From Fat Boy to Big Daddy.

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Ready2Launch

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Hi all!

I have only just registered for the forum after reading it quite a bit these past couple of weeks. Way back around 2002 my Dad bought my brother and me an Estes ARTF starter kit with a couple of military designed rockets and all the launch gear. We had a great time with it and I still have those two rockets sitting on my desk right now (only one is in a launchable condition)!

I bought an Estes Fat Boy shortly after that, followed by a Quest Big-Rage, which was my first rocket with two separate sections! Unfortunately both met the same fate as lawn darts (Still learning the terminology, bear with me!) due to poor delay selection (I think!). I don't have either of those any more and shortly after both rockets were destroyed I dropped the hobby and put all the rockets and gear away in my parents attic. Back in the day we didn't have cameras on us at all times, and certainly not ones capable of capturing a rocket in flight, so I don't even have pictures of any flights. Any pictures I would have taken of the kits would have been lost many computers ago.

20 years down the line, I have a house, a wife and two beautiful kids. And a box of rocket supplies from 20 years ago I found in my attic a few weeks back! Went and bought myself a new kit, an Estes Big Daddy, after looking to purchase my old Fat Boy again. Looking at the prices now, as it is out of production, I'd say it will remain a fond memory! I looked to clone one and even asked about it on Reddit, but still haven't been able to find the parts to do it yet. Did I mention how much it sucks to be in the UK yet?

Well, yes, I'm from the UK as well, so I have to contend with almost zero rocketry vendors. I get what I can from online hobby shops (Which don't specialise in rockets) but having looked at all the UK related rocket web links and how they are all parked or don't exist I think I'm going to have to build exclusively Estes for a while. There are some lovely Fliskits, Apogee and LOC/PM models I have seen online, but they will have to stay dreams for now as it is so expensive to ship from the US to the UK nowadays (Not to mention Import tax and VAT!).

Currently building the Big Daddy, slowly, as I keep finding I'm missing the odd tool or glue etc and keep having to wait for the postman to show up! I'll try and remember to take some pictures. Probably not very exciting as you've seen it all before, but I'll get some for sure once it's painted up.

My eldest is very interested in rockets and knows I have some old ones. I haven't told him about the Big Daddy yet. That'll be awesome seeing the kids faces when they get their chance to launch a rocket for the first time!

Anyway, here's one 38 year old back in the hobby after 20 years. I'll be around on the forums looking for build techniques etc. and I already have found loads of tips for modifying the Big Daddy nosecone. Now I just need to find a nice big spool of Kevlar cord... See you around!
 

Ready2Launch

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Great first post. Welcome back to the hobby, post up pictures for us when you launch with your kids.

Thanks, and yes, I certainly will!

Welcome aboard
Enjoy 👍🏼
Definitely would love to see the finished big daddy send some pictures if you have time

Thanks, yes, will post up some pictures when it's all painted. I want to go for a really nice finish on this one so it'll be many coats and clear to get a nice glossy finish. I won't forget the sanding between coats!


Thanks!

Here’s the plans for the fat boy and hopefully you can scratch build it. https://oldrocketplans.com/estes/est1273/est1273.pdf

Thank you for this. Now I just need to find a local, reasonably priced sheet of balsa and have a crack at making a fin template.


Yes, thank you. This is one of the only UK vendors, if not the only one that stocks Klima kits and motors. Klima is the only other brand other that Estes we seem to have over here. I'll be sure to pick up a Klima kit or two and report back!
 

Everdon

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Hello. If you are on FB. A gentlement from France has tons of kits available.
 

Ready2Launch

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Hello. If you are on FB. A gentlement from France has tons of kits available.

I'm sorry, I'm not on Facebook. I was many years ago and now don't have one for personal reasons. Thank you for the suggestion though.

I did just snag one of the Der Big Red Max kits off Amazon.com at the $21.99 price. That's about £33 to the UK including the shipping. I can't even buy it close to that, excluding shipping, here. Now I just need to figure out how I'm going to launch the thing as we don't get E and F motors here in the UK. Well, we do, only they're the expensive composite type ones which cost many more times the price of the disposable ones available elsewhere in the world. It may have to be a shelf queen. That would be a shame.
 

messedupryan

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Not gonna lie, I read the title as "Frat Boy". Needless to say, your story is different than I anticipated!

My eldest is very interested in rockets and knows I have some old ones. I haven't told him about the Big Daddy yet. That'll be awesome seeing the kids faces when they get their chance to launch a rocket for the first time!

My kids are only 2 and 4 and still LOVE rockets. I can't wait till they can get a bit more hands-on with me.
 

SharkWhisperer

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I'm sorry, I'm not on Facebook. I was many years ago and now don't have one for personal reasons. Thank you for the suggestion though.

I did just snag one of the Der Big Red Max kits off Amazon.com at the $21.99 price. That's about £33 to the UK including the shipping. I can't even buy it close to that, excluding shipping, here. Now I just need to figure out how I'm going to launch the thing as we don't get E and F motors here in the UK. Well, we do, only they're the expensive composite type ones which cost many more times the price of the disposable ones available elsewhere in the world. It may have to be a shelf queen. That would be a shame.
Kit weight is an estimated 411g w/o motor. Estes E16s and F15s are pretty heavy. Estimated 1100 ft max (on the F). Wonder if an E12 would get that off the rail at a safe speed, else a triplet of clustered D12s (or even C11s) that might be available in the UK? Single D12-3 max takeoff weight given as 396g; E9-4 (maybe not available?) as 425g, end of table...
 

Ready2Launch

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Kit weight is an estimated 411g w/o motor. Estes E16s and F15s are pretty heavy. Estimated 1100 ft max (on the F). Wonder if an E12 would get that off the rail at a safe speed, else a triplet of clustered D12s (or even C11s) that might be available in the UK? Single D12-3 max takeoff weight given as 396g; E9-4 (maybe not available?) as 425g, end of table...

What a helpful reply! Thank you! I'm still just a couple of weeks back into the hobby and learning all the new stuff that came along while I was away. I have OpenRocket and am trying to learn that. I have done a few sims based off of the models of others but I'm still green on what constitutes a safe launch speed etc. Needless to say, there will be no launches until I'm satisfied the rockets, everyone else and I are safe. These will only be low altitude park launches (for now) so just getting to a safe altitude to deploy recovery, then get down without drifting across the city would be nice!

I haven't tried to simulate a cluster yet in OpenRocket, but it sounds like I need to get to it and figure out how to design a triple cluster of 24mm mounts to accommodate the D12 motors. We do have some Klima motors available in the UK which are 18mm and classified as a D9. Seem to have slightly less push off the pad, but burn for about twice as long as an Estes D12 from what I gather. Might I be able to cluster those? They come in 3, 5 and 7 second delays. The 3 seems to be all that is in stock presently.
 

SharkWhisperer

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What a helpful reply! Thank you! I'm still just a couple of weeks back into the hobby and learning all the new stuff that came along while I was away. I have OpenRocket and am trying to learn that. I have done a few sims based off of the models of others but I'm still green on what constitutes a safe launch speed etc. Needless to say, there will be no launches until I'm satisfied the rockets, everyone else and I are safe. These will only be low altitude park launches (for now) so just getting to a safe altitude to deploy recovery, then get down without drifting across the city would be nice!

I haven't tried to simulate a cluster yet in OpenRocket, but it sounds like I need to get to it and figure out how to design a triple cluster of 24mm mounts to accommodate the D12 motors. We do have some Klima motors available in the UK which are 18mm and classified as a D9. Seem to have slightly less push off the pad, but burn for about twice as long as an Estes D12 from what I gather. Might I be able to cluster those? They come in 3, 5 and 7 second delays. The 3 seems to be all that is in stock presently.
You can cluster anything you can simultaneously ignite. Many here are have deep clustering experience and there are a lot of threads to search through. Generally speaking, BP motors are simpler to ignite than composite, with reliable clustering ignition requiring accordingly more planning. Plan for around 30 mph off the end of the launch rod. You could compare motor thrust profiles on rocketreviews.com to get a visual comparison of different motors; D9s may or may not be sufficient, but hard to imagine 3 of them wouldn't provide sufficient initial "oomph". It's not such a difficult challenge to cluster a triplet of 18 or 24 mm motor mount tubes into centering rings for your model, but is not trivial and needs to be done thoughtfully and accurately. Might need to remove (if possible) or vent ejection charges from all but one motor, too? Appreciating that composite motors and E/F impulse motors are pricey in your area, just how much would an adequate E or F motor cost to buy? It might be easier to just mod your 29 mm kit mmt tube to accommodate a 24-mm composite, or similar than to move into clustering right away. But like you said, it'd be a shame to leave that rocket all shiny sitting on a shelf! It would be fun to see it fly at least once.
 
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