Paint affecting flight.

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Well-Known Member
Feb 13, 2010
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Has anyone ever put so much paint on a rocket that it affected the performance of the rocket? I'm asking because I just got done painting two rockets with krylon primer (2 coats) Gloss paint (2 coats) and a clear gloss (2 coats) it seems a little thick. I will post pics when the roll is out (not a digital camera) :( The roll should have launch and recovery pics as well. Gonna have to get it on cd I guess. Also, has anyone ever flown the quark on an A8-3? It's all I've got. The recommended engines are 1/2A3-4T, A3-4T, and A10-3T.
I just looked at the A8-3 for the first time, it's too big for the Quark :eek: Guess I should have checked that before I posted. (Newbie complications:rolleyes: )
Yer paint seems a little light to me. I lay it on thick in many coats to get a nice finish. Unless your flying in some sort of competition paint isn't going to make enough differance one way or the other except visually. Some people will tell ya you can't see that fine paint job 1000' up but 99.999% of the time the model is very viewable on the shelf you display it on.
The only time I would worry about paint affecting performance is in very small rockets (like micros) designed for competition (where every micro-gram counts) and in gliders, like the Edmunds stuff or the Estes Dragonfly.
I built two Estes Polaris models and put different finishes on them just to test the effects of paint. One was finished with a matte coat, and the other was done with a somewhat thick epoxy glazecoat (the kind use to finish tabletops or bartops) that was mirror-smooth.

The matte finish went off the pad first (it was lighter) and flew nearly straight up. The smooth finish had about an extra 2 ounces of coating, and it lagged abit on the initial take off. It crossed under (directly through the smoke trail) the matte finish, and overtook it about 70% through the flight. The smooth finish ended up about 200 feet higher upon final analysis.

Bear in mind that this was only a single flight test, and I don't really have enough evidence to make a statistically significant sampling, but it may be an indication of finishes.

the only ways I can think of a paint job might effect a rockts flight is through weight and finish......smooth vs non-smooth equals drag ....but with sport models neither should really matter....
G Harry Stine touches on this subject in the <i>Handbook</i>. He mentions that a mirror smooth finish will trip the boundary layer into turbulence less easily than a rough finish; therefore, a smooth finish has less drag and will fly higher, all other factors being equal.
You sure can with micro maxx models.

on regular size models. I did an experiment some years back with a baby butt smooth model compared to a very rough "granite like" finished model. After adding clay to adjust the lift-off weights and the closest motor matches I could muster the Baby butt smooth model soared as much as a 22% higher than the rough finished model.