Hi-Flier → Tornado build (part 1)

I was not planning on building another rocket this week.

Monday Kenny and I went to the Syracuse Rocket Club meeting. In the year-plus since the first meeting we went to we’ve been to a half dozen launches but no more meetings until this one. We’d had a schedule conflict most Mondays. That conflict is gone now, so we can get to meetings more often.

Plans for this Saturday’s launch were discussed, and they mentioned the contest: a B motor helicopter duration. I don’t have a helicopter recovery model, and with Patrioony still not quite finished and less than a week to the launch I didn’t think I’d have time to make one.

Then I went looking online.

At JimZ’s rocket plans site I looked at the Estes Gyroc and Tornado. The Gyroc ejects its motor, so no go, but the Tornado seemed to have possibilities. Probably not a contest winner, but at least I could get an entry in… assuming the judges don’t distinguish between helicopter and maple seed recovery and thereby disqualify it.

I looked at John Brohm’s Estes Nose Cone / Kit List Reference

I looked at the Hobby Lobby web site

And I realized it’d be ridiculously easy to kitbash a Hi-Flier — which with a coupon I could get for $4.79 plus tax — into a Tornado.

(Only problem was, I’d been planning on getting a package of C6-5s with my coupon, and Hobby Lobby’s far enough away that I figured I might not get there again this week. Then I remembered it was near a Michael’s that has a very small selection of (RTF) rockets and motors. Sure enough, they had C6-5s, and I had a 40% off coupon for that store too. Later in the day I realized I needed some Gorilla Glue, so I went to another Michael’s and used a coupon for that. Skinflint scores again.)

So, using the cheapest rocket kit I’ve ever bought, I’ve started making a Tornado.

I’ll pretty much be following the Estes instructions. I’ll be using the body tube (most of it), thrust ring, launch lug, and nose cone from the Hi-Flyer kit.

I cut fins from a piece of 3/32″ balsa. I’ve decided to paper them — survival looks doubtful otherwise — so that’s what I started with, and right now they’re being pressed flat while the glue stick dries.

I needed two pieces of body tube, 4″ and 1 ½”. Cutting tubing by hand is not my most developed superpower but I think I did a decent job.IMG_2104

The instructions start with gluing the base onto the nose cone and gluing the nose cone to the 4″ body tube. I’ve been looking at this rocket in OpenRocket and I want to leave open the possibility of adding a little weight to the nose cone, so I decided to save that for last. I’ve glued in the thrust ring and marked the body tubes for fins and launch lug. That’s it until the fins are dry.


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