Estes Little Joe II Build

Discussion in 'Low Power Rocketry (LPR)' started by James Harechmak, Dec 29, 2018.

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  1. Dec 29, 2018 #1

    James Harechmak

    James Harechmak

    James Harechmak

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    The wife got me an Estes LJ2 and an Apogee Saturn V for Xmas. I'm a multi time BAR, been in and out of the rocketry scene since 1977. This will be my first scale build since my Maxi Honest John in 1998. It's gonna be a semi slow build, just ordered a bunch of stuff from erockets lastl night to convert it to a six 18mm motor cluster so I'm building things out of order. Odd out of order subassemblies is a trick I learned building model and R/C cars.


    I have started with modding the centering rings and building the fins. One fin half was poorly molded and will require some putty to fill the seam.
    The top centering ring I cut 18mm holes in will be attached to the motor tubes but the lightened ring will be used to sandwich in a stainless steel ejection baffle. Now to wait for glue and putty to dry.

    IMG_20181229_123609667.jpeg IMG_20181229_112819250.jpeg
     
  2. Dec 29, 2018 #2

    MaxQ

    MaxQ

    MaxQ

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    Ambitious mods you have planned there for the Little Joe II.

    Great kit as is, but there are a few things that James Duffy and George Gassaway helped out with in the original build thread for this kit several years ago.
    Good info on the kit's weak points, the adhesive selection problems (which are important - wrong adhesive on the plastics in this kit will result in a less than spectacular flight, despite the kit recommendations) as well as some good build tips.
    In case you or others had not seen the thread...here it is:
    https://www.rocketryforum.com/threa...-joe-ii-tips-tricks-and-modifications.131767/
     
    Last edited: Dec 29, 2018
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  3. Dec 30, 2018 #3

    James Harechmak

    James Harechmak

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    That's a very informative thread. Thanks for the link. My plastics adhesives of choice for over 30 years have been MEK and methylene chloride based with a smattering of CA, JB Weld, Lab Metal and Plastic Weld epoxy. Been repairing ABS Tamiya chassis since the early 80's.
     
  4. Dec 30, 2018 #4

    James Harechmak

    James Harechmak

    James Harechmak

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    OMG, the RCS units and escape tower are like assembling an old Pyro or Lindberg T Bucket kit. Little to no alignment pins and lots of flash. Glad the ejection pin marks are on the sprues. Very nice representation when completed though. IMG_20181230_124156505.jpeg
     
  5. Dec 31, 2018 #5

    MaxQ

    MaxQ

    MaxQ

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    I'll be following this build. The Little Joe II is my favorite rocket subject.
    I bought three of the Estes releases, one I thought I would build basically stock, with some structural improvements, and one I'd like to convert to cluster using the Josh T. PVC spider system for igniting six BP outboards around a central BP motor.
    Preliminary design and dimensions indicated that same PVC spider set up would work on a Semroc Saturn 1B as well...so I could use it on several cluster projects.

    http://meatballrocketry.com/pvc-spider/
    http://meatballrocketry.com/wp-content/gallery/articles/spider/spiderRD.pdf
     
  6. Dec 31, 2018 #6

    James Harechmak

    James Harechmak

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    I like the spider idea. I've dipped my own e-matches for fireworks and clusters for many years. This looks like a much simpler way to go. I'll probably make an all metal spider. I'm no machinist but I've got access to 3 engine lathes, 2 Bridgeport mills, a Carlton 3ft drill press, band saws, grinders and mig/Tig/stick welders galore at work and plenty of on the clock time to do home projects. A while back I got bored waiting for something to do I turned a scrap of 2 1/16 inch cold rolled into a 1 3/32 dice and last week I started on a ball bearing cannon. IMG_20180419_043635.jpeg IMG_20180821_055203.jpeg
     
  7. Dec 31, 2018 #7

    James Harechmak

    James Harechmak

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    Ran some paint compatibility tests when I got home from work this morning. The 1k clear gloss I have played well with the 2k white primer. Got some paint done and one decal. More testing tomorrow to see if Mod Podge matte finish will attack the clear coat and decals. IMG_20181231_181847147.jpeg
     
  8. Jan 1, 2019 #8

    MaxQ

    MaxQ

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    Well, at least they aren't as fragile as a Revell hot rod kit - like the Orange Crate or Ed Roth kits. LOL
     
  9. Jan 2, 2019 #9

    James Harechmak

    James Harechmak

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    Yes! It was all that chrome. For so many years I didn't understand scraping it off at the glue joints would help tremendously. Anymore I just strip all the chrome off and paint it Wheel Argent or go in a totally non-chrome direction. IMG_20180122_161941.jpeg IMG_20180113_142725.jpeg
     
  10. Jan 2, 2019 #10

    James Harechmak

    James Harechmak

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    Got some odds and ends done this morning. Ran out of medium CyA. At least I can get some more paint done this afternoon before I go to work. IMG_20190102_112824343.jpeg
     
  11. Jan 3, 2019 #11

    MaxQ

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    ...and keep a spare kit when those fragile chrome parts break on the tree....
    "Anymore I just strip all the chrome off and paint it Wheel Argent or go in a totally non-chrome direction."

    There was a great article in one of the Car Model mags that recommended all chrome be stripped and use Alclad: "All that Glitters Looks Phoney".

    DSCN4772.jpg DSCN4775.jpg
    TWP1.jpg DSCN4904.jpg
     
    Last edited: Jan 3, 2019
  12. Jan 4, 2019 #12

    James Harechmak

    James Harechmak

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    I love Alclad for lexan car bodies but never tried the styrene formula. Nice Roth kits. I built a Mysterion before Tamiya paints were regularly available in the US and tinting that bubble top with thinned Testors candy blue was a PITA.

    Got a box of goodies from erockets yesterday and starting with motor mounts this morning and got some matte finish on the capsule and escape tower. I'm sure the roll patterns aren't lined up but the escape tower body tubes isn't glued in place yet. IMG_20190104_142925453.jpeg IMG_20190102_153511445.jpeg
     
  13. Jan 5, 2019 #13

    MaxQ

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    Coming along nice.
     
  14. Jan 7, 2019 #14

    James Harechmak

    James Harechmak

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    Thank you Max.

    Brought the main body to work with me hoping there wasn't a lot on the weekend maintenance list. Got lucky. Filling air oilers, a little bit of welding and replacing a couple worn drive chains and sprockets. Got the base and colour coats done. Maybe in the next couple days I can get the rest of the decals on and s matte coat.
     
  15. Jan 7, 2019 #15

    James Harechmak

    James Harechmak

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    Forgot to add pictures. IMG_20190106_203157003.jpeg IMG_20190106_214658094.jpeg
     
  16. Jan 8, 2019 #16

    James Harechmak

    James Harechmak

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    Decals and matte coat on the upper section. Might get the United States done this morning before I go to bed. IMG_20190108_071110104.jpeg
     
  17. Jan 8, 2019 #17

    James Harechmak

    James Harechmak

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    Dogs decided I needed to get up almost 3 hours early so I got a couple things done. IMG_20190108_125617_374.jpeg IMG_20190108_130337966.jpeg
     
  18. Jan 9, 2019 #18

    MaxQ

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    ...a great build.
    If you load all the motors in - how much nose weight is needed to offset for the CG ?
    I think you'll get some base drag benefit as it is a short fat rocket....but you may want to check.
    One of the last things I did when I loaded up my larger clustered Little Joe II...just to be sure.

    LJ-II%20loaded.jpg
    Little Joe II LDRS 36 2017.jpg Apollo  little joe airstart.jpg
     
  19. Jan 9, 2019 #19

    James Harechmak

    James Harechmak

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    Nice LJ there.

    I'll run it thru rocsim see how it goes first. I think I saw a CG measurement in the instructions or on a build thread so after a sim I'll prep it and swing test. Heads up flights are not a huge problem for me. I think I'm the one one who flies in a 5 county area. And I've got a 5 acre space that used to be the Westmoreland Coal Transloader, long since abandoned and demolished. Local law enforcement finds it entertaining when I let them know I'll be down there "playing" as they put it. 14563407582_bb9c801059_b.jpeg
     
  20. Jan 12, 2019 #20

    MaxQ

    MaxQ

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    For a moment, I thought that was Coalwood.
     
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  21. Jan 13, 2019 at 2:15 AM #21

    James Harechmak

    James Harechmak

    James Harechmak

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    I'm about 4 hours from Coalwood. I'd like to go to the annual Coalwood launch one year.

    Got the baffle in. Time to work on the recovery end. IMG_20190109_071922605.jpeg IMG_20190109_072014805.jpeg
     

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