Newb Qwestions

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jpedersm

Member
1. I got a rocket with 4 fins they are not a straite triangle kinda of crooked. I geuss next time I wont have my 2 year old around when doing this. Would this still fly or not it is just a cheap estes model about 22 inches high.

2. For painting the rocket I did not have spray paint but I did have some primer so I sprayed the primer and brushed on some paint with those little model paint jars is this bad good or not would it make one side a little heaveir causing it to be miss flown. also when done painting should I aply a gloss coat or not if so put it on right after paint drys or put the decals on then the gloss coat.

AKPilot

Well-Known Member
JPedersm,

Welcome to the forum!!! Hope to TRF can help you as you enjoy the hobby!

As for your fins. They don't have to be perfectly straight but, of course, the straighter they are the better your chances of a successful flight. The only way you're going to know is to put a motor into it, probably an A8-3 to start, and see how it flies. The bigger the motor, say B's and C's - the more difficult it might get on your first attempt. So just use an A motor and see how things go. It'll give you a decent height as well as let you find out what characteristics your rocket will exhibit.

As for the painting, it'd be hard to say at this point but, you too will find out when you launch it.

Overall, it sounds as if you're kinda excited/nervous about your first flight here but, don't worry. It's all in fun and you're not going to be judged on how your rocket looks. It's all about experience. The more you build the better your techniques and experiences will be. For now, just go out and have some fun.

follr

Active Member
Most important thing I found is the launch lug. Make sure it slides well on the rail. Sure it should work out fine on an A motor, although some kits in the 22" range call for at least a B. on TRF and other forums I've seen some rockets not even painted. No worries. I've even seen some with a bunch (tons) of stickers on them in stead of paint.

At launch time when you launch, just make sure everyone is aware that this is the first flight and not sure how it will fly. This is not to scare everyone that rocketry is unsafe, but to make sure everyone is paying attention and can TRY and get out of the way if something does go wrong.

Keep small kids back for the first launch. Once you know the rocket will fly some what safely then help the kids launch. Have them count down......

follr

Well-Known Member
1. I got a rocket with 4 fins they are not a straite triangle kinda of crooked. I geuss next time I wont have my 2 year old around when doing this. Would this still fly or not it is just a cheap estes model about 22 inches high.
As long as the fins aren't too badly out of line, the rocket should fly. It will probably roll but should keep going pretty well in a straight line.
2. For painting the rocket I did not have spray paint but I did have some primer so I sprayed the primer and brushed on some paint with those little model paint jars is this bad good or not would it make one side a little heaveir causing it to be miss flown. also when done painting should I aply a gloss coat or not if so put it on right after paint drys or put the decals on then the gloss coat.
Painting by hand should be alright unless you slopped it on. A sprayed coat is likely to be lighter than a hand-painted coat, and a lot easier work on a larger rocket, but I've hand-painted many of my smaller models and they fly fine.

If the paint is matt, you should put on a gloss coat before applying decals; they will stick better to gloss than to matt. If the paint is gloss, this is unnecessary. Whether or not you do this, put a gloss coat over the decals to give them a little protection. (If you want the rocket to have a matt finish, e.g. a scale model of a military rocket, apply a coat of matt varnish rather than gloss after the decals are in place.)

jflis

Well-Known Member
JPedersm,

Welcome to TRF and to rocketry too You're going to love both.

You've gotten some good advise here. Is there any way you could post a photo of the rocket? This would help us see just how the fins look and better advise you.

Bottom line is, put the smallest recommended motor in it and give it a go! Oh, yeah, be sure to come back here and let us know how it went

jim

MysticalRockets

Well-Known Member
Welcome to Rocketry! You've found a hobby you can enjoy with your family for years to come.

As concerns the fins and flight, I'd say just put the small motor, like an A8-3, and fly it. If you're at a public launch with a club, ask them to call a "heads up" flight.

A heads up flight means its either a first flight, or its something strange, and there is the possibility, however slight, of something going wrong. As someone who designs his own kits (hopefully for sale soon, but I've been saying that since 2007), I've done this many times.

As concerns the paint, I wouldn't worry about it. It will be fine. I've done that before, and still do, somewhat, on occasion.

Again, Welcome to Rocketry!

Bob Allen
Owner, Monster Rockets

Well-Known Member
Since nobody has said it (or at least I didn't notice if they said it), if fins are crooked it is not a problem ONLY if they are all crooked in the same direction. This will make the rocket spin and it will actually be more stable (it just won't go as high because of increased air drag from spinning).

If the fins are crooked in such a way that two fins next to each other are crooked in opposite directions or if a 4 finned rocket has opposite fins crooked like a deflected airplane tail, then the rocket will have a huge destqabilizing force created by the fins that are working together to deflect the back end of the rocket sideways. This is "BAD" and can result in a crash, a crash and a fire, or a crash and injury or property damage (and a fire).

Read the sticky thread on the top of this sub-forum. In it is the link to the Classic Collection. It will tell you all about rocket stability.

With most fins, you can cut or break them off and glue them back on again straight.

jpedersm

Member
I will get some pics up tonight still painting it. Just a litlle here and there every day instead of making it a day project trying to make it a week or so to have more fun with it and time makeing it if it flys more excitement for myself. Another qwestions is if I go to mid power rockets with motors in the range from d - g and 3 feet to 5 feet do I need a hole different launch pad I got the estes starter set right now? Also for this mid power stuff looking at the aoratech (if the spelling is right if not I think you guys know what I am talking about) do I need a different launcher to I noticed the motors are different, if so is there a cheap way to go. Looking at them on the net and it could be any place from 150 to 200. I dont that kind of money right now so looking to have most fun with spending not that much.

hardinlw

Well-Known Member
The smaller engines use black powder as a propellent and are fairly easy to ignite. Estes launch controllers will handle the igniters for all black powder motors which typically run from A to E impulse. The standard Estes Launcher has a 1/8" rod and is OK for up to a C engine. For the Estes D and E engines, it is usually recommended to use a 3/16" rod. I have an older Estes launch pad and both 1/8" and 3/16" rods fit. For the heavier rockets, I either stake the ends of the launcher legs to the ground with pieces of coathanger wire or lay something heavy on top of them so the launcher can't tip over if the rocket hangs on the rod. (It's happened to me.)

The Aerotech engines are a different propellent that is harder to light and you need a 12 volt launch controller. The Estes controller will not fire the igniters used. Also, the heavier rockets need a more stable base for the launcher and longer, larger diameter launch rods, typically 1/4" and 4 feet long. The Aerotech starter sets contain such a launch controller and pad, but the cost is on the order of $200. A G engine (single use) will run you$20 or so. The casings for reloadable G engines run around $60 but drop the per-flight cost to around$12.... assuming you get the rocket back. That may be a big assumption since a G can put a small rocket several thousand feet high and if you are not flying from a big, wide open field, you may never see it again.

I'd suggest you develop your building and flying skills on smaller, cheaper, rockets before stepping up to the larger rockets. If your flying field is small, focus on fat rockets to keep the altitude down and increase your chances of getting it back to fly again.

Regarding painting, you can color the rockets with Sharpies if you want. Acrylic craft paints work and don't smell much, but will tend to warp fins. My preferred finishing techniques is to spray a couple of coats of lacquer sanding sealer (woodworker's stores like Woodcraft have it) and then sand that smooth. I've had good luck with the Behlen brand. Let this dry a couple of days. Then come a few coats of lacquer-based automotive primer. The brand is not important, but look for words like "scratch filling", "high build", "sandable", etc. Sand that with 320 grit paper and let it dry for a couple of days. Just about any spray lacquer of enamel will work over that. If you don't have the patience for all the waiting, you can use Rustoleum primer and paint from a place like Home Depot. You can spray the primer and color the same day with some of their paint. Read the label to make sure that's the kind you are getting. If you are going to mask off and paint a trim color, let it dry well and then use a low tack (not so sticky) tape for the masking. The Tamiya tape in hobby shops is really good and the green painters tape works well also. The blue masking tape is a bit sticky and can pull up the base color. Stick it to your hands to take away some of the stickiness before using. Put on the decals and spray on clear. Apply the clear in light coats to avoid dissolving the decals.

jpedersm

Member
hers the pics guys

accooper

Well-Known Member
That doesn't look too bad. Better than my first rocket, and some of these last few I have built.

BUT, for what you pay for those little pots of Testors paint, you can get a can or three of the Walmart Spray Piant. They make a decent gray primer, and like two or three colors. As said before spray paint is a lot lighter.

Always test fly a new rocket on the smallest engine possible.

Andrew From Texas

jflis

Well-Known Member
Not bad at all. Also, your fins don't look so much "crooked" as "mis-aligned" with each other. Mis-alignment in such a model won't have any ill effect to the flight so don't worry about that.

As for crookedness, I didn't see anything that would be of very big concern.

jdud

Well-Known Member
I've got that exact kit on my workbench right now. My fins turned out a little less than perfect as well. No worries...should fly just fine. Keep the little one at a safe distance just in case.

jpedersm

Member
Last night I got a call from a buddy and said he finished his rocket and wanted to launch it, so I hurried up and finished the rest of my rocket. The flight was awsome straite up but then into a bunch of trees behing a house. Couple days before then I launched another one and lossed it to. I have been launching in the athletic field by the hospital. For the wind direction I was looking at the flag thing by the copter pad well I am figuring out this is not allways right so next time im going to check it on the weather station and launch it by the race track hopefully to save some more rockets. I also took a pic of it taking off which I will try to get up later tonight.

dragon_rider10

Well-Known Member
jpedersm,

Great to see you were able to get it in the air! Welcome to your first rocketry experience! Like others have said, stick with Low Power for now and get a feel for how to fly your rockets successfully in the space you have. If there's a slight wind, you might try to angle your launch rod slightly into the wind, so that your rocket drifts back to you after the chute opens. This is a fantastic hobby and is relatively inexpensive compared to others.