forum on this planet.....

1. I use 5/15/30 min epoxies and epoxy finishing resins in addition to thin/med thick and thick CA.....You can NEVER have too much debonder nor accelerator...

2. FUSES to ignite model or high power rockets is basically ILLEGAL..... you want to play with Fuses, go get into fireworks...

3. I use blocks of wood that have the width of the fin slotted out ..

the slotted piece of wood holds the fin straight and the body tube is on a old engine casing .....

4. well it depends? Would you like a rocketry magazine for ideas? Would you like to compete and perhaps win trophies and medals? would you like to do High Power Rocketry? If you can answer Yes to any of the above them yes consider joining the NAR...

5. see the previous 4..

good luck and enjoy....
most of your questions were answered well enough... but i thought i'd still give my opinions;)
1) white or yellow elmers glue.. dirt cheap and good enough for LPR
2) like every1 said, not safe... try to stay away from them:rolleyes:
3) for a fin jig i use an angled piece of wood with an appropriate sized slot cut down the middle. you can only do one fin at a time this way, but it works fine (for me ny way). just use a rubber band to hold the jig in place while the glue dries.
4) I was a member of the NAR for a while.. its nice but if your an adult its pricey. may i suggest that one of your kids *joins* for cheaper and you all can reap the benefits of the magazines and newsletters?? :D
5) hmm.... to many:rolleyes: keep your eyes on the forum and you will always learn something new:)

have fun!!
Just wanted to say Welcome.
I believe everyone else covered the rest. :)

heres an estes fin jig for ya, from what I understand it's OOP. I bought mine back in the eighties and could not imagine not having it! I have seen them on e-bay.
fin jigs, fin jigs, fin jigs...

I glue a spent motor casing to a piece of scrap wood (to hold the model upright), then i pinch the fin between two bottles of paint....

there's yer fin jig... :D

I made one that was *really* sophisticated though. I printed out a pattern showing fin lines for 3 and 4 fin (lines radiating out from the center point) that I would glue to the wood base befor gluing on the motor casing. That way I had markers for where the fins should be.