Estes Booster Stages 55 & 60

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Woody's Workshop

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I read the reviews on the Estes site, but was of little use.
Just wondering if anyone here has used them?
I've got a few rockets that could benefit from a booster stage.
I see they sell extra rings separately.
Do these get lost easily or something?
Or are these to glue on other rockets to use the same fin unit on different rockets?
Even if they didn't fit in with the design of the rocket used on, they don't stay there long.
 

TangoJuliet

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I bought the 55 Booster a while back at HL when they had a few priced really low thinking I might use it on something in the future. The future is still out there. Sorry.

Honestly, I couldn't figure out how the extra pieces/rings were to be used. The instructions that came with it were pretty vague iirc; they didn't seem to make sense with what I knew of booster stages from my earlier days in model rocketry. Maybe someone can offer a better/visual explanation of how they're used.
 

MALBAR 70

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I have a few for "future projects" as well, for $0.99 at HL you can't go wrong.

I believe they are made as booster units for some of the RTF models.
 

Woody's Workshop

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Yea, the 60 says this:
Designed specifically for use with the 2486 Flying Colors, 2887 Helios, 2488 Firestorm, 2493 Spectra and 2496 Checkmate model rockets.
And the 55 says this:
Designed specifically for use with the 2884 Red Rider, 2485 L.G.M. 0095, 2491 Drifter, 2492 Spirit, 2495 Chiller and 2497 Nova model rockets.

I was just curious if some one had adapted them to use on kits. It would save some building time is all.
At the sale price, it wouldn't be hard to loose over putting time into building booster stages.
 

samb

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This bit is a combination sustainer motor retainer and booster stage coupler.
estes booster 55.png

These are sold separately if you want to try them on a scratch build. If you didn't want to use this part you could probably add a coupler in the traditional place at the top of the booster. (full disclosure, I've never tried that.)


It replaces the motor retainer that comes with the kit when you want to fly it 2-stage.
helios motor retainer.png

(from the Estes Helios instructions)


The instructions for the boosters were attached to this post by Bernard Cawley. https://www.rocketryforum.com/showt...ems-with-Estes-Booster-55&p=599150#post599150
 

dhbarr

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... and nobody sells the threaded bit that slips on over the MMT, only comes on Estes plastic jobbies.
 

BEC

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... and nobody sells the threaded bit that slips on over the MMT, only comes on Estes plastic jobbies.
No....because it's molded into the aft ends of the BT-55 and BT-60-sized ARFs, plus the fin cans that are part of the Mix-N-Match 55 and 60 sets plus, I expect, some of the recent E2X kits that have screw-on motor retaining rings (though that would have to be verified). It is not a separate part.

Was out with my eldest son and his son on Easter afternoon flying the Flying Colors/Booster 60 combo and having a great time. I have also used the boosters with models made from the Mix-N-Match sets.

Perhaps the best use for the boosters, as sold on clearance at HL for example, would be to use as ready-made 24x70 mm motor mounts/fin cans for BT-55 or BT-60-based scratch builds....just peel off the upper paper portion and replace with the body tube of your new design. [see examples in next two posts] Since all the fins used on the ARFs and the Mix-N-Match sets have the same interface, you can swap the trapezoidal fins that come with the booster for another shape if you want.

The reason they come with an extra stager ring and why they are available separately is that if you fly them very much that ring gets cooked pretty well in the process of staging and eventually they'll need replacing. Not that I've had to do that yet.

samb's thought above about just using a JT-55 or JT-60 in place of the stager ring and using the booster to gap-stage to an existing or new model also makes sense. Just be sure to vent the booster unless you use D12-0s exclusively in it. On the ARF/booster combos they will separate before the sustainer lights sometimes if you use a C11 instead of a D12 in the booster. (This is also a good idea for the similar booster for the PSII Majestic/Ascender if using an E16-0 instead of an F15-0 in it.)
 
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Trident

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Hobby Lobby is selling the Booster-55 dirt cheap because Estes made them a deal on them when HL carried the models that theses boosters are intended for. Problem is, kids buying the rockets aren't going to buy a booster, and worse, a booster that uses a D12-0!

I've bought a bunch because they make for a cheap scratch-built model with by just adding a body tube and nose cone. The Booster-55 (and 60) have a short section of body tube at the top. You can add a body tube using a coupler. I chose to peel off the short tube, sand the underlying plastic part, and then I epoxied on a piece of BT-55.

I bought so many that I think I'll kit up a few and give to kids at one of our club launches.

Here is mine. I painted the booster unit gray, it is black plastic. The Booster-60 is red. (Hobby Lobby did not buy those in massive qtys, so they are not clearanced at 99 cents.)
IMG_0111.jpg
 

Mugs914

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This is one of my cheap HL booster 55s. Its done up to look like some sort of sounding rocket. I used a coupler to join the booster unit to the BT-55, but I might try your method on the next one Lee (I have quite a stash of these things too!).

IMG_20170225_083841.jpg

IMG_20170225_084231.jpg
 

Scott_650

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I bought mine just as fin cans for future builds. Though if it fits I might try using the 55 booster on my Flip Flyer.
 

BABAR

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I got one BT55, not realizing it was customized to fit specific rockets which HOBBY LOBBY didn't have. A BT-60 slides over the top nicely. Would make a nice fin can, I am currently trying to modify it to work AS a booster with a regular rocket. I will try to post some pics. "Adapting" it to function in its original designed purpose with a Non-customized rocket has been a bit of a pain. For 99 cents and much less effort I could BUILD one of balsa and paper that would be easier to use and less weight (but what would be the fun in that?)

others may do better, but so far my take is would make a great cheap fin can for a one stager, to much dithering to make it work as a booster unless you have the designated sustainer rockets. On the other hand, if you have one of those, should be nifty.
 

Woody's Workshop

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I have read they work fantastic on the crayon color rockets. Really puts em up there.
I've got one I received in a Secret Santa box couple years ago. Never took it out of the bag.
Wish we had a HL close by. 99 cents is darn cheap. If I want any, I'll have to order direct from Estes.
That is...when/if I ever get any fundage.
 

sandeja1

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I have both the "55" and the "60" and have used them both as well.

They "screw" onto the bottom of the rockets, a Red Rider and Firestorm (respectively) in my case. The boosters themselves are a VERY loose fit (for me) when attached to the bottom ring of the rocket. They are so loose that if I don't hold them up when loading the rocket onto the rod, they fall off. With that being said, they work as advertised. The extra "stager" pieces can be purchased as I can see some small amount of melting on mine. YMMV
 

LRIPbros

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I have used the booster 60 on my sons rockets Firestorm, Fractured, and Flying Colors. The stability is poor unless you add nose weight and even then it is borderline. Both Fratured and Firestorm are now an inch shorter due to skywriting to law dart with the booster. I bought all the rockets from Estes with the boosters included free. Only the Flying Colors came with a nose weight. Thanks, for the idea for the booster 55 I got at HL.
 

dhbarr

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I have used the booster 60 on my sons rockets Firestorm, Fractured, and Flying Colors. The stability is poor unless you add nose weight and even then it is borderline. Both Fratured and Firestorm are now an inch shorter due to skywriting to law dart with the booster. I bought all the rockets from Estes with the boosters included free. Only the Flying Colors came with a nose weight. Thanks, for the idea for the booster 55 I got at HL.
+1, Red Rider's first / only flight went this way, much to my surprise.
 

Flyfalcons

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Estes is giving these away now, including them with a purchase of an RTF rocket from their website. I have several and need to try them some time.
 

Mitkof

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I have 4 of the Booster 60s sitting on a shelf. Was thinking about my Firestorm and granddaughters Flying Colors with them. But, you say they need nose weight to be stable with that Booster 60… hmmmm. How much did the Estes provided nose weight …actually weigh??? They are near identical LOA as Flying Colors is 0.2” longer, both are 3.4 oz total weight rockets and both are BT-60s. Safety First, as I don’t need an accident on launch with young kids around. :rolleyes:
 

swatkat

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I've launched the 55 several times and bought something like 8 of them. They will also fit on the traditional Estes twist cap rockets without the spacer adapter if you use a bit of sandpaper. :) The Prospector works really well for this. D12-0 to 18mm (usually C6-5). You can also do C11-0 to the same for reduced height.
 

Trident

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This is one of my cheap HL booster 55s. Its done up to look like some sort of sounding rocket. I used a coupler to join the booster unit to the BT-55, but I might try your method on the next one Lee (I have quite a stash of these things too!).

View attachment 317758


View attachment 317757
Mike, they do make for kind of a fun build.
My HL has been selling them "two at a time" for over a year. I buy one, they put one more out. I buy two, they put two out. After 8-9 purchases, I got tired of their little game. :)
 

Mitkof

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I have used the booster 60 on my sons rockets Firestorm, Fractured, and Flying Colors. The stability is poor unless you add nose weight and even then it is borderline. Both Fratured and Firestorm are now an inch shorter due to skywriting to law dart with the booster. I bought all the rockets from Estes with the boosters included free. Only the Flying Colors came with a nose weight. Thanks, for the idea for the booster 55 I got at HL.
I just spent some time looking at my Firestorm, Spectra, and grandkids Flying Colors and Rookie as all 4 use the Booster 60. It appears the additional Booster 60 attachment [and engine] would drastically change the center of gravity [CG] and center of pressure [CP] on all four rockets. Only the Spectra came with a weighted nose cone to maintain proper stability. Very odd that Estes didn’t at least mention this aerodynamic reality in either the Booster 60 instructions or their Rockets which use Booster 60s. For the present I’ll restrict Booster 60 use to the properly weighted Spectra. Keep Smiling... :rolleyes:
 

samb

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There have been many threads related to this topic and it appears the concensus is "Your Mileage May Vary". For example: https://www.rocketryforum.com/showthread.php?58182-Estes-ARF-modesl-with-booster-units

My experience to date is with an unweighted Flying Colors that flew well before sailing away after the third launch. That said, I see nothing wrong with a few grams of nose weight as cheap insurance. Further said, I'm confident that The Chief Designer, Jumpjet, does a test flight or 10 before releasing these puppies.
 

BEC

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All of them were tested extensively. Then one BT-55 model and one BT-60 model from the initial releases (Red Ryder and Helios respectively) were reported to have issues occasionally in the field and were recalled by Estes and re-released with weight added to them. The subsequent releases will have had additional scrutiny for flying with the boosters. I would expect them all to work just fine.

My grandson and son and I flew the Firestorm/Booster-60 combo on Easter afternoon in a pretty stiff breeze and all worked as it should, for whatever that's worth. I have also had no stability issues with any of the others I have flown including first editions of both Red Ryder and Helios.
 

Mitkof

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There have been many threads related to this topic and it appears the concensus is "Your Mileage May Vary". For example: https://www.rocketryforum.com/showthread.php?58182-Estes-ARF-modesl-with-booster-units

My experience to date is with an unweighted Flying Colors that flew well before sailing away after the third launch. That said, I see nothing wrong with a few grams of nose weight as cheap insurance. Further said, I'm confident that The Chief Designer, Jumpjet, does a test flight or 10 before releasing these puppies.
Excellent link to good Booster information, thanks Sam
 

Mitkof

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All of them were tested extensively. Then one BT-55 model and one BT-60 model from the initial releases (Red Ryder and Helios respectively) were reported to have issues occasionally in the field and were recalled by Estes and re-released with weight added to them. The subsequent releases will have had additional scrutiny for flying with the boosters. I would expect them all to work just fine.

My grandson and son and I flew the Firestorm/Booster-60 combo on Easter afternoon in a pretty stiff breeze and all worked as it should, for whatever that's worth. I have also had no stability issues with any of the others I have flown including first editions of both Red Ryder and Helios.
Thanks Bernard, Good too hear your actual experience. I have yet to try these Booster 60s as winds are just too strong this spring. I did notice the Firestorm and Booster 60 fins are interchangeable.
 

samb

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Excellent link to good Booster information, thanks Sam
:)

The forum search function is kinda hit and miss but when I'm viewing a TRF thread with a web browser I scroll to the bottom of the page to see "Similar Threads".

similar threads.jpg


Also typing <search argument> site:www.rocketryforum.com into a search engine typically yields more and better results than the forum search.
 

JumpJet

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The booster system I developed works great with D12-0 motors. I wouldn't use a C11-0 unless you put a couple of vents holes in the booster. During one test phase of these booster models during the recall period we launch a 1000 models in one week. The upper stage didn't ignite on just four of them. Of these four I recovered two of the upper stages. The C6-5 motors were in fact installed backwards. So worse case two failures out of 1000 launches. I can't come anywhere close to success rate when the motors are tapped together. Also NEVER put Tape on the coupler to Tighten the boosters fit. I designed it to be LOOSE. It should fall off if you let go of it while attached to the upper stage.

The ONLY issue these ARF two stage models have is the upper stage are simply two short. They need to be longer but then they wouldn't fit on the shelve at Mass Accounts. This is why most of them have clay in the nose. The only E2X kit out there at the moment that is a two stage is the 2437 Savage. All the fins are interchangeable with all the fin cans. You have the following cans for 18mm motors- BT50 3 & 4 fin can. A BT55 3 & 4 fin can. A BT60- 3 & 4 fin can. You then have both a BT55 & BT60 4 fin can for 24mm motors. I also designed the adapter for the 18mm BT50 two stage booster but we never put that in production.

John Boren
 

BEC

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Just to add to John's comment about vents: putting vents in allows C11-0s to work in these boosters perfectly - even when using a Quest B6-4 (which has a really tiny nozzle) in the sustainer.

Also the venting advice applies to the similar PSII booster that goes on the Majestic/Ascender when using E16-0s.

After adding vents it works every time (I haven't managed to put the motor in the sustainer the wrong way around with one of these....yet :eek: )

Too bad the BT-50 18mm booster was never put into production. That would have been fun.
 

Mitkof

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The booster system I developed works great with D12-0 motors. I wouldn't use a C11-0 unless you put a couple of vents holes in the booster. During one test phase of these booster models during the recall period we launch a 1000 models in one week. The upper stage didn't ignite on just four of them. Of these four I recovered two of the upper stages. The C6-5 motors were in fact installed backwards. So worse case two failures out of 1000 launches. I can't come anywhere close to success rate when the motors are tapped together. Also NEVER put Tape on the coupler to Tighten the boosters fit. I designed it to be LOOSE. It should fall off if you let go of it while attached to the upper stage.

The ONLY issue these ARF two stage models have is the upper stage are simply two short. They need to be longer but then they wouldn't fit on the shelve at Mass Accounts. This is why most of them have clay in the nose. The only E2X kit out there at the moment that is a two stage is the 2437 Savage. All the fins are interchangeable with all the fin cans. You have the following cans for 18mm motors- BT50 3 & 4 fin can. A BT55 3 & 4 fin can. A BT60- 3 & 4 fin can. You then have both a BT55 & BT60 4 fin can for 24mm motors. I also designed the adapter for the 18mm BT50 two stage booster but we never put that in production.

John Boren
Thanks John, excellent information and news on the Boosters. I did do a CG check on my Spectra, Firestorm, Flying Colors and Rookie. The Spectra being short LOA has a weighed nose cone. All four rockets had the CG move aft, the exact same length as the Booster can itself. Balance was still excellent. I swapped the Firestorm fins and Booster 60 fins [they are identical] to have yellow fins on a red booster can for easier locating after dropping free. Thanks again for your dose of reality in field testing these boosters. Keep smiling&#8230; :rolleyes:
 

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For the guys that have built rockets out of the booster 55 what kind of altitudes are you getting? I designed one on Open Rocket and weighed each component overriding the weights for all. The OR sims are 3300ft on a D12-7 bp motor. I was figuring more like 15-1800ft.
 

Tinker

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For the guys that have built rockets out of the booster 55 what kind of altitudes are you getting? I designed one on Open Rocket and weighed each component overriding the weights for all. The OR sims are 3300ft on a D12-7 bp motor. I was figuring more like 15-1800ft.
How much body tube? (Not counting the length of the fin can)

Tinker
 
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