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accooper

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I was given some really strong fiber board (card board but without the slick finish). I thought that maybe I could use this to make fins with. Since I never have made a rocket with anything but wood fins, what special treatment will the fiber board require to get a smooth finish?

Andrew From Texas
 

MarkII

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I was given some really strong fiber board (card board but without the slick finish). I thought that maybe I could use this to make fins with. Since I never have made a rocket with anything but wood fins, what special treatment will the fiber board require to get a smooth finish?

Andrew From Texas
Prime 'em and paint 'em. Fiberboard fins have a long and honored history in model rocketry. The Carlisle Rock-A-Chute Mark II ( :D ), widely regarded as the very first model rocket kit, used them, and they weren't glued on - they were stapled to the body tube! There have been many other kits through the years that have featured fiberboard fins (which were attached in the usual way). The Estes Viking is a model in current production that uses fiberboard fins.

MarkII
 

luke strawwalker

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That's a good question... is the stuff you're talking about similar to the "pasteboard" used on the backs of typical "Walmart" style furniture, like TV cabinets, etc?? Sorta like pegboard maybe?? Or is it something different??

I'm not sure as to finishing... I'd tend to think that using Elmer's filler, sanding, priming, and painting would be the standard operation I'd do, but then I'm not speaking from experience with this material, so I'm not sure...

Maybe you'll have to experiment with this stuff and tell US what works and doesn't work... :) OL JR :)

PS... WAY back in the day, Centuri offered several kits that used 'fiberboard' fins, which were essentially thick tagboard or pasteboard, almost like matteboard from Hobby Lobby. I had two--A "Buck Rogers" Starfighter and a "Draconian Marauder"... It was an interesting material to build with but not very tough-- it could fold or dent pretty easily and left a nasty crease afterwards...
 

accooper

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here are some pictures of the fiber board.

IMG_1102.JPG


IMG_1103.JPG


IMG_1104.JPG
 

MarkII

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PS... WAY back in the day, Centuri offered several kits that used 'fiberboard' fins, which were essentially thick tagboard or pasteboard, almost like matteboard from Hobby Lobby. I had two--A "Buck Rogers" Starfighter and a "Draconian Marauder"... It was an interesting material to build with but not very tough-- it could fold or dent pretty easily and left a nasty crease afterwards...
Yes, that's the stuff I was talking about. It is also commonly used for centering rings in low power rockets. When you (Andrew) said fiberboard, that's what I thought you meant. Buy looking at your pictures, I think that what you have is actually MDF.

MarkII
 

powderburner

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I have used picture framing "matte" board for fin material for beginner-make-n-take rockets. For that specific use, I like it better than balsa because the kids can turn it around and use any edge (except the short one!!!) without worrying about grain direction. This adds to the design flexibility and gives them a few more style options.

However-

After these cardboard-type materials are glued in place, if a fin gets bent the cardboard material "splits" and weakens. This can be fixed on launch day with a few drops of cheapo superglue, but it leaves an ugly blivet on the fin. I would say that cardboard/fiberboard fin materials are good for one-flight-wonders, but you are pushing your luck after that. They often don't look so pretty after a while, and I don't want them on rockets that I plan to keep for a while.

You could improve things a bit by soaking the edges of the fin with superglue and trying to get the CA to soak/wick deeply into the fin material, but you need to do this AFTER the fin is completely attached to the rocket. (The superglue leaves a "plasticy" finish that does not let white or yellow glues soak in, so you must complete the fin root structural joint first before trying to soak the rest of the fin with CA.)

Even though it "can" be done (using cardboard and fiberboard for fins), I still prefer balsa and basswood and ply.
 

fox_racing_guy

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From the photo's I'm guessing thats Masonite, think pegboard with out the holes.
 

Micromeister

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Yes that's Masonite alright and it looks like untempered masonite at that, which is as accooper said a fibre board. it's basicly fine wood fibres mixed with an interior (not waterproof) Glue. The stuff soaks up Primer and paint like a sponge and warps like all geewiz. The only way I've ever had paint really work on the stuff was to use a wood hardner first, then prime with a very thick Roller applied filler/primer/sealer used on cinderblock then sand semi smooth and paint. but that was a wall Sign project not a rocket LOL!!!

Can it be used for fins? sure just about anything "can"....Should it be used for fins is the question. I'd say No, the stuff is just too unstable for my liking. Tempered Masonite or MDF is another story it's a lot more stable and can be used for centering rings. I'd still not use it for fins as it chips pretty easy.

There are however other types of "Fibre Board" that Can be used for fins. Not really sure what the proper name is but its the stuff the old style file cabinet dividers were made out of, has to be about 20 ply or a little under 3/32" thick and feels almost plastic coated but its more a phenolic process then plastic coating. There are also plasticized Fiberboard file cards and folders in various thicknesses that make excellent small model fins like the Estes Viking. None are more the about 10-14ply or about 1/16" or less.
 

luke strawwalker

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I have used picture framing "matte" board for fin material for beginner-make-n-take rockets. For that specific use, I like it better than balsa because the kids can turn it around and use any edge (except the short one!!!) without worrying about grain direction. This adds to the design flexibility and gives them a few more style options.

However-

After these cardboard-type materials are glued in place, if a fin gets bent the cardboard material "splits" and weakens. This can be fixed on launch day with a few drops of cheapo superglue, but it leaves an ugly blivet on the fin. I would say that cardboard/fiberboard fin materials are good for one-flight-wonders, but you are pushing your luck after that. They often don't look so pretty after a while, and I don't want them on rockets that I plan to keep for a while.

You could improve things a bit by soaking the edges of the fin with superglue and trying to get the CA to soak/wick deeply into the fin material, but you need to do this AFTER the fin is completely attached to the rocket. (The superglue leaves a "plasticy" finish that does not let white or yellow glues soak in, so you must complete the fin root structural joint first before trying to soak the rest of the fin with CA.)

Even though it "can" be done (using cardboard and fiberboard for fins), I still prefer balsa and basswood and ply.
Yeah, I agree with you powder... balsa or bass is much preferred. Not like balsa or bass are terribly expensive or difficult to find... or that it's more difficult to use or less strong-- I'd take papered balsa fins over paperboard any day of the week... just as easy to finish, likely lighter, and significantly stronger and more durable. :)

OL JR :)
 

MarkII

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Another vote for wood or composite fins over paper fiber board. But if you are a true cloner like me, and you want to build more-or-less accurate repros of certain classic kits, then you have to go with it. (To have those authentic experiences of pride, joy, frustration, disappointment, etc... :rolleyes: )

If you are careful with them, paper fiber board fins are OK on smaller model rockets.

MarkII
 

accooper

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I get the message. No fiber fins. I guess I will use it to make centering rings! Thanks for the info!

Andrew
 

Micromeister

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Actually Andrew:
At Least I wasn't saying don't use some of the other Fibre boards for fins. Just not Masonite, Pressed fibre board like you have shown in your photos.

As Mark mentioned there are a number of kits and clones out there that use various fiberboards, Cardstock and even Paper fins the fly well and last just as long as wood. Its another material Choice we can used to make our models Lighter for increased performance or in some cases create unique or unsusal planfoms and shapes on models.
 
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accooper

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Guys I am not mad. The stuff was given to me free of charge. I just came to the conclusion that the fiber fins was not worth the trouble if it won't last. But I am teaching myself to make centering rings out of it, and it does make nice ones, and strong.

Andrew :)
 

MarkII

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I don't remember who it was, but I recall reading on one of the forums somewhere that one of the high power rocket companies used to make their centering rings out of Masonite.

MarkII
 

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