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-   -   First Estes Rockets (http://www.oldrocketforum.com/showthread.php?t=15201)

gpoehlein 07-01-2015 07:33 PM

First Estes Rockets
 
OK, gang - I'm going WAY back for this one. In the 1960 Estes catalog on Ninfinger, there are no rocket kits listed, and only a few parts. These include the BT-1 (ID=.750", OD=.840"), the BT-2 (ID=.720", no ID listed), a PNC-1, PNC-2 and a plastic fin unit PF-1. It also lists a plan book titles "Model Rocketry" that includes plans for three rockets: Arrow-C, Sky Bird, and Orange Bullet. I know there are plans for two of those rockets that were part of the Design of the Month collection, but they were apparently redesigned using current Estes Parts (BT-50, etc). The Dirty Bird plans do show both the fin unit and the long ogive cone used, and those are listed as BT-40 (which the 1963 catalog gives somewhat different dimensions for than the BT-1).

Bottom line - does anyone have any information on any of these parts, models or plans? Tubes are easy enough to roll, and the plastic parts can now be 3D printed. Anyone interested in resurrecting a really long dead bit of history here?

stefanj 07-01-2015 08:07 PM

I was under the impression that the early BTs were the equivalent of the BT-30 and BT-40.

Some of the early, un-updated Model Rocket News-es had plans, and there is this:

http://www.ninfinger.org/rockets/ca...an/esttech.html

Royatl 07-01-2015 10:01 PM

Quote:
Originally Posted by gpoehlein
OK, gang - I'm going WAY back for this one. In the 1960 Estes catalog on Ninfinger, there are no rocket kits listed, and only a few parts. These include the BT-1 (ID=.750", OD=.840"), the BT-2 (ID=.720", no ID listed), a PNC-1, PNC-2 and a plastic fin unit PF-1. It also lists a plan book titles "Model Rocketry" that includes plans for three rockets: Arrow-C, Sky Bird, and Orange Bullet. I know there are plans for two of those rockets that were part of the Design of the Month collection, but they were apparently redesigned using current Estes Parts (BT-50, etc). The Dirty Bird plans do show both the fin unit and the long ogive cone used, and those are listed as BT-40 (which the 1963 catalog gives somewhat different dimensions for than the BT-1).

Bottom line - does anyone have any information on any of these parts, models or plans? Tubes are easy enough to roll, and the plastic parts can now be 3D printed. Anyone interested in resurrecting a really long dead bit of history here?



BT-1 was surplus of Model Missiles body tube, later renamed BT-40.

BT-2 was a tube that, initially, Gleda rolled out of mimeograph stencil backing paper, then manilla folder paper, on a jig that Vern built. They eventually got a company to produce it regularly for them, and that was what became BT-30.

The plastic parts were pretty standard fireworks parts that fit the BT-1/BT-40. I saw these very same parts on fireworks rockets until at least 2000. Those molds probably wore out, and there are now parts made from new molds that look similar, but are not exactly the same. The long flexible gray vinyl nose cone also came from Model Missiles. I'm pretty sure it was custom made for MMI (for Aerobee-Hi and Arcon), but don't know for sure.

gpoehlein 07-02-2015 05:42 AM

Yeah - I've mined all the usual sources. I know the dimensions and shapes of the parts listed in the 63 catalog, but I was noting the difference between the BT-1 and BT-40 dimensions even though they should be the same. Chalk that up to different suppliers, I suppose ;). I also did know that some of the nose cones and the fin unit were surplus fireworks parts (we've discussed that here or on TRF before).

But the real question is: does anyone have either any of those old nose cones and fin unit, or the plan book? If nothing else, the plan book should be scanned and posted for posterity. I think, given the dimensions and drawings in the 63 catalog and the dirty bird plans, I can make 3D models of those parts, but it would be nice to actually see the parts even if only a photograph. And a set of documentation photos - straight on from multiple directions so the photos can be measured - would be a real bonus.

dannymrmissile 07-05-2015 12:01 AM

Plan Book
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by gpoehlein
Yeah - I've mined all the usual sources. I know the dimensions and shapes of the parts listed in the 63 catalog, but I was noting the difference between the BT-1 and BT-40 dimensions even though they should be the same. Chalk that up to different suppliers, I suppose ;). I also did know that some of the nose cones and the fin unit were surplus fireworks parts (we've discussed that here or on TRF before).

But the real question is: does anyone have either any of those old nose cones and fin unit, or the plan book? If nothing else, the plan book should be scanned and posted for posterity. I think, given the dimensions and drawings in the 63 catalog and the dirty bird plans, I can make 3D models of those parts, but it would be nice to actually see the parts even if only a photograph. And a set of documentation photos - straight on from multiple directions so the photos can be measured - would be a real bonus.


If anyone's interested, I have an original plan book like this w/exact/blueprint drawings for all 3 kits Vern Estes sent me. Plus, I have a Box full of most of the original BT- 30- (BT-2) and 40 (BT-1) Tubes, cones & Payload Sections, etc.,, incl. the early BT 40 Clear (Hard Plastic) Payloads with original sealed cellophane tape on it w/instructions etc. still inside. Also several original Plastic & Balsa PNCs, but no Fin units. Let me know If you need help. Im disabled, so a reply may (or not) be 'slow', Danny.

gpoehlein 07-05-2015 07:26 AM

That is exactly what I was hoping for! Any way you can scan those instructions and submit them to Scott? That is just the sort of information that needs to be shared! And if you can take some good photos of the nose cones with a ruler for scale (exact side shots are best so an accurate measurement can be taken). Pity you don't have a fin unit, but beggars can't be choosers! Post what you can when you can - and if you need any help, there are lots of folk here besides me who will gladly do the scans and pics of they can borrow the plans and parts for a short time.

dannymrmissile 07-05-2015 07:35 AM

Scan
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by gpoehlein
That is exactly what I was hoping for! Any way you can scan those instructions and submit them to Scott? That is just the sort of information that needs to be shared! And if you can take some good photos of the nose cones with a ruler for scale (exact side shots are best so an accurate measurement can be taken). Pity you don't have a fin unit, but beggars can't be choosers! Post what you can when you can - and if you need any help, there are lots of folk here besides me who will gladly do the scans and pics of they can borrow the plans and parts for a short time.


Do you want scans of the Whole Booklet-its only 8 pages long & has stuff like the NAR code, Rocket talk, etc. 3 Pages, maybe 4 have the 3 Plans you need. You want me to send the SCANS & Pics. Here? This was the 1st 'Newsletter' Vern made in 1960-1, was lucky to get it. There will be Lots of Pics sent ! Oh-I had the scott@rocketshop thing, but lost it--maybe just send a link here for me to go directly on to where you want it. Danny.

dannymrmissile 07-05-2015 08:00 AM

Scan Of Plans
 
4 Attachment(s)
I just sent Pics. of the Whole thing since again, its just 8 Pages. Will get the tubes & Cones etc. next. I know someone who has the fins---but he is Very slow, I mean he takes weeks. Danny OH- Open these Images for PLANS.

dannymrmissile 07-05-2015 08:04 AM

More
 
Said my files were too big...not sure if all came thru... Says last 4 are too large for this space...need another ?? Danny

Joe Shockcord 07-05-2015 08:29 AM

Quote:
Originally Posted by dannymrmissile
I just sent Pics. of the Whole thing since again, its just 8 Pages. Will get the tubes & Cones etc. next. I know someone who has the fins---but he is Very slow, I mean he takes weeks. Danny


The Sky Bird uses a conical nose cone that slips over the body tube. That type of nose cone is still used on firework rockets today.

I make regular trips up I-75 and I befriended a roadside fireworks vendor (BTW, I got him interested in model rocketry and later gave him a starter kit). On one visit I asked about buying some rockets specifically because I wanted to get some of those nose cones and instead he gave me a whole bag of them in various sizes! He said they fall off the rockets easily and he was tired of picking them up off the floor. The smaller ones fit BT-20 well but the larger ones either slip into a BT-50 or are equal diameter, so yeah, it seems they are still made the same sizes.

If you use the smaller BT-20 size be careful not to push the cone too far on the tube, as the inside ridges will crush the tube edge and seat crooked.

dannymrmissile 07-05-2015 08:41 AM

This Is All Bt- 40
 
5 Attachment(s)
Everything here is BT 40. The steel ruler is all I had & may mess up the pics. Let me know what else you need, Bt 30s too? Danny BTW-this is a 16 inch ruler.

dannymrmissile 07-05-2015 08:43 AM

Bt-40
 
5 Attachment(s)
More

dannymrmissile 07-05-2015 08:50 AM

Quote:
Originally Posted by Joe Shockcord
The Sky Bird uses a conical nose cone that slips over the body tube. That type of nose cone is still used on firework rockets today.

I make regular trips up I-75 and I befriended a fireworks shop owner on the way who I got turned on to model rocketry by bringing him a starter kit. On one visit I asked about buying some rockets because I wanted to get some of those nose cones and he gave me a bag of the same nose cones in various sizes. He said they fall off the rockets easily and he was tired of picking them up off the floor. The smaller ones fit BT-20 well but the larger ones either slip into a BT-50 or are equal diameter, so yeah, it seems they are still made the same sizes.

If you use the smaller BT-20 size be careful not to push the cone too far on the tube, as it will crush the tube edge and seat crooked.

The WHITE ones Came with all the rest of all this stuff from an old hobby store I bought out in the 80s. They are Vintage Early ones Estes sold .

dannymrmissile 07-05-2015 09:15 AM

Pics
 
4 Attachment(s)
Here's pics from camera. Done all I can unless you want more--let me know. Hope all this helps, Danny.

dannymrmissile 07-05-2015 09:16 AM

Pics
 
2 Attachment(s)
2 more

stefanj 07-05-2015 01:03 PM

Firefox sells a body tube that is dimensionally the same as a BT-40, but spiral wound.

Unfortunately some stupid regulation prevents them from shipping it in decent lengths. I can understand why convolute wound tube has those rules, but this isn't something you'd use to make fireworks.

Until that scotched my order, I was set to put together a couple of dozen models based on those Design Book plans.

mojo1986 07-05-2015 07:54 PM

4 Attachment(s)
Here's an early fin unit to fit a BT-40. I also have one of the early spin fin units around somewhere, and will try to find it if there's any interest.

Joe

gpoehlein 07-05-2015 10:22 PM

Fantastic, guys - this is exactly what I was hoping to see! As soon as I get a chance, I'll try to to a 3D render of the fin can and nose cones for printing. I can't do the actual printing right now since my printer only handles PLA - nose cones would be rough but usable, but I'm afraid the motor exhaust would war a PLA fin can. Won't have a printer capable of printing ABS until early next year.

dannymrmissile 07-06-2015 11:46 PM

mail
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by gpoehlein
Fantastic, guys - this is exactly what I was hoping to see! As soon as I get a chance, I'll try to to a 3D render of the fin can and nose cones for printing. I can't do the actual printing right now since my printer only handles PLA - nose cones would be rough but usable, but I'm afraid the motor exhaust would war a PLA fin can. Won't have a printer capable of printing ABS until early next year.

I can Mail you copies of these papers if you need them,,, just ask & give address,,,, Danny.

Royatl 07-07-2015 09:40 AM

Quote:
Originally Posted by stefanj
Firefox sells a body tube that is dimensionally the same as a BT-40, but spiral wound.

Unfortunately some stupid regulation prevents them from shipping it in decent lengths. I can understand why convolute wound tube has those rules, but this isn't something you'd use to make fireworks.

Until that scotched my order, I was set to put together a couple of dozen models based on those Design Book plans.


You could see if e-Rockets has some Semroc BT-40 equiv. left (or if they're having more made for Aerobee-Hi kits). I bought a few from Sheryl a few months before she sold.

Royatl 07-07-2015 09:44 AM

Quote:
Originally Posted by dannymrmissile
Everything here is BT 40. The steel ruler is all I had & may mess up the pics. Let me know what else you need, Bt 30s too? Danny BTW-this is a 16 inch ruler.


Danny,
One thing I noticed about original BT-30 (and the BT-40 repros that Quest used in their 50th Anniversary MMI Aerobee-Hi) weren't always precisely round. Is that true of the original BT-40 you have?

stefanj 07-07-2015 01:23 PM

When I was REALLY just starting out, eartly 1971 maybe, and eight years old, I found one of those silver spin fin units. The "can" had split, melted open. I followed the directions in the Design Book to roll a tube (horrible, lumpy) and somehow got some soft wood to make a lumpy carved cone.

stefanj 07-07-2015 01:25 PM

Maybe if enough people ask Firefox they'll stock some of their BT-40 equivalent tube *uncut* and we can make some Dirty Birds!

dannymrmissile 07-08-2015 12:06 AM

Bt-40
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Royatl
You could see if e-Rockets has some Semroc BT-40 equiv. left (or if they're having more made for Aerobee-Hi kits). I bought a few from Sheryl a few months before she sold.


NO Need---I stocked up on those before semroc was sold. ...........

dannymrmissile 07-08-2015 12:11 AM

Bt-40
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Royatl
Danny,
One thing I noticed about original BT-30 (and the BT-40 repros that Quest used in their 50th Anniversary MMI Aerobee-Hi) weren't always precisely round. Is that true of the original BT-40 you have?


Actually, YES. These tubes are the Primitive tubes they started out to be. There is a slight 'oval' in the tube, but hardly noticeable--especially if they are used to build a kit. If Quest did this in the Repro Aerobee Hi kit, I applaud them for the accuracy in reproducing a 'true' as possible replica ! These old tubes are 1 of a kind & a joy to have. Thanks, Danny.

dannymrmissile 07-08-2015 12:14 AM

Agreed
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by stefanj
When I was REALLY just starting out, eartly 1971 maybe, and eight years old, I found one of those silver spin fin units. The "can" had split, melted open. I followed the directions in the Design Book to roll a tube (horrible, lumpy) and somehow got some soft wood to make a lumpy carved cone.


Ha, Yes--Live & Learn. But those were the 1st, and from 1960--when most rockets were made from fire works parts ! I don't think they were designed to last long--just an early idea by G Harry & the rest....... Any Plastic fin unit exposed even 'Near' the exhaust, will melt some. Danny.

dannymrmissile 07-08-2015 12:20 AM

Oval Tubes
 
2 Attachment(s)
Quote:
Originally Posted by Royatl
Danny,
One thing I noticed about original BT-30 (and the BT-40 repros that Quest used in their 50th Anniversary MMI Aerobee-Hi) weren't always precisely round. Is that true of the original BT-40 you have?


While not too pronounced, here's a pic of some BT 30 & 40s. Hope Pics. are clear,, but they are out of round, some. BTW--these are actually the earlier BT 1 & 2 Tubes. Danny.

Royatl 07-08-2015 08:13 AM

Quote:
Originally Posted by dannymrmissile
Actually, YES. These tubes are the Primitive tubes they started out to be. There is a slight 'oval' in the tube, but hardly noticeable--especially if they are used to build a kit. If Quest did this in the Repro Aerobee Hi kit, I applaud them for the accuracy in reproducing a 'true' as possible replica ! These old tubes are 1 of a kind & a joy to have. Thanks, Danny.


Yes, everything was reproduced fairly exact except the nose cone (made of balsa instead of maple or vinyl) and the box (though they tried to make it look sorta like the old box. Inks today are too bright!)

Joe Shockcord 07-11-2015 09:09 AM

1 Attachment(s)
Yesterday I scored some vintage rockets and engines on Craig's List and in the box was the mentioned fin can and a small piece of BT-30 or 40. I found the right size cone from the bag the fireworks vendor gave me and viola: a Sky Bird...or, reasonable facsimile thereof.

JohnNGA 07-11-2015 10:50 AM

That is really cool!!....from the Jurassic world of model rocketry.

ghrocketman 07-12-2015 04:06 AM

I believe those plastic fin units mojo posted pics of STILL are used for fireworks skyrockets.
I know some of the fireworks I bought two years ago used the same fin unit, but molded in blue color.
Had a couple dozen of those skyrockets; launchel the last six of them this 4th of July.

Now I'm going to have to search my brother's back field to get one of the fin units.

mojo1986 07-12-2015 06:34 AM

Quote:
Originally Posted by ghrocketman
I believe those plastic fin units mojo posted pics of STILL are used for fireworks skyrockets.
I know some of the fireworks I bought two years ago used the same fin unit, but molded in blue color.
Had a couple dozen of those skyrockets; launchel the last six of them this 4th of July.

Now I'm going to have to search my brother's back field to get one of the fin units.


I think the ones that are currently used are a bit different..........rounded fin tips, maybe a touch thicker, and moulded in color.

Royatl 07-12-2015 11:51 AM

Quote:
Originally Posted by ghrocketman
I believe those plastic fin units mojo posted pics of STILL are used for fireworks skyrockets.
I know some of the fireworks I bought two years ago used the same fin unit, but molded in blue color.
Had a couple dozen of those skyrockets; launchel the last six of them this 4th of July.

Now I'm going to have to search my brother's back field to get one of the fin units.


They are the same, but different. I noticed the differences in 2000. You know that wherever they're made, so many have been made over 50-60 years that they've probably gone through hundreds of molds, and reworkings, etc.

gpoehlein 07-12-2015 05:14 PM

Quote:
Originally Posted by Joe Shockcord
Yesterday I scored some vintage rockets and engines on Craig's List and in the box was the mentioned fin can and a small piece of BT-30 or 40. I found the right size cone from the bag the fireworks vendor gave me and viola: a Sky Bird...or, reasonable facsimile thereof.


Fantastic find! Could you possibly shoot a couple more photos with a ruler for scale? A rear on shot would be helpful as well to confirm a couple facts about that fin unit. And if you have a micrometer handy to measure the thickness of the fins, diameters and fin dimensions, that would probably be all the info I would need to model the fin unit in OpenSCAD.

Joe Shockcord 07-14-2015 04:46 AM

5 Attachment(s)
Quote:
Originally Posted by gpoehlein
Fantastic find! Could you possibly shoot a couple more photos with a ruler for scale? A rear on shot would be helpful as well to confirm a couple facts about that fin unit. And if you have a micrometer handy to measure the thickness of the fins, diameters and fin dimensions, that would probably be all the info I would need to model the fin unit in OpenSCAD.

Here's the best I could do on pictures.

Please note that this fin can is used, quite old and has warped a bit, so these measurements should be taken as rough estimates from a screaming amateur:

Overall height: 2-13/16"
Overall width (fin tip to fin tip): 4-5/16"
Outside diameter of top: 1.04" (there was a lot of flashing)
Inside diameter of top: .82"
Height of top: .63"
Internal depth: .55"
Width of bottom hole: 5/8"
Width of single fin at bottom: 1-13/16"
Length of fin leading edge (hypotenuse): 3-1/8"
Distance between fins: .75"
Thickness of fin: Leading edge is .1" and fin tapers down to .045" at trailing edge (my Harbor Freight digital caliper kept bouncing between .04 and .05").

Hope this helps.

gpoehlein 07-14-2015 05:47 AM

Fantastic! Thanks for the measurements. Soon as I get the chance I'll model this! I can't tell for sure, but I'd swear that this thing looks like it is molded from Bakelite! Great find, btw!

mojo1986 07-14-2015 10:26 AM

Quote:
Originally Posted by gpoehlein
Fantastic! Thanks for the measurements. Soon as I get the chance I'll model this! I can't tell for sure, but I'd swear that this thing looks like it is molded from Bakelite! Great find, btw!


I think they are made of styrene.

mojo1986 07-14-2015 10:28 AM

Best guess for the material used in the nose cones...............polyethylene.

mojo1986 07-14-2015 11:21 AM

2 Attachment(s)
I found one of the modern fin units, moulded in red. I will try to determine the plastic used and post that info later today. The mould used for this fin unit is different from the original as the fin tips are rounded. Also, the inner fin edges are not parallel to the centre line of the body tube...........they have an outward taper.

EDIT...........looks like these red ones are made of styrene too.

Joe

mojo1986 07-14-2015 11:56 AM

4 Attachment(s)
While I'm digging out my old stuff, I might as well post photos of the old Dirty Bird III. This rocket was built at least 50 years ago, and incorporates the old fin unit plus the original Model Missiles plastic two-piece nose cone. It also has a 'drinking straw' launch lug. I believe Estes recommended these for use by rocketeers in their earliest literature, and if I'm not mistaken, also sold them as a service to their customers.

I picked this up in an auction over 15 years ago that also included some original BT-40 body tubes, a couple more plastic fin units (including a 'spin fin' type), and a whole whack of the old Estes nose cones that fit over the BT-40's.

Joe


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