[WANTED]: Wrap Videos: Saturn V, Saturn Ib, And Other Wrapped Rockets Tutorials

The Rocketry Forum

Help Support The Rocketry Forum:

This site may earn a commission from merchant affiliate links, including eBay, Amazon, and others.


.....OpenRocket's ..... "Chuck Norris"
TRF Supporter
Mar 27, 2013
Reaction score
Ok... When it comes to scale, nothing quite beats the frustration caused by wraps. I've seen paper wraps, and vacuum molded plastic wraps. I've heard horror stories about wraps melting, and experienced my own peeling up. Ok you master modelers... I want your secrets.

And since a picture is worth a thousand words... I want videos and photos. One video will not do all (unless you do multiple materials in it).

So, you're a Wrap Artist! You've got one shot. Do not miss your chance. This opportunity comes once in a lifetime. Do NOT Blow it!

Since I don't have a Saturn V, or any other wrapped rockets here in China, this is my current recommendation posted on Facebook. (but I'm sure that there are better ones out there). Again it would better to have vids, not words:
I think contact cement would be the right thing to use... Tack one end of the wrap in place using some tape, then adjust as needed. Then you apply some contact cement to the wrap, apply some to the body tube. Allow it to dry until it's tacky (a few minutes)... And then join. You'd want to be very careful about wrapping it, 'cause once it's down, it's down. Seal the joint where the one end of the wrap meets the other with some CA that you've already tested on some scrap material to make sure that the wrap doesn't melt (if it's a vacuum formed part).

The important thing to remember about CA is that Super Thin is SUPER THIN, and when it cures it gets HOT! I've heard that the vacuum formed wraps can and have melted. I've also seen what Super Thin can do when it runs (including my own scar from a 2nd degree burn). So when it comes to using it, you should ALWAYS test first (using scraps).

Let's see your wrap videos!


Oh, and for bonus points... If you can show how to eliminate body tube spirals on your build that includes a detail wrap you will earn the gratitude of those who learn from you.
I don't think that thin CA *melts* the wrap via heat, but (at least partially) *dissolves* the polystyrene.

When I built the Apogee Saturn V about a decade ago, I practiced with thin CA on some scraps. Softened and dissolved/cracked every time. I found that medium CA did not dissolve the PS nearly as fast, if at all. My procedure ended up as: tape the wrap in place, apply a very small bead of medium CA on the edges, give it plenty of time to cure---several minutes at least. Remove tape and medium-CA the ends together as needed.

If you'd like to read my experiences with that kit, check out:

Use the thinnest FOAM SAFE C/A with a tip extender like Apogee recommends for their Saturn rockets. The foam safe C/A won't melt the wraps and they will stay on for a long time.
I don't see what the issue is with the styrene wraps. cut to fit with just a skosh of an overlap. Apply the spray adhesive to both surfaces. Apply the wrap. Rubberband (or put a sheet of waxpaper around, then band). Let it stand for a few hours. Run styrene cement up the seam.

The only problem I've had on my 2001 SaturnV is the 'communications ring' wrap that I didn't leave enough to overlap...
I just got an Apogee Saturn 1b and im considering using the double side tape.
Oh, and for bonus points... If you can show how to eliminate body tube spirals on your build that includes a detail wrap you will earn the gratitude of those who learn from you.

That's easy. Just prime and fill the spirals on the body tube before you apply the wraps. You can see a brief description of this in Steps #2 and #13 of the Estes Little Joe II build thread. The only difference between doing that on the LJII and any Saturn kit would be the increased number of masked and primed areas on a Saturn model.

BTW: the wraps I applied to the Little Joe II model in that thread using 3M Type 90 spray adhesive are still holding tight.

For my Saturn V I brushed on a thin film of 30-min epoxy (Bob Smith) to the backs of the wraps, applied the wraps around the body tube, and held them in place overnight with rubber bands. The epoxy did not dissolve the wraps at all and after 2 years and 2 flights (Aerotech E30 and F24) there is no detachment of any of the wraps from the body tube.