NCR Phantom 4000 MMT Conversion!

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Well-Known Member
Jan 25, 2009
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Hi all,

I just wanted to post a thread here about my motor mount conversion for my first "big" rocket, Big Red. Why do we call it Big Red? It's kinda obvious! It's big, and it's red! For those of you that don't know the story, which is probably most of you, here it is.

A few years ago, when I was 11 or 12, I think, I had gotten tired of building all these little rockets and flying them with my dad. Now don't get me wrong, I absolutely LOVED it! I had built a Maniac (which I miss dearly, ever since it got caught in a powerline), a Estes Space shuttle (full stack, believe it or not! Not bad for a 9 year old, eh? I SO want another one) and many other of those kits! I had gotten pretty good at it, but IIRC, I wasn't really into the science part - I just liked building. Well, as I continued to grow up, I got a little bored with what I had been doing - it was getting quite repetitive. So, I slowed down and took a break from it, which meant that I didn't fly as often, and rarely built anything new. Well, one day my dad came home and told me that he had found out about a club that was only about an hour from where we lived, and we were going to go and check it out! Well, I came along, and when I got there, IT WAS AMAZING! I had NEVER heard a composite motor in my life, and now here they were launching them left and right! Now there's an embarassing story here, but I ain't gonna tell it. :rolleyes:

Anyways, I was in love, and I HAD to get some of it! I went to my local hobby shop and found the most awesome rocket I had ever seen! It was a NCR Phantom 4000 starter set. It came with a PVC pad, the rocket, which is 4" in diameter (HUGE in my eyes then) and came with the Command Control controller. The only thing was, it was about 90 bucks! Just a tad on the expensive side! I had never bought a rocket-related item that cost that much! After some negotiating with the owner, who I think likes me, I walked out of the store with the biggest rocket I had ever bought for only $70 bucks...not bad at all!

(continued when I get back from school)

Anyways, as soon as I got home I sliced open the shrink wrap and opened the box and just about FELL OVER! This rocket is HUGE! I had never seen a tube that big! It was absolutely awesome! I just had to put it together to see what it would look like. So, I took the three plywood fins, the NC, and the tube, slid them all into place, and then I fell over! :p I was absolutely in love with this rocket! So, I somewhat carefully, somewhat carelessly ran outside to show my best friend, Mike, the size of this rocket. Mike had been a good supporter of my rockets for as long as I had known him, and he thought it was very very cool! So, after I got done with showing everybody how big this rocket was, I picked up the instructions. As I read through them, the one thing that came to my mind was, "What the heck is EPOXY?!?" :rolleyes: Thankfully, my dad, who is a HVAC contractor and is very good with tools, knew what it was and bought me a pack of the Walmart style epoxy, the stuff that comes in the syringe. After some coaching on how to use it, I started assembling the kit. Being a first timer with building a 'BIG' rocket, and being used to using a minimal amount of yellow glue, I assembled the rocket using a minimal amount of epoxy, no fillets on anything - I would have had them had I had a forum like this to answer questions!

Anyways, I built the rocket with the help of a family friend who worked with space-age composites as an engineer, and used his tips along with my dad's advice. One of the cool things he suggested was to a caulking compound to do the fillets. They cure out to a rubber like consistency, look good, but they don't add any real strength. It's easy to apply it though! Just load it up in the caulking gun and let her rip! Smooth with a wet finger, and wha-la, instant fillet!

We painted the rocket using $4 cans of automotive spray paint from a automotive shop. We used a metallic dark cherry red and flat white. We painted the fins with the white and the body with the red. It turned out very good, and I couldn't wait to fly it!

Keep on reading!

Sorry I haven't updated this thread. Here's more of the story:

Since it was close to my birthday, I had been doing research into clubs in Florida. Well, I found a couple, and picked NEFAR as the one I wanted to go to since they seemed to have what I would need to fly this rocket. Remember, I was clueless into what exactly I would be needing to fly this big ol' rocket at the time. I did some more research into the motors I would need. Since I didn't know that Estes had stopped producing the Darkstar motors, and those were the only two motors recommended for this rocket (the F62-4 and the G75-6), I did some more research, and found that there was another company making F motors similar to the F62. This company's name was Aerotech. :rolleyes: I found a vendor that carried these motors, and then my neighbor and friend Kevin surprised me. He told me that since it was so close to my birthday that he would order these motors for me! I was like, "WOW...". Well, being as clueless as I was then, told him that I wanted the F50-4T for this rocket's first flight. I told him I wasn't sure if this motor would be OK since the 'T' stood for a mini-motor...:rolleyes:.

He ordered me three of these motors for me for my birthday. Oh, I forgot to mention that I had bought an AT HV Arcas off eBay using my Christmas money for that year, and had built it and painted it - that was fun!

Anyways, the motors came and my parents told me that we would go out to NEFAR for my birthday. It's since then become a tradition that we would go to a club meet for my birthday. :D

I wasn't sure what to pack since I was so darned excited! So, I packed everything! I took my controller and pad thinking, "Well, maybe they'll need another controller and pad." Come to realize, I wouldn't need any of this stuff, so I felt kinda silly when I got there. I received the motors in the mail, and immediately I tried to put the motor in the MMT, just to see how it would look! :D Uh oh! The motor doesn't fit! OH NO! I found out that the F50 was just a tad bigger than the MMT! So, I started sanding...and sanding...and sanding some more...:eek:! It was insane, but I finally got it to fit in the MMT. I told myself that I would only fly this rocket once because I wasn't sure if the F50 would lift it because it was a "smaller" motor that the F62. See? I was totally clueless about MPR.

The day finally came to go out to NEFAR! I invited my friend Mike, and we all piled into our little Dodge Caravan with all my stuff for the ride out to Bunnell (the town closest to NEFAR) at 5 am!! We finally got out to the field at about 9 am and we started setting up shop. I then saw that NEFAR had every one of the pads that I would possibly need, plus more, so I felt kinda silly. I decided that I would fly some of the LPR rockets first. So I did. I flew my little Alpha and my Big Daddy, and they flew great! I then finally decided that I would fly the Phantom, which by that time we had dubbed "Big Red," since it was big, and it was red!

I prepped the rocket using good ol' Estes wadding! It took almost a full pack of the stuff until I was happy with it. I then inserted the motor and filled out the flight card. I was getting nervous now! This was the biggest rocket I had ever flown. I took it to the RSO, he approved it, signed the flight card, then went to the LSO to have a pad assigned to me. I got to the pad, slid Big Red on the 1/4" rod, and hooked up the copperhead igniter using the clip that I had bought. Satisfied, I went back to the LSO to wait for the flight! I made sure to tell him that it was my first ever MPR flight. He then "closed the range" and launched all the LPR rockets, then moved out to the MPR rack. Now I was REALLY nervous! He launched the other MPR rockets before me, then it was finally my turn! He picked up my flight card and said, "Now we have Jason Toft's 'Big Red" out on pad 3. This rocket is flying on an F50-4 and is Jason's first MPR flight! We're gonna fly this rocket in five, four, three, two, one!" He then pressed the launch button. A quick pop from the copperhead, and the F50 ROARED to life! The entire flight was in slow motion for me. The rocket boosted fast, but not too fast. She climbed nice and straight, and started to slow down. Right past apogee, right as she started to arc over, with the nose slightly down, a "pop" and the nosecone and parachute came out cleanly and she started to descend. Right about now I was estatic! I remember jumping around with my fist in the air, yelling WOOHOO! You couldn't possibly wipe the smile off my face! Big Red came down under the big 36" nylon chute and gently touched down, no more than 150 feet from the pad! Then the LSO said these words that I will never ever forget:

"And that was a textbook flight, ladies and gentlemen!"

He was right. The flight was perfect in every way, and the day still lives in my memory as the day that I swore to myself I would never give up rocketry again!

:D :D :D

What a story Jason! I like the sarcasm you used throughout the story ;). When is your first G motor? My first G motor was a G64 in my Phantom 4000. Can you guess what happened with that flight? :(
Your story reminds me of my first MP flight. I was at a small feild with my club, we were hosting an even called "Space Day" I overheard someone offering someone else a motor, a became interested and walked over, the man said he would sell me the motor, an E15 which I immediatly realized was too small for my barracudas 29mm mount. I walked over to the club presidents truck, and asked him what he could do for me, he gave me an adapter tube, and after alot of taping, I was in line to the pads.

The rocket lifted off slowly under white lightening power, kicking up lots of smoke and, in the small feild the motor roared. The motor opened right at apogee, what a flight, when I came back with the peices the local telivision station interviewed me and I was on TV! It was pretty awesome, I was only 11 and I had launched a huge rocket. Well, for that feild, and what I had seen of rockets it was huge, but I would soon come to realize that there was much more out there, and from that day on I became obsessed.
Sorry guys - no more story right now, but here are some pics!

I have been working a lot at my job, getting used to it and all, then studying for my math test and all that good stuff, then finally I've gotten a chance to work on Big Red!

I did some easy epoxy fillets and fiberglassed the entire fin can area on the exterior. Now I am in the midst of filling and sanding - it's pretty easy though. I should have a coat of primer on her this weekend! :D

Here's the pix!

Alright, I might as well update this thread, even though it has nothing to do with what I was searching for...LOL. :p

I finished the mods you saw in the above pictures, and gave it to our local club's automotive paint guru, Joe (lets fly high), and had him paint it for me. He did an absolutely EXCELLENT job, and I just have to show it off! It is PERFECT!

Detail of the fin can area...absolutely beautiful!

You need to take that rocket out into the sunlight and take some better shots of it. Those pictures DO NOT do it justice!

Oh man...if only I had access to a compressor and paint gun...drool!

Jason, it's nice to see that rocket resurrected. It was cool to see if fly before the crash. At least now you have a wide range of options to play with it. So, you putting an F40 with a bonus delay in it? :D :p