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EMRR Tips/Hints

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 Paper Tubes:

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 Primer 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 Nose Cones:

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 technique.

Bay Making an Altimeter Bay:

The procedure and pictures are courtesy of Missile Works.

  1. 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.
  2. Drill and mount a #6 threaded insert into one end of each dowel.
  3. Epoxy the dowels inside the coupler section .125" from the end (180 deg apart).
  4. 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).
  5. Place your coupler section (glued bulkhead end) into the upper body tube (main parachute) compartment to the coupler midpoint.
  6. 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).
  7. 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>
  8. 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.
  9. 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>
  10. 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. <picture>

Elmer's ProBond Wood Glue:

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 fillet.

Estes Industries - Big Daddy
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 mixing.

Piston 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

Cycline3 - Fun Fat Rocket
Public Missiles (PML) - Tiny Pterodactyl
Fat Cats Rockets - Hypersonic Transport
Scratch - 29mm Mercury Transport

Quick Grab Glue (now called Omni-Stick):

Glue 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.

LOC/Precision - Viper III
Thrustline - Mighty Mick
Custom - Razor
Custom - Several
Quest - Icarus
Quest - Intruder

Mighty Mick

Walmart Spray Enamel:

Comments on the pro's and con's of the $0.98/car Walmart spray enamel:

The pro's are the cost and durability, which seems every bit as good as other brands I've used.

Space Liner

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 this paint.

Descon - Spaceliner 100
Thrustline - Mighty Mick
Vauhgn Brothers - Blobbo

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