How do I prepare my multi-stage rocket for flight?

Use cellophane tape to tape booster engine on the bottom to the upper stage on the top together. Wrap masking tape around rear of upper stage engine and front of booster stage engine to friction fit into the engine tubes. Push upper stage until it stops against engine block and fits snugly. Slide booster stage onto assembly until booster engine stops against the engine block. Continue preparing the booster engine with an igniter for launching.


What is the general flight path of Estes Model Rockets?

After blasting off, your Estes Model Rocket will reach its highest altitude, called the apogee. It is at this point the delay should be burning, creating a nice tracking trail of smoke to enable you to see your rocket. After the delay is burned, the ejection charge will ignite, and this will force the recovery system to deploy. It is important to make sure your recovery wadding is properly in place to avoid burning up the recovery system.


How do I properly install my igniter in my Estes Model Rocket engine?

We have included an image below visualizing the steps necessary to install an igniter properly.


How do I order a catalog?

Check with your local retailer for availability of our 2014 printed catalog, or Click Here to order one today!


How  do I get my light on my Launch Controller to come on?


If you are experiencing problems with arming your launch controller and your light is not turning on, please notice we have added a rubber stopper under the safety key cap that must be fully compressed in order to activate your launch controller.  To accomplish this, please follow the instructions below to test your Launch Controller: First, clip the alligator clips on to each other.  Next, insert the safety key into the keyhole and PUSH DOWN HARD to fully compress the rubber stopper under the safety key.  The key should now make contact and the light bulb should light up.  Now at the same time of pressing the safety key down and the light bulb lighting up, press the Launch Start button, the light should go out.  If this is true your launch controller is working correctly.  Always remove the safety key before approaching rocket and immediately after launching as an extra safety precaution.  If this still does not help please contact Customer Service at the www.estesrockets.com website.



What types for glues work best to build model rockets?


In general terms, adhesives that work well with porous materials (balsa for example) do not always work well for bonding non porous materials – like plastics. Some rocket builders recommend using glues like Elmers Carpenters Wood Glue and Titebond for bonding balsa and paper parts together, but these glues will not hold plastic nose cone parts together at all. For plastic, something like Testors Plastic Cement (red tube) works very well. Both of these glues are usually found on a model rocket builders bench along with some type of epoxy.

You can use some types of CA (Cyanoacrylate) glues for bonding both porous and not porous materials together. Several rocket builders use a brand called ZAP and it comes in thin, medium and thick viscosities…they recommend the medium (lime green label) as a glue that will bond various materials together. However, while the bond of the CA to plastics is good, they do not believe it to be better than solvent based adhesives, like Testors Plastic Cement or something else called Tenax 7R, which is a liquid that you brush on and it literally welds the plastic parts together…and it is super easy to use.



Estes 2157 Saturn Vac Formed Parts Attachment

This update is for those of you having trouble affixing the vac formed body wraps to your Saturn V body tubes. We have had a few emails regarding the application of a spray adhesive to the vac formed parts resulting in the thin ABS plastic melting. Please note the following options:

  • The instructions call for a “light” application of spray adhesive. When done correctly, the vac form wrap can be attached to the Saturn body tubes without melting. The key to using the spray adhesive is to spray the vac formed parts “lightly” and from a distance (approximately 24”) away from the vac formed wrap. Spraying to much adhesive to close to the vac formed part does not allow enough time for the solvents in the spray adhesive to dissipate before contact with the vac formed part, which is what causes the parts to soften and deform. We have assembled several sample Saturn’s here at Estes without incidence by spraying the vac formed parts with a few light coats of spray adhesive.


  • Another variation of the spray adhesive method is to apply the spray adhesive to the body tube and not the vac formed parts. You start by attaching the vac formed part to the body with tape. Mark the edges of each vac formed part around the entire body tube. Remove the vac form part, then apply low tack tape (blue edging masking tape) to the edge of these lines. All other areas of the body tube need to be covered with paper and tape so these areas are protected from the spray adhesive.  Make a final check to make sure that only the areas where each vac formed wrap is to be applied is exposed. Apply several light coats of spray adhesive to the body tube and not to the vac form part. After applying the spray adhesive, carefully apply each of the vac formed wraps to the body tube. While a little more tedious, this method can accomplish the task just as effectively as spraying the vac formed parts and then wrapping them onto the body tube.


  • Another option is to use medium viscosity Cyanoacrylate (CA) glue. With this method, you apply a bead of CA along the alignment line previously marked on the body tube. Lay the edge of vac formed wrapper on the line of CA and allow the glue to set. Be sure to wipe away any excess CA or it could form a bump making attachment of the opposite end of the vac formed wrap impossible. After the CA has a chance to set, apply another line of CA where the body tube overlaps the glued edge and bend the wrap around to the second line of CA and allow to set. After the vac formed body wrap is in place, you can carefully apply some thin CA to the outside edges of the vac formed body wrap where it meets the body tube. Work carefully and slowly as CA does not allow for any mistakes.


  • A final suggestion is the use of epoxy. We would recommend a medium cure rate (something with a 15 minute pot life would be a good choice – 5 minute usually does not allow enough working time). As described with the CA, mix a small batch of epoxy, apply a line of epoxy along the alignment line and place the edge of the vac formed wrap on the line. You can tape or hold the vac formed part in place while the epoxy cures. Next, mix another small batch of epoxy, apply a line of epoxy to the end of the vac formed body wrap and wrap the part around the body tube and tape in place until the epoxy has fully cured. Remove the tape and repeat for the other vac formed wraps.


Can I use my older engines?

 Engines do not have a shelf life. You can use old engines if the engines were always stored in a cool dry area, and never exposed to humidity and extreme heat or cold (garage or attic) you can use them. However, you will also have to watch for erosion of the clay cap and the propellant showing on the sides. My last recommendation is due to the age of the engine. I would never put the engine in a rocket that is dear to me and irreplaceable. If these motors do not meet these recommendations I would soak them in water and destroy them.


Soaking a small quantity of model rocket engines in water until they disintegrate will render the engines harmless. The non-colored paper casings will become unwound. The glue with which they are held together is organic and non-toxic. The intimate mixture comprising the propellant, delay and ejection charge will separate and fall to the bottom of the water as will the natural clay material comprising the nozzle and cap. These remnants can be safely disposed of in an outside trash receptacle. Each of the components is basically harmless alone and is not dangerous to people or the landfill in small quantities. If the components are left together to dry completely, the remnants are likely to be very flammable but should not pose a great hazard so long as they are not "remixed".


For more FAQ's regarding engines, Click Here!






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