Estes Executioner Build

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dixontj93060

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Well, I had set aside 3 hours last night to finish the clear coat on my son's Suzuki motorcycle fairings, but it was far too humid. So with my wife gone and three hours on my hands, what was I going to do? Mod a kit for MPR/HPR--that's the ticket!

This Executioner has been sitting around in my LPR bin for about a year now after I picked it up on the discount rack at a local hobby store for $5 (yes $5). I did try to sell it at a rocket swap meet about a month ago and it didn't sell. Then last week I just happened to see (and pick up) a set of LOC 2.6" to 29mm centering rings at Hobbytown over in Indianapolis. I guess I was destined to build it sometime. So last night was as good a time as any...
 

dixontj93060

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Assemble motor mount (5:00-5:15 pm): Find an old Aerotech 29mm motor mount in a hobby shop drawer. Glue fore and aft centering rings. Drill, insert and glue #6 T-nut for motor retention.

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dixontj93060

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Assemble anti-zipper coupler (5:15-5:35 pm): Find one left over fiber 2.6 to 29mm centering ring not used in my Mirage Hybrid build. Use one of the paper centering rings and a stub from the inner tube from the Executioner kit. Find one LOC 2.6" bulkhead. Drill axial holes in small tube and glue into fiber ring. 1/3rd distance from aft of small tube install paper centering ring and drill seven holes in perimeter. Layer epoxy on fiber ring and inner tube on aft side (facing ejection charge). Epoxy assembly into aft end of coupler. Drill four holes in bulkhead. Install eye screw and epoxy. Epoxy bulk head in fore end of coupler making sure holes don't align.

(BTW, I had considered reinforcing the wimpy Estes body tubes with fiberglass but then that wouldn't fit within my 3 hour window, so I just decided to use a build design that minimized stress on the body tube and reinforce critical areas, thus one reason for the anti-zipper coupler which I generally don't use on most builds.)

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dixontj93060

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Install MMT, paint BT, install anti-zipper coupler (5:35-6:00 pm): Pretty straight-forward here. Only issue was proper spacing on the MMT to adequately give "expansion area" for something coming up in a few steps. Oh, also coat interior of body tube between the MMT and anti-zipper coupler with 1200 degree enamel before installing the coupler.

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dixontj93060

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Install fins (6:00 - 6:30 pm): Sand off extra depth on fin tab to fit 29mm mount. Install fins (Typically always do this by eye looking through clear ruler to line up the mid-arc between the opposite two fin slots/fins--never really used a template). Note also that I painted the aft centering ring with 1200 degree paint also (from last step).

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dixontj93060

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Foam fin can (6:30 - 7:00 pm): (Wasn't real thrilled with small fin tabs on the Estes design plus I'm trying to get rid of the last bit of U.S. Composites foam to order some fresh supply so on the spur of the moment I decided to foam the fin can.)

Drill small hole in aft ring. Cover aft centering ring with masking tape exposing hole in aft ring. Spill too much Part A in the Dixie cup(!). Match with equal amount of Part B. Mix polyurethane foam. Begin pouring foam through modified funnel into too small a hole in aft ring! Foam will not enter small hole and begins to seep onto aft centering ring and down side of body tube! #%&@! Abort first mix and take out to side yard (see pic). Clean up spill over quickly. Take a deep breath.

Drill larger hole in aft centering ring. Put more masking tape on back aft rocket area. Pour a half a Dixie cup full of foam and mix. Pour a narrow stream of mix into the fin can area. Watch it bubble over and pray you got about the right amount. Wait 10 minutes and pop off overage and remove masking tape. Clean out hole for retention and make sure it works with #6 screw.

(Obviously with the screw ups this step took longer than needed, but hey, who's counting...)

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dixontj93060

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Strengthen critical areas (7:00 - 7:20 pm): Brush CA glue on exposed area of anti-zipper coupler and aft end of payload tube and spray with accelerant. Sand both with 150 grit paper to get initial fit and then 220 paper to smooth surface. Brush epoxy on fore end of payload tube (Estes nosecone had a very loose fit). Make sure everything goes together and take picture. Drip CA inside launch lugs and wipe clean (or maybe I did the launch lugs first, I don't remember).

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dixontj93060

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Modify nosecone / attachment (7:20 - 7:40 pm): Find 1/4-20 eye screw, washers and nuts (yes an overkill, but the only thing I had laying around). Cut aft end of nosecone exposing small hole. Cut side of nosecone to insert 1/4-20 hardware. Begin to assemble. Drip thread lock on eye screw threads. Assemble tightly. Insert nosecone into payload tube. Mark and drill three #48 holes 1 cm from payload bay fore end aligned with fins. Reinforce holes with CA, spray with accelerant and sand smooth. Insert three #4 1/4" wood screws to attach nosecone to payload tube (see attachment by looking closely in second pic below).

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dixontj93060

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Parachute / shock cord (7:40 - 7:45 pm): Pull Estes parachute and shock cord out of package and laugh. Find small PML chute and left over shock cord from a BSD kit (where I previously subbed for 5/8" tubular nylon). Considered installing parachute and shock cord but decided against it until after finishing/painting.

(BTW, anyone want an Estes chute and shock cord?)

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dixontj93060

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Install launch lugs (7:45 - 7:55 pm): Extend mark (from center of fins made back when installing fins) to fore end of booster section. Install launch lugs 1/4" from fore and aft of booster section (Hey, never say I don't follow the instructions--I put the launch lugs exactly where Estes told me to).

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dixontj93060

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Hmmm... (7:55 - 7:59 pm): Consider installing filets, priming, painting, but hey, that would put me back to where I was to begin with--not being able to spray because of the humidity... Maybe not.

Pop open a Busch NA (7:59 pm): Times up! And yes, regarding the Busch NA, I'm on a diet (60 lbs lost with 10 more to go).

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dixontj93060

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BTW, got an H180 ready and waiting soon as I finish painting.

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mIcahel

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Here's hoping you can pound a couple of real beers after pounding that
Executioner on an H.
 

patelldp

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Hmmm... (7:55 - 7:59 pm): Consider installing filets, priming, painting, but hey, that would put me back to where I was to begin with--not being able to spray because of the humidity... Maybe not.

Pop open a Busch NA (7:59 pm): Times up! And yes, regarding the Busch NA, I'm on a diet (60 lbs lost with 10 more to go).
Get some of this and save money instead of losing weight...

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Evo666

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Nice build you got there. I'll be picking one up myself but I probably wouldn't find that killer deal.
 

dixontj93060

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Now you got me thinking...

If I didn't care so much about saving money, but wanted to loose weight and have the best taste, what would I choose... Looks like I might have to try Beck's Premier Light only four calories more than Busch NA and 1/3rd the carbs (and you get the alcohol too ;-). (Of course, you probably need to like a Pilsner, i.e., regular Beck's to begin with.)

Get some of this and save money instead of losing weight...
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barstoolmike

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I brew my own beer so I can have what I like & try to lose weight some were else.
Mike
 

powderburner

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Oh, also coat interior of body tube between the MMT and anti-zipper coupler with 1200 degree enamel before installing the coupler.
I have some "500 degree" enamel from one of the auto supply stores, but where did you get 1200 degree stuff? A stove shop?
 

Rocketcrab

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I brew my own beer so I can have what I like & try to lose weight some were else.
Mike
A man after my own heart! Got an IPA in secondary and a holdiay spiced ale in primary. Had to cut way down on my brewing and imbibing due to weight, too. Down 70+ pounds, @ 40 to go. Oh wait, this is a rocketry forum....sorry! :cheers:

But back to this build, man, you sure don't waste any time, dixon!!! Your build just moved right along! I've always liked the rather simple design of the Exacutioner, but I've never wanted to pay the ridiculous prices that Estes wants for it. My oldest son however, did - so I can clone it using his plans and patterns.
 
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dixontj93060

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I have some "500 degree" enamel from one of the auto supply stores, but where did you get 1200 degree stuff? A stove shop?
No its just the Krylon BBQ Grill Paint that can be found at Lowe's or Home Depot, even Walmart. Now how long it can withstand 1200 degrees is in question as Krylon says intermittently. Also, as a correction, I said an enamel (as that is what the automotive engine paint is), but it may be some type of lacquer--Krylon doesn't specify.
 

dixontj93060

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Just getting ready to put the last filets on the launch lugs. Previously brushed on some West System Slow and Milled Fiber mix on the fins for a bit of reinforcement.

BTW, I really love the Bob Smith 15 minute mid-cure epoxy for filets (with about a 1/3rd in volume of micro-balloons). Just seems like just the right dwell time for me to get the filets on, spread well and then go back over with swipe of alcohol. I had ran out of it for a while and was using 5 minute epoxy or very thickened West System, but neither really "felt" right.

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dixontj93060

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As is typical with these smaller rockets, the finish time is much longer than the physical build.

Here are a few updates: the first coat of primer, the second layer of filler, and (after a couple more coats of gray) the final coat of white primer, respectively.

Getting as smooth as my one-year-old grandson's behind.

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El Cheapo

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So you fill tube spirals after the first couple coats of primer and then prim again?
 

dixontj93060

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El Cheapo, that is close. What I do is a first fill after epoxy applications (if it is a big rocket and I'm doing the whole mainframe then I use Super Fil. If it is a small rocket, I just use Bondo). Obviously with no epoxy on the frame here, it was mostly filling the spirals. Sand then with 220 grit. I then put on one coat of primer. Once this dries it really helps me see what I've missed (plus you get some shrinkage of Bondo) so I fill again and resand. In that step you lose much of your initial coat of primer, but you are very sure that all irregularities are filled. I then do two more coats of gray for a small rocket (or four plus with a big rocket then typically alternating with gray and black to make sure I cover all areas) sanding with 320 grit in between. Final coat is always white finish primer.
 
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dixontj93060

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One of the reasons I continue to hold on to this stash of smaller rockets is that I'm using them as a vehicle to dispose of all my old Krylon (assorted colors; full and half cans). Hard to run out of paint on a smaller rocket if you plan appropriately. But after shooting this stuff tonight, oh, how I miss the no muss, no fuss, high gloss and the tackiness of the old Krylon--just hard to make a mistake. Oh well :bang:

In any case, a couple of intermediate paint pics... I'm not that into the standard black/silver Executioner motif suggested by Estes and am deviating quite a bit. Yeah, I know the white on the fore section of the rocket (besides the picture coming out bad) isn't much different than the last coat of primer, but believe me, there is gloss there.

Oh, and I found a use for the Estes shock cord. It is strong enough to hold the fore section up while shooting the paint ;)

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powderburner

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I'm not that into the standard black/silver Executioner motif suggested by Estes and am deviating quite a bit.
I know what you mean about not being too crazy about the original Estes color concept, but I am "color & decoration challenged" when it comes to inventing new paint schemes. I am aware of the recommendation to choose complimentary colors from opposite sides of the color wheel, but that only takes you so far. And too many colors starts looking trashy. So what do you do? I am curious what you come up with for the Executioner, and how much of the kit's decal stock you try to keep.

(We need a talented, artistic person to give us--well, me, at least--instruction in rocket colors, patterns, and decorating in general. Sort of a Painting 101, or Decorating for Dummies.)
 

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