The Understated Estes Alpha.

Discussion in 'Low Power Rocketry (LPR)' started by Overeasy123, Jul 6, 2015.

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  1. Jul 6, 2015 #1

    Overeasy123

    Overeasy123

    Overeasy123

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    Living amidst racks of 83%-Finished Model Rockets, I actually pulled two Alphas from their literal posts today, and added Recovery Systems to their Venerable Airframes. I've honed my building technique over the last number of years, but I haven't launched a model in perhaps the last 15 years. Three A8-3s, three B6-4s, and six Picture-Perfect Flights! I'd forgotten how much fun this is. Now I really wanna see the clone of my first rocket, the 1906 Sizzler, go up on a C6-7!

    -Eric B

    Screen Shot 2015-07-06 at 2.01.39 AM.jpg

    Screen Shot 2015-07-05 at 9.48.28 PM.jpg

    Screen Shot 2015-07-05 at 9.46.26 PM.jpg
     
  2. Jul 6, 2015 #2

    Overeasy123

    Overeasy123

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    Last edited: Jul 6, 2015
  3. Jul 6, 2015 #3

    foamy

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    Alpha. The little classic that flies as well as anything before or since. Great flights on small motors. The essence of the hobby.
     
  4. Jul 6, 2015 #4

    K'Tesh

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    One of my first rockets was the 1906 Sizzler... I've now got an original/clone (bought a kit off of ebay, but the tube was crushed. So it's not original. I also swapped the two piece nosecone for the one piece nosecone that the version I built had). I've now got a BT-60 upscale of it in my mostly built pile.
     
  5. Jul 7, 2015 #5

    Kruegon

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    Unless we are going to count an Alpha III, (never felt E2X counted) then I've hever built an Alpha.
     
  6. Jul 7, 2015 #6

    Flyfalcons

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    I still have my old one (25 years+). Painted it all white with the red and blue decals. Classy little sport rocket. Actually flew it just a few days ago in the back yard; it's tough to beat for low power fun.
     
  7. Jul 7, 2015 #7

    Micromeister

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    Agreed!
    Every single model rocketeer should have at least one Alpha in their fleet. and yes the Alpha-III does count.
    Our club does and annual mass kit build and fly at the National Consortium of Science in Maryland every year. we normally build and fly Alpha-III's with kids as young as 6yrs old. All fly that same day on B6 motors to the Hoo's and Ah's of modeler and spectators all. A Great flying model.
     
  8. Jul 7, 2015 #8

    Major Tom

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    Does the alpha maxi 3 count? If not I'm getting an alpha just to feel included in this thread.
     
  9. Jul 7, 2015 #9

    Fishhead

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    The III has been around long enough that it should count.:cool::wink:
     
  10. Jul 7, 2015 #10

    TopRamen

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    Heck yeah! Three Cheers for the Alpha.
    I had them when I was a kid, but this go around I did my last one as a 24mm Minimum Diameter bird, though as of yet I've only flown it on 18mm with an adapter. She sims pretty crazy on an F44, and she'll handle it too when the time comes as I built her solid.
    Flies from a Makerbeam Rail on micro-buttons.

    http://www.rocketryforum.com/showthread.php?122569-D-Powered-Astron-Alpha-On-Its-Way!!!

    [​IMG]Todays Makerbeam Discovery 2015-04-17 002 by Dave Holmes, on Flickr

    [​IMG]Charlie With Ball 2015-04-14 010 by Dave Holmes, on Flickr
     
    Last edited: Jul 11, 2015
  11. Jul 7, 2015 #11

    Flyfalcons

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    The Alpha III counts and I have a ton of launches on my old red and white III, but the original with balsa fins is a true gentleman's rocket.
     
  12. Jul 7, 2015 #12

    shreadvector

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    The Alpha is nostalgic, but it is very, very short. It comes from the long ago era before flameproof wadding when "parachute protectors" were used. Therefore, the very short body tube was not an issue. in our modern era od flameproof wadding, the Alpha body tube is just annoyingly short. Yes, it still works, but you must teach beginners how to fold the parachute very carefully so that it will fit in the tiny length of tube available after installing the proper amount of wadding and still easily open up.

    Alpha III is identical.

    Make & Take is better as the tube is slightly longer than the Alpha III body tube.

    it is a good historical model and it does work, but there are many better beginner models - so I discourage youth group leaders from selecting that model simply because they fondly remember building one with the grandfather. If you want an easy model with tons of room, try the Generic E2X.

    There are many other models to select which use a BT=50 and with balsa fins to glue on, just like an Alpha. Or, you can just move up to a BT-55 sized model for beginners and make it very easy to install the shock cord mount and still have plenty of room for wadding and an easily folded parachute.
    http://www.estesrockets.com/rockets/kits?cat=112&limit=25

    If you want a short rocket, get a short and fat rocket like a Baby Bertha. Or , better yet, skip the short part and get a Big Bertha! That will satisfy the nostalgia urge and work great.
     
  13. Jul 7, 2015 #13

    Flyfalcons

    Flyfalcons

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    I just follow the instructions, hasn't failed me yet....
     
  14. Jul 10, 2015 #14

    Solomoriah

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    Hey, besides my two Alphas (one 33 years old, one 3 years old), I have an Alpha III, and a question. Will the fin can hold paint? I really dislike the stock colors.
     
  15. Jul 10, 2015 #15

    nosecone

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    Classic rocket. I lost mine in 1987 at Miller Field in Staten Island.
     
  16. Jul 10, 2015 #16

    shreadvector

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    Is that the field that Brooklyn Rocket Society used (not far from V-N bridge and near a mental hospital)?

     
  17. Jul 10, 2015 #17

    nosecone

    nosecone

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    Hello, I believe the field near the former mental hospital is Willowbrook Park. I haven't set foot in Staten Island since I moved in 1990.
     
  18. Jul 10, 2015 #18

    Dean B

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    I had good luck painting my last Alpha III. I scuffed up the fin can and nose cone with some sand paper, primed them like normal, and painted. I used a metallic blue on the plastic with a white body tube. Way cooler than the stock Halloween colors, IMHO.

    So far, after a handful of flights, the paint has held up well. I don't recover this one on a streamer to avoid harsh landings!
     
  19. Jul 10, 2015 #19

    Gary Byrum

    Gary Byrum

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    OK.....After having read this thread, I decided to rebuild the very 1st rocket I ever built. Yep, The Alpha. Must have been around 1966, and my modeling skills sucked out loud. A poorly built 1st rocket can almost make you wanna give up, but that never happened. It flew terribly and sheared 2 fins. I despised that Alpha and I never bought another one. 50 years later and a boatload of kits and scratch builds under my belt, I went searching for an original fin pattern. RexR posted a copy of the original SP-25 sheet with the fin marking wrap on it in an ancient thread. That was enough for me to scale it in Autocad. So now I have scaled versions starting from the original to BT 55, 60, 70 & 80. So....which one to build....hmmmmm
     
    Last edited: Jul 10, 2015
  20. Jul 11, 2015 #20

    gpoehlein

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    The Alpha holds a special place in my heart - it is the first model rocket I ever built and flew back in high school. And THAT was in 1973 (wish I still had that one, but it is long gone). Love that design!
     
  21. Jul 11, 2015 #21

    Gary Byrum

    Gary Byrum

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    I now have a BT 101 upscale......[​IMG]
     
  22. Jul 11, 2015 #22

    BEC

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    Fred,

    The MiTi's body tube is only 1/2 inch longer than the Alpha III and since it uses the two-piece YP nose cone rather than the open-bottomed Alpha III nose cone there's actually less room in it for wadding and a 'chute..... Agree with you about the Generic E2X. Another good candidate is the BMS School Rocket....but that's for a different thread.

    Gary,

    Since Alpha variants already exist in BT-60 (Super Alpha) and BT-80 (Maxi Alpha 3), I'd be interested in the BT-55 or BT-70 variants (or Centuri ST-18 or ST-20 sizes). And yes I know both of those existing variants are not true upscales. BT-55 sized still with an 18mm motor would be a good one for lower-performance/smaller fields than the original or even the half-again-heavier III/IV. Is there a BT-55 upscale of the BNC-50K or KP available - perhaps the reborn Semroc?
     
    Last edited: Jul 11, 2015
  23. Jul 11, 2015 #23

    Woody's Workshop

    Woody's Workshop

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    What size of motor? Or do perhaps intend to shread it off the rail? :p
     
  24. Jul 11, 2015 #24

    Woody's Workshop

    Woody's Workshop

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    Alpha...The faster n higher, the longer it should get.
    And the fins shrink closer to the air frame.
    Very stable rocket as it was designed, for the thrust that it was ment to take.
    Upscaling/Upsizing isn't the same thing.
    After all, it is rocket science!
     
  25. Jul 11, 2015 #25

    Gary Byrum

    Gary Byrum

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    If you're interested in the BT 55 version, that tube measures 10 17/32" in length.JonRocket sells the BNC 55F which is only 1/32" different than a scaled version of the 50 K nose cone. This Alpha measures a little over 4" longer than the original. If you PM me your email, I'll send you a scaled drawing of the fin pattern in PDF format.

    They're only CAD drawings Woody. I didn't go the distance drawing motor mounts because I was only curious about how the Alpha would scale and what size they'd be. I suppose if you turned your own cone, hollowed it out, used some heavy duty balsa for fins, you could prolly get an F32 to fly it. Cluster of D's maybe? It would essentially be a lightweight mid power rocket. I truly don't feel the need to build one this size, but I am scratching the notion of a BT 60 or 70 size.
     
  26. Jul 14, 2015 #26

    Overeasy123

    Overeasy123

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    Screen Shot 2015-07-13 at 5.07.25 PM.jpg
    Found some Rocket Mojo today, sanded 4 Alphas, readying them for a final coat of 2X Semi-Gloss White. I'm gonna finish them in the 1973 Livery with a Black Fin and Vertical Stripe.
     
  27. Jul 14, 2015 #27

    Solomoriah

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    I had a terrible paint malfunction on the last Alpha I built; I ended up sanding off as much of the nasty stuff as I could and applying a "hammered metal" finish. It's actually kind of cool now.
     
  28. Jul 14, 2015 #28

    Woody's Workshop

    Woody's Workshop

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    As such a popular and excellent fly the Alpha is, it boggles my mind why Estes never made a mini engine version.
    This is something I'm going to have to resolve.
    Since my theme this year is in the mini engine category.
     
  29. Jul 14, 2015 #29

    Gary Byrum

    Gary Byrum

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    Clone one! Want me to scale it for you?
     
  30. Jul 14, 2015 #30

    Woody's Workshop

    Woody's Workshop

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    Thanks Gary, I have RocSim.
    I'd like a nice balsa nose cone though!
     

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