Is glassing necessary?

rockets

Well-Known Member
Joined
Nov 18, 2014
Messages
1,259
Reaction score
33
Location
Denver, CO
Just purchased a 5.5” Iris for a level 2/3 project and am going back and forth on whether or not to glass it. Biggest motors it would fly on would be a M1550 or M1297, so nothing wild like an M6000 but I’d rather be safe than sorry.
When/what makes it necessary to fiberglass a rocket?

Thanks!
 

sharkbait

Well-Known Member
Joined
Aug 6, 2013
Messages
741
Reaction score
292
Just purchased a 5.5” Iris for a level 2/3 project and am going back and forth on whether or not to glass it. Biggest motors it would fly on would be a M1550 or M1297, so nothing wild like an M6000 but I’d rather be safe than sorry.
When/what makes it necessary to fiberglass a rocket?

Thanks!
I find the biggest reason to glass is to prevent damage hauling the birds to and from the launch in my truck.
 

rharshberger

Well-Known Member
Joined
Oct 13, 2014
Messages
11,991
Reaction score
3,815
Location
Pasco, WA
I find the biggest reason to glass is to prevent damage hauling the birds to and from the launch in my truck.
+1 to this, I have done both glassed carboard and bare cardboard rockets, the main reason for glassing is preventing travel rash. The M1297 is barely an M no glass required, but it makes for a tougher rocket. Depending on how heavy the cardboard is it may be necessary to reinforce with couplers, keep it undervmach and cardboard will be ok.
 
Joined
Feb 8, 2009
Messages
295
Reaction score
96
Location
Fairfax Station, VA
I say glass it, especially if you plan on flying Ms. An extra $50-$80 to glass it protects your $500-$800 investment.

I bought a HyperLOC1600 back in 2008. I glassed it and it’s still flying. Over 50 flights to date. A couple times it took a hard landing when the chute got tangled. I doubt it would still be flying if not for the glass. Just my 2 cents.
 

waltr

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jul 17, 2021
Messages
1,213
Reaction score
710
Location
SE Pennsylvania
Can't advise on glassing since I've never flown a rocket that big with those motors.
But, would like to see a 5.5" IRIS since it is one of my favorite rockets. I do have the 2.2" IRIS.
 

DRAGON64

Well-Known Member
TRF Supporter
Joined
Jan 17, 2009
Messages
5,218
Reaction score
2,752
Location
Toney, AL
If strength is what you are after, carbon fiber sleeving may be an excellent choice for a nice balance between minimal weight gain plus airframe integrity. I have used Soller Composites for my sleeving in the past:

 

mtnmanak

Joined
May 5, 2020
Messages
1,714
Reaction score
2,070
I don't think glassing is necessary, but there are occasions where it may be desired. I have flown quite a few LOC rockets on M motors without glassing them.

An alternative to consider - just "paint" the entire rocket, inside and out (even the nosecone), with a laminating epoxy like West 105. Once done, it is not as strong as glassing, but it is stronger than carboard alone and it still gives you a nice hard outer/inner shell that is smooth and paintable. From a weight perspective, it is also a good medium ground between bare cardboard and glassing. I have been doing this for a while now on carboard rockets and it greatly increases their lifespan but takes far less time than all the setup necessary to glass tubes. It also does a great job to fill spirals. For the areas where the couplers need to fit into the tubes, I use CA on the outside of the coupler and the inside of the tubes. Sand everything to fit.
 
Last edited:

rockets

Well-Known Member
Joined
Nov 18, 2014
Messages
1,259
Reaction score
33
Location
Denver, CO
Thank you all for the feedback! Seeing that an M will push it over 600 mph, I’ve decided to glass it.

Looking at West Systems and I have a couple of questions..

For the resin and hardener, do you use 105 resin and 205 hardener or a different combo? Also, there’s a cloth you need in addition to the fiberglass, correct?
Thanks!!
 

mtnmanak

Joined
May 5, 2020
Messages
1,714
Reaction score
2,070
Learning to glass a tube is a fundamental skill, so it is good to learn it. It does require an investment in materials and some tools/equipment. I have a few recommendations:

  1. Watch all of @JohnCoker videos on glassing and epoxy
  2. Search through the forums on this site and review the bazillion threads on glassing tubes
    1. i.e. - basically just read everything / watch every video @tfish has ever done:
      1. https://www.rocketryforum.com/threads/how-much-fiberglass-should-i-use.147284/#post-1803904
  3. Do not use the 205 fast hardener - it has a very low pot life and will almost definitely harden up before you are half way through with your layup. Use at least the 206 "slow" hardener
    1. https://www.westsystem.com/the-105-system/product-selection-guide/
  4. Practice, practice, practice. If you try your first layup on your expensive LOC tube, you may as well call them and order a new one right now, because getting a tube layup right on your first try is very difficult. Paper towel tubes, shipping tubes, old Estes tubes, etc - glass a bunch of stuff before you try it on "production" tubing
  5. Consider sleeves, like the ones from Soler Composites, for your first attempts.
  6. You also need an environment suitable for laying up composites. Besides needing a large, clean area with good ventilation, you need to have a space that is at least somewhat temperature controlled. Epoxy does not cure well in cool/cold temps and that is exacerbated when doing layups because the epoxy is spread out into a thin layer, so it will take longer to cure at room temps.
 

rockets

Well-Known Member
Joined
Nov 18, 2014
Messages
1,259
Reaction score
33
Location
Denver, CO
Learning to glass a tube is a fundamental skill, so it is good to learn it. It does require an investment in materials and some tools/equipment. I have a few recommendations:

  1. Watch all of @JohnCoker videos on glassing and epoxy
  2. Search through the forums on this site and review the bazillion threads on glassing tubes
    1. i.e. - basically just read everything / watch every video @tfish has ever done:
      1. https://www.rocketryforum.com/threads/how-much-fiberglass-should-i-use.147284/#post-1803904
  3. Do not use the 205 fast hardener - it has a very low pot life and will almost definitely harden up before you are half way through with your layup. Use at least the 206 "slow" hardener
    1. https://www.westsystem.com/the-105-system/product-selection-guide/
  4. Practice, practice, practice. If you try your first layup on your expensive LOC tube, you may as well call them and order a new one right now, because getting a tube layup right on your first try is very difficult. Paper towel tubes, shipping tubes, old Estes tubes, etc - glass a bunch of stuff before you try it on "production" tubing
  5. Consider sleeves, like the ones from Soler Composites, for your first attempts.
  6. You also need an environment suitable for laying up composites. Besides needing a large, clean area with good ventilation, you need to have a space that is at least somewhat temperature controlled. Epoxy does not cure well in cool/cold temps and that is exacerbated when doing layups because the epoxy is spread out into a thin layer, so it will take longer to cure at room temps.

Thank you!!!
 

techrat

Well-Known Member
TRF Supporter
Joined
Jul 18, 2022
Messages
797
Reaction score
628
This "QuasiGlass" procedure is brilliant. I've been thinking about how to toughen-up my MPR rockets without glassing them as that adds too much weight, and then they won't fly with an F, and this seems to be the way to go. I am going to try this with a "Der Big Red Max" and see how it goes.
 

rfjustin

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jan 21, 2009
Messages
4,154
Reaction score
4,167
Location
Franklin, WI
Just purchased a 5.5” Iris for a level 2/3 project and am going back and forth on whether or not to glass it. Biggest motors it would fly on would be a M1550 or M1297, so nothing wild like an M6000 but I’d rather be safe than sorry.
When/what makes it necessary to fiberglass a rocket?

Thanks!
Worth the investment to glass it IMO, @DMehalko for the win here:
 

thzero

Well-Known Member
TRF Supporter
Joined
Jun 4, 2018
Messages
769
Reaction score
436
This "QuasiGlass" procedure is brilliant. I've been thinking about how to toughen-up my MPR rockets without glassing them as that adds too much weight, and then they won't fly with an F, and this seems to be the way to go. I am going to try this with a "Der Big Red Max" and see how it goes.

I must be missing something then,. its the same process that "glassin'" is doing through - whether you use fiberglass (or Kevlar or carbon fiber, etc) sheets or socks. In both cases you are using something that is going to brush on and then cure to adhere the material to the tube; whether that be Minwax (tried it, its meh to me) or a laminating epoxy.

I did this with a sheet of paper and laminating epoxy to repair a V2; it worked fairly well (other than a balsa fin that was papered that needs to be fixed now).
 

DMehalko

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jan 24, 2010
Messages
502
Reaction score
573
Location
Colorado
Worth the investment to glass it IMO, @DMehalko for the win here:


Ha thanks for the shout out! And agreed, good for longevity, durability, hanger rash, higher thrust motors, etc...

Sure you might need a smidge bigger chute for the little bits of added weight, but worth it! I find the process fun, satisfying, and rewarding too
 

cbrarick

Wildman CT
Joined
Jan 23, 2009
Messages
2,779
Reaction score
529
I don't glass nothing!

My L1 bird rides my trailer everywhere I go - bone stock loc vulconite. It's paint may not be pretty, but the body tube is intact. It's taken everything you can dish out, both commercial and EX (and I really like hard hitting motors)

I've yet to throw out cardboard due to hanger rash, but tossed a rocket I fished out of a lake (after 24 hours).

If you're that worried build fiberglass or carbon....
 

JRL303

Well-Known Member
Joined
May 15, 2012
Messages
310
Reaction score
19
I don't glass nothing!

My L1 bird rides my trailer everywhere I go - bone stock loc vulconite. It's paint may not be pretty, but the body tube is intact. It's taken everything you can dish out, both commercial and EX (and I really like hard hitting motors)

I've yet to throw out cardboard due to hanger rash, but tossed a rocket I fished out of a lake (after 24 hours).

If you're that worried build fiberglass or carbon....
So you glass everything?
 

Ez2cDave

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jan 18, 2009
Messages
5,694
Reaction score
2,011
Location
Raleigh, NC Area
This "QuasiGlass" procedure is brilliant. I've been thinking about how to toughen-up my MPR rockets without glassing them as that adds too much weight, and then they won't fly with an F, and this seems to be the way to go. I am going to try this with a "Der Big Red Max" and see how it goes.
I can put you in direct contact with Rick Boyette, if you have questions.

Shoot me an email . . . [email protected]

Dave F.
 

A-ron

Active Member
Joined
Nov 7, 2020
Messages
40
Reaction score
48
Location
a place I know, in Ontario...
Looking at West Systems and I have a couple of questions..

I was shopping for epoxy earlier this year and almost went with West System, but ended up going with Aeropoxy PR2032 resin + PH3660 hardener.

Compared to West System, Aeropoxy has a lower density, longer pot life, higher strength and higher glass transition temperature. In my experience, it soaks amazingly well into cardboard, fiberglass, paper and wood.

Unlike what some posts on TRF would have you believe, Aeropoxy does cure perfectly fine at room temperature (20°C/68°F), but it sure takes its sweet time. I usually wait at least 24 hours before removing parts from a jig and a whole week before removing the VIVOSUN mylar that I use as a peel-ply.
 

sriegel

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jul 28, 2015
Messages
139
Reaction score
232
Can't advise on glassing since I've never flown a rocket that big with those motors.
But, would like to see a 5.5" IRIS since it is one of my favorite rockets. I do have the 2.2" IRIS.
20221022_155131.jpg

This is mine at dry fit. I glassed it with 9 oz sleeve and tip to tip on the fins. Plan to fly it very much like the OP.
 

sriegel

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jul 28, 2015
Messages
139
Reaction score
232
Nice steampunking in the background there, and signed by Vern Estes no less. :cool: Have you posted more pictures of that one in the past?
No, not here. I had some build pics on the FB NAR page when it was in works. Flew it at NARAM 60 in Pueblo, where Vern signed it. It is also signed by Todd Carpenter, Jeff Taylor, and Ted Cochran, who jointly wrote an article on steampunking rockets in Sport Rocketry, Mar/April 2016. That article inspired this scratch 320% upscale of the Estes Orion Starfighter.
 

drgarymartinez

TRA 19960 - LEVEL 2
TRF Supporter
Joined
Mar 11, 2020
Messages
63
Reaction score
48
Location
Slidell, Louisiana
This is my 12’x 7.5” LOC IRIS getting ready for ground testing. The entire body tube was covered with Giant Leap’s EasyGlas Sock and resin system. I use this on all of my HPRs.
 

Attachments

  • 42A07E3F-304A-4C70-805C-226B966AAA8E.jpeg
    42A07E3F-304A-4C70-805C-226B966AAA8E.jpeg
    3 MB · Views: 0

bjphoenix

Well-Known Member
TRF Supporter
Joined
May 3, 2011
Messages
1,577
Reaction score
661
When/what makes it necessary to fiberglass a rocket?
I was thinking maybe it was high velocity, enough to cause fin flutter and things like that.

Speaking of fins- the photographs in post #25 seem to have very large fins for a real sounding rocket. Wouldn't its CG be relatively close to the middle of the airframe? Model rockets usually have the penalty of having a heavy motor in the back and mostly light and empty airframe in front of it.
 
Joined
Sep 5, 2019
Messages
391
Reaction score
253
Location
Austin
If strength is what you are after, carbon fiber sleeving may be an excellent choice for a nice balance between minimal weight gain plus airframe integrity. I have used Soller Composites for my sleeving in the past:

Off topic, but man this place has everything. Colored CF tubing and sleeves and CF-Kevlar weaves and... Damn
 
Top