model rocketry 30 years ago and now...

It was about 30 years ago that I last built a model rocket. Now my kids are interrested in it so we bought some Estes kits
and two packs of A engines at the hobby store. Besides everything being more expensive (what isn't) it seems that there is now a dearth of available parts. Used to be that Estes sold every part they used in their kits separatly. Now only a few things are available, and then only in 'assortment packs'. The hobby shops don't carry 'dope or sanding sealer anymore, so what do you use to fill and finish balsa wood? All the nose cones are now plastic anyway, gone are the balsa nosecones and tube reducing sections. I think I can still get blocks and sheets of balsa wood, I have a lathe and can turn my own, but what to paint it with?
Gone are the B14 and D13 engines (the latter throttled back a bit to D12 and D11). Estes now makes C11 and E9's (but no E9 booster engines). I thought I saw a google link about Estes F engines, maybe they tried 'em and gave up to the patriot act, or it was a miss print (aerotech makes F's?) Also Gone are Enerjets (I used to LOVE those F67's), and MiniMax engines. Also the Bxxt engines made by someone other than Estes. (OK is my age showing?)
So what do you guys do to build 'custom' rockets, where do you get your parts?
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You need to sit down.
Center yourself.
Ready?
now....
Go to
www.semroc.com www.fliskits.com www.apogeerockets.com www.questaerospace.com www.pdrocketry.com www.squirrel-works.com www.sunward1.com
That's just a start.
www.aerotech-rocketry.com www.publicmissiles.com www.locprecision.com
And many more.
www.rocketryonline.com www.flyrockets.com www.rocketryforum.com www.rocketshoppe.com
Yes, the B14 is late and lamented. Yes, Estes made F motors similar to Aerotech's but I think they just didn't know how to market them at the time (mid to late 90's).
You want balsa nosecones? Check out Balsa Machining Service (www.balsamachining.com), or my current fave, Semroc (url above).
Good hobby shops do still carry dope, sealer, and fillercoat. Even craft stores like Hobby Lobby carry SIG sealer and dope. However, a lot of people now like to use Elmer's Wood Filler, thinning it a bit with water. I occasionally use Durham's Rock-Hard Water Putty, again thinning it a bit more than it says in the directions. With either sealer or filler, using a spray sandable primer for the final filler is in vogue, but it can get a bit heavy.
The B3-xt motors made by MRC are long ago history (as are the B4-xm motors made by Centuri), but there have been other 13mm and smaller B motors made by Apogee (a composite B8 and a 10.5mm B2) more recently, though no longer available.
The 18mm D21 motor touted by Enerjet but never sold back in the early 70's has been available for most of the past 15 years from Aerotech (along with a reloadable 18mm D13!)
The Enerjet E and F were neat, with NO smoke and progressive burn, but those are the precise qualities that made them not so good for most applications. Low liftoff thrusts meant that heavy rockets could get blown about by the wind after they left the rod.
Aerotech and many others make not only D, E, and F, but G, H, I, J, K, L, M....... with many different smoke profiles and normally high liftoff thrusts that taper off.
Many other discoveries await.
Roy nar12605

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Roy Green wrote:

Thanks! You're better than Google.

Actually that's the one thing I'm good at. I suspect my mini lathe would be just the ticket to make nose cones with. I've already learned wood turning by making some chessmen on the lathe. (the knight was made half on the band saw, and half on the lathe). Might have to get my tools real sharp to work on balsa wood (or just use sandpaper blocks ).

I'll have to look CLOSER in the R/C airplane section on my hobby shop. I think he might keep those paints there. I remember advise on making sanding sealer with powder mixed into clear dope.

I remember using those.

I had a friend back in HS that flew NOTHING BUT Enerjet E&F models. He lost a few Cineroc's to Enerjet powered boosters. They didn't have any problems going up and true (except for the time a gust of wind blew over an Estes tilt-a-pad at the wrong moment sending an F67 powered model in a horizontal flight about 15 feet AGL at what seemed to be about 400mph+)

Remember the Flight Systems F7? (9 seconds of 'powered delay'.) Just about ANYTHING powered by that would fall out of the sky before the ejection charge fired.
Thanks for all the links. Yup, I got some 'exploring' to do.
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The Hobby shops I go to still handle the d-o-p-e and sanding sealer and fillercoat.
--

The Lone Sidewalk Astronomer of Rosamond
Telescope Buyers FAQ
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Ken Scharf wrote:

Any hobby shop that carries R/C supplies will probably carry sanding-sealer. A *great* substitute is a bottle of Testor's "Dull Coat" with some talcum powder mixed into it. Actually, some talcum powder mixed into just about *any* paint, clear or not, can make a great sanding sealer.
My favorite "concoction" is Bondo brand "Glazing & Body Putty" (available at auto parts stores), diluted with Testor's Liquid Cement. The Testor's red Hobby Filler Putty is the exact same product as the Bondo putty (both made by the RPM Company).
As far as painting the balsa pieces after sealing....you can use any paint (well...water colors might not be a wise choice...lol)
--

Greg Heilers
Registered Linux user #328317 - SlackWare 10.1 (2.6.10)
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