The following are tips that EMRR has successfully used in building
and finishing rockets reviewed on this site. Let us know if you have any questions.
Finishing Technique for Kraft
I don't use anything to fill the spirals. I use Gray
Plasti-Kote Sandable Primer. This thicker primer
can fill the grooves and is easy to sand. I start by priming just the grooves by holding the rocket horizontal and
rotating it as I hold the spray can close and apply a thick coat. It it runs a little, that's okay. I then sand with
220 grit and repeat
one more time. Then the 3rd coat I prime the whole rocket. I sand with 340-400 grit and specifically look at where the
grooves are to ensure that are filled. Once everything looks good, I apply one last light coat of primer and sand with
600 grit. It is then ready for paint. (I apply this thick coat, multiple coats method to wood and balsa fins too!)
Finishing Technique for Plastic
First sand the entire plastic nose cone with 150 or 220 grit sand
paper until all shine is removed (yes this will be scratching the surface). Focus some effort around the seam. Then
apply a very heavy coat of Gray Plasti-Kote Primer to fill in all the
scratches from sanding. Use several thick coats directly on the nose cone seam and then sand it back until the seam is
filled. Once the seam is filled switch over to a 340-400 grit paper between coats. This can usually be done with a
couple of thick coats and a couple of thin ones. I have never had nose cone paint chipping issues using this
Making an Altimeter Bay:
The procedure and pictures are courtesy of
- Use a coupler tube (I used 8") for the electronics bay and cut 2 birch
dowels (about 3/8" dia) so they are .25" shorter than the overall coupler length.
- Drill and mount a #6 threaded insert into one end of each dowel.
- Epoxy the dowels inside the coupler section .125" from the end (180 deg
- Permanently epoxy one of the bulkheads to one end of the coupler, flush against
the ends of the dowels (the ends without the brass inserts).
- Place your coupler section (glued bulkhead end) into the upper body tube (main
parachute) compartment to the coupler midpoint.
- Drill your static port hole and fastener holes. Running the calc's for volume
and port sizing, a 0.1" hole size (single) should be used. Use a recommended 3/64" port (smaller is better).
- Drill (2) 1/16" holes for payload fastener screws. Note the alignment of
the dowels before you drill holes. You'll be able to align the coupler by lining up the static port hole when you
re-insert the payload bay. <picture>
- Remove the coupler. Epoxy (2) 2-56 blind nuts into the coupler section into each
1/16" hole. This will hold the coupler captive to the upper body tube and will allow you to remove it to prep the
electronics and deployment charges.
- Drill holes in the loose bulkhead plate that align with the threaded inserts on
the dowels. This bulkhead is the removable end, allowing access to the electronics and wiring.<picture>
- Cut a small piece of 1/8" ply as a mounting back-plate for the altimeter.
It should slide in underneath the dowels which hold it captive in the electronics bay.
Elmer's ProBond Wood Glue:
Elmer's ProBond Weather Resistant Wood Glue for
exterior use. It says: Weather Resistant, No-Run Gel Formula, Contains Wood Fibers for Superior Staining, Strong Wet
Tack. I love how it sticks and stays where I put it. It does give a quick tack. Put a thin coat on the root edge of
the fin and place it on the body tube. Press and hold for just a couple of seconds and let it dry. It doesn't slide or
tilt like when using white glue. It also is good for filling flaws, dents, breaks and sands nicely. It does shrink
though. I have used it for fillets and it shrinks and therefore several coats are needed. However, I have been using
this for the initial fillet and then using epoxy over the top to get the smooth performance of epoxy on the
Estes Industries -
BSD High Power Rocketry - Thor
Nordic Rocketry - Phaze
Elmer's ProBond/Gorilla Polyurethane Glue:
Elmer's ProBond Polyurethane Glue. It is called "The Ultimate
Adhesive", "Bonds Virtually Everything", "Super Strong", "Sand Easily", "Water
Proof", and "Stainable/Paintable". The outside cover said that it is the strength of epoxy without the
In general, I found the glue easy to work with
exception for one primary issue. It expands somewhat in volume after being applied. This has not been a problem for
attaching centering rings to the motor tube and to the inside of the body. It has been fine for attaching nylon straps
to the motor tube and to pistons (if used).
Once dry it appears porous, but it does sand easier than epoxy and I
had no primer interactions.
Note: My experience with Gorilla Glue is the same.. it
just costs less
Fun Fat Rocket
Public Missiles (PML) -
Fat Cats Rockets - Hypersonic Transport
Quick Grab Glue (now called Omni-Stick):
Some comments on Quick Grab glue: It promises to be crystal
clear, water-proof and paintable. It was. It also claimed to be fast drying, 40 second grab with light load support
after 10 minutes and full load after 24 hours. It did this, too. In fact, the only problem with the glue is that it
gets a skin quick and therefore has "stringers" of glue that you have to control. It did great on attaching
fins and can be used to "spot" hold fins on larger models before using epoxy.
Although I have successfully made fin fillets, it is much harder to
work with due to the "skin" and I wouldn't recommend it over epoxy. Also, I have successfully used it on
gluing motor blocks or centering rings, but due to its thickness I wouldn't recommend it over wood glue.
I would recommend it for smaller models (A - D motors) since it
gives you fast drying time and is much cheaper than CA.
Thrustline - Mighty
Custom - Razor
Custom - Several
Quest - Icarus
Quest - Intruder
Walmart Spray Enamel:
Comments on the pro's and con's of the $0.98/car Walmart spray
The pro's are the cost and durability, which seems every bit as good
as other brands I've used.
The con's are color selection, however for $1.39/can you can improve
your color selection and still not pay the standard $2.49+ for other popular brands. Also, according to instructions,
additional coats must be done within 4 hours or after 1 week. So in the case of two different colors, you'll have to
wait a week before doing the second color. But, after the second color and within 4 hours, hit the whole rocket with
their clear coat.
If you're not in a hurry, I think, the pro's outweigh the con's with
Thrustline - Mighty
Vauhgn Brothers - Blobbo