Building the Estes (clone) Ranger (part 5)

I am, I suppose, being wildly inconsistent with this model. I’ve gone out of my way to get a balsa nose cone of the original Ranger length, instead of the shorter modern Big Bertha nose cone. I’m using 3/32″ fin stock, because that’s what the K-6 came with, though I’m taking TR-6 (1967)’s advice and papering the fins, and making them out of basswood to boot. I’m using the glue-and-facial-tissues method of blocking the motor mount gaps. And I haven’t made a final decision, but I think for the first rocket in a long time I’m not going to use a Kevlar leader for the shock cord… mainly because attaching it to the motor mount would be problematic.

And yet there’s that motor retention screw sticking out the back.

There’s also the launch lug. The original Ranger had a 5″ x 1/8″ launch lug. 3/16″ launch rods didn’t exist then, or more precisely, 3/16″ launch lugs didn’t exist, at least not as Estes parts, and apparently the 5″ length was to somehow mitigate or compensate for the degree to which the Ranger would whip the 1/8″ rod. (I’m not entirely clear on the physics of how it was supposed to mitigate or compensate, though.) When Chris Michielssen built his Ranger clone in 2012 he substituted a 2″ x 3/16″ launch lug, and I plan on doing the same.

OK, so I’m not a purist. So why am I  messing with facial tissues and glue? For the old school experience of it, I suppose.

So here goes.



We have here a facial tissue torn into small pieces, some of which I’ve wadded up into little balls. By the nature of things, not all the balls came out to the same size, but that’s good, not bad.

I lined the ends of the motor tubes and the outside of the body tube with blue tape, to keep stray mess to a minimum.

There’s a puddle of yellow glue ready.

This is not a process to undertake using one’s fingers. I have a pair of heavy duty zircon encrusted tweezers at the ready, and two bamboo skewers.

The instructions have you put the tissue stuffing at the rear end of the motor mount, but I had other ideas. For one thing, between the motor retention and the basswood fins I’m already shifting the CG back, and I thought it might be nice to pretend I care. For another thing, I didn’t think I’d like the look of the stuffing flush with the rear end. So I centered it more like an inch and a half forward. The skewers have blue tape flags on them to help keep the depth under control. One skewer’s set up to poke with the blunt end, the other with the sharp.

Dipping the tweezers and skewers in the water frequently — like before and after each time they’re used — helps keep them from getting too gummed up with glue.

It all seemed to go pretty well: pick up ball of tissue with tweezers, dredge it in the glue, stick it into the gap. Push it down with the blunt end of a skewer. If needed, poke it into position using the sharp end. Repeat. The tough part is filling the tight corners where the motor tubes meet the body tube. That’s where I used the smallest tissue balls, and pushed them in with the sharp skewer end.

Once I thought I had enough tissue in place I dribbled a little more glue over it all.

I left it to dry and did a little work on the payload section. I sanded down the nose block for a good slip fit, so I could use wood glue rather than epoxy to install it. I drilled a hole and glued the BMS-supplied dowel with the BMS-supplied small hole into it.
IMG_3330 Then I glued the block into the payload tube.IMG_3333Not much left to do here. I guess maybe it could use a couple fins, maybe three… what the heck, I’ll put on four. Eye screw in the block, shock cord, launch lug, clean up a bit of glue slop, and assembly will be done.



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