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Estes Star Orbiter #9716

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Leo

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When I first saw the Star Orbiter on the Estes "Coming soon" page I knew I had to get it, three to be precise.



It reminded me a little of the old Estes Renegade #1271 with the red and black color scheme.
My present scratch built rockets have the same colors. I have found that this combo is easiest to see in the sky and on the ground.

I haven't seen a build thread of this rocket so I thought I'd post one.

My version will be built as dual deploy and have a compartment for GPS tracker.
It will also be flown for the most part on CTI 29 1-3 grain reloads and maybe on some occasions with Estes F engines.

This rocket will also be my workhorse next to my Estes Ascender dual deploy 2-Stage when I'm flying rockets in the USA.

This thread will also document the flights.

I started off by sanding the fins and rounding the leading edges. They were also strengthened with CA glue:



I assembled the engine mounted with epoxy and slightly deviated from the plans concerning parts placements.
Since I'm not going to use the Estes trifold shock cord holder I went and mounted a Kevlar shock cord to the engine mount:



I don't understand why Estes didn't provide an engine block with the kit so I made my own:



The completed engine mount was then glued inside the lower body tube:



End of part one.
 

BEC

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Man you do nice work.

I kind of tossed one together pretty much stock except that the top 6 inches is a payload compartment (cut the tube, add a coupler, a ply bulkhead and a screw eye). All up weight with a one-color paint scheme was just under 6 ounces.

I thought it interesting that there is no motor block and that the instructions describe how to do a tape thrust ring when using the black powder E16s and F15s.

It flew five times this past weekend at the TCR launch, first on an E16-6, then F15-8 (twice) then F26FJ-9 (twice). It was flown with an AltimeterThree in the payload compartment and a Jolly Logic Chute Release set to 300 feet (and the stock 18 inch plastic Estes 'chute) landings were all pretty nearby, even from just over 2000 feet on the F26 flights.

I am really impressed with how it flies....and will finish painting it and add the decals before it flies again (probably).
 
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BEC

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Some pictures:

On the pad before the first flight. A screen capture from iPhone video of one of the F26FJ-9 flights, AltimeterThree graph of the second F26 flight.


Of course they appear in the opposite order.....

(and I picked up a pack of F15-8s at Hobby Lobby this afternoon with the 40% coupon so I can do it again. It went to 1517 and 1479 feet on the two F15 flights.)

IMG_1371.jpg


IMG_1372.jpg


IMG_1339.jpg
 
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hcmbanjo

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That is some insanely neat glue work. *sigh*
I agree, very clean glue work!
I see some build pictures with glue everywhere and think:
"It would just take a moment with a fingertip to smooth out a fillet."

Nice work Leo!
 

Leo

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Thanks everyone. I take as much care in quality and finish in the inside of model rockets as with the outside.

Today I filled the spirals in the body tubes:



I also strengthened the body tube ends with thin CA glue:



The fins got a heavy coat of sand sealer and were then sanded using the balsa sheet for a smooth and even finish:



End of part two.
 

Leo

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I glued the fins to the body tube with epoxy. I used a template guide to have the fins evenly placed apart:



The centering ring scrap cardboard was used to have the fins aligned to the end of the body tube:



By the way, the instructions state the fins are plywood but are in fact balsa wood.

End of part three.
 

Kruegon

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Rumor has it that originally they were going to be plywood. But they changed it before production. They wanted it to really only fly on the 29mm BP motors. With the balsa fins, it really can't handle the big motors.

I think it was a bad choice from a rocket sales perspective, but a good one from motor sales perspective.
 

hcmbanjo

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The centering ring scrap cardboard was used to have the fins aligned to the end of the body tube:

Great idea on the back end to get the trailing edges even with the back of the tube.
 

BEC

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Rumor has it that originally they were going to be plywood. But they changed it before production. They wanted it to really only fly on the 29mm BP motors. With the balsa fins, it really can't handle the big motors.
Well at least in my kit they are stiff and reasonably firm 1/8 inch balsa. It looks like Leo's fins are a nice C-grain balsa as well - again, nice and stiff.

With the TTW mounting and their relatively small dimensions, I'm not worried about pushing them harder than I have already with the F26. Now a Vmax or a long burn that goes long enough to push going supersonic - no - but heck it goes to 1500 feet on the F15 black powder motor (two flights - 1479 and 1517 feet on F15-8s last weekend) so without adding an EggFinder or something I can't imagine going to an H in it...though a G33 Mellow sure looks interesting.

Heck, I flew a Big Bertha with a 24mm motor mount that is otherwise dead stock on an Aerotech F44 last weekend with no ill effects.....so don't sell the balsa short.
 

K'Tesh

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If the fins were papered, I'm sure it could handle the more powerful engines out there.

As so far as the motor block is concerned, I suspect that Estes finally realized that they can make and sell large kits. However, they'll have to be resigned to the fact that people are sometimes going to want to go even bigger and faster, and they might as well get a portion of the market share, rather than none at all.
 

Leo

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If you look at the picture with the fins you will notice light and dark areas. The light area is hard balsa and the dark area is soft balsa.
I had thought about papering the fins but decided against it because I have never done it before and didn't want to risk damage on this kit. However I do believe that these fins will withstand G motors.
I would have wished ply wood fins with this kit though.
 

Leo

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I strengthened the lugs by soaking the inside with thin CA glue. Afterwards I glued the launch lugs to the body tube.

I also gave the fins several more coats of sanding sealer. These were not sanded down. That process will occur when I have applied the first grey primer.



I applied epoxy fillets to both sides of the fin joints and to the launch lugs (hard to see as they are nearly clear).



The lower body tube assembly is now ready for primer paint.

End of part four.
 

DocBrown

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That's very clean nice work Leo . You have the skills of a surgeon.
 

K'Tesh

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Very nice looking work there Leo.

On the subject of papering. I'm sure you've got some scrap balsa laying around... You could practice using that. And I have created a little tutorial on papering them.
 

hornet driver

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I'm gonna tell ya, that's some of the nicest,cleanest work I've seen in a long long time. Well done !!! Also a very smart move using a black back drop for taking pics, that makes a huge difference . I'll most likely use that in the future!---H
 

Kruegon

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Nice clean work. I CAN make mine look that clean after sanding and shaping. But not on the build side.

My wife wants this kit. I think it's nice. I may build one as well, but I have a very hefty sci-fi and scale list in front of me. Sport rockets are fun to fly, but boring to build compared to the more elaborate scale and sci-fi kits. I do love my partizon though.
 

Leo

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The electronics bay build is complete. I used a BT-60 body tube, cut one side so that it fits nicely inside a BT-60 body tube.
Two ejection charge holders were glued in place. The same goes for the Kevlar shock cord holders.

The Ebay is now ready for painting.



End of part five.
 

Flyfalcons

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Leo, it looks like the Estes retainer might have a larger outer diameter than the body tube - will that interefere with the launch lugs and launch rod?
 

Leo

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Leo, it looks like the Estes retainer might have a larger outer diameter than the body tube - will that interefere with the launch lugs and launch rod?
It could in a worse case scenario but it's unlikely. It depends on the diameter of the launch rod. I'm not worried about it.
 

Initiator001

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Leo, it looks like the Estes retainer might have a larger outer diameter than the body tube - will that interefere with the launch lugs and launch rod?
It is not an issue.
The O.D. of the motor retaining ring is smaller than the I.D. of the BT-60 body tube.
 

Leo

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It is not an issue.
The O.D. of the motor retaining ring is smaller than the I.D. of the BT-60 body tube.
We must have different kits. I can't make photos because mine is taped up.
 

Initiator001

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We must have different kits. I can't make photos because mine is taped up.
My mistake. :facepalm:

I store my Star Orbiter on a stand without the motor ring.

Yup, the ring has a larger O.D. than the BT-60.
 

BEC

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Since I have flown mine five times I can confirm that the OD of the retainer ring - well if you enclose the ribs that are there for gripping - are indeed larger than the OD of the tube. If a rib happens to line up with the launch lug it will bind on the rod....so you have to tighten the ring ever so slightly more to get it out of the way. So a problem more in concept than reality.
 

dmgrime

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Since I have flown mine five times I can confirm that the OD of the retainer ring - well if you enclose the ribs that are there for gripping - are indeed larger than the OD of the tube. If a rib happens to line up with the launch lug it will bind on the rod....so you have to tighten the ring ever so slightly more to get it out of the way. So a problem more in concept than reality.
Thanks for this, and to OP for the build thread. Just opened my box from tower hobbies with a star orbiter in it and planning to get started on it tonight!
 

Leo

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The next step was to build an E-Bay to house the GPS transmitter.

I kept it super simple using a nose cone, a body tube and a coupler that I made from a BT-60 body tube.
At one end of the coupler I glued a paper disk and attached a Kevlar string to it.
The nose cone is held in place through friction fit.

Here the parts:



A view inside the coupler:



The payload section and the nose cone are primed and ready for painting:



End of part six.
 

sl98

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The electronics bay build is complete. I used a BT-60 body tube, cut one side so that it fits nicely inside a BT-60 body tube.
Two ejection charge holders were glued in place. The same goes for the Kevlar shock cord holders.

The Ebay is now ready for painting.



End of part five.

This is an interesting design. Could you post pictures of your sled and pictures of how you seal up the bay?
 

Leo

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This is an interesting design. Could you post pictures of your sled and pictures of how you seal up the bay?
I don't know what you mean by seal up. Both ends are sealed.

Here is example of my BT-55 based E-Bay:

 

sl98

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By seal up I mean how do you cover the large opening where you insert electronics.
 

Leo

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The E-Bay slides into the upper body tube and is held there through friction.
 
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