Estes Vapor For Dual-Deploy

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A.K.A. 'Mr. HoJo'
TRF Supporter
Dec 4, 2016
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Birmingham, AL
Interested in hearing from anyone who might have constructed an Estes Vapor #7294 for dual-deploy recovery. I have an eye towards building one to allow for more practice with dual deploy at our club's field, which is currently low and mid-power only. I know I'll need to construct an AV bay, and have wondered what others have used in the past, problems encountered, etc. Photos of your DD Vapor would also be very helpful.

Also, I am considering substituting a fin can instead to make the rocket more robust, and survivable. The increased drag would be a bonus in some ways, since the goal isn't altitude performance, but rather to simply get in a large number of flights, experiments with two different altimeters, tracking, etc. Has anyone constructed the Vapor using a pre-made fin can? Which one did you use? Grateful for any advice.

Thank you for the response. Any chance you could post some pix of your Vapor, Star Orbiter or Hi-Flyer XL in terms of the AV bay. Also curious about which parachutes you used for the drogue and main.

Here you can see the set up on my Hi Flyer XL just because it was closest. The basic kit is the orange body and blue nosecone. I replaced the standard shockcord with a section of kevlar. It can fly on standard 24mm motors with delays.

Add on is the white tube, the red coupler and the laser cut plywood avbay that come from Apogee. Avbay is built per instructions. When I want to fly DD, its just a matter of adding the avbay with white tube, connecting the kevlar from the lower body to the lower attachment of the avbay, a kevlar section with parachute to the nose and upper attachment of the avbay, and deployment charges. I use 1ml plastic vials with an ematch and 1/2 a gram scoop of 4f BP. Apogee event is drogeless and main is set for 300 ft and a 12" nylon parachute.

For the vapor and star orbiter, I use the upper tube of the kit in place of the add-on white tube but everything else is the same.

As you can see, the Quark and battery fit fine in the avbay but they are a wee bit snug.
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That's a much larger battery than you need for a Quark... if you can find a 200 mAH or smaller LiPo it will work just fine. I have a couple of 180's that I got from Hobby King a few years ago, but I don't know if they still sell them or not... they seem to discontinue batteries on a regular basis.
That's a much larger battery than you need for a Quark... if you can find a 200 mAH or smaller LiPo it will work just fine. I have a couple of 180's that I got from Hobby King a few years ago, but I don't know if they still sell them or not... they seem to discontinue batteries on a regular basis.
Very true but got 6 of these dirt cheap so I use what I got. If I had to buy for just this setup, I'd look for a 250mAh
Very helpful, thank you. Sparked some great ideas. Thinking about substituting a BT-60 fin can inside of the stock fins. The idea is to make something that is super sturdy and damage-resistant. The whole purpose of this build is to construct a low altitude park flyer for our club's low/mid-power field. Get in plenty of DDD and tracker flights to build experience.

Considering having a fin can 3D printed for this rocket as well just to increase the ruggness of the rocket, especially as I'm learning to fly DD. My experience to this point has been limited to using the JLCR, so this is all new to me.

Would the Estes Star Orbiter be a better choice for this application?
I build them as light as possible with epoxy. So they bounce. If a fin snaps, it's no big deal to glue back on.

Maybe I'd 3D print just the fins. But the Highflyer XL, and Star Orbiter fins aren't exactly fragile. I've had good luck with them. 3D print your Av bay and call it a day. Save the fin can for a scratch built rocket.

CA seal the fin bottoms. Thin hand smeared coat of Zpoxy resin on the fins, then sanded, and repeated.
Certainly an option. My flying days are very limited due to heavy demands at work. So I want something highly survivable that can be flown multiple times in a single launch day. Want to build DD experience quickly. Thought about a fiberglass rocket, but the cost of initial construction goes higher, plus each flight is more $$.

Low and slow works well for this application, so the added weight isn't a problem, but perhaps even a good thing. Being able to see the entire flight profile aids in learning.

This fin can for the BT-56 Enerjet can be upsized in printing to fit a BT-60.
Papering the standard balsa fins make them very durable. The Star Orbiter is the better option as the fins are through the wall and the kit is set up for 29mm. Any of the 3 kits I listed woukd be plenty strong with papered fins.

There is an upgrade package for $9 to plywood rings and fins for the Star Orbiter if you don't want to paper the fins.
That would make a Star Orbiter virtually indestructible assuming it didn't come in ballistic.

Build a Star Orbiter with the upgrade kit, the DD avbay from Apogee and an Eggtimer quark. You can launch as fast as slapping in a motor, screwing down 2 ejection ematch vials and loading an igniter. A freshly charged battery should be good for a half dozen flights without issue.

Future mods could be high altitude flights in the very slow burn AT motors like the G12 with an Eggfinder Mini TX in the nosecone. Flights to over a mile high, GPS tracking and dual deployment. Total investment is less than $150 for everything.
Oh...I like that suggestion. Allows it to fill the short-term need of building DD experience quickly, and doesn't just end up setting on the shelf in the future. Plus I love the upgrade kits I've purchased from Vander-Burn in the past. Ordering it now. Great call.
The Apogee Components BT60 AV bay is a very good product. I used one in a scratch build and was very pleased with it. I have 12 flights on the rocket. Mine has a Quark with a 350mah lipo. The 350 is a tight fit.
Grab their BT60 baffle while your there.

I like the challenge of making my own from couplers, but their kits are nicer.
Ordered the Apogee BT60 AV bay, and the upgrade kit for the Star Orbiter. The plywood fins make a lot of sense to me, and I love the idea of having a reliable park flyer capable of higher performance when needed. Everything is ordered, can't wait to start the build. Thanks to all on RTF for the advice. As a newcomer to DD, it's very helpful.

Any thoughts on ejection charge wells for this small rocket? And has anyone tried the new Estes Startech igniters for DD ejection charges? Suitable for this application?
Ematches from your favorite source with plastic vials.
Drill a small hole in the bottom of the vial and feed the match in so that the head is about in the middle of the vial. Glue the wire in place with hot melt glue or yellow glue. Trim the wire so that it extends just a few inches past the avbay bulkhead when connected to your electronics. Load in 1/4 to 1/2 gram of 4F BP, close the vial and wrap with tape.