Falling With Style Build Log (Estes #009721)

The Rocketry Forum

Help Support The Rocketry Forum:

This site may earn a commission from merchant affiliate links, including eBay, Amazon, and others.

R3verb

Well-Known Member
Joined
Nov 30, 2022
Messages
101
Reaction score
157
Location
Fort Collins, Colorado
A few years back, my oldest son and I built a Der Red Max as his first rocket for no other reason than it was cheap at Hobby Lobby. When it came time to paint it, we went Buzz Lightyear themed and the resulting rocket became affectionately called the "Buzz Lightyear Rocket".

IMG_8840.JPG

Unfortunately, a windy day and a late ejection charge saw this little guy end up in a tree (along with my JLCR :mad:).

Fast forward a few years and now my youngest son is the one into rockets and his favorite rocket in the Estes catalog is the Der Big Red Max so it's time to give this rocket a second, slightly larger chance.

So here's the plan for this build:
-Vanderburn plywood fins/centering rings upgrade
-Same paint scheme but with custom "Star Command" decals
-Remote control parachute so we can "fall with style" and hopefully fly it right back to us every time
-Possibly an Eggtimer Rocketry Apogee flight computer to make sure it always pops the chute at apogee

So let's get to it!

First thing's first, build the motor mount:
IMG_5547.JPG

Some JB Weld filets, plywood centering rings from Vanderburn (link) and a forged I-bolt and this thing is rock solid. Next was some grey automotive primer on the body tube and a dry fit:
View attachment IMG_5549.JPG

That's where we're at as of today. I'm hoping to get the motor mount epoxied in today and then honestly it's about ready to fly. Hoping to have this one done for the first launch in June!

That's all for now. Thanks for stopping by!

Casey Levinger
 
Ok question for the group. Currently, the nosecone is your standard Estes nosecone. That leaves a TON of room in the shoulder for more activities. should I chop the bottom formed part off and put in a bulkhead closer to the top of the nosecone with another I-Bolt? Thoughts? Anybody done this with any success?

Thanks!
 
Filet Time! I'm trying Thixo from Total Boat for the filets. I've used West Systems Epoxy with filet compound add ins but I didn't feel like I got a super clean finish. I saw Xyla Foxlin use Thixo on her Spite rocket on Youtube and it looked super easy so I figured I'd give it a shot. So far so good!

No description available.


No description available.


I'll get the other 4 done today and follow up. So far, it seems like this is a GREAT way to do filets. With West Systems it always feels like a guessing game to getting the consistency just right. With this, you just squeeze it out of the tube, mix it and apply. I'm going to do the fin sections 1 at a time but i believe you could do all 3 at once with no issue. It also seems pretty economical when you really think about it. Each tube is about $30. Assuming I get 10 squeezes out of it, that's only 3 bucks per mix and honestly I bet i'll get closer to 15 out of that tube. A squeeze looks like it could have done 3 of these filets (another reason I only did the 2 on this first shot) so I think you could get it down to about $1 a filet on this size rocket. Pretty good if you ask me!
 
Ok quick update.

Filets are done. for the remaining 4, I did them all in 1 go to see if I'd get any sagging. I'm happy to report, they stayed put! That Thixo stuff is honestly amazing. This time I mixed it in a little plastic cup and was able to get all 4 remaining filets out of 1 squeeze so I can confidently say it's pretty cheap per filet.

I let that setup for about a day and then sanded everything. A quick few coats of filler primer later and it was ready for paint:

1717007070557.png

The paint scheme for this is Buzz Lightyear:
1717007189838.png
so it's getting fins that look like his wings (purple bottom, green stripe, red and white stripes, green stripe on the edge), a few green stripes on the bottom, a big green stripe at the top and a purple nosecone. I started with a white gloss and got the green finished up today. Here's an in progress shot:


1717007277483.png

So far I'm SUPER happy with how it's turning out.

On the avionics/recovery side, I got the entire RC parachute built and tested and the shock cord made. I should be able to just plop it in and go.

The plan is to try and fly this on Sunday. I should be able to finish up paint on Friday night with a few coats of gloss protective enamel and it should be dry by Sunday! If any of you have experience with the RC parachute let me know! I'd love to know the do's and don'ts before I just YoLo it lol.
 
Please post the paints you use.

And yeah, gotta do the RC parachute thing.
 
Nice build! But that RC parachute thing... is that your own design or...? Around hilly, tree-covered Western PA, that'd be a nice capability to have!
It’s from Apogee components:

https://www.apogeerockets.com/Gliding-Parachutes

We will see how it works. I’m sure there’s lots of opportunities for it to suck but the rocket is SO overbuilt that I’d be willing to bet even if it comes out a tangled mess and basically just freefalls to the ground the rocket will probably survive and it’s only gunna make it to probably 1000’ on an f16 motor so it’s not like it’s gunna drift very far if it can’t be controlled.
 
Life is better with LASERS! After realizing that there's a horizontal green line on the wings and getting that on the fins, I wanted to do my red stripe perfectly vertical so I broke out the laser level and got these lines PERFECT.

1717106414843.png

3 quick coats this morning and I think it came out awesome!

1717106451822.png

Once the paint cures overnight I'll get the purple on the bottoms of the fins and the nosecone. Then a really simple Star Command vinyl decal to go in the middle of the top green band, some clear coat and she's ready to fly on Sunday!
 
Life is better with LASERS! After realizing that there's a horizontal green line on the wings and getting that on the fins, I wanted to do my red stripe perfectly vertical so I broke out the laser level and got these lines PERFECT.

View attachment 647915

3 quick coats this morning and I think it came out awesome!

View attachment 647916

Once the paint cures overnight I'll get the purple on the bottoms of the fins and the nosecone. Then a really simple Star Command vinyl decal to go in the middle of the top green band, some clear coat and she's ready to fly on Sunday!
Lookin' good! Yeah, I'd forgotten about Apogee's offering. I will be anxiously awaiting you launch report!
 
Yeah I hope it works!! The eventual goal would be maybe to use it with an ardupilot and have a rocket that goes to like 30k and flies itself back to the pad.
There's a fellow on here from France who has a system like that already. There's been some discussion on the thread about whether the FAA would allow such a thing, which kinda gets me like - "You guys do recall that you work for us!!!"
 
Ok, so we may have an issue. Not an actual issue but one that might keep me from flying this on Sunday. So the rocket is finally basically done and I'm doing weight and balance. All is looking good but it's looking like an Estes F15-4 only gets me off the rail at 6.8m/s and only a 2.2:1 TWR. Looking like we are going to have to fly this on a MUCH stronger motor. Any suggestions? I'm hoping to get my L1 cert on Sunday but even if I can't, I'd love to fly this thing! Maybe an AeroTech G motor? Here's what thruscurve.org says:

Screenshot 2024-05-31 at 4.38.58 PM.png

Here's the sim:

Screenshot 2024-05-31 at 4.40.07 PM.png

If anybody has any advice, I'd love to hear it! Pics coming soon, still need the decal and clear coat on it :-D.
 
Ugh, does anybdoy know why my photos show up as "view attachment IMG" instead of showing up as actual photos in the thread? These are just pictures from my iPhone sent to my laptop. I've tried both drag and dropping them into the thread and using the photo insert tool and both do the same thing. Any ideas?
 
Great looking rocket.

I'm trying to guess why you might be having those attachment issues and I'm coming up mostly blank. I normally drag my pictures into the edit area and it works fine.

If you go back in and edit your posts, do you see the images at the bottom like this? If so you should be able to hit the Insert button and get an embedded image. If it doesn't show up like that then I'm not sure what's going on. Could be a good idea to head over to Area 51 and experiment a bit.

1718301612445.png
 
She Flew! Jack and I went to the local launch site and got the maiden on Falling With Style this Saturday.


View attachment IMG_8327.jpeg

I flew it on a AT G76G and I gotta say, I love that green flame! It simmed to about 1600' and I'd say it was about dead on.

As for the RC parachute, it for sure worked. The rocket had a nice soft landing which is what you're looking for. As for steerability, it definitely was controllable. The issue I had was telling which way the rocket was going. What I think I'd want in the future is either a pair of binoculars or a spotter with a really long zoom lens to tell me if I was coming towards the pad or away from it. The other option would be some sort of telemetry onboard to give me direction of flight. I'm for sure launching this again at the next launch so I'll have to figure out something by then!
 
She Flew! Jack and I went to the local launch site and got the maiden on Falling With Style this Saturday.


View attachment 651073

I flew it on a AT G76G and I gotta say, I love that green flame! It simmed to about 1600' and I'd say it was about dead on.

As for the RC parachute, it for sure worked. The rocket had a nice soft landing which is what you're looking for. As for steerability, it definitely was controllable. The issue I had was telling which way the rocket was going. What I think I'd want in the future is either a pair of binoculars or a spotter with a really long zoom lens to tell me if I was coming towards the pad or away from it. The other option would be some sort of telemetry onboard to give me direction of flight. I'm for sure launching this again at the next launch so I'll have to figure out something by then!
Well, there is this... R2Home GPS guided recovery...

And subsequent discussion about whether it would be allowed by the FAA, etc.
 
Last edited:
Back
Top