Estes Engines now and then?

Discussion in 'The Watering Hole' started by UP IN SMOKE, Oct 9, 2018.

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  1. Oct 9, 2018 #1

    UP IN SMOKE

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    Hi all. New guy here but I used to build and launch Estes and home made rockets when I was a kid. I recently saw some kids flying and it immediately brought me back to "those days a Long time ago". For me that was the early 70's. I think I giggled a little when I saw it soar and heard that familiar whoosh! I am now seriously contemplating a build and launch of a high powered rocket for a Level 1 Cert! Damn kids!

    My question is, are Estes engines the same as they were 35+ years ago? The kids used an Alpha Rocket with C6-5 engine (I "think" I had the same setup) and to be honest I recall quite it being quite a bit more, well powerful back then. I know total Impulse (C) should be the same but I remember it being "better" when I was a kid! It's probably just because everything seems better when your a kid but I was just wondering if there was any change that would make a C powered motor for example different now than it was 35+ years ago?
     
  2. Oct 9, 2018 #2

    solid_fuel

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    I don't know if they are different. you should do some experimenting and find out. :D
     
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  3. Oct 9, 2018 #3

    UP IN SMOKE

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    Anyone have any engines that are 35+ years old? :)
     
  4. Oct 9, 2018 #4

    Sooner Boomer

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    I've got a Centauri B14-0 (date code 8J10), and an Estes B14-5 (date code 2-2-76). No, we're not going to test them.
     
  5. Oct 9, 2018 #5

    rharshberger

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    I have a Blue Diamond box of B6-0 motors, those are probably at least 40+ years old.
     
  6. Oct 9, 2018 #6

    Gary Byrum

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    The C-6's still have that same good ole punch they used to. Although I remember when they used a pleated paper cap to contain the ejection charge. They changed that for the better though.
     
  7. Oct 9, 2018 #7

    JStarStar

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    I have 250+ engines, and probably 150 of them are 35-45 years old. I keep them in sealed plastic storage bins. I haven't noticed any significant difference in performance or reliability.

    Over the years I've had a handful of CATOs -- I haven't kept accurate track but my perception is they've been pretty rare, probably 5% or less.

    I have had a couple packs of the infamous "boom boom" D's and E's over the years.

    But most of my old old engines are run-of-the-mill A-B-Cs and they seem to fly fine.

    I do have a stash of the old B14s -- a few dozen -- and I've NEVER had a CATO with any of those.
     
    Last edited: Oct 10, 2018
  8. Oct 9, 2018 #8

    BEC

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    Back in April I flew an Alpha III 10 times in one afternoon with a PerfectFlite FireFly altimeter aboard. On that particular day I flew it on a C6-7 with a September 2008 date code to 1203 feet and then a few flights later to 1126 feet on a C6-7 with an August 1970 date code. That’s pretty similar, really, between a motor that was not quite 10 years old and one that was nearly 48 years old.
     
    Last edited: Oct 9, 2018
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  9. Oct 9, 2018 #9

    UP IN SMOKE

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    Well, I guess things do go faster and higher when you're a kid! I swear I went at least a mile up on a C6-5 back then! :)
     
  10. Oct 9, 2018 #10

    BEC

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    They are still pretty fast. Peak speeds (also reported by the FireFly) are in the vincinity of 275 mph for an Alpha III on a C6.
     
  11. Oct 9, 2018 #11

    swatkat

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    I've got some from the late 80's in the pink box, they are the same as the ones I buy today, no difference other than the label and much better ignitors!
     
  12. Oct 10, 2018 #12

    prfesser

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    In the late 60s average thrust designation was changed from pounds to newtons. Before the change I think that most of the 1/4A, 1/2A, A, B, and C endburning motors supposedly had an average thrust of 0.8 lb. The coreburner B motor was a B3. I don't know if that signified a difference in performance or an improvement in measurement.

    Best -- Terry
     
  13. Oct 10, 2018 #13

    Brainlord Mesomorph

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    I think a C-6 then is a C-6 now. Quality control is probably better. Today there are D-22s that are the same size and weight as a C-6.

    But I have also noticed a change in my perception of speed and thrust from when I was kid. Realize we're physically about twice the size and now we drive.

    As I drive away from the launch site I'm realizing that the car just idling forward has far more thrust than all of the rocket engines I just ignited.
     
  14. Oct 10, 2018 #14

    Zeus-cat

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    I think your recollection of something that happened 35 years ago is the issue. As a kid things will seem more impressive than the same thing as an adult.
     
  15. Oct 10, 2018 #15

    shreadvector

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    Not worth having the FBI investigate this......:eek:
     
  16. Oct 10, 2018 #16

    JStarStar

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    I was around and flying when the conversion was made (1969-70).

    There was little functional difference between old "English" engines and new "metric" ones, other than unit of measurement.

    I believe Estes did convert to a thinner-walled motor casing at about the same time, which reduced weight and improved rocket performance.
     
  17. Oct 10, 2018 #17

    Bat-mite

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    Field dimensions will also contribute to how something looks. A smaller field with trees around will make the rocket's altitude look higher than a wide open space. In the open space, there is nothing to compare it to.
     
  18. Oct 10, 2018 #18

    shreadvector

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    Metric 1/4A3, 1/2A6, A5 and B4 motors were in the older thick walled casings with the inside roughly the same as the inside of a mini motor. The thin walled casings allowed the introduction of the A8, B6 and C6 motors (since a C did not fit in the thick walled casing before except for a booster since there was no room for delay and ejection charge and paper cap.).

    When they phased out the thick walled casings entirely, we were left with the mini motors and they re-engineered some motors. The 1/2A6, A8 and B4 now have the same nozzle. The B6 and C6 have the same nozzle.

    The english unit B3 motor became a metric B14 motor, but it also started out with the super thick wall casing and eventually was re-engineered in the thin casing.

    Thrust curves did indeed change. A modern A8 does NOT have 8 newtons of average thrust. Look at the NAR test data on the S&T website.

    http://www.ninfinger.org/rockets/nostalgia/68estp48.html

    Slight tweaks are required over time as black powder has differernt properties from different suppliers or batches.
     
  19. Oct 10, 2018 #19

    shreadvector

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    deleted.
     
  20. Oct 13, 2018 #20

    bobby_hamill

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    what was the early Estes motors that had the same diameter as a "C" motor but was only 1/2 the length of a "C" ?
     
  21. Oct 13, 2018 #21

    JStarStar

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    The old "Series III" motors were normal diameter -- 18 mm -- but 1.75 inches long instead of 2.75 for Series I.

    This was done because on motors class A and smaller, the propellant only filled half or less of the motor casing -- cutting off one inch of motor casing reduced weight significantly.

    They came in 1/4A, 1/2A and A classes. They had an "S" suffix.

    In about 1970-71, they were phased out in favor of the "Mini" sized motors (13mm x 1.75 inches) with the "T" suffix.
     
  22. Oct 13, 2018 #22

    Gary Byrum

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    And if I remember correctly, didn't the Astron Sprite fly on those?
     
  23. Oct 13, 2018 #23

    BEC

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    Yes, the Sprite, the original Star Blazer, and the Midget.

    I didn't look in the right places for the A impulse Series III motors earlier. The show up as A5-xS motors in the 1970 catalog.
     
    Last edited: Oct 13, 2018
  24. Oct 13, 2018 #24

    Gary Byrum

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    1967. But only in 1/4 & 1/2 motors.

    new-2.jpg
     
  25. Oct 13, 2018 #25

    BEC

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    ??

    There's no series III (S suffix) A motor on those pages.

    But they do show up in 1970 - A5-xS motors.
     
    Last edited: Oct 13, 2018
  26. Oct 13, 2018 #26

    Gary Byrum

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    Go to www.ninfinger.org and see if there's a catalog that has one.
     
  27. Oct 13, 2018 #27

    BEC

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    I'm looking at the Estes catalogs on the Estes site (even though the top level links are messed up right now).

    As I edited above, the A5-xS motors showed up in the 1970 catalog. Series III last appeared in the 1972 catalog. And that was also the first catalog with the 13mm mini engines. So they appeared together that one year.

    Also in the 1972 catalog the Sprite and Midget are called out for "T" motors and the Star Blazer there is NOT the K-31 Star Blazer but the revised/simplified TK-31 version.

    In the 1973 catalog there are "T" motors, but no "S" motors.
     
    Last edited: Oct 13, 2018

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