Repairing giveaway rockets (part 1)

If you’re a kid and you come to one of our club launches, you’re entitled to a free rocket and a motor to fly it with. Some of these freebies are ones we’ve built to give away; others are rockets that have been donated to us. We had some donated rockets that were not in flying condition, and I took a few home from a meeting to work on them.

There’s an Estes Monarch with a few problems. One was that the transition where the rocket separates was, for some reason, ridiculously tight in the lower body tube. I sanded it a lot.

IMG_8631It had a broken rubber band shock cord that clearly had been ridiculously short to start with.IMG_8632I pulled the trifold mount out of the body tube, mostly, and put in a much longer piece of braided elastic.

I tugged on the motor mount and it moved. I tugged harder and it pulled out.IMG_8635

So I glued it back in.

The body tube’s scraped up, not sure why. IMG_8633

I’ll probably just touch this up rather trying to do a full repaint. But not any time soon; bad weather this weekend, and likely no opportunities during this week.

On the upper body tube, an apparent effort to make a red band that was less than successful.IMG_8634Not sure what I’ll do about that, if anything.

There’s also a little damage to the upper body tube, probably from torquing it too hard trying to pull it apart, but there’s not much I can easily do about that and I think it’ll be okay to just leave it that way. There are no evident fillets on the fins or launch lug but they seem solid and straight enough.

There are fillets, of a sort, on the launch lugs of the next rocket, an Estes Athena. Interesting that the lug was cut in two and glued high and low. IMG_8636

The motor mount wasn’t loose. Or there.IMG_8637So I made a new motor mount and glued it in.

Also interestingly, the shock cord is braided elastic. But glued directly to the body tube with no trifold mount. I’ll think about changing that.

There’s the sustainer from an Estes Mongoose. The peel and stick decal isn’t smooth and is lifting at the edges.

IMG_8638Another rubber band shock cord, broken off at the body tube.IMG_8639There’s no motor hook, of course.

IMG_8640I’m leery of giving away rockets that need friction fit motors, so I’m thinking about how to add retention here. Got an idea.

Finally there’s what I assume is an unfinished scratch build.IMG_8641BT-50 minimum diameter.IMG_8643I would’ve cut the fins with the balsa grain parallel to the angled edges, but this is probably all right.


Technically I guess the short horizontal edges are the leading edges. The balsa’s unfilled and the fins are pretty wide, though, so I’m tempted to paper them. I’ve got a nose cone I can add. I’ll have to sim it to see if it needs nose weight, though.


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