Building a Mosquito (part 1) / Building a Mega Mosquito (part 1)

I ought to be spending my time sanding and filling the rockets I’ve primered, getting them ready for the next painting opportunity (forecast, by the way: High tomorrow 73°F; Tuesday, 2 inches of snow. Seriously.) but I really wanted to get one more rocket with a 24 mm motor mount in production. So I got out the Estes one of the Mega Mosquito kits. Here it is:


Some of those parts — the little square balsa sheet, the little nose cone and the body tube under it, and so on, are not the Mega Mosquito; they’re the Mosquito which comes as a bonus in the Mega Mosquito package. There also are instructions. I quote the Mosquito assembly instructions in their entirety: “Sand both sides of balsa. Glue all parts together. Check fin alignment. Let dry.” Which is pretty much how to assemble any rocket, really.

Sounds easy, but coping with those tiny fins on that tiny body tube is harder than it looks:2014-04-12 22.06.41

I filled the fins with CWF before gluing them.

I don’t want to fly the Mosquito as a motor-eject rocket — the club doesn’t allow it, not that I’m sure I’d bring it to a club launch, and I’m not thrilled with the concept myself — so I decided to modify it for nose blow recovery. The tricky thing about that is that the nose cone butts right up against the front of the motor, so there’s not exactly a ton of room. The nose cone’s hollow, so a thin Kevlar shock cord can be stashed there, but how to anchor it? Answer: a lariat loop — run the Kevlar down through the motor tube, tie a slip knot in the end, and loop it over the protruding end of the motor. There’s still enough clearance in the tube to put the motor in, and if it doesn’t tighten things up enough for a friction fit that’ll keep the motor from popping out, a little tape around the motor and/or tape pieces between the motor and body tube at the end should keep it in place. I epoxied some Kevlar into the nose cone:IMG_2550Then I decided that piece of Kevlar wasn’t long enough, so I cut it short and tied a longer piece to it:IMG_2553So that’s about ready for primer.

Big brother takes a little longer. Each fin is laminated from three pieces of balsa. I used blue tape to hold them in alignment. One of them got a little out of alignment anyway, but sanding fixed it.IMG_2546

Like the Mosquito, the fins got (a whole lot more) CWF:IMG_2551

Those have been sanded down and should be ready for gluing.IMG_2556


The motor mount will be a little nonstandard. Still 24 mm, but I left out the motor block and hook; I’ll be putting an Estes 24 mm retainer on it. And I’m doing the usual removable Kevlar shock cord leader — which will tie to a long piece of braided elastic and not the short rubber band Estes supplies, of course.

Here are the centering rings. I thought about using the motor hook slot for the guide straw, but it’ll be kind of inaccessible behind the retainer, so I punched a hole a little further from the center. On the front ring, to keep the Kevlar away from the ejection, the hole is close to the outer edge. Not too close; putting it a few mm from the edge will make it easier to keep epoxy out of it when gluing the mount in.IMG_2552

Here’s the finished (except for the retainer, and a bit of trimming on the guide straw) motor mount.IMG_2557This rocket may be ready for primer by the time the snow (thank you, April) melts.





One thought on “Building a Mosquito (part 1) / Building a Mega Mosquito (part 1)

  1. I wasn’t thinking about how a motor eject Mosquito doesn’t need a motor block, but a nose blow one does… or needs something, anyway. There isn’t room for one, unless the motor sticks WAY out the back. So it’ll need a thin strip of tape wrapped around the rear end of the motor to prevent it moving up into the body tube.

    Another option would be to stick in a MMX motor mount.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s