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Estes Solar Warrior #3225 4" Upscale

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Flyfalcons

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I'm not sure why, but it seems with any hobby, that it's always about the *next* project. Even as I was finishing up my current winter build batch, I was daydreaming about a next step. I have seen some very cool L3-sized large builds, and it seems a trend that I've seen and like is upscaling a favorite smaller rocket and doing an L3 with that. So I've been playing here and there on the design software and doing some window shopping for parts needed for one of my current favorite Estes designs, the #3225 Solar Warrior. As I'm sure many here know, it's a big jump to a 6" range project, both in terms of design requirements and cost of materials needed to do it right. So after I picked up jaw off the floor after pricing just the tubing needed, I sort of shelved the idea of a big build and put my thoughts toward my summer flying activities.

Then one day, I was cleaning the table and organizing my parts, when I discovered that I had purchased one too many altimeters during the Black Friday sales events. I'm not sure why that is, but I think I purchased one for my Madcow 2.6" BBII without realizing that it's designed for motor deploy. Thanks to the Chute Release existing, I'm not planning on modifying the BBII for an altimeter. So, I have a gadget that needs a project.

Just recently, another rocket-related thought went through my head. What's the big rush in going for an L3-sized project? There is so much fun to be had in the 4" range that I'm perfectly happy to park myself here for a little while and build some fun stuff. The idea was hatched that I could build a 4" Solar Warrior using inexpensive materials, electronics, motor hardware, and parachutes I already have, and can fly on motors in a price range that won't drive me away from the hobby. So, here goes.

Design goals
-4" upscale Estes Solar Warrior, staying as true as practical to the shape of the Estes kit.
-Low cost materials: Cardboard tubes, wood fins, single altimeter (RRC2+) with motor eject backup.
-54mm Motor Mount: The plan is to mostly sport fly this rocket in the I-J motor range so a 38mm would be sufficient. However, I want the option to go 54, and this will also keep the fin tabs smaller and lighter for just a couple dollars more in material cost (retainer and MMT tube).

Design Specs
-244% Upscale
-4" BT diameter
-63.5" length (244% of the body tube and nose cone of the Estes. Does not include the engine bell), plus 1/2" or so for the motor retainer
-Estimated all up weight minus motor: 5.5 pounds

Design Considerations and Challenges
-The fin plates are two laminations thick, and on the Estes design they are the same thickness as the fins (3/32" balsa). I am using 1/4" birch ply for the fins and canards, and the idea of 1/2" thick ply plates just don't thrill me that much from a drag and weight perspective. So I'm taking some liberty in the design and am using 3/16" ply.
-Rocket engine bell: The Estes kit comes with a plastic engine bell, about 1" long. It adds a cool design element to the kit. The problem is, this kit is going to land on the body tube and not the fins, and I can't think of a great way to make an upscale engine bell that can take a landing impact without damage. So, this element will probably be left off the upscale version. In its place, the motor retainer will protrude from the bottom of the body tube, and the bottom of the aft centering ring will be painted black.
-Break point: The canards sit pretty high up and will be part of the booster section. Because of this, the break point on the rocket is pretty high, leaving marginal space for the main chute and harness. I should be able to counter this with a recessed nose cone bulkhead (ideal), or attaching the nose cone eye bolt directly to the metal tip (less ideal).
-Nose cone: I was unable to find a plastic nose cone in the 5:1 ogive ratio. I ordered the FWFG 5:1 cone from Madcow, which looks great, but unfortunately is sized .024" bigger than the cardboard body tube. Options to fix include increasing the body tube diameter (fiberglass it?), or reduce the diameter of the nose cone at the base (sand it). Neither option is super appealing to me. Any leads on a 5:1 ogive nose cone that is better sized to Madcow's cardboard tube (4.00" OD 3.90" ID) would be welcome.
-Fin shape and size: The Estes kit's decals are a very close fit to the fins and fin plates. Because of this, I ordered Stickershock vinyl before the build started, and will size my fins appropriately to the decals. I'm anticipating the vinyl set should line up nearly exactly with my upscaled parts, but this should eliminate any "oh crap" moments when placing the vinyl down the road.

I don't have an absolute date that I need to have this project done by. There are a couple launches this Spring that I would love to take it to, but if I don't make those launches with the Solar Warrior then I'm not too worried. I have plenty of stuff to fly this year so I'm going to take my time on this and hopefully avoid costly mistakes from rushing to meet a deadline.

I'm currently in the process of getting actual measurements of my Estes build recorded, and my body tubes have been cut to length and spirals filled. I'll be updating as interesting build steps and photo opportunities present themselves.

20170429_093508.jpg


Nose cone.jpg
 

RocketFeller

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Giant Leap sells 3.9 Pinnacle nosecones that might fit better. If I remember correctly, they have raised rings on the shoulder that are meant to be sanded to fit.
 

Flyfalcons

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Dan, thanks for the link to Giant Leap. That might be just what I need if its outer diameter is 4.0". I'll have to find out.

Here is the outline work on the fin. My measurements showed 13.115" root length, and the vinyl was spot on. Note that this outline does not include the tab. I have not yet decided on tab length, and I will get an accurate measurement once the motor mount tube is in.

20170430_132925.jpg
 

ozwald

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I'm not sure why, but it seems with any hobby, that it's always about the *next* project. Even as I was finishing up my current winter build batch, I was daydreaming about a next step. I have seen some very cool L3-sized large builds, and it seems a trend that I've seen and like is upscaling a favorite smaller rocket and doing an L3 with that. So I've been playing here and there on the design software and doing some window shopping for parts needed for one of my current favorite Estes designs, the #3225 Solar Warrior. As I'm sure many here know, it's a big jump to a 6" range project, both in terms of design requirements and cost of materials needed to do it right. So after I picked up jaw off the floor after pricing just the tubing needed, I sort of shelved the idea of a big build and puts my thoughts toward my summer flying activities.

Then one day, I was cleaning the table and organizing my parts, when I discovered that I had purchased one too many altimeters during the Black Friday sales events. I'm not sure why that is, but I think I purchased one for my Madcow 2.6" BBII without realizing that it's designed for motor deploy. Thanks to the Chute Release existing, I'm not planning on modifying the BBII for an altimeter. So, I have a gadget that needs a project.

Just recently, another rocket-related thought went through my head. What's the big rush in going for an L3-sized project? There is so much fun to be had in the 4" range that I'm perfectly happy to park myself here for a little while and build some fun stuff. The idea was hatched that I could build a 4" Solar Warrior using inexpensive materials, electronics and parachutes I already have, and can fly on motors in a price range that won't drive me away from the hobby. So, here goes.

Design goals
-4" upscale Estes Solar Warrior, staying as true as practical to the shape of the Estes kit.
-Low cost materials: Cardboard tubes, wood fins, single altimeter (RRC2+) with motor eject backup.
-54mm Motor Mount: The plan is to mostly sport fly this rocket in the I-J motor range so a 38mm would be sufficient. However, I want the option to go 54, and this will also keep the fin tabs smaller and lighter for just a couple dollars more in material cost (retainer and MMT tube).

Design Specs
-244% Upscale
-4" BT diameter
-63.5" length (244% of the body tube and nose cone of the Estes. Does not include the engine bell), plus 1/2" or so for the motor retainer
-Estimated all up weight minus motor: 5.5 pounds

Design Considerations and Challenges
-The fin plates are two laminations thick, and on the Estes design they are the same thickness as the fins (3/32" balsa). I am using 1/4" birch ply for the fins and canards, and the idea of 1/2" thick ply plates just don't thrill me that much from a drag and weight perspective. So I'm taking some liberty in the design and am using 3/16" ply.
-Rocket engine bell: The Estes kit comes with a plastic engine bell, about 1" long. It adds a cool design element to the kit. The problem is, this kit is going to land on the body tube and not the fins, and I can't think of a great way to make an upscale engine bell that can take a landing impact without damage. So, this element will probably be left off the upscale version. In its place, the motor retainer will protrude from the bottom of the body tube, and the bottom of the aft centering ring will be painted black.
-Break point: The canards sit pretty high up and will be part of the booster section. Because of this, the break point on the rocket is pretty high, leaving marginal space for the main chute and harness. I should be able to counter this with a recessed nose cone bulkhead (ideal), or attaching the nose cone eye bolt directly to the metal tip (less ideal).
-Nose cone: I was unable to find a plastic nose cone in the 5:1 ogive ratio. I ordered the FWFG 5:1 cone from Madcow, which looks great, but unfortunately is sized .024" bigger than the cardboard body tube. Options to fix include increasing the body tube diameter (fiberglass it?), or reduce the diameter of the nose cone at the base (sand it). Neither option is super appealing to me. Any leads on a 5:1 ogive nose cone that is better sized to Madcow's cardboard tube (4.00" OD 3.90" ID) would be welcome.
-Fin shape and size: The Estes kit's decals are a very close fit to the fins and fin plates. Because of this, I ordered Stickershock vinyl before the build started, and will size my fins appropriately to the decals. I'm anticipating the vinyl set should line up nearly exactly with my upscaled parts, but this should eliminate any "oh crap" moments when placing the vinyl down the road.

I don't have an absolute date that I need to have this project done by. There are a couple launches this Spring that I would love to take it to, but if I don't make those launches with the Solar Warrior then I'm not too worried. I have plenty of stuff to fly this year so I'm going to take my time on this and hopefully avoid costly mistakes from rushing to meet a deadline.

I'm currently in the process of getting actual measurements of my Estes build recorded, and my body tubes have been cut to length and spirals filled. I'll be updating as interesting build steps and photo opportunities present themselves.
Hey Ryan, cool build. You may want check out Public Missiles and their Intellicones. I've got a 3" with a 54 bay and just converted a mad cow 2.6" Black Brant nosecone with a 38 bay. Sorry I don't have the 4" to check fit but it says 3.9"
https://publicmissiles.com/images/PNCTN.jpg
 

Flyfalcons

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Thanks Ozwald, I'll check into PML. The 3.9 cone will definitely fit my body tube, the question will be if it matches the outside diameter.

Currently have the BT slotted, with fin guide lines running the full length of the booster to help with canard alignment. The canards will have to be surface-mounted due to the avbay coupler position, and I don't anticipate any issues with that.

Also doing parts fab, aka "My kingdom for a laser cutter". I am a little unsure about the fin plates - the 3/16" ply is actually 5/32 and they look a little on the thin side. I may swap one or both plates with 1/4". I'll worry about that later though, as I need to get the fins attached and can save other tasks until I'm waiting on fin fillets to cure. I decided to do the fins in two pieces, with the main part mounting through the wall and the dorsal fin attached later. This works better with my band saw and makes the tab height measurement slightly less critical than making one-piece fins.

20170430_214355.jpg
 

Nick@JET

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I've followed your building skills and this is Going to be very cool! I love seeing upscales.
Also I agree a 6" to do right is going to be $$ unless using cardboard and lots of scratch build materials.

No rush to L3 as you will be looking for the "next" bigger motor.
 

ActingLikeAKid

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This looks like a great idea. The Solar Warrior is one of my favorite LPR kits.
 

EeebeeE

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This is an elegant rocket and is one I have thought of upscaling as well. This is an OR rendering of the Solar Warrior with a 7.5" airframe (sans solar panels). View attachment Solar Warrrior - Upscale.ork

I read about surface mounting the canards. I do not think it will be an issue because they are that small and they have a rather large root chord. Since you are using paper and wood, I would suggest that you use carpenter's glue to put them into place, and then use 15-minute epoxy for the fillets.
 

Flyfalcons

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Evan, that is exactly what I was thinking with regard to the canards. I'm more concerned with integrity of the fin plates (landing and shock cord entanglement) than any issues with the canards. Sadly, I'm back at work for a week and the usual Spring yard chores prevented me from getting the fins on this week. Until I get home, all I can really do is tweak my .ork file to the dimensions and work I've already done. Next week is L2 attempt week so my mind will be more on flying, but cutting parts always provides a therapeutic break from life.
 

rharshberger

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Ryan, I am following this build as well, looking forward to the finished product. I too wish for a laser cutter.
 

Flyfalcons

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I realize I have not made any build updates. This isn't because I'm trying to be secretive or the build dropping off the pile. I've just been way too busy with summer chores and what not. Anyway, the booster section is coming along well. I cut the main fins in two parts and ran through the wall on the big part. The dorsal fins got surface mounted, then fillets run along the entire length.

20170709_163420.jpg
 

Flyfalcons

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Today I'm attaching the canards to the booster. The third one is currently drying.

20170727_224309.jpg
 

Flyfalcons

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Before attaching the third canard, I set the rocket up for a mockup shot. It won't fully look the part until I get the fin plates on. I was originally going to slot the plates to fit over the top of the fins (like the Estes design), but now I am leaning toward simply pinning them with screws for a little added security.
 

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Flyfalcons

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The fin plates are complete and are in process of being attached. A last minute change from 4-40 screws to 6-32 means I need to enlarge the countersinks for the screw heads.

20170803_120356.jpg


20170803_181139.jpg
 

BDB

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This looks great!
 

K'Tesh

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I'm in... :pop:
 

Flyfalcons

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To position the fin plates, I first drilled a small pilot hole for the rear pin (screw) in the top of the fin. With one pin slightly protruding from the bottom of the plate, this allows me to center the rear of the plate on the fin. After clamping the plate and fin to angle stock, I then use the forward hole on the fin plate as a guide and drill the forward hole to size. I then install the forward pin, remove the rear pin, drill the rear hole to size and install the rear pin.

20170804_091945.jpg
 

Flyfalcons

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All plates have been positioned. Now it's starting to look like a Solar Warrior. Up next is to remove the plates, fill and sand imperfections in the wood, enlarge the countersinks, then permanently glue them in place.

20170804_093413.jpg
 
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