# New guy getting back in slowly

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#### Blast it Tom!

##### Well-Known Dweeb
TRF Supporter
Hi all! <waves>

Soooo - I was 13 when Niel Armstrong took that historic 1st step. Had all the models, simulated every stage of the flight. 1st rocket - Estes WAC Corporal. Oh, so careful! Dad & I took it out one vary calm night, leveled the launch pad, and off she went! Perfect! Straight up! Annnd - no chute! And it's coming straight down, we didn't know which way to run! It lawn-darted 12 ft from the pad, but since the ground was soft it really didn't hurt it much. By the time I was out of high school I was designing my own using the moments and centroids method, put the CP 1.5 x the tube diameter behind the CG.

Grew up, married, 5 kids, worked like crazy, never had time to get back into it. Before I got married, I did grab a copy of "Topics in Advanced Model Rocketry" (1973, Mandel, Caporaso, and Bengen, MIT Press) which I still have. In his teens my oldest son thought we ought to give it a try and built a launch pad - which has been used, once. He put a C6-5 in a fairly light-weight rocket - it went straight up anddespite our best efforts we never saw it again! Don't want to go all "TLR" on you but now as the nearness of retirement brightens the horizon, well... one more story.

in honor of the 50th anniversary of the lunar landing, I'd built Famemaster's 1:100 Saturn V with the transparent display panels. When we would babysit one crop of the grandchildren, my 5 year old granddaughter was just fascinated with it- and so I began to explain to her what they had done and how, pictures on the computer, etc. I then found a more rugged toy version that could also simulate the entire mission, and on the anniversary, we watch the Apollo 11 movie with the new footage - and didn't that girl have to simulate every stage of the mission as it went with the toy I'd gotten for, well, all of them, but she really took a shine to it.

Over the years I somehow managed to become an engineer, mostly working on mechanical analysis of large motors and generators. We've done quite a bit that way with NASA, but the one I'm proudest of, I didn't participate in - my boss did the re-powering study to determine what was needed for the crawler to get the SLS up the hill to pads 39 A or B! He was down there crawling all over that crawler while I'm back here in Pittsburgh doing the slow burn...!

Anyway, as I wade ever so slowly back in, I am tickled by the advances in electronics and telemetry, electronic ejection control, all sorts of stuff that really "kicks it up a notch". Being from Western PA, we really don't have a lot of places to fly, and we also have plenty of rocket-eating trees (to borrow from Charlie Brown). So we have to be content with low altitude, mostly. I believe there's a group around here that hauls up to Grove City to launch, where there is a reasonable amount of open, flat ground.

But my, I have a lot of reading to do to "catch up". My oldest son & I recently bought kits - he a more generic Estes design, I opted for their larger Mercury-Redstone (grandkid educational angle again!). Sure enough, I quickly located a good on-line build and saw what i was up against. So I'll probably head over to the Scale section and start asking around. I was surprised when the instructions said to prime the body tube and sand until smooth! I wondered how I was going to get the tube spirals out, now I'm wondering what kind of sandable primer to use! Just that elementary, the olde guy is...!

Well, again, hi, all! Any good "1st rocket" stories, or whatever, perhaps we can reminisce together.. (Hmm. never thought to search fro a dedicated thread for that - moderators deal appropriately!)

Tom

#### Blast it Tom!

##### Well-Known Dweeb
TRF Supporter
Thank you sir! Pittsburgh Space Command is the group I was thinking of, but Tripoli has Pittsburgh prefecture as well.

#### K'Tesh

##### OpenRocket Chuck Norris
TRF Supporter
Welcome Back! This is a pretty good place to get your questions answered.

Don't forget that we always enjoy eye candy... So, please post pics and videos!

Happy New Year!

#### Blast it Tom!

##### Well-Known Dweeb
TRF Supporter
Thank you, K'Tesh! Well, the only eye candy I have right now is my static Saturn V, and the CSM is off of it undergoing (albeit very slowly) some 3D printed improvements. (been about a year...) Put a scale picture of me next to the F-1 in Houston up against the model's F-1 and yow! Awed the granddaughter!

#### K'Tesh

##### OpenRocket Chuck Norris
TRF Supporter
I wish I had pictures of my own with me in front the F-1(11E)s I used to work. Regrettably, I left the USAF without a digital camera (they were expensive in the late 80's and early 90's). Probably wouldn't have been allowed anyway, except during the airshow we hosted at RAF Upper Heyford.

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#### John Taylor

##### Well-Known Member
Welcome! Like the others have said, lots of valuable info on here. I learn new stuff every day

#### prfesser

Good morning Tom!

Here's a thread on how people got back into rocketry:

And if you go to a Tripoli Pittsburgh launch you may meet some of the guys that actually started Tripoli, as well as some TRA BoD members (Tom Blazanin says he's TRA #00003 but you can't believe everything Tom says )

Have fun! You'll find that people on this forum are willing/eager to help with any problems you're having.

Here's one suggestion, worth every cent you pay for it...ditch the rubber shock cords. Light Kevlar thread/string will stand up to the ejection charge repeatedly, and you don't get the snap-back that sometimes occurs, where the nose hits the airframe hard enough to dent it.

Best -- Terry

#### samb

i
Hi all! <waves>

Soooo - I was 13 when Niel Armstrong took that historic 1st step. …

I was surprised when the instructions said to prime the body tube and sand until smooth! I wondered how I was going to get the tube spirals out, now I'm wondering what kind of sandable primer to use! Just that elementary, the olde guy is...!

...

Tom
Welcome ! Your story sounds vaguely familiar. I was flying the crap out of my Big Bertha at Valley Forge Park at about the same time.

Everybody has their preferences for finishing rockets. A lot of folks use water thinned Elmers Carpenters Wood Filler (CWF) to filler spirals and balsa grain. Lately my go to primer is Rustoleum Painters Touch 2X flat white. Relatively cheap, available everywhere and makes a good base for color coats. Rustoleum Stops Rust grey filler/primer is also popular. Needs more time to dry and makes lots of dust but works as advertised.

Two resources I found helpful when I came back to the party in 2006:

Chris Michielssen's blog - https://modelrocketbuilding.blogspot.com/

Apogee Components newsletter and videos - https://www.apogeerockets.com/

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#### prfesser

Second Chris Michielssen's suggestion about using the older Centuri tower instructions. In retrospect I can see that I'd never have gotten the thing right with the Estes instructions.

The thin type of plastic model cement that's applied with a brush is superior to the goop-in-a-tube for assembly.

#### dpower

##### Well-Known Member
Welcome back to Rocketry Tom, and to TRF. Warning, the BAR bug can bite hard!

It's a great time to be getting into rocketry - Estes has great new owners, is releasing some really good scale kits, and there are lots of smaller vendors providing high quality low and high power kits, parts, electronics, etc.

#### Blast it Tom!

##### Well-Known Dweeb
TRF Supporter
Wow, so much to take in - thanks for the warm welcomes! I've grabbed the Centuri instructions, and yes, prfesser, I agree about the liquid solvent cement. I'm also interested in advances and applications for CA glues for modeling, both for this and for static scale models. One thing about the Redstone, too, is you sure want to get your fin alignment dead-dead-dead right, it'll look like the dickens otherwise. I'll probably make a jig for that.

And since Chris Michielssen's blog has been recommended, and he is also present here on the thread, I'll have to check that blog out. I did find another build blog out there specifically for the Redstone; everybody seems to like Centuri's instructions better! And I have the newer, non-pink decals with the proper MR8 designation.

Poor Gus! He had Liberty Bell 7, with the crack painted on, and just like a Looney Tunes cartoon where they paint a hole on the ground and somebody falls in, his capsule sank!

I remember the day he passed, I was 11 and it hit me hard. Poor guys.

Edited to add: Great Scott! Chris, your's was the build blog I'd found for the Redstone! So I was following your lead already!

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#### K'Tesh

TRF Supporter
I can't recommend payloadbay.com's Fin Alignment Guide Tool highly enough. You enter your values, download the .pdf, print it (full scale (not "fit to page")), then glue it (I like glue sticks) to a piece of cardboard, or foamcore ($1 for a sheet at the Dollar store). Cut it out, and use it. You don't have to use the full 8.5x11" to do it (why waste material). Now with the Mercury Redstone, you'd likely need to make some adjustments if you want it to slide off the back, but really that's not necessary. #### Blast it Tom! ##### Well-Known Dweeb TRF Supporter Wow, thanks, I'll check it out. I was thinking how I'd make perpendicular grooves on the table saw, etc! #### Joekeyo ##### Well-Known Member TRF Supporter I, too, am back into model rocketry after a long hiatus. Like many of you I grew up in the 60s and built rockets then. I always looked forward to the new Estes catalog. The artwork was always an outstanding surprise, and new rockets every year, Yes! If I was a little older I might have saved those great catalogs I spent my paper route on mail order directly to Estes Industries, Penrose, Colorado. Engines came in a blue tube with good igniters. I built them all, the Saturn 1B and the Interceptor. Now that I am building again, I realize that probably my youthful construction left sometime to be desired, but they flew and fueled my enthusiasm for more. Somewhere in my teens my time became consumed by not rocketry and decades passed. There was a brief time early in my marriage when I purchased a large inventory of rocket "junk". Lots of old motors and enough random parts to hobble a few rockets together. [ Sidebar: Remember when Mabel would date stamp the motors - what ever happened to the great industry practice]. Most of the motors performed perfectly as my wife got acquainted with model rocketry. I soon launched all the motors and moved on to other activities. Lots of time passed between times of rocketry and not rocketry, but the spark never died. Fast forward 30 years to the present. I am retired from a 30 year career. During that time I had a decade long passion with R/C airplanes. I built them all, too! I am trying to figure out what else I want to do in retirement. I knew that I enjoyed building and flying model rockets when I was younger. So, once again, I am enjoying building and flying model rockets. It didn't hurt nearly as much when the$15 rocket drifted into the fenced-in school yard rendering it irretrievable as compared to drilling $200 holes in the ground with a pranged R/C airplane. Now that I am back in the hobby, what have I learned? There is still a vibrant model rocket industry Yeah! It seems like the industry is strongly supported by BARS, but my grandchildren are having a blast with rockets. The industry has a strong internet presence. I am still enjoying the convenience of mail order. Whats new? MPR, HPR, small affordable on board data and camera, that's whats new. Rockets can be easy to build (3 - 4 FNC), but tedious to finish. Sand, seal, repeat. Do it until your tired of it and then once more for a completely smooth finish. CWF is new to to me. It is a lot more pleasant to work with than the toxic sanding sealer and thinner. I don't remember the tube spirals being an issue when I was a kid, did they make the tubes better or am I just more particular? Ditto for paint. Is paint quality down? It seems to run easier and not cover as well. Further ramblings from a retiree. #### dhbarr ##### Amateur Professional .... once again, I am enjoying building and flying model rockets. It didn't hurt nearly as much when the$15 rocket drifted into the fenced-in school yard rendering it irretrievable as compared to drilling \$200 holes in the ground with a pranged R/C airplane.
RC, eh?

https://dynasoarrocketry.com/

:-D

#### Joekeyo

##### Well-Known Member
TRF Supporter
Kewl dynasoar rocketry. I remember the original orbital transport glider flew pretty well (I told you I built them all). I expect the RC one would be even better. Unfortunately, I sold/gave away all of my R/C stuff. I like to make a clean break.

#### Blast it Tom!

##### Well-Known Dweeb
TRF Supporter
Joekyo, you brought back a lot of good memories! I remember those engine shipping tubes! Now, I built quite few of them, but not all. One I remember was a "Starliner" or something like that. It had balsa fin fairings that started at the top of the body tube, like, 8 all around, with 4 that actually were widened into fins, and a couple of BT-80 rings around them for decoration. I painted it all white with royal blue metal flake rings (like you'd use on model cars). It flew once - cocked just a bit coming off the rod, but I was really impressed with the flame I was getting out the back. My dad wasn't quite as impressed. Fortunately, the fire stopped when the engine stopped. I was stunned to find that I had forgotten to glue the engine mount in, so the gorgeous flame was actually the back end of the thing burning up.

It wasn't too long, though, that nutty me was designing my own using that moments & centroids method in one of the Estes tech papers. Pretty straightforward. My first was a conversion of an A-B-C engined Apogee to D engine power. I modified the fins appropriately, went to streamer instead of parachute, and she flew, well, like a rocket!

Kinda nuts because, like I said, we don't have a lot of wide, flat (or at least open) fields around here. I'm lucky I got it back. But that was me, always wanting to go bigger than the next guy!

And in a way I'm at it again. I'm getting started on the Estes (Centuri) Mercury Redstone and, like Chris (hcmbanjo) above, would like a little more power up the tailpipe. I was surprised when I put a the calipers on the body tube and found it was a Centuri ST-20 (2.042" OD). So I'm sure glad I didn't order an Estes D engine mount! Then I got on erockets and discovered that Aerotech apparently makes D - rated motors in the 18 mm size - I may have to recheck that - so if I'm correct I don't have to change anything. I'll have to mke sure it's not too long, or something.

But looking further at the design, man, that's a big, wide body tube above that mount. No wonder they call for 10-12 sheets of wadding! I seem to recall rockets with extended engine tubes and a ring at the top to cut out some of that volume, so you have a better chance of proper ejection, and was wondering if I should do the same.

Now off to check the Dynasoar site! I had no idea! So much to check out!

#### Blast it Tom!

##### Well-Known Dweeb
TRF Supporter
Hmm, my head is spinning... I've lurked here and there, been awfully busy, put a couple more posts up, but to my topic I am going 6 ways at once... Let's see if I can sort it out and ask for some more help or guidance.

First off, I finally put it together that Chris (hcmbanjo) Michielssen is the fellow behind some wonderful odd'l rocket designs. These would be great to entertain the grandkids! He's also the fellow behind a well-detailed build blog of the Estes-Centuri Mercury Redstone that's currently on my bench. For those who haven't pursued it, Chris modified the model to take a 24 mm Estes D engine. Much thanks to you, Chris!

But I discovered that Aerotech makes a reloadable 18 mm motor system with D-level impulse (20 N-m) in two loads - White and Blue thunder. Anybody have any experience with these? I downloaded the instructions and nothing's too intimidating there, and either load would be pretty to watch, though the Blue Thunder is a real kick in the pants off the pad. Then I don't have to mod the engine mount.

Next up, try this: away back, my daughter and her (now husband) got me two rockets. The firs was the Estes Astro-Cam that takes the old 110 cartridge film. I'm pretty sure there isn't a snowball's chance in you-know that I could ever use that camera unit as intended. Any other picture taking options that I can put up there?

The second one, that I just remembered today and dug out of my 2nd childhood stash, is the Estes Venus Probe, that crazy one with the spring-loaded lander with the little green man inside! So when I went to do some work on the Redstone, I also got started on that one. Wondering again how Aerotech's RMS 18/20 reloadables would work on that one. And even more importantly: That alien ain't going anywhere until I figure out how to put an Elvis Ducktail and sideburns on him at least! Any suggestions of a putty or other substance that would stand up to ejections?

Finally, a more technical question: I've seen in my lurking that some of the rocket simulation programs give an indication of whether a rocket will be at an aerodynamically stable speed when it leaves the rod or rail or whatever (Wouldn't mind investigating some of those options either, but not for these first few - I remember Estes bringing out the C rail). Anyway, does anyone know what that criteria is? I'm sure it deep in the program, the restoring moment provided by the fins at a given speed versus the speed gained going up the rail, but I'm interestedin the math (I'm an engineer IRL).

Well, thanks all! If anyone thinks this would be better over in the beginner's section just let me know and I'll move over there. Good night!

#### John Taylor

##### Well-Known Member
Hmm, my head is spinning... I've lurked here and there, been awfully busy, put a couple more posts up, but to my topic I am going 6 ways at once... Let's see if I can sort it out and ask for some more help or guidance.

First off, I finally put it together that Chris (hcmbanjo) Michielssen is the fellow behind some wonderful odd'l rocket designs. These would be great to entertain the grandkids! He's also the fellow behind a well-detailed build blog of the Estes-Centuri Mercury Redstone that's currently on my bench. For those who haven't pursued it, Chris modified the model to take a 24 mm Estes D engine. Much thanks to you, Chris!

But I discovered that Aerotech makes a reloadable 18 mm motor system with D-level impulse (20 N-m) in two loads - White and Blue thunder. Anybody have any experience with these? I downloaded the instructions and nothing's too intimidating there, and either load would be pretty to watch, though the Blue Thunder is a real kick in the pants off the pad. Then I don't have to mod the engine mount.

Next up, try this: away back, my daughter and her (now husband) got me two rockets. The firs was the Estes Astro-Cam that takes the old 110 cartridge film. I'm pretty sure there isn't a snowball's chance in you-know that I could ever use that camera unit as intended. Any other picture taking options that I can put up there?

The film and processing is available. Google it.

The second one, that I just remembered today and dug out of my 2nd childhood stash, is the Estes Venus Probe, that crazy one with the spring-loaded lander with the little green man inside! So when I went to do some work on the Redstone, I also got started on that one. Wondering again how Aerotech's RMS 18/20 reloadables would work on that one. And even more importantly: That alien ain't going anywhere until I figure out how to put an Elvis Ducktail and sideburns on him at least! Any suggestions of a putty or other substance that would stand up to ejections?

Finally, a more technical question: I've seen in my lurking that some of the rocket simulation programs give an indication of whether a rocket will be at an aerodynamically stable speed when it leaves the rod or rail or whatever (Wouldn't mind investigating some of those options either, but not for these first few - I remember Estes bringing out the C rail). Anyway, does anyone know what that criteria is? I'm sure it deep in the program, the restoring moment provided by the fins at a given speed versus the speed gained going up the rail, but I'm interestedin the math (I'm an engineer IRL).

Well, thanks all! If anyone thinks this would be better over in the beginner's section just let me know and I'll move over there. Good night!

#### John Taylor

##### Well-Known Member
Hmm, my head is spinning... I've lurked here and there, been awfully busy, put a couple more posts up, but to my topic I am going 6 ways at once... Let's see if I can sort it out and ask for some more help or guidance.

First off, I finally put it together that Chris (hcmbanjo) Michielssen is the fellow behind some wonderful odd'l rocket designs. These would be great to entertain the grandkids! He's also the fellow behind a well-detailed build blog of the Estes-Centuri Mercury Redstone that's currently on my bench. For those who haven't pursued it, Chris modified the model to take a 24 mm Estes D engine. Much thanks to you, Chris!

But I discovered that Aerotech makes a reloadable 18 mm motor system with D-level impulse (20 N-m) in two loads - White and Blue thunder. Anybody have any experience with these? I downloaded the instructions and nothing's too intimidating there, and either load would be pretty to watch, though the Blue Thunder is a real kick in the pants off the pad. Then I don't have to mod the engine mount.

Next up, try this: away back, my daughter and her (now husband) got me two rockets. The firs was the Estes Astro-Cam that takes the old 110 cartridge film. I'm pretty sure there isn't a snowball's chance in you-know that I could ever use that camera unit as intended. Any other picture taking options that I can put up there?

The second one, that I just remembered today and dug out of my 2nd childhood stash, is the Estes Venus Probe, that crazy one with the spring-loaded lander with the little green man inside! So when I went to do some work on the Redstone, I also got started on that one. Wondering again how Aerotech's RMS 18/20 reloadables would work on that one. And even more importantly: That alien ain't going anywhere until I figure out how to put an Elvis Ducktail and sideburns on him at least! Any suggestions of a putty or other substance that would stand up to ejections?

Finally, a more technical question: I've seen in my lurking that some of the rocket simulation programs give an indication of whether a rocket will be at an aerodynamically stable speed when it leaves the rod or rail or whatever (Wouldn't mind investigating some of those options either, but not for these first few - I remember Estes bringing out the C rail). Anyway, does anyone know what that criteria is? I'm sure it deep in the program, the restoring moment provided by the fins at a given speed versus the speed gained going up the rail, but I'm interestedin the math (I'm an engineer IRL).

Well, thanks all! If anyone thinks this would be better over in the beginner's section just let me know and I'll move over there. Good night!

#### John Taylor

##### Well-Known Member
The 110 film and processing is available, just go on line. Google it.

#### Blast it Tom!

##### Well-Known Dweeb
TRF Supporter
Holy mackeral I will! That really surprises me, thanks!

#### Blast it Tom!

##### Well-Known Dweeb
TRF Supporter
Well in response to K'tesh ("we like eye candy"), I started an album. I don't store photos on-line generally and haven't been able to figure out how to put pics in my posts yet. 2 pics of my 4D Famemaster Saturn V, a static model. More to come as I have time...

Man, I've been on plenty of fora... I tried to quote K'tesh's post to make this clearer, and hit the quote button on his post, but... nothing showed up here. Learning curve!

#### samb

Well in response to K'tesh ("we like eye candy"), I started an album. I don't store photos on-line generally and haven't been able to figure out how to put pics in my posts yet. 2 pics of my 4D Famemaster Saturn V, a static model. More to come as I have time...

Man, I've been on plenty of fora... I tried to quote K'tesh's post to make this clearer, and hit the quote button on his post, but... nothing showed up here. Learning curve!
After you hit the quote button on a post you go to the end of the thread to start your reply.

Hit "insert quotes".

#### hcmbanjo

##### Well-Known Member
[QUOTE="One I remember was a "Starliner" or something like that. It had balsa fin fairings that started at the top of the body tube, like, 8 all around, with 4 that actually were widened into fins, and a couple of BT-80 rings around them for decoration."[/QUOTE]

That was the Estes "Starlight".
It has been discontinued, but some are still available from erockets.biz and other vendors:
https://www.erockets.biz/semroc-flying-model-rocket-kit-starlight-kv-21-discontinued/