Favorite Beater Rocket?

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brockrwood

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Do you have a favorite beater rocket? You know, that rocket that takes a licking, but keeps on ticking? Mine is the Blue Ninja. It is basically indestructible. Whatever little I do to repair it keeps it flying. It keeps coming back. It is also big and metallic and blue. A real crowd pleaser.

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I treat my Big Daddy that way in that it gets launched a lot. I have a variety of BT55 and BT60 rockets so I go to a launch I can choose several different ones. I only have one rocket the size of the Big Daddy so it gets chosen more often.
 
I have a couple I built from the Booster-55 and Booster-60 fin cans. Just peel off the short chunk of BT that's glued to the plastic fin can, grind it smooth, and glue on an actual body tube. The cool thing about them is, as long as you fly BP motors without a thrust ring, the motor retainer cap holds/locks the fins in position. So you don't have to actually glue the fins in and you can remove them whenever needed. It's a take-down rocket. This makes the rockets super easy to stuff in my luggage when I fly out west to where the dry lakes are. It also makes the fins trivially replaceable if anything happens to one. And you can mix and match between the black fins of the Booster-55 and the red fins of the Booster-60.

I hadn't seen the Blue Ninja. I like the idea of it: just a big 'ol BT-60 rocket with a DRM nose cone and Black Brant VC fin can. If there's ever a time to refinish, you could swap that nose cone over to the one from the Patriot and Curvilinear kits and do it up as a BB VC with the Saab guidance fins in the payload.
 
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I've had several over the years. The Quest Falcon was a favorite for a long time. Seemed like there was nothing I could do that would hurt that rocket. It flew for years with nothing more than a couple of replacement shock cords.

My go to beat has been a scratch build that a friend nick named Butt Ugly about 25 years ago. It was flown countless times and repaired to the point where it truly deserved it's name. I built a replacement for it a couple of years back and it has flown dozens of times but doesn't really fit the name just yet but it will someday.

Here is Butt Ugly 2.0
 

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I've got two.

Baby Bertha. Had several bulk packs of B6-4s and many C6-5s through it. 9" parachute doesn't like to open on it but it honestly could just tumble with the nose off. Fallen so many times and just keeps going. I know someday it'll die, and I will promptly build another and just like this one, only just spray a coat of black on it and fly it (minimal paint weight). Love that stupid little thing.

My 30+ year old Alien Space Probe. It's been crashed and fixed a few times. Now sports a 24mm motor mount and I throw E12s in it a lot now. Legs are broken off. Survives bad landings easily. Fat and slowish, so it's fun. Have a lot of flights on it and gets a ride nearly every time we go fly at our lower power fields.


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I have a couple I built from the Booster-55 and Booster-60 fin cans. Just peel off the short chunk of BT that's glued to the plastic fin can, grind it smooth, and glue on an actual body tube. The cool thing about them is, as long as you fly BP motors without a thrust ring, the motor retainer cap holds/locks the fins in position. So you don't have to actually glue the fins in and you can remove them whenever needed. It's a take-down rocket. This makes the rockets super easy to stuff in my luggage when I fly out west to where the dry lakes are. It also makes the fins trivially replaceable if anything happens to one. And you can mix and match between the black fins of the Booster-55 and the red fins of the Booster-60.

I hadn't seen the Blue Ninja. I like the idea of it: just a big 'ol BT-60 rocket with a DRM nose cone and Black Brant VC fin can. If there's ever a time to refinish, you could swap that nose cone over to the one from the Patriot and Curvilinear kits and do it up as a BB VC with the Saab guidance fins in the payload.
Thanks for the tip! I have a Booster-55 that I have no rocket to mate to. I will just make the booster into a rocket.
 
I picked this one up via eBay back in 2001. It was listed as an Estes Wildfire, and I wanted the cone to clone a Satellite Interceptor. I don't recall any pics, so when it arrived and it was a BT-55, I was kinda cheesed off. Earlier this summer it flew again, as it has every few years since 2001. Perfect flight. No damage. I called it the Flying Turd because of the sloppy way it was built, but I started thinking about another, more dignified name after the last launch. image-ebay-flying-turdjpg-900-600-055823173531114.jpg
 
Scratch build cardstock rocket: Center Punch, 24mm short motor mount for D-12 power. Large dia 2.7" but very light, it goes out of sight and has a too-big home made chute, so definitely a no-wind kind of rocket. Fins are TTW and could probably survive a streamer landing on the grass if I needed to keep it closer to the pad. Inspired by the Big Daddy, uses the same fins, but slightly smaller dia.



Main body tube is made from one entire single sheet of 8.5" x 11" cardstock paper 110#. The dia is 8.5"/Pi or about 2.7"

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Baby Bertha. Had several bulk packs of B6-4s and many C6-5s through it. 9" parachute doesn't like to open on it but it honestly could just tumble with the nose off. Fallen so many times and just keeps going. I know someday it'll die
One of my friends has one that has about 250 flights on it, still going strong.
 
I have a Quest Nike Smoke that is very nearly 30 years old and is still in pretty decent shape. It gets flown A LOT! Hundreds of flights on it...

When I flew at Fiesta Island in San Diego (It was a veteran even then) it served the same purpose as the real Nike Smoke; checking winds aloft before I launched any of the fancier/bigger stuff that I really didn't want to lose or drop in the drink!

It has had such a long and fruitful life that if (when) it eventually goes unto it's final reward it will be missed, but not mourned.
 
This is the closest thing I have to a "beater" rocket. It's over 20 years old. It started out as a Fat Boy. I don't know how many times it's been rebuilt.

Here's what I started with the last time:
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The aft 2" or so has several layers of fiberglass because we were launching on a parking lot at the time.

Here's what it looks like now:
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When I rebuilt it, I built a 3D baffle into a coupler where I spliced two body tubes together.
 
I have a couple I built from the Booster-55 and Booster-60 fin cans. Just peel off the short chunk of BT that's glued to the plastic fin can, grind it smooth, and glue on an actual body tube. The cool thing about them is, as long as you fly BP motors without a thrust ring, the motor retainer cap holds/locks the fins in position. So you don't have to actually glue the fins in and you can remove them whenever needed. It's a take-down rocket. This makes the rockets super easy to stuff in my luggage when I fly out west to where the dry lakes are. It also makes the fins trivially replaceable if anything happens to one. And you can mix and match between the black fins of the Booster-55 and the red fins of the Booster-60.

I hadn't seen the Blue Ninja. I like the idea of it: just a big 'ol BT-60 rocket with a DRM nose cone and Black Brant VC fin can. If there's ever a time to refinish, you could swap that nose cone over to the one from the Patriot and Curvilinear kits and do it up as a BB VC with the Saab guidance fins in the payload.
Ok, here is one of my Booster-60’s being test fitted to a BT-60 tube to be used as a BT-60 fin can. Do I need to cut a bigger hole in the plastic where the ejection charge blows through? This won’t be a “booster” anymore. It needs to eject the laundry.

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That's the easy way to join the tubes. I peeled the cardboard off the fin can and sanded the glue back to plastic with 80-grit, then epoxied the new tube directly to the plastic can.

Yes, you need to open up the internal nozzle to the ID of the 24mm motor case to ensure the ejection charge and clay cap are unimpeded. Easiest way I found was just a big Unibit. (Or, as in my cheap-arse case, the Harbor Freight imitation Unibit. Nine out of ten orphan fin cans can't tell the difference.)

Hardest way I found was chucking the can up in a lathe and removing as much of the nozzle as I could, then opening up the ID a little more to glue in a piece of BT-50 and make it a 95mm compatible mount. Or leave out the motor block and fly motors with thrust rings on them, but then the retainer cap doesn't abut the back of the fins and hold them in place, so you lose the benefit of a "take down" rocket with removable fins.
 
That's the easy way to join the tubes. I peeled the cardboard off the fin can and sanded the glue back to plastic with 80-grit, then epoxied the new tube directly to the plastic can.

Yes, you need to open up the internal nozzle to the ID of the 24mm motor case to ensure the ejection charge and clay cap are unimpeded. Easiest way I found was just a big Unibit. (Or, as in my cheap-arse case, the Harbor Freight imitation Unibit. Nine out of ten orphan fin cans can't tell the difference.)

Hardest way I found was chucking the can up in a lathe and removing as much of the nozzle as I could, then opening up the ID a little more to glue in a piece of BT-50 and make it a 95mm compatible mount. Or leave out the motor block and fly motors with thrust rings on them, but then the retainer cap doesn't abut the back of the fins and hold them in place, so you lose the benefit of a "take down" rocket with removable fins.
Using. Baby Bertha as the payload bay. The Baby Bertha may be the most versatile rocket kit ever.

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It's an HPR, but mine is the Giant Leap Firestorm 54. Thickwall FG, Acme fin can, virtually indestructible. Lord knows I've tried...
 
I have a Big Bertha that's done the lawn dart, dislodge the motor mount thing twice. But it's still quite flyable. Not sure if it qualifies as "my favorite beater", though. I have several with far more flights on them than that one. That particular Bertha is somewhere in the mid 30s I think.
 
My D motor Super Big Bertha is another one. Only now its 29mm. With a failed ejection about 3 weeks ago, I worked once again to get it ready for last weekend. It was the best moment I've had so far in Rocketry watching it go up and finally landed with a chute. I'm going to paint it....Again...
 

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That's the easy way to join the tubes. I peeled the cardboard off the fin can and sanded the glue back to plastic with 80-grit, then epoxied the new tube directly to the plastic can.

Yes, you need to open up the internal nozzle to the ID of the 24mm motor case to ensure the ejection charge and clay cap are unimpeded. Easiest way I found was just a big Unibit. (Or, as in my cheap-arse case, the Harbor Freight imitation Unibit. Nine out of ten orphan fin cans can't tell the difference.)

Hardest way I found was chucking the can up in a lathe and removing as much of the nozzle as I could, then opening up the ID a little more to glue in a piece of BT-50 and make it a 95mm compatible mount. Or leave out the motor block and fly motors with thrust rings on them, but then the retainer cap doesn't abut the back of the fins and hold them in place, so you lose the benefit of a "take down" rocket with removable fins.
Drilled out the hole in the booster 60 as much as I could with the stepper drill bit.

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