Model Rocketry and Spacemodeling?
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Model Rocketry and Spacemodeling?
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Tips and Tricks For Building Model Rockets
(I will organize and categorize tips as this page develops)
Estes Little Joe II Building Tips
1. Bonding the corrugated body wrap: Wash and dry both sides of the wrap with a good detergent..."Dawn" works very well. A final wipe down with "Bestine" wouldn't hurt. I have found a couple of spray adhesives brands and types that are excellent at bonding the wrap. I prefer Loctite Spray Adhesive 200 (there is also a 300 that is even stronger).. The Loctite 200 sprays very controllably and evenly without "stringing". Spray on both the back of the wrap and the body, wait 2 or 3 minutes and then apply the wrap around the body. Then use 2" wide blue painters tape to tightly wrap over the outside of the plastic wrap and let sit overnight. Wrapping and allowing to cure/dry overnight also helps prevent a debonding "pucker" along the seem where the ends of the wrap meet. Scotch 77 and Scotch 90 spray adhesives also work well. The Scotch 77 sprays a bit thinner and isn't quite as strong as the Loctite 200 while the Scotch 90 is stronger but sprays a bit heavily in "strings".
2. Mask off all areas of the body using painters tape that you won't be applying spray adhesive to (including the inside rear surfaces of the body tube) as well as the "front" (visible) side of the wrap before spraying with ANY spray adhesive. Inevitably if you don't, you will get overspray just where you don't want it. It only takes a couple of minutes to quickly mask the tube which is certainly less time than you would spend trying to clean up accidentally oversprayed areas.
3. Don't use conventional plastic cement for styrene models to bond the injection molded plastic parts (such as fins, launch lugs, etc.) to the wrap (It IS okay to assemble the injection molded plastic parts with conventional liquid or tube type cements for plastic models before bonding them to the wrap). The wrap is ABS (or similar) plastic and conventional styrene cement barely bonds it. Use Tenax or Plastic Weld cements that are intended for ABS and WILL dissolve and create a bond to the plastic wrap. Even roughing the surface of the wrap and using epoxy will not develop the bond you need. HINT: I use "Amazing GOOP" Automotive Contact Adhesive (available at most auto supply stores...Zap Goo and Shoe Goo are similar from hobby and crafts stores) in generous quantities INSIDE the fin fairings to bond the fins to the wrap and then I go around the edges where the fin fairings contact the wrap with Plastic Weld or Tenax and tightly wrap rubber bands around the fairings and body for 24 hours. Be warned...GOOP and the other "Goo" type cements are very thick, stringy and messy. Wipe any excess away IMMEDIATELY.
Keep checking back for more tips. Also check out my "Skin Kit" for the Estes Little Joe II on eBay (just search for "Estes Little Joe II" that completely replaces the decals on the escape motor, capsule and service module portions of the model. I'll have more about the wrap kit here soon.
What To Do With Old Knife Blades
Some of us just hate to get rid of old knife blades. You hoard the old blades that are dull or have broken tips with the goal of "some day" either sharpening them (which usually costs more in your time and sharpening materials than it would cost to buy new blades) or finding some "alternate use" for the blades pretty much in their worn condition. Well, read on...
#11 Blades As A Parts Holder
Most of us from time to time have small parts that are difficult to handle or there is a need to be able to handle a part without actually having to touch it such as during painting.
I tend to seal, prime and finish fins and other wood parts before they are assembled to the model. Simply grab an "expended" #11 blade and poke it into the root edge (or the face of the part that is not going to "show" after assembly). This gives you a handy flat "handle" that is easy to "trap" between two blocks (or even the pages of that old phone book) to hold the part horizontally or you can support the part vertically by inserting the handle end of the blade into something like plastic foam or clay or other soft supportive material.
#11 blades also make excellent holders for tiny plastic parts for airbrushing or other painting tasks. The fine point of the blade enables you to poke the blade into the part in some location that will be hidden after assembly yet the part will be easily removed from the blade point versus gluing to part to some other "holder" like a toothpick or sprue (or whatever).