Adding Strength to Estes body tubes

I run on a very low budget...about 0 dollars... and I recently purchased an estes fat boy and am troubled with the strength of the body tube they have
provided because this time i'm going to put 3 24 mm engines in the rocket...i want to add strength but i don't know how to fiberglass a rocket and i don't have any fiberglass. But i do have some finishing epoxy and 30 minute epoxy laying around and i was wondering if i coated the rocket body tube with 30 minute epoxy and then wrapped a piece of copy machine paper (no lines) around it...after that i would coat the whole thing with finishing epoxy...would this process be efficient and would it add a good amount of strength to the rocket?
Thanks,
Vishal
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Vishal wrote:

You're probably better off (with the materials you want to use) taking the "finishing" epoxy (this is a fairly thin, runny kind, yes?) and using it as your laminating resin. The "30 minute" epoxy is intended to be used as an adhesive to glue things together, and would be so thick that it wouldn't work as well... you would have a thick layer of epoxy that would add more weight than strength.
With the thin epoxy, try brushing as thin a layer as possible on the tube, and then smoothing the paper down onto it, starting with one edge along the tube lengthwise, and doing a thorough job of rubbing it down onto the tube, so that the excess epoxy gets squeezed out from under the paper as you go and no blobs are trapped underneath. This will probably soak enough epoxy into the paper to make it look saturated, but if you see any dry spots on the outside, apply a very small amount more resin there - but not so much as to make a thick shiny build-up on the surface.
Once it cures good and hard, sand with really fine aluminum oxide paper (#320 or so) - smooth down any fuzz that the epoxy raised on the paper, and feather the overlap edge if you want - but don't sand away the paper otherwise, just a light uniform "kiss" sanding over the surface.
At any rate, that's what I'd do for a first try with the specific materials you mention. Your mileage may vary... I've never laminated with copier paper and epoxy before, so I'm just giving my best guess based on how I'd want to modify the techniques I'd usually use with thicker, more porous materials such as glass cloth or carbon tissue.
-dave w
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The Estes FatBoy needs no strengthing, it is a very tough kit as is. I have two of them, one with a 3x18 cluster, and the other with a 3x24. I have crashed them both several times. (burnt shockcords, melted parachutes) You just go pick 'em up, dust 'em off and fly 'em again.
-- Joe Michel NAR 82797 L2 http://home.alltel.net/jm44316 /

an
rocket
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Try scuffing up the finish and using thinned wood glue with the copy paper. Used it plenty of times with wrapping paper tubes. Strong enough to be used with 12 foot superrocs. Not much added weight either. But, you won't need it for a 3x24mm model. I'm one of those wood glue and balsa is fine for mid-power mach flights.
-B
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Vishal, Joe's advice is very good. Don't bother with strengthening the tube. The estes tubes are alot stronger than you might think. If you want to improve the Fatboy, I'd recommend getting a nomex chute protector, perhaps lengthen the shock cord, & get a nylon chute. DR
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Vishal wrote:

Laminating takes a little practice to achieve good results, especially on an exterior surface. Try it on some scrap first. Even paper will tend to "unroll" from thin (finish) epoxy, so you need to get a "feel" for when the tackiness of the epoxy is sufficient to keep the paper in contact with the tube.
You might want to "dry fit" the model together and see if an internal layer of paper or tagboard might do the job for you. You can pre-roll the paper and cut it to fit the inside of the body tube where you want to add strength. Like adding extra couplers. Cosmetic mistakes won't be so critical on the inside. A little, thin ballon can be blown up inside the tube to hold the paper against the inside wall while the epoxy dries.
I think your Fat Boy will be okay, though, without any laminations. The body tube is fairly short and it makes a sturdy rocket when completed.
--
Gary Bolles
NAR 82636
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snip
I've clustered more than that without any re-enforcement of the bt. You should be fine as is but make sure you add enough weight to keep the cp/cg correct and use the right rod.
Randy
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Vishal,
For a 3 x 24mm cluster, I would recommend beefing up the inside of the BT, rather than worrying about the outside. The ejection charges from 3 "D" motors will create a lot of heat and likely toast the BT and shock cord. I recommend epoxying the inside of the BT, and using a Nomex shock cord protector, or a shock cord made of braided Kevlar, if you want your recovery system to withstand more than one or two flights.
Note - do not apply epoxy too thick, to the top inside of the BT, or your nose cone will not fit.
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I read an article or posting somewhere that suggested using nylon stockings as a reinforcing material - instead of fibreglass cloth. I just might give that a try.... hey Jerry, can I borrow a couple of pair of your pantyhose to try it with?
snipped-for-privacy@mirror-universe.com says...

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Instead of epoxy, I recommend saturating the inside of the tube with thin CA. Just do it outside and be careful. The fumes from that much CA curing can be really unpleasant.
Bill the Geek
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The heat from that much CA curing can start fires, too.
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writes:

thin
curing
Like I said... Do it outside.
Bill the Geek
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