Upscale Estes Advanced Target Drone

EeebeeE

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Back in the mid 80's I bought this kit and built it after not flying rockets for a while. I must have flown it 50 times or more. Now it is in a box somewhere. Once some friends of mine in an apartment complex tried to launch it over a pond and recover with a rubber raft. Managed to get it out before there was any significant damage. It flew probably 25x more times after that.

I found the drawings and decided it was time to upscale it. Challenge with making this a high power is that most clubs have gone to rails, and it is hard to put rail buttons on this because of the shroud. So making it an F or G mid power was the right way to go. So I bought an Estes Hi Flier XL kit, and will take it up 168%. The original was 15.125" long with about a 9" wingspan and a 3.8" vertical stabilizer span. The upscale will have a little over a 14" wingspan and a 6.25" vertical stabilizer span.

I have found that the Hi Flier XL is a good "base kit" to design a rocket around. Mid power motors, decent diameter, comes with a nose cone that seems to scale to a number of designs, and has a motor mount. Cheaper to buy this kit and mod it than it is to buy the parts separately.

The original had cardboard for the shrouds. I will replace with 1/16" balsa. fins will be TTW balsa and will be papered as well, using epoxy. That strengthens them, but still keeps the weight down. I will probably add a tracker in the nose cone and may also electronically deploy the main. That remains to be seen. The launch lug will be positioned inside the shroud as it was on the original. I will try to match paint schemes (Duh ... red), and will reach out to Stickershock 23 for decals.

Should be a fun little project, and the rocket should be a great flyer.

ATD - Estes Drawing.jpg ATD - Unfinished.jpg
 
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K'Tesh

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I've got an original (all black), and an unfinished goony version of it in the works. Looking forward to seeing what you come up with.

Pointy Side Up!
Jim
 

EeebeeE

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Fins cut and papered. Besides adding extra strenght, papering the fins gives a very nice smooth finish that paints out very well. The way I paper my fins is to coat them with epoxy, cover both sides in plastic, then clamp them between two sheets of steel. Epoxy works better than white or wood glue because it does not warp the wood, and when it soaks into the paper, it creates a fiberglass-like coating.

The C6-7 motor should give you an idea of scale.

IMAG0488.jpg IMAG0489.jpg
 

EeebeeE

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Finished the motor mount. I've done this before on other rockets. A real lightweight way to retain your motors but not have a restriction in motor tube length is to cut off the forward end of the Estes motor hook. Then with a pair of pliers, bend the the next 1/8" of the hook backward. Cut a slit in the middle of the motor hook holder tube and insert the backward-bent section of the motor hook through it. Now you still have full advantage of a motor hook, but you can hold all the way up to a 6-grain 24mm motor. If you are using BP motors, wrap masking tape around the nozzle end to create a thrust ring. Look at the black ring area of this photo to get a visual of what I am talking about.
IMAG0490.jpg
 

EeebeeE

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Finished fins. I rounded the leading edges of he fins and sanded all surfaces.
IMAG0491.jpg
 

EeebeeE

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My trusty Estes Fin Alignment Guide to the rescue. Fins are mounted. Using an elastic shock cord to hold everything in place. I am using G-Flex epoxy cut with just a smidgeon of 5-minute epoxy to speed up the curing process. Otherwise it would take the better part of the day. Here it is next to my Mega Mosquito so you can have an idea of the size.

IMAG0492.jpg IMAG0494.jpg
 

EeebeeE

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Pieces cut for the engine shrouds. The original had these cut out of card stock, but I needed them to be stronger. These will be papered 1/16" balsa.
IMAG0495.jpg
 

slipperyfrog

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So for your papering method you put a thin layer of epoxy on the wood, cover with paper, smooth and then just put between plastic clamped with the steel plates?

Does the epoxy soak through the paper somewhat to prevent the paper from feathering when sanded?
 

EeebeeE

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Does the epoxy soak through the paper somewhat to prevent the paper from feathering when sanded?

Yes. And the compression under the steel plates forces more epoxy through. If it is done right and you use white bond paper, you can barely see the paper when it is finished, and you can easily see the grains of the wood.

Epoxy is better than glue because glue has water, and that can warp the balsa. Plus it takes days for the glue to dry, because under compression, the glue is not exposed to air.
 

hornet driver

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Yes. And the compression under the steel plates forces more epoxy through. If it is done right and you use white bond paper, you can barely see the paper when it is finished, and you can easily see the grains of the wood.

Epoxy is better than glue because glue has water, and that can warp the balsa. Plus it takes days for the glue to dry, because under compression, the glue is not exposed to air.
This is a very timely posting. I'm about to paper some fins on a build of mine.I was going to use thinned yellow glue but, now you have me thinking.I wonder if MEK resin would work--guess you would have to work fast, or at least in small batches or cooler temps---HMMMMM
 

EeebeeE

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you do have to work fast. When the epoxy starts thickening, it is less likely to soak completely through the paper.
 

EXPjawa

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Cool project. I'm finishing an upscale of the ATD to BT70 sized tubing, making it about 35" long, with a 19" span. I built mine with a 3x 24mm cluster mount, with the extra engines in the body pods.

WP_002979.jpg
 

EeebeeE

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Gluing shrouds in place. These were also papered to add strength. Amazing how strong the 1/16" balsa is when it is papered and glued in place. I started at the "top" of the rocket so that if errors in angles occurred they would only be visible from the bottom. This part of the build takes a lot of patience ... and a little cussing.
IMAG0496.jpg
 

EeebeeE

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All shrouds in place. The slot car is 1/32 scale. Next comes Rocketpoxy fillets for strength.
IMAG0318.jpg
 

EeebeeE

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Fillets are done. Rocketpoxy is excellent, although I have found that the best thing to do is mix it, then put it under some heat with a blowdryer or something. That does three things. First it thins the mix down and makes it easier to use. Second, because it has been heated, the chemical reaction starts quicker and it ultimately sets faster. Third, the air bubbles leach out better and you have a smoother fillet.
IMAG0320.jpg IMAG0321.jpg
 

EeebeeE

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Nearing completion. It was a warm day so I spray-painted. Need to brush paint the black inside the shrouds, then the decals from Stickershock 23 get applied.
IMAG0502.jpg

This is the rocket after the shroud interior has been painted.
IMAG0503.jpg
 
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EXPjawa

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For sure. I expect that yours has potentially a bit of a impulse-to-weight advantage, due to its smaller size but bigger motor potential. Size reference - with a standard ATD:
WP_003011.jpg

I think the highest impulse I'll get in mine is a single E30 or combined E12 & two D12s. Probably an F in yours will make it faster off the pad, a G is no question, unless you've had to add a bit of weight for stability. I'm trying to keep my build light, but that nose weight counteracts that. Mine needed 3/4 oz in the cone to balance the triple engines, more if I attempt 3X E12's...
 

EeebeeE

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These are final OR weights and sim. Weighs 8.5 oz. "dry". Probably heavier than it should be, but the weight is in the reinforcement. It should be able to fly on a CTI G65 ... but not at Geneseo. They require rail buttons and this has a brass 1/4" launch lug instead. I can fly it on a G in Potter, though.
ATD Final.jpg E20-7 Motor Sim.jpg F70-7 Sim.jpg G65-11 Sim.jpg
 

EXPjawa

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Well, at least your model is showing the CP in pretty much exactly the same spot as mine, so that's good news. Engineless CG is real similarly proportioned as well. At least the different sims agree... So, are you planning to fly it in Geneseo in May, or maybe the URRG launch in April?
 

EeebeeE

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Both, if possible. I have a couple E20-7's which would make for good first flights.
 

EeebeeE

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I was inspired to do the upscale because I had been looking for the original I thought was packed away somewhere and could not find it. I ended up finding the nose cone to it yesterday however, so I built a rocket to go underneath it, complete with the card stock shroud.

IMAG0505.jpg
 

EeebeeE

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I don't know. Stickershock is sending me the decals for the upscale version. I may have a different scheme for the small one.
 
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