Estes Vapor

Discussion in 'Mid Power Rocketry (MPR)' started by Bruiser, Nov 25, 2019.

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  1. Nov 25, 2019 #1

    Bruiser

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    Hmmn, what's this doing in Mid-Power? The Vapor is 24mm rocket, correct?

    Not this one. A lot has been written about it being a Star Orbiter in sheep's clothing and I though that's not fair. It just so happens that I have a couple of 29mm mount mounts from Star Orbiter kits that I stole parts out of. When I saw a Vapor at my local Hobby Lobby, I decided to go for it.

    Besides the size of the motor mount the other difference is that the Vapor fins just glue to the body tube while the Star Orbiter uses ttw fins. Careful measuring and a few slices with a single edge razor blade took care of the fin slots for me. You might also notice the 29mm motor tube installed.

    Vapor Fin Slots.jpg


    Next was the fins. I needed some ttw fins and I debated about papered balsa, basswood and ply. I actually cut out sample fins and weighed them before I decided. Of course balsa was the lightest followed by the light ply I had and Basswood was the heaviest. I didn't really like any of them because there was a little more flex at the end than I liked so I went to Hobby Lobby and bought some of their craft ply. It was heavier but had little to no flex so that is what I have gone with.

    Vapor Fins.jpg


    Since the kit has a coupler it seems a waste for it not to live up to it's potential so I turned it into an ejection baffle. This one is a new design for me. I hope it works :)

    Vapor Baffle.jpg


    Here it is installed in the lower body tube. A Kevlar lead will come off the screw eye and transition over to braided elastic.
    Vapor Eye Screw.jpg


    I am going to wait to attach the upper tube until I get the fins mounted. I am working on them now.

    -Bob
     
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  2. Nov 25, 2019 #2

    Bruiser

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    Don't know why but when I look at this picture I think there's a joke to go with it :)

    Vapor Fin Jig.jpg

    -Bob
     
  3. Nov 25, 2019 #3

    neil_w

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    Nifty baffle design. It *looks* like it should work...

    Doesn't the motor mount need to extend beyond the back of the airframe to allow for the screw-on retainer?
     
  4. Nov 26, 2019 #4

    Bruiser

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    Shoot, you couldn't have pointed that out a little earlier :)

    Well the instructions are misleading. These are the Star Orbiter instructions larger than life. It says "ends even" so that is what I did. Now looking at it closer they meant the aft centering ring should be even with the end of the body tube. Who would call the aft side of a centering ring an end??? One word--Estes :(

    Vapor Aft.jpg


    Well it appears I'll be trimming off about 3/8" of body tube and notching the fins slightly so the retainer can screw on.

    Vapor Fin Notch.jpg

    Grrrr,
    -Bob
     
  5. Nov 26, 2019 #5

    neil_w

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    Your proposed fix looks pretty good. That'll be pretty cool actually. Make sure those exposed fin corners are nice and strong (reinforce somehow if necessary); they're gonna take some hits while the retainer is put on and taken off. You may want to consider removing a bit more fin to give more breathing room to the retainer. You'll have to judge and see after the first cut.

    Agree that Estes instructions would be greatly improved by some more, you know, "words". They seem to absolutely minimize them, presumably to simplify multi-language support. All they had to say there was "centering ring even with end of body tube", and it would be better.
     
  6. Nov 26, 2019 #6

    mbeels

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    Yeah, that baffle design looks good. Did you find a centering ring that fits inside the coupler? Or did you make it?
     
  7. Nov 26, 2019 #7

    Bruiser

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    I made the baffle plates out of some 1/8th lite ply I have

    I thought some more about my retainer dilemma last night. I could splice in a section of motor tube. It'd be a lot more work but the end result would be that it's look just like the box art, well except bigger. The other way would be quick and easy and might actually look pretty cool. But, the premise of this build was to build a Vapor with a 29mm mount.

    -Bob
     
  8. Nov 26, 2019 #8

    neil_w

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    How will you splice in more motor tube? I don’t quite see how that’s possible, but look forward to seeing what you can come up with.
     
  9. Nov 26, 2019 #9

    Nytrunner

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    I saw someone sand dow a 29mm retainer so it fits in BT60
     
  10. Nov 26, 2019 #10

    neil_w

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    Ooh, that'd be the best solution of all if possible.
     
  11. Nov 26, 2019 #11

    kuririn

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    If the ends of the tubes are even, the threaded piece will extend about 1/4" when installed.
    So if you can sand down the ribs of the screw on cap you may be able to screw it down fully inside the bt-60 tube.
    However, only about 3/8" of thumb grip space for screwing and unscrewing.
    But no tube cutting.
    PS Use a file.;)
     
  12. Nov 26, 2019 #12

    Bruiser

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    Busy Morning,

    When Nytrunner wrote about sanding it down I looked at that but there wouldn't have been much material left.

    Then Kuririn posted about the width/length. Instead of 3/4" tall take it down to 3/8ths. That might have worked pretty well because about 1/4" of threads did stick out past the body tube.

    Maybe a combination of chopping and reducing the circumference would have been the ticket but I was already on "plan B" before I saw those posts.

    So first I trimmed the motor mount tube with the Dremel. I split the difference between the end of the tube and the centering ring.
    Vapor Mount Fix 1.jpg


    Next I cut out a "splice tube" from an extra motor mount tube, checked the fit and glued it over the stub :)
    Vapor Mount Fix 2.jpg


    So to make sure the new motor tube extension was in perfect alignment I developed this special tool and slid the extension tube over it
    Vapor Mount Fix 3.jpg


    Next I coated the forward half of the tube extension with adhesive, inserted the special alignment tool into the motor tube then slid the extension into the "splice tube".
    Vapor Mount Fix 4.jpg


    This is after the special alignment tool was removed. You can see how the "splice tube" is joining the extension to the motor tube.
    Vapor Mount Fix 5.jpg


    Adhesive was applied to get good fillets around the splice coupler then the aft centering ring was installed and walla, just like the picture (the one with poor wording)
    Vapor Mount Fix 6.jpg

    Time for some primer now. Oh, after I put on launch lugs :)

    -Bob
     
    Last edited: Nov 26, 2019
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  13. Nov 26, 2019 #13

    kuririn

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    I think that will work!
     
  14. Nov 26, 2019 #14

    neil_w

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    Outstanding. I didn’t think you had room to do it, but it came out great.
     
  15. Nov 26, 2019 #15

    Bruiser

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    Thank you, I am a little worried about the extra weight of the "coupler" and the extra centering ring but when I did my sims, the only time weight got close to 1 caliber was with the Estes F15 motor. I think it'll be fine but once it is finished I will double check the balance point and see how close OR place it to real world. If it's good with the F15, it'll be good with whatever I might launch it with.

    I'm going to have to get back to working on the stencil/mask for the paint scheme again. I've been playing with it but haven't really settled on how detailed the splatter pattern will be. Shame on Estes for card art so cool but without a decal to make it so :)

    -Bob
     
  16. Nov 26, 2019 #16

    mbeels

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    Very nice, that looks great. Nice job documenting it as well with photos and descriptive text, very clear.
     
  17. Nov 26, 2019 #17

    Tyler P

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    I always thought that 24mm E motors were considered the mid-power starting point.

    In any case, nice job on fixing the little retention issue! I wish we had access to those rockets in Canada. The Vapor looks super cool. Kind of Aereaux-esk.
     
  18. Nov 26, 2019 #18

    kuririn

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  19. Nov 26, 2019 #19

    Scott_650

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    Nice thing about the Star Orbiter over the Vapor is flexibility - SO flies great on 24mm with an adapter, with the Vapor it’s 24mm only. The SO is kind of like a universal rocket!
     
  20. Nov 26, 2019 #20

    Tyler P

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    Well, yeah, anyone can make one, haha! I shop with Pavel all the time. I just enjoy getting the kit version. I actually have a Star Orbiter kit unbuilt that I could mod, I suppose, haha!

    I thought of this one when the Vapor first showed up on the groups: https://www.allrockets.ca/Rockets/Arreaux
     
  21. Nov 26, 2019 #21

    Tobor

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    Sorry for not posting this sooner, as it is a moot point since you made your fix. But anyhoot I have the Star Obiter and had planned on recessing an Estes 29mm retainer into the airframe but I realized I would need to remove too much material from the retainer's cap. So I tried an Aero Pack retainer. It's cap just barely clears the airframe's ID. To insure the end of the airframe would hold up for the long term, I coated the bottom 0.5" of the airframe's ID with epoxy thinned with some Denatured Alcohol. Worked like a charm.

    Star Orbiter Motor Retainer.jpg
     
    Last edited: Nov 26, 2019
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  22. Nov 27, 2019 #22

    Bruiser

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    The funny thing is that if had built one of the half dozen Star Orbiter kits I've purchased I would have already run across this problem but instead I used the parts to build all my scratch rockets. It's all good now and I'll know if I ever build a Star Orbiter :)

    -Bob
     
  23. Nov 27, 2019 #23

    Bruiser

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    We are into that part of the year where you can't paint outside anymore. After work yesterday I sprayed a coat of primer on the Vapor and let it sit in my office for the night to dry and to let the fumes dissipate.

    I got a nice coat that allowed me to get most of the imperfections out with just sanding. There were a few placed on the fins that needed a little filler. I was able to get the second coat on after work today and it's in the office drying again.

    Vapor Nose Cone Primer.jpg

    Vapor Primer.jpg



    I'll pick it up later tonight when I go into town to grab supper, probably pizza. I hope to get a final sanding on it tomorrow so I can paint the top half yellow. I'll need the yellow to dry for a few days before I mask over it. I'm gonna try to duplicate the paint scheme on the cover picture.

    Let me ask a question though. Do you think the yellow decals will "show" well over the black paint? There's decals for the fins and body tube.

    -Bob
     
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  24. Nov 27, 2019 #24

    K'Tesh

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    Looking Good!

    Estes Decals should have an undercoat of opaque white to mitigate the color bleed of the black through them. This is why commercial decals are so often better than DIY decals.
     
  25. Nov 27, 2019 #25

    Bruiser

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    I saw one small picture on facebook and they stood out. I guess if they don't I can always do paint masks for them too.

    Bob
     
  26. Nov 27, 2019 #26

    John Taylor

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    Anybody else think the art picture on the Vapor package doesn't look like the actual fins in the package?
     
  27. Nov 28, 2019 #27

    K'Tesh

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    A little clarification to my previous post... Professional decals (including Estes' decals) DO include opaque white under coats to prevent bleed through. That's what makes them special. For the DIY crowd, home computer printed decals don't. Printers that handle white ink are VERY expensive, and often outside of the price range of the average user.
     
  28. Nov 28, 2019 #28

    neil_w

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    In other words, yellow decals will *not* show on thx black background. Paint mask should work, *or* you can use white-backed decal paper, and then print with a black background. The blacks won’t necessarily match exactly but it can come out good. This is how I did the fins on PDII.
     
  29. Nov 28, 2019 #29

    K'Tesh

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    ??? The Estes decals should work fine. Now if you were printing your own... That's a different issue.

    OH... I think I understand what you're thinking...

    The kit includes some pale yellow decals that go on the black section (on the fins and the body tube). You'd be nuts to try to print a large yellow decal for the upper section. However, perhaps a black decal on clear paper to be applied over the yellow body tube segment would achieve the splatter look.
     
  30. Nov 28, 2019 #30

    Bruiser

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    I have only taken a quick look at the decals. I know there are some swirlie things for the fins and I think the word "Vapor" too. It just occurred to me that the yellow on the decals might not match the yellow paint I bought...

    I found the pic of the Vapor built by Robert Spillane. The swirlies and the word "Vapor" don't come close to the yellow (same yellow I have) on the body tube. I think I will be scanning the decals to make masks so I can paint the markings on with the same paint as I am using on the body tube.
    Robert Spillane Vapor.jpg

    Oh, I do think the fins look right. They look just like in the picture above.

    -Bob
     

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