Estes Mean Machine

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Fore Check

Well-Known Member
Sep 24, 2010
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So I'm thinking about doing a mean machine to use up a bunch of spare tubes I have laying around. (Well, I'll modify it some, but that's another story.)

Question: I laid it out on RockSim, and it only gets a shade under 400' altitude on a D engine. Why does Estes list an 800' altitude on the package and in the old catalogs, 600' in the new ones?

It's been a loooooooooong time since I launched mine, and I don't remember much of it, other than I got it back successfully.
Do you have a RKT file? I'd be glad to run it here to compare results.
It's been awhile since I last flew my Mean Machine also on a D12-5, but I do remember it being up there an awful long time. 400feet seems about right to me... I didn't have the flight tracked.
I also remember a amusing Mean Machine /fishing rod recovery tree top recovery... an yes I did get it back:D
Originally posted by vjp
Do you have a RKT file? I'd be glad to run it here to compare results.

No, I use the demo version (so I can't save it.)

However, here's a parts list if you want to slap together a file.

- PNC60AH (from the nose cone database)
- 4 x BT60, 18" long each (from database)
- 3 BT60 tube couplers, centered on the three joints in the body tubes (from database)
- 1 24" parachute in forward most body tube
- 1 Shock cord (mass object), 3/8" flat elastic, 70" long, behind parachute
- 1 standard 24mm motor mount even with the rear of the rear-most tube (2.75" bt50, 18to24mm centering ring inside the front of the motor tube, standard motor hook mass object, 2 centering rings made of 0.05" thick cardboard to center the motor tube to the airframe
- 1 free form layout fin set, 0.125" balsa (thicker than plan, but it's what I have an abundance of.) Fin set is 1" from the rear of the rear-most tube. (x,y) coordinates for the four points, starting at the leading point on the root edge and going counter-clockwise on the fin are: (0,0) ; (2.75,0) ; (4.0, 2.0) ; (2.325, 2.0)
- 2 x 3/16" launch lugs (from the database) each being 1" long. First lug is even with the front of the rear-most body tube, second is 1" from the rear of the rear-most tube.
I get about 473' with the model built as you describe in Rocksim 7. A little better, but not 800'.

It's not worth losing sleep over, though. Besides, you ARE going to build yours to handle "E" motors, right?:D
Actually, I am going to "copy" the lower 3.75" of the rocket (the fin can) and make it a two-staged version, going D12-0 to E9-6. :cool:
yeah it doesnt go super high. but it is so cool to whatch, my uncle compared it to a big javelin being thrown up.

Hey Fore Check maybe you could put some SRBs on the side of the booster to give it an extra boost
Originally posted by Ryan S.
Hey Fore Check maybe you could put some SRBs on the side of the booster to give it an extra boost

You mean kinda like THESE??? Those look really cool!


I really like the idea of the strap on boosters! Although, I'd make them "permanent" side boosters glued to the exterior of the booster stage.

I'd just put two external BT50's, 3.75" long each on the exterior of the booster. Put an engine block in there for a D mount, and add a short nose cone. Put a 1/4" or so hole between the engine block and the nose cone to vent the engine. The whole thing would pop off and tumble back!

So, the staging would effectively be 3 x D12-0 to 1 x E9-(6 or 8).


Just messing around with RSim, I'd guess somewhere around 1600' would be reached this way (I modified the booster to be a BT70 with three 24mm engines clustered inside to simulate this. Granted, it's not a perfect simulation, but I'm sure it gives the idea.)
Fore Check:
Just adding 3 BT-50 Strap-ons will put you UP there real good! I'm sure you remember Estes Optima BT-80 single D12 brick..Maybe it would make 100' on the single D12, After crashing it with a long burn D12-5 that seemed more like 8 or 9 seconds:( I fixed the front end, added a new PNc-80K, some additional clay to offset the weight of the added component and 1-1/2 the weight of the 3 additional D12-5 motors. Now She SCREAMS! at some point I may pull out the single d motor mount added 2 more to the 5 D12 limit. Anyway.. your Mean Machine has to weigh next to nothing compared to the Optima.. adding 2 or 3 external pads would really take her away:)
I think I have a lift-off of the 4 D12 Thrust augmented Optima to get you going;)

I have all the goods in hand to build my Optima as a 3 x E cluster, I just haven't got around to starting on it yet. RSim predicts an altitude of about 1800' on 3 x E9-8's with no nose weight needed. It should be neat!
I just love my Mean Machine (actually, a copy by another brand) on E9's. Puts it up about 1000-1200 feet. Amazing how small that long rocket looks up that high, a real crowd pleaser.