Quest Nike-K on an E30

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Well-Known Member
Jan 27, 2003
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I had the opportunity to launch rockets on a cattle ranch. So, I took
a Quest Nike-K kit and modified it for a 24mm motor mount.
I launched it with an Aerotech E30-7. I swapped out the parachute
and put in a streamer. Wow! That thing moved so fast.
Even on a streamer, it took quite a while before it reached
terra firma.

My next project is to modify a Quest Falcon with a 29mm motor mount
and a little nose weight. Rocksim says it should go supersonic
on a G80.... if it doesn't shred first.
Hey, great minds think alike...

Here's my recently completed Quest Nike Smoke upgraded with a 24mm engine mount from Thrustline Aerospace (and a bit of nosecone weight). Actually using an E length motor mount tube is the way to go on this mod. Gets rid of they cheesy plastic motor mounts Quest includes and ties the fin can back into the body tube.

Haven't launched yet, but SpaceCAD predicts >2500 ft. on Aerotech reload.
Had to compress so much the picture looks horrible. Need to change my camera settings. Playing with compression/sizing, here's a slightly better picture...

Actually looks good in real life. Used lexan paint airbrushed on fins. I've found that paint to work well made to bend/give (I should know, I've crashed my RC car enough times). White was Rustoleum. Buffed with 3M Finesse-it II and then coated (many times) with Krylon Matte.
I did one of those at the April Whitaker's TRF launch only with an Estes E9-8 motor.

It went really high...gone! R.I.P.

My only fatality of the weekend...OK I'm not counting my muddy shoes.

What did you use in place of the plastic motor/fin mount that Quest put in the kit? Did you use the plastic fins or make your own? I just got a Quest Nike Smoke and want to put a 24mm motor mount in it. I'd apprciate more details and pictures!

nice....I have one of these laying around somewhere.....maybe I will mod it
Yes, I did see the 29mm conversion before I started on my mods. I opted for the 24mm version after doing a SpaceCAD simulation. Let's just say I wanted to keep my rocket for a while and I like a nice mix of low and high mid power stuff in my fleet.

For the conversion, I just had an extra motor mount that I purchased in a package from one of the many Thrustline Aerospace auctions on Ebay (e.g.,

Sorry I don't have pictures. They probably wouldn't help anyway. It is the build sequence you are worried about (not shown in a resulting picture). A few issues.

1) The fin can is totally non-standard in I.D. so you have to do some shaving of the centering rings. No big deal.

2) The fin can has an annoying bulge on the forward end that makes in impossible to insert a previously completed motor mount. So you have to follow another sequence to get it installed and true. I have inserted some instructions in a .jpg file attached (bitmap from SpaceCAD simulation).

3) Add nose weight to make up for larger engines. I just epoxied small sinkers on either side of clamshell nosecone.

4) Also, if you haven't bought the kit yet, make sure you inspect it through the plastic. These Quest kits are notorious for having distorted plastic fin cans. You can find ones that are straight and true but you have to search.

Hope the above (and attached) helps...
From what I have seen Quest has two different types of fin can for these kits. One is a single piece (plus the motor retainer ring) the other is a clam shell with seperate fins. Personal preference on which is better. I may have to try that 29mm conversion...:D
Personally I haven't seen the clamshell fin can. Given the marginal mold job done on the clamshell nosecone though, I'd expect it to be lacking also. The one piece fin can I have is perfectly aligned and had very little flashing from the mold.

On the nosecone design... Everything does go together on this kit but to get the 3 piece nosecone lined up right and looking good it takes a couple applications of Bondo and mucho primer.
I once converted a Quest Big Rage [esentially, a Nike Smoke kit elongated to 3 1/2 feet long] for 29mm motors, but never flew it. I got kinda cold feet about powering it up because I hadn't fiberglassed it and I was afraid that the airframe would have collapsed the first time I used even a G25.

I had intentions of building my Nike Smoke for 24mm motors, but when I saw how the motor mount/fin can assembled, I went ahead and built it stock, with just a little bit of nose weight for a D21.
One would be surprised at the strength of those Estes/Quest type tubes. I flew a Vaughn Brothers ASP (BT-55 dia by 30" tall)that I modified to fit 29mm motors. Other than that it was stock. I flew it on an F50 and it survived just fine. The next flight was on a G80 and I lost it; the streamer I used was too big. It flew perfectly straight but I would have liked to inspect it to confirm that it didn't crimp.