Estes Vapor (enhanced version) build thread.

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AtomicStorm

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Welcome to the build thread of my enhanced version of the Estes Vapor. My son 6 yrs. old wanted to get into rocketry and has had an estes crossfire that went into orbit permanently. This will be his second rocket and im hoping to give him a look into something a little more powerful and sophisticated. Here we go!
 

AtomicStorm

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First order of business, put a couple coats of some cheap flat black primer on both of the bt60 body tubes. Next i filled the spirals with some bondo filler.
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AtomicStorm

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After sanding the body tube down with some 220 then 400 grit sandpaper and sanding the fins as instructed, i cut out a couple cardboard fin alignment guides by tracing them out on cardboard with the supplied alignment picture in the directions. Then i marked the vertical lines on the body tube to align the fins to. After that i slid them into place in the cardboard guides and tacked them with a couple dots of ca glue on each fin allowing them to dry overnight.
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AtomicStorm

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After letting the fins setup overnight i removed them from the cardboard guides and carefully sanded the joint on the fin where i tacked it to the body tube with ca. Next i applied a fillet of Tightbond 3 Ultimate on each pair of fillets waiting about 15 minutes before i turned the rocket to do the next pair so it wouldn't run or drip. After the tb3 comes a thick fillet of tight bond quick and thick fallowing the same procedure as before. Afterwards i let them dry overnight.
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AtomicStorm

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Did a little shopping online beforehand and purchased some 29mm motor mount tubes from estes, plywood centering rings for bt60-29mm, 3d printed retainer and a 29mm-24mm motor adapter (3d printed.) I glued the retainer to the mmt tube with jb weld and the centering rings on with 30 min. epoxy. Made vertical slats 1/2" to reinforce the centering rings out of popsicle sticks.
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Spitfire222

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Let's get the obligatory "Why don't you just build a Star Orbiter?" comment out of the way. There, done. ;)

Thanks for sharing your build!
 

AtomicStorm

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What motors do you want to fly in it?
Im going to start out with some d's and e's that i have laying around that are single use, then it will get a reloadable 29mm/120 casing. After the rocket is completely finished and painted, i will weigh it and then start out with the least powerful motor i have that will handle the weight.
 
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AtomicStorm

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Let's get the obligatory "Why don't you just build a Star Orbiter?" comment out of the way. There, done. ;)

Thanks for sharing your build!
My son and i where at hobby lobby and he picked the vapor out. If the star orbiter were there, i would have talked him into it. Not the first time i herd this question though lol.
 
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Bruiser

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I built a Vapor with a 29mm mount. It needed larger fins or nose weight to fly with the Estes BP "F" motors. With the extra weight it didn't really sim much higher than with the 24mm mount and Estes "E" BP engines that are easily obtainable at Hobby Lobby.

During the first rebuild I went back to 24mm with it. It's been a cursed rocket for me :( It's rebuilt and I really just want to give it away

I did not sim it with composite motors

-Bob
 

AtomicStorm

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Yeh im hoping the fins will stay on during flight. Thought about building it with ttw plywood fins but im trying to keep the weight down on this build. Ive had scratch builds in the past with balsa fins that had a 29mm mmt and i apoxied the fins on the body tube and had no issues. This time im trying tightbond because ive heard alot of believers, guess we'll see when we move up to the g size grains.
 

AtomicStorm

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I built a Vapor with a 29mm mount. It needed larger fins or nose weight to fly with the Estes BP "F" motors. With the extra weight it didn't really sim much higher than with the 24mm mount and Estes "E" BP engines that are easily obtainable at Hobby Lobby.

During the first rebuild I went back to 24mm with it. It's been a cursed rocket for me :( It's rebuilt and I really just want to give it away

I did not sim it with composite motors

-Bob
I will sim it at home with the motor im using that day and add appropriate weight to the nc if need be. Did you build it with Ttw plywood fins?
 

Bruiser

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Yes. lite ply with ttw fins. I made the outline of the fins 1/4' larger and I think I added about an ounce of nose weight. Remember though that was with the Estes F15-6 29mm motors. They are quite heavy.

-Bob
 

AtomicStorm

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Yes. lite ply with ttw fins. I made the outline of the fins 1/4' larger and I think I added about an ounce of nose weight. Remember though that was with the Estes F15-6 29mm motors. They are quite heavy.

-Bob
Yeh i was considering ttw and ply fins but i was afraid that would add too much weight on the aft portion of the airframe. The first couple of flights will be 24mm d motors to see how stable the flight is. If all is lost i will open the spare vapor kit i have and try it with ply and ttw, but i have a good feeling about it, the fins are much longer then the orbiter so the surface area should be stronger, we'll see.
 

AtomicStorm

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Next step is to paper the fins tip to tip. Used a spent gift card to squeegee the glue out. Pre-preged the paper before application to prevent bubbles. I will let them sit overnight and hit it with some 400 grit sandpaper tomorrow.
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mbeels

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Very nice, that's coming out well. It looks fully capable of entering permanent orbit also!
 

AtomicStorm

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Very nice, that's coming out well. It looks fully capable of entering permanent orbit also!
Im going to start out small and go up on the motor size, re-entry and recovery will be part of the flight plan. Lol
 

AtomicStorm

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Next up, fitting the motor mount in the aft can section. Used a 1/4" piece of coupling that came with the kit and stick measured then epoxied in place for the forward centering ring to but up against as added support. Using some kevlar cord, looped around the motor mount a couple times, double sliding knot with a little epoxy. Notched a slot in the forward centering ring for the Kevlar cord to pass through. Finally before gluing the motor mount I measured up to about an inch past the body tube where it separates and applied some thick black gorilla tape to protect the kevlar cord so it wont zipper the bt and I don't ever have to replace it. Then I applied epoxy right behind the quarter inch section of coupling that I just epoxied and inserted the motor mount flush up against the coupling. When the motor mount was about a quarter of the way in I applied another ring of epoxy where the aft centering ring stops at. Made sure that I had a casing in the motor mount so the motor retainer would be flush with the body tube when I epoxied everything in place. Finally I finished with some wood glue on the aft section of the centering ring because i could get epoxy in the space and i think the wewd glue works better anywayz ooook nexxxt.
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AtomicStorm

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Grabbed the kevlar cord coming from the motor mount and measured with my eyes about 10 ft and tied a special 10 loop av bay hole knot. I was careful to sand everything for adhesion on the thingiverse bt60 mk2 av bay thanks to cwbullet and his good ol' southern hospitality! Notched a small piece of dowel with my dremel tool, tied a basic dirty granny knot around it apoxied the absolute mess out of it. Tried to clamp but the knot on the other side stopped me, had to improvise with tweezerclamp5000 annnnd dry time overnight.
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AtomicStorm

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Attached the other end of the kevlar cord to the av bay. Applied ca glue around the ends of the body tubes for support. Assembled the rocket to make sure everything fits correctly then disassembled for paint.
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AtomicStorm

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Using a couple cans of this gloss black i put a couple thin coats a few minutes apart. The can says a minute apart but i like to wait just a few more minutes and allow the paint to thicken just a bit more so there wouldn't be any runs since I like to put things on a little thick.
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AtomicStorm

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The ripstop chute is a little too big. Will probably make a small x pattern chute or trace out an estes chute on ripstop. For now, ill throw a couple 18" estes plastic chutes for the main deploy.
 

neil_w

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Boy when you said "enhanced version" you weren't kidding. :oops:

BTW when I first looked at the picture in post #22 I really had to think for a moment whether that *was* the paint job... looks better and more interesting unpainted than a lot of rockets do when finished. :)
 

AtomicStorm

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Well i haven't decided on what im going to do with the paint yet. Thought about doing a orange nc faded into black with a gold or chrome retainer. I want to do my sons initials in white trace. So the black is the base you could say.
 

AtomicStorm

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Still have to mount the flight computer, battery, inferred vid camera, charge wells you know, the basics.lol
 

AtomicStorm

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I should have mounted the launch logs before but I think now would be a good time. I loaded a E size motor which will be on the lower to middle range of the motors that will go into this for appropriate weight and then I found the balance point. This is where one launch lug will go, the other will go on the fin right behind it trying to give them as much space as i can with the aft lug.
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AtomicStorm

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Boy when you said "enhanced version" you weren't kidding. :oops:

BTW when I first looked at the picture in post #22 I really had to think for a moment whether that *was* the paint job... looks better and more interesting unpainted than a lot of rockets do when finished. :)
I was thinking, hey this looks pretty good for a couple coats. Even though i have already put bondo filler, and a couple coats of primer. If you do just give it 1 or 2 quick coats, i think it would definitely cut down on weight vs. 3 or 4 coats and a couple clear coats.
 
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