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Estes Astro Blaster build log.

Old 05-28-2008, 09:23 PM
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BigBird271
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Default Estes Astro Blaster build log.

Hey Everyone!!

After weeks of serching I finely located and bought an Estes Astroblaster! This will be my second Astro Blaster, the fiirst was given to my on my 10th or 11th (I think) birthday. Unfortunatly we had never built an R/C plane befor in our lives let alone flown one. Long story short things did not go so well. It has been 15 (or so) years and countless R/C planes and flying hours sense that day and my dad is about to retire so we thought why not build another Astro Blaster? This time we know what we are doing so things should turn out right!

For those of you who are not familer with the Astro Blaster it is a rocket boosted carnard glider with a 5% thickness airfoil 36" span wing and a ready to glide weight of 14-16oz. It was produced by Estes from 1992 to 1996. The wing is balsa sheeted foam and the fuselage is built up balsa sheet. It is controled with a two chanel radio for Ailerons and Elevator. It had the option of sliding an engine mount with a Cox Black Widow .049 on it in to the rocket motor tube to make it a pusher.

I have created this thread so you can track my progress on thes build, ask questions and hopefully answer some of mine.

My plan is to convert her to brushless electric power running on LiPo batteries. I figure a ready to fly weight of 24oz should be about right. If any one has any sugestions for a motor, prop, battery I will be happy to hear from you. Note: with this 5% thickness airfoil this is a fast little bird!

Astro Blaster box top.

This is all that is in the box. It is actually a very complete kit with all needed hardware.

BigBird271

Last edited by BigBird271; 05-28-2008 at 09:40 PM. Reason: add pic.
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Old 05-28-2008, 09:45 PM
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Hey that's a nice looking kit! I bet it was a real nice fella that sold it to ya!

Good luck on the build and welcome to Wattflyer! Will be watching your prgogress with it.
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Old 05-29-2008, 10:56 PM
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Originally Posted by BigBird271 View Post
If any one has any sugestions for a motor, prop, battery I will be happy to hear from you. Note: with this 5% thickness airfoil this is a fast little bird!
Nice looking kit! Be sure to video the maiden. (And, of course, take plenty of pictures BEFORE the maiden--to remember her by. )

As for motor, since it looks like that plane is built for speed, I'd suggest you get a 2700kv-3400kv inrunner. I have this one installed in my little red delta with a cheap-o 30A brushless ESC and 1300mah 3S 20C Zippy LiPo and turning a 5x4 speed prop, and it was clocked at 107mph. If that's a little too fast for what you're wanting, then just pick out an inrunner with a smaller kv rating (such as 2700kv or lower).
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Old 05-29-2008, 11:02 PM
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Just out of curiosity, where did you get it from?
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Old 06-01-2008, 02:26 AM
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Originally Posted by Crash&Burn(Often) View Post
Just out of curiosity, where did you get it from?
I bought it from FiremanBill. (BTW, Thankyou FiremanBill)

Here's the latest on my project. A friend of mine hooked me up with a motor that should work. It is a Park 370 Brushless Outrunner Motor by E-flite, it has a 1360 kV rating so a prop with a fairly corse pitch should work and if not I will just have to try something else. I also realized that my initial figure of 24oz ready to fly was off by quiet a bit. The ready to glide weight of 14oz (witch was the number I used as a starting point) includes the 4 cell AAA battery pack and rocket motor that I will not be useing. Togeather these make up about 4oz, with that weight removed I can use a smaller motor and there for a smaller battery yealding a ready to fly weight of about 18oz or less. I have also been going over the planes finding little things here and there that can be modifed to save weight. I will post these mods with directions how to make them as I go.
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Old 06-01-2008, 02:29 AM
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You're more than welcome Buddy! I'm just glad you are enjoying it.

My son turned the money you paid for into a real good Lipo for his Jenny! He is very happy as well.
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Old 06-01-2008, 02:31 AM
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Quick question: Would any one be interested if I where to produce an electric pusher only kit simlar to to the Astro Blaster? The wing would be foam core and the fuselage would be fiberglass. Wing span will be 36" and ready to fly weight should be 15oz. Cost would most likely be around $50-$70. Any thoughts or sugestions?

Last edited by BigBird271; 06-01-2008 at 08:19 PM.
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Old 06-01-2008, 02:32 AM
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Originally Posted by firemanbill View Post
You're more than welcome Buddy! I'm just glad you are enjoying it.

My son turned the money you paid for into a real good Lipo for his Jenny! He is very happy as well.

Good to hear! The Jenny looks cool! I like the snopy in the instructor seat!
Dennis.

Last edited by BigBird271; 06-10-2008 at 05:14 AM.
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Old 06-07-2008, 09:26 PM
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My Dad and I got a lot done on the bird last weekend. The first thing we did was to attach the balsa wing skins to each other. We did this by first taping them togeather on what is to become the outside of the skin, we then open the joint (Like a hinge) and apply wattered down Elmers wood glue (Three parts glue to one part watter) to the joint, close it up and smoth out the glue with a finger. If the joint is not filled with glue you can apply a little more.

Once done we weighted the skins down to keep them flat and heated the joint with my heat gun to to accelerate the cure time to about 1-2 minuets. With all the skins ready we applyed a thin layer of epoxy to them and positioned them on the foam cores, stacked the outer pieces of foam on top and bottom put some of my old text books on top and let it sit off to the side for a few hours.

Last edited by BigBird271; 06-10-2008 at 05:19 AM. Reason: add pics
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Old 06-08-2008, 01:25 AM
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Next we turned our attention to the fuselage. The fuselage has a square cross section with balsa sheet making up the top and sides, these are joined at the corners by a triangle balsa strip. Acording to the instructions you are susposto make several cuts in the triangle strips so it can bend to match the curve of the top and bottom of the fuselage, I do not like making unneeded cuts in anything so instead we socked the strips in warm watter for 20 mins. to make them flexable enough.


Here is what the triangle pieces look like once they are bonded to the fuselage sides.

Once the feselage frame was built up and sheeted the temporary and permint bulkheads where removed. If you make the top access hatch shorter in front the forward bulkhead becomes unneeded and can be removed to save weight. With a carnard saving weight in the nose has the same benifit as saving weight in the tail of a regular aircraft. Our next step is to cutout the hatch and make a NACA duct in the side of the nose for cooling air. More to come!

Last edited by BigBird271; 06-10-2008 at 05:26 AM. Reason: Add pics.
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Old 06-08-2008, 05:26 AM
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Sounds like you are making a lot of headway Dennis. Can't wait to see some pics!
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Old 06-10-2008, 05:51 AM
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I hade some time to work on my baby to day so I first cut out the access hatch. The original plans call for the hatch to extend all the way to the carnard mounting point but as mentioned in my previous post I made a slight change in the design.

Next I made a NACA duct on the right side of the nose to provide some cooling air for the batteries and motor.

This type of duct works great and does not cause much drag if any. They are also a lot easyer to make than they look. All you do is cut out the shape of the duct leaving the pointy end at the front attached then push the bottom of the duct in so it is at a 7 degree angle to the aircraft skin and line the sides of the opening with balsa sheet. Note: To insure addiquite strength and ease of instllation the grain of the sheet should be oriented perpendictular to the air flow. This picture will give you all the info you need to make your own NACA duct.
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Old 06-10-2008, 01:17 PM
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Nice build BigBird...subscribed.
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Old 06-14-2008, 04:11 AM
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Well sense it has been a few days sense my last post I figure it is time for an update. On Monday afternoon I trimmed the wing skins and attached the leading edge and subspar. To do this I used wattered down Elmers glue as discribed earlier except this time I used a bit less watter so the glue was thicker making it better at filling the gap between the wood and foam. Once the glue was applied I taped the leading edge and subspar in place and let them dry over night.

The next day I tacked the trailing edge in place ans sanded the leading edge and subspar to shape. Next I turned my attension to the stabs. They are just 1/8" sheet cut to shape with a 1/32" wire for the elevator torque rod in the original design. I how ever decided to modify them a bit by cuting large lightning holes, installing pieces with the grain running front to back and adding carbon fiber stiffeners and torque rods to save a little weight and eliminate play in the elevators.

Oh and with the L.E. and T.E. of any airplane being so suspetable to hanger rash I socked them in C.A. to help protect them a little better. Next I turned my attension to the hatch latch. I stopped by Radio Shack and bought two two packs (Four magnets total) of small magnets Part# 64-1895. I installed two in the back of the hatch and two in the back of the hatch opening by diging a hole in the wood the same size as the magnets and gluing them in place with CA. I will use Monokote as a hinge for the front of the hatch when I cover the airplane. These magnets will out last tape and rubber bands, have no moving parts to bind, wear out or break and if the hatch does some how open in flight the magnets will close it up again pluse it is really quick and easy to open on the ground and is totaly invisable! Other then the $4 price tag I just cant think of a down side!

So thats just about everything for the moment, right now I am working out the control linkages and geting her ready for covering. Stay tuned!!!

Last edited by BigBird271; 06-14-2008 at 09:29 PM.
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Old 06-28-2008, 08:34 PM
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Big Bird
Glad I found your build log . I also just acquired an AstroBlaster kit. Am in the process of putting it together. Mine had no instructions. Can you give me the cg location. I am putting it together with a 1700 kv little blue wonder motor. I have the fuselage built and the wing installed and covered. Am getting ready to put the front conard on but need the cg location so I can start positioning the electronics to get it balanced right.
Any other hints would be helpfull.
Thank You
Beerman
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Old 07-16-2008, 09:49 PM
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Originally Posted by Beer_ man View Post
Big Bird
Glad I found your build log . I also just acquired an AstroBlaster kit. Am in the process of putting it together. Mine had no instructions. Can you give me the cg location. I am putting it together with a 1700 kv little blue wonder motor. I have the fuselage built and the wing installed and covered. Am getting ready to put the front conard on but need the cg location so I can start positioning the electronics to get it balanced right.
Any other hints would be helpfull.
Thank You
Beerman

Hey everyone!

Sorry I have not posted much lately, My wife and I finely gotaround to having a wedding back on the 5th so life has been just a bit busy lately!

The aft C.G. limit is located 6 and 3/8" forward of the back side of the firewall and the froward C.G. limit is only 1/4" ahead of the aft limit. Hope that did not confuse you too much.

Thats all for the moment. More to come shortly!
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Old 07-16-2008, 10:23 PM
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well congratulations... now get busy! Priorities man, priorities!
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Old 07-22-2008, 12:46 PM
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How's it going BigBird?
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Old 08-10-2008, 06:46 AM
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BigBird271
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Hey Everyone! Sorry for keeping you in the dark for so long. I have been busy working away at my Astro Blaster completing the final assembly and sanding to get it ready for covering. I then covered it with chrome Monokote with transparent Red, Yellow and Blue over top. I also installed the motor and radio gear and tested the crap out of every thing ensuring it is ready to go, all I need now is a calm day (WITH NO RAIN!!!!!!!!!!!) to take the first flight!!!!!! Until I have some first flight pictures and videos you can enjoy this one!
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Old 08-10-2008, 02:40 PM
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WOW! That looks really nice!
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Old 09-02-2008, 02:44 AM
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Sorry for the delay! I have flown her several times now and heres what I have discovered so far. Acording to the plans the aft C.G. limit is 2.5" behind the L.E. However the instructions say the optimal C.G. is 2.75" behind the L.E. How can the optimal C.G. be behind the aft limit Well the instructions are right and the plans (I found this out the hard way) are wrong! Once she was repaired and the C.G. adjusted she flew much better! In slow flight the controles become quite soft, especially the ailerons and she is quite prone to tip stalling so approaches are made pretty quick. High speed flight on the other hand is something else! My educated guess is that her top speed is about 160 MPH!! (It took about 1.5 seconds to cover the length of our 350' runway) The only problem here was the recomended controle throws are way too much especially the elevator so some reprograming of my dual rates is in order. Flight times are about 16-17 mins with a 3cell 1500mah LiPo. It was quite (whats the word?) .....Satisfying to see the look of shock on the club know it alls faces (who think gas is still best and electrics are garbage) when I took off befor they did, blew by there nitro powered aircraft and landed after they did!!!! Thats all for the moment! I will keep you poasted as I make adjustments and get some inflight pics!

Big Bird
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Old 09-02-2008, 02:52 AM
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160!!!!!

I'd like it back now please! That is awesome man! Plain 'ol Awesome!
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Old 09-06-2008, 09:40 AM
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Reminds me of the SIG TriStar from a decade or so ago.

Charlie
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Old 07-08-2009, 05:04 PM
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Hi, is it possible to get a copy of the built plan by mail ?? I think I´ve lost mine when we moved to our new home, and I´ve nearly finished this cool plane, but without the information about the right center of gravity, it wouldn´t make scence to start it.

Greetings Frank
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Old 07-08-2009, 07:23 PM
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Cool looking plane, Congrats!
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