Binder Design - Excel Jr. {Kit}

Contributed by Stu Valenton

Construction Rating: starstarstarstarstar_border
Flight Rating: starstarstarstarstar
Overall Rating: starstarstarstarstar
Manufacturer: Binder Design

Brief:
The Excel Jr. is a scaled down model of their 4" Excel HPR kit and designed to fly on most E through G engines.

Construction:
The rocket components consist of: pre-slotted quality tubes, nose cone, 3 pre-cut plywood fins, centering rings, 18" chute, shock cord, and rail buttons.

PROs: The reason I chose Binder Design is because I had heard their directions were easy to follow and that would be a good thing for a newbie to MPR like me. I'm glad I did. The instructions were over a dozen pages long and included detailed diagrams, tips, pitfalls (and how to avoid them) as well as optional ways to increase the durability of your rocket. Binder even explains how to tie knots.

Notes: You will need a power drill. If you want milled fiber for your epoxy, order it from Binder.

CONs: I had trouble with the rail buttons. Since I had never seen a rail launcher, I didn't know what to expect. I put one button on the payload section (oops) and had to remove it and patch the hole. However, Mike Fisher at Binder was kind enough to return my email and instruct me on how rail buttons work. FYI: Put the rail buttons about six to nine inches apart in the lower section of the rocket and make sure they are aligned straight.

There is no motor retention system included. Since I am new to MPR, I had no idea there are some many options in this area. It's best to order one of Binder's mounting systems with the kit and build around it. I wish had known this. Otherwise you will be like me and trying to install some awkward retrofit gadget in the field or trust your rocket to a friction fit masking tape situation, which I was unwilling to do.

Finishing:
This rocket is very easy to finish. My advice is don't skimp on the paint and get some good Krylon paint. Don't mix your brands or you may get peeling or bubbling.

PROs: The directions give great tips on painting and remind you to sand your nose cone. I would say you shouldn't sand your tube and cone with anything rougher than 400 grit.

CONs: None really.

Construction Rating: 5 out of 5

Flight:
PROs: This rocket flies as straight and high. I really like that with a F motor you can send it up very high and with a G you can put it nearly out of sight! You do not need a bunch of money and/or a high power registration to get really nice flights with inexpensive (~$20) engines.

CONs: None.

Recovery:
PROs: The chute is appropriate for the rocket and the shock cord is solid and long. I had no damage to tube or fins.

CONs: None.

Flight Rating: 5 out of 5

Summary:
If you want to try flying this rocket on high power or like the longer payload tube, Binder may allow you to special order a kit like I did with a longer payload tube. I would also encourage you to avoid milled fiber as it is expensive. You need less than one teaspoon for your entire rocket and hobby shops sell it in big jars. Keep it away from your lungs--it's nasty stuff. If you can get some from another flier or get a small amount for a couple of bucks from Binder, otherwise forget it.

This is an excellent rocket for someone who has just decided to build something bigger than an Estes.

Overall Rating: 4 out of 5

Other Reviews
  • Binder Design - Excel Jr. {Kit} By Kevin Johnson

    ( Contributed - by Kevin Johnson - 11/01/02) Brief: Smaller version of the popular Excel rocket. Construction: 2.6 inch pre-slotted BT 2.6 inch payload bay coupler and bulkhead 29mm motor mount Plywood TTW fins and centering rings Lots of tubular nylon 2 quick links and eye bolts 18" nylon parachute Plastic nose cone 3 plastic rivets 2 vinyl decals ...

Flights

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