Has anyone struggled with the escape tower on the Estes Mercury-Redstone model?

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RocketFiles

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I came across in my old rocket box an unopened Estes Mercury Redstone model from the 70's... you can tell it's old because of the price!I I also recalled reading more than once that the capsule escape tower was a bear to build because of all the small wooden parts required to make the structure look like the real thing.

Seemed to me that a 3D printed tower might be a 3D file in which model builders would be interested. I created the CAD file from an image I found in a Google image search. I saved it out as an .STL file, pulled it into my Cura slicer, and was rewarded with a pretty good likeness of the real thing, I think.

You can go to Cults3D to download the model of the tower that you can print for your own Mercury-Redstone model....
 

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RocketFiles

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Hi! Makes sense that Estes would make a plastic set of parts for their new Redstone kits for a detail that intricate. Makes the unopened kit from the 70's that I found in the old rocket box maybe that much more valuable?? In doing the CAD model of the tower, I used my calipers through the plastic bag to measure the diameter of the top of the balsa capsule so I could keep the kit unopened. Piece of history, I guess.
 

ksaves2

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Ummmmm, I will show my age here but the "original" M-R kit had one glue the tower together with little tiny wooden sticks on waxed paper and then glue the 3 segments together!!! I laboriously did that with naseating Duco cement and the tower promptly broke off after the 1st flight with a nominal recovery.

I found out later some folks would buy a capsule, build the tower and ejection rockets for display and then get a plain capsule without the tower for flying.

Ehhhh, I was only a 5th grader and wasn't so sophisticated back then!:)

Kurt Savegnago
 

RocketFiles

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My 3D printing posts at Cults3D is also about giving 3D printing buffs another justification to their wives for the 3D printer(s) they purchased! :)
 

ksaves2

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My 3D printing posts at Cults3D is also about giving 3D printing buffs another justification to their wives for the 3D printer(s) they purchased! :)
Ummmm, That wouldn't have flown in my house! :)
I could hardly justify R/C and rockets. At least it kept me
out of bars and from "womanizing". ;)
Kurt
 

dwinings

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Everyone has struggled with escape tower on that Mercury capsule since the days it was produced by Centuri. At least it was composed wooden dowels like the original Estes capsule
 

Bowman

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I think the balsa capsule adds a ton of cool to that kit.

My MR was a later version with plastic tower so while I cannot identify with a PITA to assemble, I can with the fragility and likelihood of damage from even a flawless flight.

I did kit-bash mine to 24mm though. And about the third flight an E9 blew-out the bulkhead and damaged the motor tube. Still air worthy but looking inside the damage is readily apparent.

I think you have one that I'd love to fly but might be too worried about losing it somehow.
Super cool find.
 

5x7

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The current Estes MR with the plastic capsule is based on the old Centuri kit and is over 2” in Diameter. The old Estes kit is BT-60, smaller at 1.637” in diameter. I would guess the old Estes kit in good shape would sell for over $100.
 

Blast it Tom!

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Ummmmm, I will show my age here but the "original" M-R kit had one glue the tower together with little tiny wooden sticks on waxed paper and then glue the 3 segments together!!! I laboriously did that with naseating Duco cement and the tower promptly broke off after the 1st flight with a nominal recovery.

I found out later some folks would buy a capsule, build the tower and ejection rockets for display and then get a plain capsule without the tower for flying.

Ehhhh, I was only a 5th grader and wasn't so sophisticated back then!:)

Kurt Savegnago
I did the same, except my dowels-on-wax-paper was for Little Joe II!

Kidz these days...
old.gif
 

Steven

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After I step on it, the struggle is over.
 

GlennW

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Yes, I have struggled, mightily! Like everyone else who's had one of these. I'm almost, but not quite old enough to have had the original version. But I did build the newer Estes incarnation of about 10 years ago, I think it's the 2167 if I recall correctly. I must be a real glutton for punishment as I also built the Mercury Atlas and the smaller Little Joe II! However I have now solved the problem as I just got the new Saturn V Skylab- No escape tower!
 

ksaves2

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After I step on it, the struggle is over.
Or blow it up with firecrackers and give it a Viking funeral with lighter fluid!

I think my M-R got lost on a flight though by that time it was sans the tower. I also think mine was so old that they included a printed paper wrap for the capsule details of the nosecone. No freaking plastic back then!

Kurt Savegnago
 

Steven

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Yes, I have struggled, mightily! Like everyone else who's had one of these. I'm almost, but not quite old enough to have had the original version. But I did build the newer Estes incarnation of about 10 years ago, I think it's the 2167 if I recall correctly. I must be a real glutton for punishment as I also built the Mercury Atlas and the smaller Little Joe II! However I have now solved the problem as I just got the new Saturn V Skylab- No escape tower!
The fix-it-all tool. Go Sky Lab on all rockets with towers.
 

cerving

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I didn't even bother to build the tower on my 50th year anniversary Apollo 11 Saturn V kit. If you can't fly with it, why build it?
 

Dipstick

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Hmmm, thought it was just me...poured CA all over it, squished it together kinda, broke it on the first flight, stepped on the broken pieces and threw it out. In my day to day job as a teacher I express extreme amounts of patience, so when I get to hobbies there isn't much left 😁
 

JPalmer621

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I have an older one with the plastic tower. When I launched it I lost the tower. I have since built many scape towers out of skewer, toothpicks and old 13mm engines. From a few feet away it looks good.
 
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