Estes Rocket - Mini Mean Machine Question

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K0demonkey

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I recently bought the Estes Mini Mean Machine. My hobby shop recommended Insta-Cure Super Glue.

Everything was going fine until it came time it insert the engine mount into the tube.

The glue cured too fast and as a result the engine mount is not fully in the tube. I have no idea how to remove it and re-set it.

My question is will this affect its flying/launch? If I put some masking tape on the launch rod so it clears the pad will that be ok?

Thank you for any help.

Here is a photo of it.

00100dPORTRAIT_00100_BURST20200518150101441_COVER~2.jpg
 

mbeels

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FWIW, in the future white glue (Elmer's glue-all) is a much better choice for this step. Unfortunately that doesn't help you much now, nor is there an easy answer, I think. You could attempt to add an additional length of your body tube to include the rest of the mount, but then you need a way to attach it solidly to your current body tube. The other option may be to remove the engine mount completely (which likely means destroying it), cleaning out the inside of the body tube, and starting over with the engine mount. Sorry, and good luck...
 

mbeels

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BTW, welcome to the forum, I see this your first post!
 

neil_w

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Welcome to the forum.

I recently bought the Estes Mini Mean Machine. My hobby shop recommended Insta-Cure Super Glue.
Good lord. :rolleyes: That is... a shockingly bad recommendation. You will notice the rocket instructions did not recommend that. Tough lesson learned.

If you haven't glued in the shock cord yet, definitely do not use the super glue for that. Use white or yellow glue. Actually, put the super glue away and use white or yellow glue for everything involving wood and paper. It is useful for many things but that ain't it.

The glue cured too fast and as a result the engine mount is not fully in the tube. I have no idea how to remove it and re-set it.

My question is will this affect its flying/launch? If I put some masking tape on the launch rod so it clears the pad will that be ok?
Hoo boy, that's going to be tough. It looks to me like the motor mount tube is not in straight, which is really going to be bad for flight. It is also being held in only by the front ring, which is only being held in by the CA (aka super glue). Under no circumstance would I fly the rocket in this condition.

At the moment I can't think of a good way to recover what you have there, but will ponder.

I strongly recommend you go read the Model Rocket Building Tips and Techniques over at the NAR website: https://www.nar.org/educational-resources/model-rocket-building-techniques/. The "Best Tools" section talks about glues.
 

n27sb

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Welcome to the forum and rocket building.
You have a few options, If it is solid and you can't remove it you could take a short piece of body tube and split it with a single cut. That way it would overlap your existing tube. I see a few problems.
1 The mount looks slightly cocked off lateral. It may not fly straight.
2 This will shift your CG slightly Aft. You can add weight in the nose to compensate.

Or, You could make a lengthwise cut in the body tube on 2 sides and probably be able to release the mount. Or make 4 cuts. Like surgery on a banana. Do them adjacent to the fins and and the you can put it back together with the fin fillets.

Speaking of fins, it is always easier to sand and shape your fins PRIOR to gluing them in place.

good luck

steve
 

Scott_650

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Well. You do have a bit of a situation there. For future builds take that tube of CA, find a nice high shelf, put it up there and forget it exists. Seriously, all you need to build balsa and paper LPR rockets is plain old white glue - Elmer’s Glue All works fine though if you want to start a lively discussion amongst rocketeers just ask the which adhesive is best question o_O

Now back to your problem. The Mini Mean Machine is a very stable and forgiving design, you probably could just wrap some masking tape around the exposed motor mount tube and, maybe, have a safe flight. Doubtful that the range safety office (RSO) at a club event would allow you to fly it but there’s a better than 50/50 chance it’ll fly ok in your backyard. Frankly though, that’s not good enough so let’s see if we can fix it.

If I had this happen I would, carefully, cut the fins off, sand the attachment points smooth, take a length of BT-20 tubing from my scrap box, cut a piece to cover the exposed mount, cut another section - make sure this section is as long as the root edge of your fins, slot that section so it can slide over the new aft tube and the existing body tube like a sleeve, glue the new bits up with ordinary white glue, carefully sand the root edges of your sliced off fins until all of them are even and square, then, again with plain white glue, reattach the fins ensuring that you space them evenly and avoid the slot of your tube “sleeve”.

Since you probably don’t have (multiple) boxes of random rocket parts here’s an option - take the length of tube you need from the forward end of your rocket. Yes, it’ll make it a bit shorter, but as I said earlier, the MMM is a very stable design - shortening it a few inches won’t affect how it flies.

Model rocketry is all about problem solving - and when you’re done you have something you made that does something - fly into the air with fire and smoke! How cool is that?!
 

Hangfire

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I would use an xacto saw to cut the motor mount off flush with the body tube (between the green centering ring and the body tube), then work the hook in a bit deeper, unroll the old mm from out of the green centering ring without damaging the ring, then and glue the green cr into the back of the rocket. A fix with no extra parts needed but with a slightly shorter motor mount.
 

mikewrt

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Anybody worried about using CA to attach the fins to the air frame?
 

OC-Patrick

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Hi - and welcome to the forum!

Lots of good ideas above.

I don't know how much CA was used on the motor mount, but would you be able pull the whole thing out with your fingers or pliers? If so, you might be able to salvage it if the body tube survives and give it another go.

If not, maybe cut off the tube just above the fins, remove the fins and peel off the tube to salvage the motor mount. The Mean Machine will be a bit shorter but should not be that noticeable.

If the motor mount was not able to be salvaged, you could have a Mean Machine able to launch with standard motors (18mm), or purchase the adaptor (18mm to 13mm) to still launch with mini motors - still will need an engine block.

making mistakes (or getting bad advice) is part of the learning curve with model rockets - don't be discouraged, let us know what you do!
 

K0demonkey

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Thank you all for the suggestions. I should have known better than to use the superglue. I have not built a rocket since 7th grade. I am 51 now, but again I should have known better.

I am wondering if I can get spare tubes from the hobby shop and do as was suggested only cut off the tube slighty above the fins, glue another tube on the same length, re-do the engine mount ( with White Glue :p ), and the re-attach the fins if I have not borked them.
 

mikeyd

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I would carefully remove the fins, and cut the body tube off just above where the engine mount went in. Then caefully peal the layers of the old body tube off of the engine mount. Then I would then re-install the mount using white glue, in the now shortened body tube, and re-attaché the fins to that. This rocket is so long and over-stable the 2 to 3in you shorten it by, will not affect the stability.
 

mikeyd

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but before you remove the fins, you might just try cutting the tube just below the fins, to see if that will remove enough to pull the mount out.
 

kuririn

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Just one point: If CA was used on the motor mount and centering rings, I would not reuse them. The pores of the paper are already sealed, the white glue will not absorb into the paper and the bond will be weak.
Just my 2 cents.
 

KenECoyote

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Looks like you're doing great so far! Part of building rockets is having 🤦‍♂️ moments like this. I've had plenty, but I like problem solving, so it kinda works out. lol

If I had the same issue, I would try:
1) Make a straight line from the bottom of the tube up...same as instructions note for the launch lugs
2) cut the tube right above the fins or further up (about 1/2"-3/4" above where the end of the motor mount goes)
3) use a slender Exacto blade or tiny sharp screwdriver and carefully cut/punch the forward engine mount ring making sure not to cut the body tube. You can cut more in towards the ring since you can fix later with masking tape and lots of glue.
4) Clean out cruddy ring leftovers carefully using a round file or similar.
5) glue the mmt back in correctly using white glue or similar
6) get a coupler (or make one with heavy card stock) and glue it onto either the bt or mmt part, then using line as reference, glue to other part.

Note that this solution really depends on a few factors and I've based on what I can do with my experience and I've never built this kit. Critical point is not to cut the body tube when trying to cut the mmt ring loose!

Good luck!
 

neil_w

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Two quick notes:
1) That engine hook is sticking pretty far out with no support. To ensure that the hook holds the motor in, I'd put a wrap of blue tape around it and the motor when launching.

2) If the roots of your fins absorbed any significant amount of CA glue (unclear what your original gluing process was), they won't bond to the body tube with white glue. I'd sand the root edge down until you expose some fresh wood. I don't think you'll have to go too far (you don't want to make the fins too much smaller). Make sure the root edge is straight and square before gluing.

In my original comment, I overlooked the fact that this is a *Mini* Mean Machine, so it should be more forgiving to less-than-perfect glue joints.

Stay with it. :)
 

K0demonkey

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Progress so far. Just started to primer it. I am a horrible with a spray can, but doing the best I can. :)

The top half is going to be Fluorescent Green. I though that would make it easier to see.

IMG_20200519_140911.jpg
 

Donnager

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If you are going to build a lot of low power stuff, my biggest savior has been the Estes Designers Special.

It has balsa sheets, several nose cones, lots of couplers, centering rings, fin templates, body tubes, engine hooks, etc.. If you have this around, problems like these seem less significant.

Good luck.
 

RocketRev

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I know that this is going to sound very much different than what you're hearing literally from everybody else who has spoken up so far, but I almost exclusively use super glue (cyanoacrylate adhesive or CA) to build my model rockets. However, I only use the very thick CA's that give you about a minute to get everything into place. Then I use a tiny drop of the CA catalyst and wham, its all solid.

Yes, Yes, I hear and really do understand all the Elmer's white glue users. It works. It works great! I used it for years. But the thick slow cure CA also works great. But just like every adhesive out there, you have to use it correctly. Instant set CA also has its uses, but only where you have parts that CAN'T move or shift position on you which isn't very often in model rocketry.

BTW - I'm pretty sure that your "fix" will work just fine. You did indeed get some excellent advice about how to fix the problem. Well done. I just thought that you ought to hear a different perspective than the "NEVER USE CA" crowd.

Brad, the "Rocket Rev.," Wilson
 

KenECoyote

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I know that this is going to sound very much different than what you're hearing literally from everybody else who has spoken up so far, but I almost exclusively use super glue (cyanoacrylate adhesive or CA) to build my model rockets. However, I only use the very thick CA's that give you about a minute to get everything into place. Then I use a tiny drop of the CA catalyst and wham, its all solid.

Yes, Yes, I hear and really do understand all the Elmer's white glue users. It works. It works great! I used it for years. But the thick slow cure CA also works great. But just like every adhesive out there, you have to use it correctly. Instant set CA also has its uses, but only where you have parts that CAN'T move or shift position on you which isn't very often in model rocketry.

BTW - I'm pretty sure that your "fix" will work just fine. You did indeed get some excellent advice about how to fix the problem. Well done. I just thought that you ought to hear a different perspective than the "NEVER USE CA" crowd.

Brad, the "Rocket Rev.," Wilson
Additionally, last I checked, Aerotech rocket instructions note to use CA. From Cheetah & Initiator instructions: "ASSEMBLY INSTRUCTIONS: (Use medium viscosity cyanoacrylate cement.) "
 

neil_w

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Additionally, last I checked, Aerotech rocket instructions note to use CA. From Cheetah & Initiator instructions: "ASSEMBLY INSTRUCTIONS: (Use medium viscosity cyanoacrylate cement.) "
Do they then also recommend epoxy fillets?
 

KenECoyote

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neil_w

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Nope, not that I've seen. Most of the kits just say to use CA and some newer ones say "OR 5 to 15 minute cure Epoxy". Sumo says "AND" epoxy because it's used in the piston system strap from what I recall. The fins have molded "fillets" and "lock" in, so supposedly no need.
Very interesting. It does say
NOTE: The unique AEROTECH FIN-LOK™ fin mounting system carries and distributes aerodynamic and thrust loads throughout an integrated rocket structure in a manner found in large aerospace vehicles. Loads are primarily borne by structural members and not cement.
So at least as far as the fins go, they're not really relying on the glue for that much.

I still wouldn't choose CA for a traditional paper and wood construction, but for sure there are an amazing number of different ways to build a rocket.
 

KenECoyote

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Very interesting. It does say
"NOTE: The unique AEROTECH FIN-LOK™ fin mounting system carries and distributes aerodynamic and thrust loads throughout an integrated rocket structure in a manner found in large aerospace vehicles. Loads are primarily borne by structural members and not cement. "
So at least as far as the fins go, they're not really relying on the glue for that much.
I still wouldn't choose CA for a traditional paper and wood construction, but for sure there are an amazing number of different ways to build a rocket.
Agreed. I actually really enjoy working with carpenter's glue over epoxy or CA...just like being a kid again and clean up is so easy. Trying to get enough patience now to do epoxy fillets all over a Viper IV (including the lower 4 motor tubes). :p

Sorry to sidejack this thread, but one more point I'd like to note is that I liked how easy and quick it was to build the 4 Aerotech rockets I had using CA and the "fin-lok" system; however at one point I had CA on the parts and couldn't get one fin to snap in place...almost ended up a disaster until I finally pulled it loose, shaved down the locking parts a bit and redid it. CA isn't at all forgiving!
 

RocketRev

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For "snap in place" and just about every other kind of part out there that has to fit thru any kind of hole or slot, test fitting the parts before any adhesive is used is always a really good idea. It doesn't matter which adhesive you're using.

Brad
 

neil_w

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Looks good! What green paint is that?
 

mbeels

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Yes, good luck with the first flight! Let us know how it goes.
 

PXR5

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It came out nice after all that! :)
Good job and welcome to the forum.
 
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