Help out a noob!

Discussion in 'Low Power Rocketry (LPR)' started by Vitamin, Oct 1, 2003.

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  1. Oct 1, 2003 #1

    Vitamin

    Vitamin

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    What would you guys recommend as the best kit for a first-timer?

    Something that has everything included, engines, etc. I dont really wanna buy tons of parts from different retailers.

    And any good sites about rocket building? Googling only yieled a few results.

    Thanks guys.
     
  2. Oct 1, 2003 #2

    gerbs4me

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    Welcome to the Forum!!
    If you want everything included then you need a starter set, Estes has a Sizzler/Supershot Starter set. it comes with everything you need. Once you get that the Estes Alpha III is a great kit for starters, and I heard it flys great. this forum is the place to come to for building tips, or whatever you want to know.
    I hope helped you out some
     
  3. Oct 1, 2003 #3

    cls

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    Vita-man,

    get one of the Quest starter kits. those have a "fin can" that you can not fail to get the fins on straight. and they come with everything you need.

    and, where you are now, TRF, is probably the best board around for beginners.

    to find out about a particular kit check out rocketreviews.com
     
  4. Oct 1, 2003 #4

    wscarvie

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    Hi Vitamin,

    Welcome to the Forum.

    As others have noted, you're looking for a starter set. Estes and Quest both make them, including a rocket, launcher, everything you need with two exceptions.

    1) I don't think any of them come with engines, but I could be wrong. Also, just about any store that carries a starter set will carry engines as well. That's easy.

    2) A battery. All the launchers I know of use a battery to power the laucher. Which battery depends on the launcher. The starter set will certainly tell you just what battery you'll need. Just wanted to clue you in to help you expect that extra expense.

    This is, indeed, one of the very best places to come for tips. To get you started, try the Search feature (little button on the top control bar). Search for anything that interests you, and I'll bet you find several great answers in the archives of this Forum. If you don't, ask. We're very friendly here, and are happy to help.

    I'd also like to point you to Jim Z's site. Aside from the amazing archive of plans (don't let them intimidate you...you'll get to where you need to be to make use of them soon), you can find a number of older publications on the basics of model rocketry there. Dig around, but here are two specific docs that might interest you:

    Centuri Model Rocket Design Manual (PDF)

    Estes Alpha Book of Model Rocketry (PDF)

    There are more publications, and version of these two in different formats, available on Jim's pubs page.

    Despite the age of these pubs, almost everything in them is useful today. They don't cover the mid and high power rocketry options we have now, but you'll discover those for yourself soon enough.

    I hope you find these useful. By all means, ask lots of questions. We're happy to help, and we love talking about rockets.

    Good luck.
     
  5. Oct 1, 2003 #5

    graylensman

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    Welcome to the forum!!

    My only other suggestion - when the model rocket bug hits you as soon as you hit that ignition button! - is find a copy of G. Harry Stine's "Handbook of Model Rcoketry". Stine covers all the basics, touches on some advanced topics, and the book is generally considered the basic text in the hobby.

    Oh, and once you find your kit and build it... POST PICS! :)
     
  6. Oct 1, 2003 #6

    swimmer

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    Vitamin,

    Go to www.rocketry online.com and link to InfoCentral on the left hand side of screen. There is a lot of information there that will be helpful.
     
  7. Oct 1, 2003 #7

    jflis

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    Vitamin,

    Good suggestions all around. The Estes and Quest starter kits come with 1-2 kits (depending on selection), motors, launch pad, launch controller and a slew of information about model rocketry and the NAR. Highly recommended.

    After you have gotten your feet wet, I invite you to check out FlisKits at http://fliskits.com/ and most specifically our Rhino kit which is a great first rocket for the model rocketeer. We don't use plastic fin units, but you will learn a lot about model rocket building and working with typical materials by building one of our kits.

    Welcome to the forum. You're going to love it here!

    jim
     
  8. Oct 1, 2003 #8

    airforce

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    Vitamin,
    If this is your first experience at modeling I would suggest getting a starter kit for no other reason than you'll be needing a launch pad and launch control. These items are ridiculously priced individually and you'll only pay about $15-$20 for a starter kit.

    If you have modeling experience, plastic cars, boats, planes, and you like to build, then you'll want a kit that you can put together.

    As Jim said, the Fliskit Rhino is a very good first kit.
    Good luck, have fun and welcome.
    Randy
     
  9. Oct 1, 2003 #9

    Ryan S.

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    i had a prebuilt rocket first.

    The first kit I actually built was a SR-71 Blackbird. Came out great....I guess I was born with it :D
     
  10. Oct 1, 2003 #10

    powderburner

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    Vitamin,
    I wholeheartedly recommend the Estes Starter set with the Alpha, it is a classic Estes design that flies great on 1/2A, A, B, or C power.
    If you can stand to wait, check the websited for Hobby Lobby on Mondays to see what coupons and specials are posted for the week---they often (every couple months) have 1/2 off specials on rockets, and some of these specials work for starter kits! How's that for cheap, $8-10 for a ready-to-fly (RTF) rocket, launch controls, pad, and a couple motors!
    When you do finally get yourself a starter kit, THROW AWAY the junky Estes aluminum launch rod. It is a two-piece contraption with a steel pin in the center. If it doesn't break at the pin, the two halves usually don't line up too well and can snag the rocket's launch lug in the middle of a launch. Go to your local hobby shop and buy yourself a piece of 1/8th inch diameter by 36 inch long 'music wire' (this stuff is tempered steel, costs around a buck-n-a-half) as a direct replacement. You can also find 1/8th inch diam steel at Home Depot (and Lowes?) called 'round rod' and stocked along with the all-thread and other forms of rods and bar stock.
    You may want to cut a spill-hole in the center of your first parachute to get your rocket back down fast. If you launch over grass, you probably won't have to worry about broken fins, especially the plastic ones on the RTF kits. Start with small motors and work your way up only AFTER you see how 1/2A and A motors are doing. Don't be surprised if you lose your bird on a C.
    Go to your local Wally world and check in their toy department for Estes motor three-packs, that is about the cheapest place to get them these days (three for $5). The Estes three-pack comes complete with the new ejection wadding and igniters you will also need. All you have to do is find batteries.
    Let us hear how your first efforts turn out!
     
  11. Oct 1, 2003 #11

    Ryan S.

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    Good idea then you can get right into it. Just make sure you have a big feild. Thos Alphas really go on C's
     
  12. Oct 1, 2003 #12

    powderburner

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    I forgot to mention that if you have any Michael's MJ Design stores near you (crafts, picture framing, mostly little-old-lady junk), they have a coupon in the Sunday newspaper just about every week for 40% off purchase of any single item.
    You can go in there and usually find Estes starter specials and use a coupon to knock down the price.
    Later, you can go back in with another coupon and get an Estes Flight Pack special. This is a box of 24 assorted motors, A through C, along with ejection wadding and igniters. You can get a Flight Pack for around $27-28-29 with a coupon, which is just about the lowest possible price you will find these days.
     
  13. Oct 3, 2003 #13

    Vitamin

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    How big of a field do I need to launch a basic rocket? Nothing that powerful.
     
  14. Oct 3, 2003 #14

    BlueNinja

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    Welcome to the forum!

    It really depends. If you're following the NAR safety code and flying a C type motor, you will probably need about 400 ft minimum length for the edges of the field. Also, Toys r Us is having a clearance sale on their rocket line and you can find Micromaxx starter sets for $5.00. Some of those you can launch in your backyard.




    BN150
     
  15. Oct 3, 2003 #15

    Ryan S.

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    Or if you play it right you can launch it from one small feild over a patch of trees into another small feild....or make expendable rockets. I used to do this and just glue the nosecones on
     
  16. Oct 3, 2003 #16

    slim_t

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    Welcome to rocketry and the forum. This forum is the best place for information, and general chat with like minded people.

    For a location you might want to check out www.nar.org and from there look on the left for the link's to find a local club or local launch. Most clubs would be glad to have you show up and introduce you to the hobby. They should also have a field large enough to launch whatever you've got. And you'd get to see a large variety of rockets. (Beware!, studies have shown rocketry is more addictive than most narcotics.) Let us know what state you are in? Someone here may be able to give you some local information.

    As far a first rocket, definately get a starter kit. Some come with a couple of motors, some don't. I noticed the other day that Wal-Mart has an Estes Patriot Missile Ready to Fly Starter Kit. It looked like a nice one, but there is also a Patriot kit you build that doesn't come with the launcher and pad, and that's the one I got.
    Some rockets only come in a starter kit, and not seperately, so you might want to get one of those, and then you can get the others seperately. Some examples are the Astrocam (takes 1 picture per flight with 110 camera), the Max Trax (gives you the max altitude on a digital readout), the Stars and Stripes (American Flag themed), and so on. Go to a hobby store and pick up an Estes catalog, they're usually free, and that will help you decide which one, or 20, you want.

    Welcome again and good luck,

    slim
     
  17. Oct 3, 2003 #17

    rocket trike

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    Welcome aboard. Where are you located? Look at hte NAR website and see if there is a club close to you. Most clubs are like ours and they provide all of the launch equipment all you have to bring is the rocket and motors, They can also point you the right way. This what we like doing in our club. We just got back from a cub scout launch and loved it. This is always a good starting point.
     
  18. Oct 3, 2003 #18

    jflis

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    As others have said, welcome :)

    To help answer your question, if you are just starting this hobby and have little to no familiarity to the rockets and equipment, then a "Starter Set" is your best way to begin.

    When you get set up to fly there are some important but simple things to consider. As pointed out, the kits that you get will indicate their predicted altitude for a given motor and may also provide you with recommended field size for those motors so that may answer you question right off.

    Additionally, model rockets (for the most part) are recovered via parachute or streamer, depending on the rocket. Streamers drifl a LOT *less* than parachutes and are a good way to start until you get familiar with the hobby.

    The other consideration is motor size. You should always use the smallest recommended motor in your model until you become familiar with the models performance.

    Just so that you know, the motors are classified with a letter at the beginning (1/4A, 1/2A, A, B, C, etc) Each time you go up a letter you can (generally) expect a doubling (or more) of the altitude. ALSO, and very important, "500 feet" looks a WHOLE lot different straight up looking at a small object than, say, 500 feet along the ground looking at your car...

    Keep us posted and feel free to pop all the questions you feel you need. Use this as your classroom, you'll be glad that you did :)
     
  19. Oct 3, 2003 #19

    slim_t

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    Yea, we should have mentioned this earlier.
    As Jflis said, 500 ft up is more than you would think.
    Most of the Estes starter sets get about 600 ft on a C motor, but start with an A or B and move up. You wouldn't want to lose one on your first launch. Also, the power of the motor basically doubles each letter designation, a B=2A, and a C=2B, therefore a C=4A. Anyone for some algebra? Remember proofs? :rolleyes:
    But read the recommended motors for your rocket. A somewhat heavy rocket wont do much on an A, but a small one will get out of sight in a hurry on an A. Go check out www.fliskits.com
    Go to the free stuff link and download the Midnight Express rocket. Print it out on some heavy (110 lb) cardstock, and let her rip on a C. You'll never see it again. But it's perfect for using up those A motors, but I digress. Sorry, but those little free paper rockets are great. I lost mine on a B6 yesterday, but I'm working on another. :)
    And then when you get your feet wet, go back to fliskits.com, and get yourself a Deuces Wild, and all the others you like.
    If you enjoy building, you'll love fliskits a bit more than estes or quest.

    slim
     
  20. Oct 3, 2003 #20

    Vitamin

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  21. Oct 3, 2003 #21

    gerbs4me

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    Those are great chooses
    October Sky is an Awesome movie.:)
     
  22. Oct 3, 2003 #22

    bmhiii

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    Vitamin,

    I also think you should start with an Estes Starter set. You get everything you need to launch your rocket (except maybe engines). I still use my original Estes launch pad with the original launch rod. I have replaced my controller so I can do clusters, but that's down the road a piece.

    Tha Alpha 3 Starter Set is a good place to start. You have to assemble the rocket, but it's got a plastic fin can so no fin glueing your first time out. Estes also has some E2X rockets that have plastic fins if you want ot stay in that direction for your second rocket. When you are ready to start with balsa fins, I suggest an Estes Big Bertha. It's a classic and a little bigger rocket. OR, you could go with the FlisKits Rhino. I have no experience with this rocket, but it does have laser cut balsa fins for the introductory rocketeer.

    Of course somewhere down the line, one must venture into that slightly canted world of the Deuce's Wild....:D

    Good luck in whatever you do!!!!

    bmhiii
     
  23. Oct 3, 2003 #23

    spacecowboy

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    The AlphaIII starter set was the route I went as a noob.
    Everything for about $20 at HobbyLobby
     
  24. Oct 4, 2003 #24

    cydermaster

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    I started with a Quest Big Rage starter kit, it was the most expensive, therefore (I thought) the best. How wrong could I be! - there are far too many 'issues' with that kit to make it suitable for a starter kit. Go with an Estes Code Red or Ioniser starter kit - they're ready built, you just have to slap some wadding in & whack an engine in and you're away.

    Like the others say; start with an A motor, and go to a B later. Leave the Cs alone, until you know what you're doing. We all want to fly the best, and most powerful; but loosing your rocket on its 1st launch ain't much fun. My first ever launch, a Quest Big Rage, fell apart mid-air; so I know how demoralizing it can be.

    A school playing field, big enough to accomodate 4 or so footie (soccer) pitches, is enough for an A flight on any rocket. If space is tight, move onto large models; such as Estes' Big Bertha, and Fliskits' Rhino. If you have more space, and want the high flights, Fliskits' Flea is a doddle to build.

    If you haven't already, get yourself over to EMRR, THE rocket review site. Plenty of good reading there; it really helped me make those important first few rocket kit purcheses.

    The best step you can make is to hang out here, on this forum. There is no such thing as a 'stupid question' here! There are alot of people, with alot of wisdom, frequenting this forum, who are only too willing to share their knowledge.

    Oh ....... nobody seems to have mentioned it yet, but we like photos! If you've got access to a digital camera, post some pics! You'll definitely be 'one of the gang', then. When you're ready, get yourself a Deuce, from Fliskits, and you'll be one of the 'inner circle' - an 'inner circle' about to have another 'inner circle' open up, within, with the immanent release of the Tres - Crickey! We're starting to get like the Masons! ;)
     
  25. Oct 4, 2003 #25

    RocketboyG80

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    Same here, I saw that October Sky movie in science class and that got me started into rocketry. Great book too.
     
  26. Oct 4, 2003 #26

    Vitamin

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    Actually, I was meaning to pick up the book today, but library was closed. :(

    BTW: How do you figure how high your rocket goes? Some sort of special rocket alitmeter?
     
  27. Oct 4, 2003 #27

    maddogdelta

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    There are several different methods. Altimeters can be had for the low low price of $70 or more.

    Or for about $1 worth of supplies and a little math, you can get a good guess.

    (See attached bad ascii art)
    You have a triangle a,b,c, where the rocket starts at b, and flies up to a at apogee. Someone is standing far away at point c. The trick is to measure the angle at point c, and the distance from b to c.

    A protractor and and a ruler can be set up to measure the angle, and a measured length of kite string can tell you the distance of b to c (the trick is to have a known distance, maybe 50- 100 meters. Use that measurement all the time.)
    Once you know the angle, and the distance, the legth of b to a is given by :
    tangent(angle at c) = height of rocket flight/measured b-c distance.

    this turns to
    tangent(angle at c) * measured b-c distance = height of rocket flight

    This method isn't perfect, but it will give you a decent answer if you don't have a lot of wind.

    Of course, you need someone there to shoot the angles for you, so you can press the button (or vice versa).
     
  28. Oct 4, 2003 #28

    scsager

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    You can use an electronic altimeter in the rocket. They cost about $60 and up, and are not used very much in smaller (Estes or Quest) rockets. Some altimeters can do lots of advanced stuff. The most basic ones measure air pressure change and convert that into peak altitude.

    You can make or buy (Estes Altitrack) a visual tracking tool called a theodolite. This measures the visual angle and allows you to calculate aproximate altitude of an actual flight.

    You can simulate your rocket with computer software. Two popular programs are RocSim and SpaceCad. These programs allow you to see the estimated altitude and speed (and lots of other stuff) about your rocket, and let you change the engine size to see what makes your rocket go highest or lowest etc.
     
  29. Oct 4, 2003 #29

    maddogdelta

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    Forgot to mention a couple of items...

    Estes has a tool called the Altitrack, that does the angle thing for $15, and if you stand 100 meters away from the launch site, you will be able to read the altitude right off the machine. Pretty cool.

    If you aren't sure what the heck tangent means, just launch the rockets, measure the angles, and use your calculator (switch the windows to scientific, and make sure it says DEG for angles)

    here is a link to Estes' alpha book of model rocketry, at the page to figure out what I was talking about
    http://www.ninfinger.org/~sven/rockets/nostalgia/alpha13.html
     
  30. Oct 4, 2003 #30

    Vitamin

    Vitamin

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    Thanks for the help everyone.

    I'm gonna go and try to get the rocket sometime this weekend.

    I can't seem to find any hobby shops in the seattle/kirkland area. Anyone know of any?
     

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