Long term storage of rockets

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Well-Known Member
Jan 18, 2009
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Hey all, I've been away from the hobby for a couple of years, and, had planned to return this year, but an upcoming surgery is going to force me out for yet another season. Up to this point, I've kept all my rockets stored in my home, but, would like to clear up some of the clutter. Is it safe to store them in a non climate controlled wood storage building? I'm not talking about the motors, just built and unbuilt kits. Temps in the building will range from very hot, probably up to 150 in the peak summer months, down to below freezing, in West KY's high humidity environment. What methods have others had with storage in extreme conditions to prevent, or minimize damage?

I think the cold would be OK (although I don't have any experience with kits exposed longterm to sub-freezing temps). I might be a little worried about decals getting brittle.

The heat does concern me. If you have any plastic fin units exposed to sustained heat, the weight of other kits pressing down on the plastic can bend it out of shape after the heat softens it. I think you would have to have a LOT of weight pressing down before a plastic NC would deform.

Have you tried posing this qstn to the good folks at Estes? (I am guessing that most of your kits are Estes?)
"Sub-freezing" isn't especially cold anyway, but exposing them to temps down to +10° F shouldn't affect them at all, as long as they are undisturbed (and dry). If they were exposed to temps of, say, -20° for a prolonged period of time, then I would be concerned that the ink on any decals might begin to crack and flake off.

The bigger problem would be the high temps, but even there, I don't think that you will have too many problems if you can keep the humidity out. I suggest that you pack your kits in one or more solid crates or footlockers (on a cooler, drier day) that have tight lids, and then place them in your storage unit in an area where they will be covered all around and on top by boxes of other stored items. If they remain undisturbed, they should keep well. Piling lots of other boxes and items around your crates will help to insulate them against temperature extremes.

One concern that you did not mention is protecting your stash of kits from mice, wasps, etc. Both types of creatures, as well as others, could very well find an undisturbed box of kits to be a dandy place to build a nest, especially since it also provides them with plenty of nest-building material right at hand. :eek: Heavyweight Rubbermaid-type bins with tight snap lids ought to keep them out. Just be sure that whatever containers you choose will be kept out of direct sunlight during the time that they are in storage.

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Temp extreme changes were a concern of mine years ago. But I have to say I've been keeping my built and some unbuilt models in a 10'x10'x12' Sears uninsulated shed for more then 20 years now without any Ill effects at all. About the only thing i've done "special" is to keep the models on motor mount stands NOT standing on the fins, or Laying them on there side in the rafters installed. I did install a couple louvers in the peaks to vent the very hot air but thats about the only special construction adder to the shed other then occasional pest control spraying ever so often.

DC is a very high humidity climate but this hasn't seemed to cause any major problems with my many storaged models.
Hope this helps.
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Mice and bugs haven't been a problem in the building yet, but, it's only a couple of years old. It's 12x16, with a split loft and pre-installed vents. I have one whole corner of it cleared and ready. It currently houses all my tools, our camping gear, bicycles, and seasonal stuff.

John, I had thought of building some sort of rack out of PVC for the built kits and using dowels to support them by their motor mounts. My larger ones, I guess, will have to set on the floor, or railed on wood rails with pvc instead of dowels to keep them upright.

I'm thinking the unbuilt kits will need to be stored upright also. One thought was to re-enforce the peg holes, and hang them. Or, just add shelving between the wall studs and place them in there.