# Quickest way to attach a fin or kill a boy scout

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#### Major Tom

##### Well-Known Member
Need some advice. I have a pile of 11 year old scouts with the attention span of a goldfish (and sprinkle in some ADHD) that I will be building rockets with tonight. Their instant gratification brains will implode if they have to wait for Elmer’s glue to dry. What is the best/fastest adhesive to tack the fins on in your opinion?

#### timbucktoo

##### Well-Known Member
Staff member
Global Mod
CA glue. But what are the chances of them gluing theirs fingers together?

##### Well-Known Member
I did a group build with about 8 Cubs. Tightbond II worked well once I showed them how to do the double glue joint.

#### Major Tom

##### Well-Known Member
110% but I might take my chances

#### cerving

##### Owner, Eggtimer Rocketry
TRF Supporter
This is when the snap-together rockets come in handy...

#### Back_at_it

##### Well-Known Member
TiteBond is the best option at this point. In the future, Alpha 3 bulk pack.

#### jlabrasca

##### Well-Known Member
+1 on the double-glue advice.

Otherwise thick CA, baking soda (to kick it and to make filets), and polyethylene food-service gloves. Work in a well ventilated space. Get some debonder, too, to fix the ones that get glued on backwards.

#### Back_at_it

##### Well-Known Member
[QUOTE=" Get some debonder, too, to fix the ones that get glued on backwards.[/QUOTE]

You mean, for the ones that get a rocket glued to their forehead...

#### Steveo

##### Active Member
Assuming these are Estes rockets, regular Tacky Glue works well. Participated in a Girl Scout group build and it set up fast for attaching fins etc and seems plenty strong.

#### Dipstick

##### Well-Known Member
I use 5 min epoxy with my youth classes. Helps us keep the worktime down so as to fit in the limited periods we have. It's a little more expensive, but I show them how little is actually required for attaching a fin, and they usually end up sharing puddles of mixed epoxy, so it works quite well.

#### NateB

##### Well-Known Member
This is when the snap-together rockets come in handy...
It has been a while since I was 11, but we built Wizard kits in school with wood glue and most everyone did just fine. I feel like an RTF or snap together rocket is best for my 4 yr old, but an 11 yr scout SHOULD be able to use glue and start learning to use epoxy. Maybe I'm overestimating kids though...

#### Steve Shannon

##### Well-Known Member
TRF Supporter
My wife was a second grade teacher with 24 students. My high school age daughter and I bulk assembled the motor mounts the night before of a bulk pack of wizards. That left very little gluing for the 2nd graders.

#### dhbarr

##### Amateur Professional
Depends entirely on the ratio of helpers: kids IMO. 1:4 11yo is vastly different than 1:8 7yo

As an example, 1:3 6yo would get generic e2x on preassembled streamers.

#### TimothyG

##### Well-Known Member
Our Cub Scout group growing up didn’t have as much of a problem with stuff like this. School class was another story, but I think most scouts wanted to be there.

#### Joshua Smith

##### New Member
CA glue. But what are the chances of them gluing theirs fingers together?
whenever I use the non-gel CA glue, there's about a 25% chance that I will glue fingers together or some random object to the container or some portion of my pants to another portion. That stuff is insanely runny. I even had one leak in the pocket of my shorts and to this day there's a hole (On the inside) where I tried to pull the 2 pieces of the pocket apart

#### les

##### Well-Known Member
TRF Supporter
I know most will not like this answer, but hot glue will work for attaching fins.
There is an organization that holds an annual rocket build it - fly it that I help with and they use hot glue guns and Elmer's white glue.
My initial reaction was "are you crazy?", but it actually works okay....

#### markg

##### Well-Known Member
For future reference, Fliskits makes a really good rocket for beginners, the 3 fins lock together to make assembly super simple and fast. Still wood fins so easy wood glue construction. Check it out :

https://www.fliskits.com/WPRESS/product/thing-a-ma-jig/

cheers - mark

#### prfesser

whenever I use the non-gel CA glue, there's about a 25% chance that I will glue fingers together or some random object to the container or some portion of my pants to another portion. That stuff is insanely runny. I even had one leak in the pocket of my shorts and to this day there's a hole (On the inside) where I tried to pull the 2 pieces of the pocket apart
This. I buy ten tiny tubes of CA from the local flea market for $1.25. They're not filled completely, and they're incredibly thin and runny. I've had my share of got-em-apart-in-time fingers, but the stuff is great for wicking its way into airframe ends. #### afadeev ##### Well-Known Member TRF Supporter For future reference, Fliskits makes a really good rocket for beginners, the 3 fins lock together to make assembly super simple and fast. Still wood fins so easy wood glue construction. Check it out : https://www.fliskits.com/WPRESS/product/thing-a-ma-jig/ I've gone through Estes Wizards, Alpha 3's, RTF kits, whatever was on sale at HobbyLobby that year. I've settled on: • Tightbond II for glue. • CA if kid's parent is present and is actively participating. De-bonding their offspring's' body parts is on them. • Streamer recovery ONLY. • BMS Original school rocket bulk packs from here on out, and forever. •$5.95/per, hard to screw up, easy to align and glue fins, large and sturdy enough to survive most common building and flying mishaps.
• Flies great on B6-4's. Almost out of sight on C6's.
https://www.balsamachining.com/

YMMV

#### BEC

##### Well-Known Member
By now you will have survived the session one way or another, so this is all after the fact:

+1 on regular Alleene’s Tacky Glue for Alphas and Wizards and such—models with balsa or fiber fins, including....

Also +1 on the BMS School Rocket for future sessions unless you have to do them really quickly. This model is very forgiving of build errors, performs well and handles wind very well.

If you DO have to do them quickly (less than an hour) then +1 on kuririn’s suggestion of the modelrockets.us Nexus. It has all the requisite parts to teach assembly of more than minimum diameter models, but requires NO glue. It literally slots and snaps together. Get the streamer-recovery version both because of its lower price and because otherwise you have ‘chutes to assemble which will at least double the build time and probably quadruple the frustration factor. Once you’ve seen how one goes together you can do one in less than 10 minutes from opening the bag to loading wadding and a motor.

The Nexus is a little heavier than a School Rocket with its plastic parts, so it doesn’t perform quite as well (about 400 feet on a B6, about 775 on a C6, about 900 feet on a Q-Jet C12 and around 1050 feet on a Q-Jet D16). But it’s really rugged, and the fins, if they pop off from a hard streamer landing, snap right back in.

I have done group Alpha builds and group BMS School Rocket builds....and am trying to convince the Museum of Flight to use the Nexus in their programs for younger kids (at least) next year.

Another choice, and one that uses 13mm motors, is the redesigned Semroc Boid. It has many of the attributes of the BMS School Rocket (like TTW fins) but of course costs less to fly.

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#### Steve Shannon

##### Well-Known Member
TRF Supporter
After thinking about this for a while I wanted to make three comments. First, there’s value in teaching them to follow the instructions as they go rather than being taught to find a faster way and disregard them.
Second, with enough helpers, even 11 year old’s attention spans can be enough. I’ve done a lot of school projects like this before and the biggest threat to keeping their attention is to have one of them get to a spot in the instructions where they don’t know what to do so they’re just sitting there. That’s when they start looking for diversions. If you’re taking the whole group through the instructions, one step at a time with a helper for every three or four scouts, you could be surprised. If there are some who are faster than others, enlist them to help the slower ones.
Three, leave enough time for the building portion. If possible, plan it so you build one day, then launch the next with a little time at the beginning of the second day to help everyone who needs a little extra.

#### BWP

##### Well-Known Member
I've done several Cub Scout and Boy Scout group builds. Our last build, I used a technique I read online that said use a couple of spots of CA gel on the fin and put wood glue on the rest. That way you get the instant bond in conjunction with the more durable bond. Keep in mind I had parents helping me with this. It worked well enough for me to recommend it.

#### samb

Need some advice. I have a pile of 11 year old scouts with the attention span of a goldfish (and sprinkle in some ADHD) that I will be building rockets with tonight. Their instant gratification brains will implode if they have to wait for Elmer’s glue to dry. What is the best/fastest adhesive to tack the fins on in your opinion?
Interested in hearing the after action report on the build session. Most of my recent experience has been with Alpha III's and Elmer's Glue-All. I'd avoid CA and epoxy unless I had a lot of experienced adult help. +2 for the BMS School Rocket.

#### skydog

##### Active Member
I've been teaching rocketry classes at local libraries for a few years. The only rocket I use is the Alpha III, because it's the only kit with plastic fins that allows assembly with only white glue. I use Tacky Glue for everything. Epoxy, super glue, and plastic model cement all add to the complexity, and they all come with their own hazards.

#### BEC

##### Well-Known Member
Steve Shannon's points are good ones. When I do a group build of Alphas (or Make-it Take-its, which build up exactly like Alpha IIIs) I have built in points where we let the glue (Alleene's Tacky) dry for awhile. I use these intervals to talk about things such as a brief history of the hobby (Orville Carlisle/G. Harry Stine story as the alternative to "flying pipe bombs" in "October Sky"), the flight profile of model rockets and what the numbers mean on motors and how those tie together, among the things.

I also have taken to completely removing the instructions from the kits before handing them out so that everyone has to follow my re-ordered build presentation, so here I am going against Steve's first point, though. The first time I did this for the Museum of Flight we actually were going directly out to fly Make-it Take-its...so the shock cord mount was the first thing to go in, among other changes.

More recently we've built on one day (usually regular Alphas) and flown the next, so the main thing I do is pre-mark motor tubes and cut the hook slot (so we don't need X-acto knives in the group) and pre-mark the body tubes for the fins and launch lug. I'm essentially recreating the original Alpha IIs I suppose by doing this.

Added: I do need to say that on a helpers-to-builders ratio these MoF sessions I'm talking about were on the low side. On the order of one helper per 7-8 builders. If one has a better ratio, then less pre-work and more directly following the instructions as Steve suggested is certainly a good way to go.

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#### cbrarick

##### Wildman CT
use the ca.
perhaps you'll get a bonus- a hand glued to the desk
or the double bonus - hand glued to mouth :>

#### BABAR

##### Builds Rockets for NASA
TRF Supporter
Something I do with many of my own rockets, which I think would work well for group rockets.

I pencil in the alignment lines for the fins.

I cut “cheaters”, these are made of 1/16” balsa, cut 1/16” wide and the length of the fin.

I glue the “cheaters” on one side of each line (doesn’t matter which side, as long as it is the same for each of the three or four fins.). Because they are so thin and light, the go on really easy and stick, since there is no significant weight to pull them out of place. When putting them in place, I smear a bit of glue on the OTHER side of the line, since this will be the adhesion site for the fin (so at least 1/2 of the double glue joint is, well, glued.)

When it comes time to glue the real fins in place, you have a built in alignment guide that makes sure the fin is straight, plus you have more surface area for adhesion so the fin sticks better. You could go a step further and apply a thin coat of glue to the root surface of the fins ahead of time and let that dry too. (the other 1/2 of the double glue joint.).

Go much further than this and you are basically building the rocket for them, rather than letting them build it.

#### dhbarr

##### Amateur Professional
I also have taken to completely removing the instructions from the kits before handing them out so that everyone has to follow my re-ordered build presentation, so here I am going against Steve's first point, though. The first time I did this for the Museum of Flight we actually were going directly out to fly Make-it Take-its...so the shock cord mount was the first thing to go in, among other changes.
Would you consider posting at least your general bullet point order?

#### BEC

##### Well-Known Member
Would you consider posting at least your general bullet point order?
Do you want the Make-it Take it order (would also be applicable to Alpha III, Generic E2X, #2 Skywriter) or the Alpha order?

I'd just need to pull up my Keynote pitches and generate the lists.

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