Estes Saturn V build question

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Well-Known Member
Jul 19, 2014
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I got this kit for Christmas, and it looks like I'll probably keep it stock for the most part.

One concern I do have is how far the motor is recessed into the body. I assume this is done to help move the CG forward a bit. I'm sure it won't get flown as often as some of my other rockets, but at the same time, I still want it to last more than a handful of flights. My thought was to lay down a single layer of 3/4 oz fiberglass inside there to help keep the rear end of the tube from charring from repeated launches.

Before I do this, I just wanted to ask anyone who has launched one numerous if the charring is an actual problem or am I just overthinking this?
Is this going to fly on a D motor? If so, I'd stay as far away from ANY added weight as I could.
E18 is probably the smallest motor I'll put in it, more likely an F24. That would literally be the only departure from the stock build.

I was reading through your blog yesterday morning at my weekly Chick-Fil-A breakfast. :)
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You don't want to add any more weight to the back end.
You might be overthinking it -
Sometime a coat of wood glue is enough to prevent any charring.

Here's more information on the Saturn V than you'll ever need! - V

+1 on what Chris said. Any added mass at the aft end is a Very Bad Thing, and you'd probably need to fly the thing more than a hundred times before scorching became an issue.

Also, he's not kidding about just how valuable his Saturn V build tutorial is! Chris's website was instrumental in guiding my daughter and I through our S-V build several years ago!

Looks like you got your question answered... I'll just toss this in...

Copy your transitions on cardstock, and practice with them. You might not even need to use the originals. In my experience, if I don't try a copy first, I'll fowl (pun intended) it up, and won't have any way to recover w/o buying a 2nd kit. I learned this building cardstock models of birds.
The recess may be for stability, but there's a display insert you'll build that fits up in the bottom. This has the 5 nozzle bells for the F-1's of the S-IC. You remove this for flight.

My Secret Santa was very generous and gifted me a 2157 this year, so I'm going to build a second one, this time with frequent flying in mind. I plan to:

1. Build with a 29mm motor mount.
2. Use ply centering rings.
3. Moldin Oldies fin cans and fins.
4. Moldin Oldies capsule and tower.
5. Nylon chutes.
6. Ejection baffle system.
7. Pro II shock cords.

I'll fly it on RMS 24mm and low end RMS 29mm.

(This is my initial plan in mind, subject to change per suggestions/advice here when I start)
BTW....I did a build thread on mine a few years ago, and referred to Chris's blog is THE definitive source for building the Estes Saturn V and mine would not have turned out nearly as well without his help and guidance.
The only charring on mine was from having the rocket too close to the blast deflector.
+1 on Chris' Blog
+1 on E-F motors. An E28 is perfect for this kit built stock.
Thanks for the tips guys. I did decide to go with the Moldin Oldies fairings and fins just to simplify the build a little. I've been working pretty slowly on it and just have the motor mount tube and 3rd stage coupler assembled at this point. I used some Kevlar for the loop instead of the shroud line thread and reinforced the attachment point with a piece of scrap cardstock. Maybe not 100% necessary, but again, I want to keep this flying as long as I can.
I haven't decided on recovery yet. The stock build has 3 chutes....2 for the main body and a third "rigged" to carry the upper stage horizontal to land the tower as gently as possible. I'm thinking with the Moldin Oldies solid capsule and tower, I can eliminate that mess and just use a long Pro II shock cord and a single a big 36" maybe, depends on final weight after I'm done.