# Newbie Questions =)

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#### grimlock3000

##### Well-Known Member
Last weekend I picked up a Alpha III Value Pack from Michael's that had the following:

Alpha III rocket (EX2 series)
Bandit rocket (EX2 series)
5x B6-4 engines + recovery wadding
Porta-Pad II + launch controller

The pack retails for $19.99, was on clearance for$12, and I had the 40% off coupon so I got everything for $7.20 Even though I have too many hobbies as it is, flying rockets seems like a pretty cheap way to keep myself busy and my wife seemed somewhat interested in it as well. After buying two kinds of glue and another hobby knife, I had spent just over$10 to build the two rockets. I have over $1000 into a couple RC cars and another$1000 into fish tanks so it is nice to not have a hobby that is not so spendy (yet). I had a good time putting the two rockets together, so I went out and looked for a slightly more challenging rocket to build. I found a hobby store a few towns over that had about 15 different Este's kits in stock.

I got an Este's Wizard (Level 1) which cost more than the other two rockets, five engines, and launch gear, it was $7.69 The package says it can make it up to 1500 feet, so I decided it would be fun. The Wizard was pretty easy to build as well, I realized I should have purchased something more complicated that took longer to build. Then I started looking around online and came across well, everything else that was not Este's. I spent a few hours reading at www.rocketreviews.com and searching around on this forum for general information. It really opened my eyes to how much rocket stuff is out there. Now that I own three rockets that I had fun building, I suppose at some point I am going to go out and actually fly the things, but I want something else to build as well. All of my potential launch areas are roughly 400x400 feet and my area is usually windy since I live a few miles from the Atlantic Ocean. Getting the Wizard was a bad choice, I should have been looking into some larger/lower flying rockets instead of worrying about how high a rocket can go. I would bet money that I lose the Wizard the first time I launch it I think something like a FlisKits Praetor would be perfect and I would not have to worry so much about losing it. Anyway, now the newbie questions... What is the best type of glue to use? I currently have Elmer's Interior Carpenter's Wood Glue and Testors Red Plastice Model cement. If there a cheap place to get a fin jig? Can my current stand launch a Praetor or do I need a larger launch rod? What are some good slow lift off low altitude rockets that are fun to build? Anything I should know about the Este's pad and launch controller I have? Thanks! #### jflis ##### Well-Known Member whew! now *that's* a set of questions! We have a thousand member in TRF so you *could* get a thousand different answers about the best glue. I use Elmers white for 90+% of what I build (low power model rockets). I use CA (super glue) for some building and to tack fins on quick, yellow glue where I need extra strength and epoxy rarely, but sometimes... Cheap fin jig? Not retail... The old Estes one seems to get more than$50 on ebay... What I do for a fin jig is to glue a spent motor casing to a large square of thick cardboard or 1/4" ply wood. This holds my rocket up straight. Then I put on the fin and pinch it between two paint bottles.

The Praetor is designed for a 1/8" rod so the launch setup that came with your starter set will do just fine. She's a great rocket too, if I *do* say so myself

Your field, at 400 X 400, *is* rather small. Even with the Praetor, be aware of wind direction. If you want Low-N-Slow, I would recommend Flying Saucers

We (FlisKits) have the Triple Threat (three 13mm flying saucers in one kit) and the Pheord X150 (an 18mm saucer patterned after a red-neck pickup-saucer...)

Art Applewhite also has a great selection of saucers.

If you are looking for more challenge, but still have your field limits, I would reccommend the FlisKits A.C.M.E. Spitfire (on C11 motors, she doesn't go very high) and the Deuce's Wild (great on B motors for small fields)

The only word of caution I would give you about the Estes pad and launch controller is that you shouldn't try to launch cluster models with it as there isn't enough power to assure reliable ignition of 2 or more motors. Other than that, it should be fine for most low power model rockets.

good luck and welcome to the forum! (you're going to like it here )

Jim

#### shinbone

##### Well-Known Member
At the risk of drawing Jim's ire (I do love FlisKits, I really do!), I'd be remiss in not telling a newbie about the classic slow-liftoff, small-field flyer: You want to get your hands on an Estes Big Bertha. It's a BT-60 diameter flyer with a rounded nose that has for countless years provided slow take-offs.
My son recently did a science fair project investigating three nose cone shapes, and we flew the Bertha a dozen times on a relatively small field on both B and C engines and kept her near the pad all day.
If you can't find it in kit form, you can buy the currently available Baby Bertha and just substitute a full length of BT-60. Or, the plans are on Jim Z's site; there's nothing fancy to building this one. It's "four fins and a nose cone."

#### loopy

##### Well-Known Member
With the Estes and other low power models like those mentioned, white glue is fine, and many people (myself included) use wood glue as well. The power in the engines is low enough that it won't rip the fins off, and if you do decent fillets, the should stand up to landings with no problems.

If you're looking for some more challenging builds, look into some of the higher skill level Estes and Fliskits stuff. If you feel you want more power, mid-power is very exciting. A little more expensive on the kits and motors, but not as much as RC cars. Depending on where you are, you can also see if there's an NAR or Tripoli club near you to launch with, especially if you decide to get into midpower sometime in the future. The sites for those organizations are tripoli.org and nar.org . Welcome to the fold!

Loopy

#### Juaru

##### Well-Known Member
Originally posted by grimlock3000
I have over $1000 into a couple RC cars and another$1000 into fish tanks so it is nice to not have a hobby that is not so spendy

Welcome!

My first kit was a 5.00 clearance starter set. When I got it I had a 120 gal tank, a 55, 6 30's, a 38, a 29 and 2 or 3 others. I'm now down to the 120, 55 and 29. I don't seem to have any more money, but I sure do have a lot of rockets!

John (not Jon) Arthur

www.JonRocket.com

#### shreadvector

##### Well-Known Member
Originally posted by grimlock3000
Last weekend I picked up a Alpha III Value Pack from Michael's that had the following:

Alpha III rocket (EX2 series)
Bandit rocket (EX2 series)
5x B6-4 engines + recovery wadding
Porta-Pad II + launch controller

The pack retails for $19.99, was on clearance for$12, and I had the 40% off coupon so I got everything for $7.20 Even though I have too many hobbies as it is, flying rockets seems like a pretty cheap way to keep myself busy and my wife seemed somewhat interested in it as well. After buying two kinds of glue and another hobby knife, I had spent just over$10 to build the two rockets. I have over $1000 into a couple RC cars and another$1000 into fish tanks so it is nice to not have a hobby that is not so spendy (yet). I had a good time putting the two rockets together, so I went out and looked for a slightly more challenging rocket to build. I found a hobby store a few towns over that had about 15 different Este's kits in stock.

I got an Este's Wizard (Level 1) which cost more than the other two rockets, five engines, and launch gear, it was $7.69 The package says it can make it up to 1500 feet, so I decided it would be fun. The Wizard was pretty easy to build as well, I realized I should have purchased something more complicated that took longer to build. Then I started looking around online and came across well, everything else that was not Este's. I spent a few hours reading at www.rocketreviews.com and searching around on this forum for general information. It really opened my eyes to how much rocket stuff is out there. Now that I own three rockets that I had fun building, I suppose at some point I am going to go out and actually fly the things, but I want something else to build as well. All of my potential launch areas are roughly 400x400 feet and my area is usually windy since I live a few miles from the Atlantic Ocean. Getting the Wizard was a bad choice, I should have been looking into some larger/lower flying rockets instead of worrying about how high a rocket can go. I would bet money that I lose the Wizard the first time I launch it I think something like a FlisKits Praetor would be perfect and I would not have to worry so much about losing it. Anyway, now the newbie questions... What is the best type of glue to use? I currently have Elmer's Interior Carpenter's Wood Glue and Testors Red Plastice Model cement. Use the glue stated in the instructions. Yellow wood glue is carpenters glue and it is faster drying and stronger than white glue. The biggest disasters are from folks building kits with whatever glue or cement they have on hand rather than following the manufacturers instructions. If there a cheap place to get a fin jig? No. I don't bother since yellow wood glue dries very fast. Hold the rocket upside down when attaching the fins. If you tilt it or lay it flat, the fins will fall off. Can my current stand launch a Praetor or do I need a larger launch rod? I personally LOVE a 4 foot long 1/8" diameter steel rod. you get higher speed at the point it leaves the rod since it has more time to build up speed. You can also weight the legs or stake them to hold the pad down when launching large models. Old water or bleach bottles filled with water are good, or you can make U-shaped stakes by cutting wire hangers. What are some good slow lift off low altitude rockets that are fun to build? That depends on what you consider "fun". I love the Venus Probe converted to C11-3 motors. If you attempt it with C6-3 motors you will NEED a 4 foot long launch rod. Anything I should know about the Este's pad and launch controller I have? Thanks! #### seo ##### Well-Known Member The Fliskits Rhino is a good first rocket. (Very similar to the Big Bertha, but the laser cut fins are nicer than the die-cut Estes uses) EMRR Reviews: Rhino review After the Rhino, Try a Praetor: Praetor Reviews I fly both on small fields. Not a problem with B6's or B4's. Wait for a calm day for a C6 or a bigger field. #### powderburner ##### Well-Known Member We are glad you joined us, grimlock You have some good questions there. There is lots more info available through searching the old TRF threads, but for some quick answers, make sure to check out the answers above----I think all these posts are great answers. BTW, you just so happen to be asking about this stuff during a week when there is a half-price sale at Hobby Lobby. Now is the time to stock up on kits. It is hard to beat half off! About glues: your wood glue works well; plain old white glue works very well on low-power kits and you can get it dirt cheap during 'back to school' sales. These glues can be applied to balsa, paper, cardboard body tubes, cardboard centering rings, etc. You will also need your Testors plastic cement for nose cones (some arrive in the kit in pieces and require assembly) and the occasional plastic component. A really good way to get white/yellow glues to work for fin attachment is to 'two-stage' the glue. Apply a little to the fin root. Press the fin in place against the BT and then remove. Make sure the glue is spread over both sides of the joint. Allow that layer of glue to dry. About five or ten minutes later, apply another thin bead of glue to the fin root and press in place again. After it is dry you can add fillets to the fin/body joints. This gives one of the strongest, fastest fin attachments you can get with these glues. For even stronger attachments, you can sand the outside of the BT where the fin will attach, just enough to remove the thin plastic shiny layer. That way the glue will get into the cardboard fibers better. A cheap place for fin jigs? Good luck on that one----they are collector's items these days. Sorry. Your current launch rod is probably big enough for a Praetor, but I recommend replacing it anyway. Those two-piece Estes rods are prone to breaking at that middle joint, just when you are in the middle of a launch session. Go to your hobby shop and get a 36 inch length of 'music wire' (tempered steel) ---- it comes in 1/8 inch and many other sizes, should cost about a buck or so. Or go to the hardware store (Home Depot, Lowes, etc) and go to the bar-stock section; they sell 48 inch lengths of 'round rod' in 1/8, 1/4, and other sizes. The round rod stuff is softer and weaker, and will bend more easily, but can be used in a pinch if you can't find a local hobby shop with music wire. Some of the other TRF guys have good tips on using stainless steel, or other materials. Good slow-flyer starter models? Yes, the Estes Big Bertha is excellent, and the Quest Big Betty is a very similar design (you might find this at the HobLob half-off sale). The Fliskits Rhino looks like another very good choice, but I don't have one (yet). The Estes Fat Boy is a very fun rocket, and also flies on 18mm (cheap) motors. Probably the least expensive place to find motors is your local Michael's MJ Design store (the place with all the picture frames and fake flowers). Many of the Michaels also stock model rocket stuff, and you can sometimes find an Estes 'Liftoff Special' (I think that's the right name) with 24 assorted A, B, and C motors, with igniters and ejection wadding included. This thing is normally priced at around$40-something but with the 40 percent off coupons Michaels puts in the Sunday newspaper each week, the price for a 24 motor pack comes down to around $28 As to your Estes launch pad: that little thing will work great for most of your needs for quite a while. Keep fresh batteries, change them out after about ten launches or if the ignitor is being sluggish. Use a little steel wool to wipe down the launch rod and keep it clean, followed up by a light wipe with an oily rag. Keep the alligator clips clean---a cheapo package of emory boards (the kind you use for your fingernails) from the dollar store helps a lot there. Main problem with the Estes launcher is that it will be kind of marginal for launching clusters (two or more motors). You may have to upgrade if you want to get started in clusters. And watch out for the tip of that$#$%&* launch rod when you walk up to it-----I can't tell you how many times I have bent over and poked that stupid thing in my face (and I know it's there! DUH!) when I get in a hurry. #### grimlock3000 ##### Well-Known Member Thanks for all the information. The flying saucers do not interest me much, I much prefer the looks and take-off of a rocket. I might get a saucer to try out though I asked a friend who flies RC planes and he told me of a slightly larger field. I measured on on a map and it is about 450x800 feet which can give me a lot more room depending on the wind direction. I suppose I can expect to lose a few rockets here and there, might as well start soon. The Deuce's Wild was something that caught my eye right off. Too bad my controller can not handle the twin engines That is when I started looking at the Praetor. I will probably get a Rhino or maybe something else when I order the Praetor. Good tip on getting a 1/8 steel rod from Home Depot. The Este's rod did seem a bit flexible in the middle. I actually thought almost everyone was using fin jigs I'll have to practice some more to get perfectly straight fins. Is the only difference from the Baby Bertha to the Big Bertha the body tube? It is cheaper to get a Baby Bertha kit and 3 BT60 body tubes compared to a Big Bertha. I have never seen a Hobby Lobby. Most everything I order comes from online. Specialized shops are pretty rare where I live (Maine). I managed to mess up my Wizard already. When I was applying the final coat of pink, my homebrew rocket holder snapped half. As the rocket fell, it bounced off both my hands and hit the ground. Now I gotta let it dry, sand down most of it and repaint. Good thing I started small, I am really learning a lot as I go. #### Karl ##### Well-Known Member TRF Supporter You COULD fly all the rockets you have on A8-3 motors , they wont go high but hey you will get them back , if your daring try a C6 motor , but change the 'chute with a Streamer of *Reef* the 'chute ( wrap a tiny bit of masking tape around the shoruds of the 'chute so it wont open fully ) As for plastic cement , its hardly ever used in model rocekts (mostly used in plastic models) , The only time i've used it is in building the Quest Big Rage , and that was only a tiny amount. Wood glue is the first glue I ever used , its easy to use , and actually comes of your fingers -Karl #### astrowolf67 ##### Well-Known Member Welcome to the forum, and the hobby! As many others have said, you are off to a good start. The small rockets you have can be recovered with streamers for a better chance of recovery. As for a low and slow flyer, Estes Fat Boy (available at most walmarts pretty cheap). Your launch pad will be fine. As others have said, you can get a much better rod at your local hardware store. You might want to go ahead and pick up a 3/16 rod also for when you move up to larger D powered rockets. You can make some stakes for the pad out of coat hangers, or use small hook style tent stakes. When you get to the point of needing more juice from your controller, you can easily replace the bulb with a 12v bulb, or piezo buzzer, and attach a connector allowing you to use some of your RC battery packs. If you do this, I would also use a heavier guage wire for the clip leads too. #### powderburner ##### Well-Known Member When you get tired of launching only single-motor rockets, you may want to convert your hardware to 12V. It only requires a little rewiring and parts, but you can power it off of your car battery, or bring a small lawn-tractor battery. A 12V system will do two or three or four motors quite nicely, if you want to launch your Deuce's Wild. #### Gus ##### Well-Known Member Hi, Welcome aboard. Where else can you ask a question and have the owner and chief designer of the product you're considering give you his own personal recomendations and building hints to boot? (JFlis is the creator the the Fliskits rocket you were considering.) Any of the Fliskits Jim mentioned would be great, as is everything he offers, and the mail order service his company offers is the best in the business. But after you've flown some of Jim's rockets, try a Fat Boy. The construction is a little different than what you've built thus far because it has through the wall fins, but is still easy to build. It goes low and slow, so it's great for small fields. Also, Jim's recommendation for one of Art Applewhite's saucers is really good too. I'd launched rockets for 30 years before I bought a saucer and I laughed myself silly the first time I launched one. Now my kids and I start every launch with a saucer. As for rockets that go too high, remember, every time you lose a rocket, an angel gets his wings. Either that or a sharp poke in the behind, I can't remember which. #### graylensman ##### Well-Known Member Go to your library - or better yet, Amazon.com - and check out/pick up a copy of G. Harry Stine's <i>Handbook of Model Rocketry</i>. Stine was one of the founding fathers of sport rocketry (his NAR number was 2!) and his book covers ALL the basics and touches upon some advanced topics, too. It is currently in its sixth edition, but any earlier edition will do. Welcome aboard TRF! #### shinbone ##### Well-Known Member I suppose the recommendations could go on and on, but I'll add one more anyway, Grimlock. When you're ready for a little more power, try the Estes Big Daddy (EST-2162). It's only 19" long, but is 3" in diameter and flies on C11 and D12 motors. A skill level 2, it comes with a slotted body tube that ensures you get the fins on straight. It's a great flyer. I've crashed one and lost another (one was modified to take the E engine), and will build a third real soon. It usually sells for around$20, and it's well worth it even if you have to pay full price.
I think this one is destined to become a classic.

#### kenobi65

##### Well-Known Member
Welcome aboard, Grimlock!

One of the things I love about this hobby is that you can spend as much, or as little, as you want, and still enjoy it. You can spend next to nothing on rockets (downloadable patterns, Scott Towel Speicals, etc.), or get into High Power and go for that second mortgage!

Another thing I love about the hobby is how helpful folks can be, especially on this forum.

While the old Estes Fin Alignment jig is expensive now, you can usually find the Estes Fin Marking Guide fairly inexpensively on eBay. I've found it very useful for marking body tubes, and it's got a slot that'll hold a fin upright while the glue sets.

Oh, and if you have any Hobby Lobbys in your neck of the woods, this is the week to vist -- all rocket kits are 50% off through this Saturday.

#### slim_t

##### Well-Known Member
For some more building and flying fun, go to Fliskits, free stuff, and download the paper rockets. There are 2, the Midnight Express and Caution Rocket Launch In Progress. Get a pack of Card Stock about 80 to 110 lb. and print them out and build away. You'll also need to get some modeling clay, and some elastic. You could launch them on an A8-3 and get them back, or if you want to see it dissapear, use a C6 and if you lose it, you haven't really lost much, just build another.

Also, for your field, I think you'd enjoy a Fat Boy. They fly low on a B6-4, and not real high on a C6. You can usually find them at WalMart for about $9. Definately get a Deuce's Wild. You could probably keep it in your field on 2 B6's. Welcome, and oh yeah, we like pics, so let's see those new rockets. Here's a few of my paper rockets. Tim #### grimlock3000 ##### Well-Known Member After worked I checked out the hobby shop where I get parts for my RC nitro truck. They had a full selection of Este's and Quest models that I managed to never notice before. Everything I could think of was right there for the taking, but the wallet said NO because the Este's prices were about 50% higher than online I almost got the Quest Big Betty for$10, but decided to try findining an Este's Fat Boy at Wal Mart first. I then proceeded to go to three Wal Mart in a row, no Fat Boys I did find some A8-3s though at the last Wal Mart, so I can keep the rockets closer to the ground until I test the wind. I stopped at Home Depot too and got a 4 foot steel rod for less than \$2. I can already tell the steel rod is going to be wwaayy better than the stock 2 piece rod.

Here is the Wizard on my homebrew rocket holder before I painted it. This is the same holder that broke when I was almost finished and caused my rocket to bounce along my hands and the ground:

Here is the Wizard after I sanded down all of the messed up paint, on a modified holder. The messed up area is just ahead of the fins, it looks much worse in person until I get a chance to repaint the whole thing:

And the other two right after I checked the balance. I took the engines out right after, I presume is it bad practice to leave engines in rockets while they sit around the house:

#### nomopbo

##### Well-Known Member
grimlock,
You already have gotton loads of good advice, so I really have nothing to add. But I did want to say welcome! Looks like you are off to a good start!

#### slim_t

##### Well-Known Member
Looking good.
That Big Betty is not a bad deal. That's another good size rocket that you could fly on B's, and probably C's.
Sorry you couldn't find a Fat Boy.

Tim

#### grimlock3000

##### Well-Known Member
The weather is against me as I have still not had a chance to fly my rockets. Here is today's current weather:

Wind: From the South at 14 mph

-Tomorrow's projected forecast...

Wind: From the North Northwest at 19 mph

-Wednesday...

Wind: From the South Southeast at 15 mph

-Thursday...

Wind: From the Southwest at 15 mph + Isolated T-Storms

I have not seen seen a time when the wind was low Should I go out and try angling the rockets into the wind and A8-3s? I can drop the chutes and uses a streamer for recovery as well.

#### shinbone

##### Well-Known Member
Patience, young Skywalker!
I don't know where you live, but spring has just begun and there will be plenty of flying days ahead.
Certainly angling into the wind and switching to a streamer are tried and true ideas, but make sure you keep a couple of aspects of the NAR safety code in mind:
"I will launch my rocket from a launch rod, tower, or rail that is pointed to within 30 degrees of the vertical to ensure that the rocket flies nearly straight up ..."
and
"I will launch my rocket ... in safe weather conditions with wind speeds no greater than 20 miles per hour."
You should also be familiar with the phenomenon of weathercocking, which -- strange as it sounds -- means a rocket will actually fly into the wind if launched vertically.
That's because the wind finds greater area on the bottom of the rocket, where the fins are, tilting the nose into the direction of the wind.

#### grimlock3000

##### Well-Known Member
Presuming I launch on a day when the wind is around 10mph, should I just lauch straight up and let the weathercocking tilt the rocket?

#### loopy

##### Well-Known Member
Originally posted by grimlock3000
Presuming I launch on a day when the wind is around 10mph, should I just lauch straight up and let the weathercocking tilt the rocket?
Yes. Also, cut all the Estes logos out of your 'chutes. This spill hole will allow it to come down a little faster, and not drift in the wind as much.