Estes Pro-Series Patriot 2066 Clone Build

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wonderboy

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I'd like to share the build of my Estes Patriot Kit #2066 clone with you all.

Another member of the rocket club I belong to has two beautiful Estes 2066 Patriots, and was the inspiration for this build. Also, I was intrigued by the cluster motor aspect of this rocket.

I hope to use as much of the original design and Estes parts where I can. Step 1 is data collection and parts searching.

First, was to head to the local hobby shop and purchase the nose cone, albeit with a few extra parts:
DSC_5099.JPG


Yup, the Big Daddy uses the same nose cone.

Next up, I ordered body tubes from Estes. I ordered both a 3" PSII slotted body tube (used on the Nike Smoke) and an unslotted tube. I also ordered the couplers from Estes. I know that the slots in the tube for the Nike Smoke are too wide, but they are also short. I wanted the factory slotted tube because of the precision of their slotting compared to my skill in slotting. The through the wall tabs on the fins are 4" long, and these slots are only 2", so I will extend the slot 2" at the appropriate width for my fins. I'm not worried about the larger opening (yet). I'm going to extend the fin tabs all the way to the motor mount, where the tab will be captured/aligned by the two mating cluster motor mount tubes. It will all make more sense once I get to that point in the build.
DSC_5100.JPG


I also bought some 3/16" balsa stock and an Estes nylon 30" parachute while at the hobby shop:
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I ordered and received the stickers from Mark at Stickershock. I also want to replicate the gold top wrap included in the 2066 kit, so I picked up a gold trim Monokote sheet at the hobby shop:
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The vinyl from Stickershock is a little different than the 2066 kit. I'm going to slightly modify some of this vinyl as I use it. I may also just contact Mark later and discuss reproducing the 2066 decals directly, but for now, I have a plan.

Finally, I picked up some 0.063" (1/16" basically) 6061 aluminum sheet. This will be used to reproduce the rear centering ring and the square filler piece. I really like this aspect of the kit and didn't want to skimp on it. I've read on-line about machining aluminum using common woodworking tools, but never have tried it. This will be a learning experience. The plan is a pattern cutting bit in my router, possibly in the router table, using the laser cut centering rings (more on those next) as my template. We'll see how it goes.
DSC_5104.JPG


More to come...
 
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wonderboy

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While waiting for more parts to arrive in the mail, I drew up the centering rings, fins, ribs, and other miscellaneous wood parts and sent an order off to James at Rocketry Works. I'm having all parts laser cut from 1/8" ply. The original Estes kit had you double up 1/16" ply centering rings for each individual ring in the mount, so I'm just skipping that step and going straight to 1/8".

The fins on the original were 1/16" basswood (I'm told). I'm just going with 1/8" ply here too. I've adjusted the size of the fin ribs that supports the fin skins to compensate for the thicker base material. Overall, I'm going to try to make them appear like the originals.

Drawing inspiration from the recent James Duffy videos, I'm going to try out either 1/64" ply or styrene skins on these fins. I really like the idea of skinning with the styrene. I think the fins are strong enough being 1/8" ply that the skins can be considered purely cosmetic. We'll see. I'll need to try out some test samples first to see which way works best for me. Of course if all else fails, I can just use card stock like the original.
 

wonderboy

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I was itching to get going on anything I could while waiting for parts in the mail, so I decided to start with the conduits. I cut the 3/16" stock down to the required 13/16" width. The original Estes kit provided 4 pieces 12" long. Since I had the length, I cut two at 12" and left the other much longer just to give me some wiggle room.
20210531_130543.jpg


I wanted to be able to monitor my sanding progress more easily, so I shot a very light dusting of dark grey primer onto the surface I was sanding.
(sorry, pic missing)

Next up was to start sanding the body tube profile into the backside. I started first by wrapping an entire sheet of 100 grit around one of the 3" body tubes. I started sanding with the balsa on table. I didn't want the balsa flexing if I held it and getting an inaccurate shape sanded in.
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Sanding in progress (note that here you can see the dark primer remaining where I haven't sanded yet):
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I found that the 3" tube was giving me too flat of a profile. Checking the fit against the bare body tube, I was left with gaps at the edges. I switched to a 2.5" body tube and found that this gave me an almost perfect fit. I figure I was probably slightly flattening the tube while sanding. The 2.5" tube gave me enough to compensate for the flattening.

Success!
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Failure!
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Lesson learned here is that starting off right away with the 2.5" tube is just not a smart way to do this. The tube completely hides the balsa strip and you have a very poor view of what you're doing. On the make-up piece (to replace the one failure above) I'm planning on starting with a 3/4" or maybe 1" dowel, which will let me get a nice dish shape started right down the middle, then switch to the 2.5" tube to finish up.

Bottom side profile done. Now on to the top side. More to come...
 
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wonderboy

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While I was working on the conduits on Memorial Day, my motor tubes arrived. I was as surprised as you may be that USPS delivered on Memorial Day.

Tubes, engine hooks, and motor blocks from Rocketarium.com:
DSC_5110.JPG


One nice feature of the engine hooks from Rocketarium, they are sized so that the top hook goes on TOP of the engine block rather than below it. This results in the engine block supporting the small hook and preventing tearout of the motor mount tube during the ejection event. In the original Estes configuration, the small forward hook only has the motor mount tube material to help support the ejection forces trying to push the motor out the back.
DSC_5115.JPG


I still don't have the centering rings, but I figured I'd get the motor tubes cut to length and then glue up two pairs of tubes (which is the first step of the original Estes instructions). This first gluing step can be done without any alignment guides other than a nice flat surface.

I cut the motor tubes to 6.5". I don't have the actual measurement of the original kit supplied tubes, but based on my analysis of the instructions and looking at the lengths of other parts involved I believe this leaves me with 1/16" at the top (maybe it was an 1/8", I don't have my notes in front of me). My Estes yellow plastic BT50 tube cutting guide won't work on this thick walled motor mount tube, so I cut a small length of actual BT-50 and slit it once lengthwise to allow it to open up and slide over the motor mount tube. This worked to provide a nice simple guide for cutting these tubes.
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Tubes cut to length and CA edge reinforced:
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Two pairs of mount tubes, ready for centering ring alignment to glue into a "4-pack".
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Note: I used Epoxy to join the two tubes two each other. It isn't for strength, but rather to avoid shrinkage. I have noticed on many of my larger diameter rockets (BT60 and larger rockets especially) where I've used white glue or carpenters glue on the centering rings to glue the motor mount into the body tube I get a dimple all around the outside from shrinkage. I've also had some motor mounts where the motor is extremely tight (while this same tight motor fits fine on other rockets). I just want to avoid any shrinkage problems. I just am being very careful to keep the usage to the minimum amount necessary so as not to make this thing too overweight. All my builds are overweight, so it's inevitable but I figure I'm not going to just throw in the towel quite yet.

That's about all the progress to date.

Once I get my laser cut parts in the mail, I should be able to make some big progress. That's all for now. I hope to keep this build pretty active, so I expect to be able to provide updates at least weekly if not more often.

Thanks all for reading!
 
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rocketgeek101

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Looking good! Thanks for sharing. One of the members the club that I fly with has one of these. It is a really nice kit, and a good flyer. After a motor CATO last year, he rebuilt it with a single 29mm MMT if memory serves.
 

Back_at_it

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Very cool. I had the original up until a few months ago. I mentioned in passing on the forum that I had one and got a dozen offers to sell it. Finally I accepted but not before taking measurements and making patterns to build a clone. See I never cared for the cluster motors.

I decided about a month ago that I wanted to build a bunch of upscales of some of my favorite rockets. I purchased a bunch of tubes and nose cones from Estes. I already had the Big Daddy nose cone laying around so it was just a matter of getting the tubes and centering rings.

I'll be cutting the fins from lite ply wood and going with a single 29mm mount. I have the ability to do my own vinyl so that reduces the cost. My total investment in parts is under $35 all in. I can build 8 of them for what I sold my original for.

On a side note. Someone get a note to Estes that they need to sell the BD nose cone separate. :) That is after they fix the issue with the shoulder.
 

Nytrunner

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Wonderboy reached out to me to say he thinks he used my drawing packet for his plans, and asked if I'd post it here.

A) He did use my package, I'm happy it was useful, and I'm glad to post it up again for other's reference
B) He used someone else's package, but I'm still posting mine here by his request, lol

And totally unsolicited, some pictures of the rocket I created that packet from;
20200331_191542.jpg
20200331_191614.jpg
Launch1.jpg
 

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wonderboy

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Thanks Nytrunner! Those are the drawings I've been using. You really did an awesome job on them. I appreciate you putting them together and posting them here for others to use.
 

Bruiser

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Nytrunner, glad to see you share them. I've had them and I wanted to share them but I could only remember I found them on the web some where. THat is quite a package you put together on the rocket.

-Bob
 

Nytrunner

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I'm happy to see that folks have found it useful. I created it for fun, and am glad that it'll go on to inspire more clistered Patriots!
 

wonderboy

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I received my laser cut wood parts in the mail. Not shown are the fin ribs and the motor mount fin slot fences.
DSC_5256.JPG


They turned out really nicely, aside from a couple mistakes I made in the file I submitted.

Mistake #1: I didn't confirm the actual thickness of the plywood. I knew it was a nominal 1/8", but in reality it was 0.115". This isn't a big deal, and the couple of places where the thickness matters I've adjusted gaps with shims (more on this later).
Mistake #2: I didn't draw enough of the plywood fences for the motor mount that act as fin slots. Fortunately, I had three complete wood sets cut so for now I can steal from another set. And given that this is a simple rectangle of plywood, it can easily be cut by hand to replace the pieces I'm stealing.

Also note that I modified the fins. I extended the tab all the way to the motor mount and added the slot to straddle the centering ring at that location.

So on to the motor mount completion.

First was to join the previously glued pairs of motor mount tubes to each other using epoxy (to avoid any shrinkage issues) and using the motor mount centering rings to hold the parts in alignment (and being careful not to get the rings stuck in place yet). Also, had to be careful to keep the ends of all the tubes flush.
DSC_5257.JPG


Once that was set, the motor retention hook locations were marked using the rear centering ring as a guide.
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Slots were cut, hooks installed, and the 2nd from the rear centering ring was installed. This ring is the one that ends up half in the aft end of the body tube and half sticking out to accept the boat tail. It is placed with the rear face exactly 1 7/16" from the end of the motor tubes. When this ring ends up 1/2 in the body tube, this will put the aft end of the motor mount 1 1/2" extended which is the length of the boat tail.
DSC_5262.JPG


The remaining rings are glued in place. In my case, I left the motor tubes a little longer than factory which allowed me to use balsa spacers on the work bench to keep the forward most centering ring nice and square to the tubes. This also allowed me to actually add a fillet to the top of this ring which couldn't be done if built per the instructions with this ring flush with the top of the motor tubes.
DSC_5295.JPG


As noted earlier, the fin slot fences are made from material slightly thinner than 1/8". The square notches in the centering rings assumed all stock was exactly 0.125" (1/8") so I made some thin shims from 1/64" ply and CA glued these shims to the ends of the fences.
DSC_5299.JPG

DSC_5298.JPG


The fences were glued into the motor mount slots with medium CA and once dry a fin was test fitted. The fit was perfect. No wiggle, but loose enough that glue won't be completely squeegeed off when inserting the fin.
DSC_5304.JPG

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wonderboy

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I wanted to close out the very top of the motor mount to keep any crud out. The factory instructions only have you close out the bottom of the motor mount (the area between the four tubes). So I cut a small piece of balsa from some 1/4" scrap I had.
DSC_5308.JPG


This was inserted and CA tack glued about a 1/16" down into the motor mount tube gap.
DSC_5309.JPG


The balsa was then covered with a layer of JB Weld to completely seal this area.
DSC_5310.JPG


Almost done! Next, I wanted to close the gap in the fin fences to keep epoxy out of those slots when I install the motor mount into the body tube. So some more balsa scraps were cut to size and CA'ed in place. No JB weld on these. I figure they'll get enough epoxy fillet on them when the motor mount is glued in place.
DSC_5312.JPG


Finally, I installed an oak block to serve as a backing for the rail button screw. I filed a slight concave on the back and roughly rounded off the front face to knock the corners down (so as not to interfere with the body tube). This was epoxied into place and carefully measured (and documented) so I'll remember where it is once this is all glued up and hidden inside the body tube.
DSC_5313.JPG


Motor Mount: COMPLETE!
 

wonderboy

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Next up, I'm going to get the main airframe assembled including joining the upper and lower body tubes, the recovery mount, and in my case cutting the fin slots the full length required. The tube I purchased from Estes was the 3" Nike Smoke body tube and the slots are only 2" long, as opposed to the required 4" long. I am going to add one inch to each end of the existing slot in hopes that the thicker midsection of the built up fin hides the wider opening of the factory cut slot.

First, I had to cut the tubes to the required lengths. The lower airframe section is 21 5/8" long, and the upper is 7. I made sure the aft edge of the fin slot was 1/2" from the aft end of the tube. With that cut made, the overall 21 5/8" is marked and cut at the top of the body tube. I also ordered an unslotted 3" Estes Pro-Series body tube to use for the 7" section.


Here is the layout of the fin slots to be cut. Note how the factory cutout is shorter and wider. The Nike Smoke plastic fin tabs were short and thick compared to the tabs on this rocket.
DSC_5286.JPG


And here they are all cut.
DSC_5288.JPG


Next, I turned my focus to the top of the airframe and the recovery anchor point. First up was to glue the plywood doubler circles to the anchor using 30 minute epoxy.
DSC_5258.JPG


Note the original Estes kit used a wood screw threaded eyebolt. I'm using a machine bolt with nuts and washers on each side. I feel like this may be a bit more robust, and I'm already figuring that I'll be needing nose weight on this rocket anyway (due to my usual heavy building) so I don't mind the little extra weight here.
DSC_5265.JPG


But what's the thimble for you ask? Well, before getting this all assembled into the top of the body tube, I am putting in a kevlar shock cord attach point. I'll use a small length of 750 pound kevlar, with eye splices and thimbles to act as the mounting point for the main shock cord. I really like making these eye splices and they aren't too hard. Here is how I do it.

I use the heavy straight needle from my speedy stitcher as the fid for this.
DSC_5266.JPG

DSC_5267.JPG


The blunt end of the needle is pushed into the end of the kevlar, leaving about 1" sticking out. I give it a few wraps with Tamiya 6mm masking tape make sure to keep everything smooth. The idea with the tape is to create a smooth transition from the needle onto the kevlar and to hold the kevlar to the needle.
DSC_5268.JPG


Next, figure out the overlap around the thimble. There is a rule of thumb for how much line should be buried in the splice. I'm not sure what the rule was (something like 10x or 20x the diameter), but I just go about 5" or 6".
DSC_5269.JPG


With the general spacing figured out the needle is poked into the line at what will become the bottom of the eye. This is really easy with the tubular kevlar. You just have to be careful not to snag a tiny fiber of kevlar as you do this. To work the fat part of the fid through the kevlar, twisting the needle a bit really help wiggle it through.
DSC_5270.JPG


Now push the line from below to expand the kevlar (like an anaconda swallowing an antelope) and work the needle down until the eyelet is formed nicely around the thimble.
DSC_5271.JPG


The needle is still inside the kevlar. Bunching up the kevlar some more will allow you to push the needle back out of the kevlar enough to pull the masking tape and needle free. The line is then smoothed back down and the splice is basically all done... except for the whipping.

-Continued on Next Post-
 
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wonderboy

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Fid exit strategy:
DSC_5273.JPG


Here is the smoothed out shock cord. Note that you can just make out where the line ends inside the splice (where the needle is pointing to the kevlar).
DSC_5275.JPG


It seems that this much overlap provides a very secure eye splice, especially considering that tension on the line tends to grip onto the line inside even tighter and prevents the eye from undoing itself, but I still whip the ends using upholstery thread. I whip the ends using the same way you whip the ends of a braided rope (like you may have learned in boyscouts). There are lots of youtube and internet tutorials on "rope whipping" so I'll leave out those details here. I realize that I should have used some kevlar thread for the whipping , but given that this is located pretty high up in the body tube, the upholstery thread I'm using should last a good while (hopefully).
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I drilled the hole in the recovery anchor, inserted the screw eye, and loctited and tightened the nuts. Here is the finished product.
DSC_5281.JPG


Next was to glue the coupler pieces and recovery anchor into the top of the lower airframe and then join to the upper airframe. First to go in is a short 1/2" section of tube coupler to act as a lower shelf for the recovery anchor to sit on. I let this cure, then installed the recovery anchor followed by the full length coupler (these two at the same time). I used 30 minute for all of this, especially the large coupler to avoid the dreaded glue grab from using white or carpenters glue. When setting the first lower 1/2" coupler section in the tube, I used the anchor plate and upper full length coupling as my gauge to make sure it was set to the proper depth in the body tube. The end result needs to be 2" of couple protruding from the body tube.
DSC_5284.JPG


Finally, once that cured the upper airframe was joined to the lower, and a length of aluminum angle was used to make sure the two were nice and aligned. the 2" of couple in the body tube doesn't necessarily provide foolproof alignment (guess I lied a bit, I must have cut the fin slots in the airframe AFTER these steps... it was last weekend, memory sucks...).
DSC_5285.JPG


Once that cured, I glued in the motor mount (still without the boat tail) making sure to leave the aft centering ring half exposed out of the back of the body tube to accept the boat tail. Given the blocks I added to the top of the fin fences on the motor mount, I was able to keep the glue out of the fin slots. So to maintain proper alignment and spacing of everything I just placed the 4 fins into their slots and stood the rocket upright for the epoxy around the motor mount to settle onto the topside of the centering rings to make sure I have a good bond.
DSC_5314.JPG


I gave the body tube a light shot of Rusto Sandable Auto Primer and then filled the tube spirals with watered down elmers CWF (like the many threads here describe). I do mask of the edges of the seam though just to minimize the mess. With this all sanded and a few more shots of primer and sanding, the body tube is ready to continue with assembly of the boat tail and fins.
 
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mbeels

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Beautiful work, and very nice photos. That sewn harness is a really nice touch.
 

Sandy H.

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Thank you for the tutorial on the eyelet/thimble process. I think I want to try it just because it seems interesting, even if unrelated to rocket stuff. The self cinching of ropes and knots is very interesting to me, as I've never become adept at the process but know that tens of thousands of tradesmen use those techniques every day. Very cool.

Sandy.
 

Nytrunner

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Ive heard the fid technique called a finger-trap previously on the forum. I've never tried it, but it is onteresting to see it pop up every now and again
 

B_RadB

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Really nice technique on the harness, and great build 'thread'!
 
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