Estes - Micron {Kit} (876) [1989-1991]

Contributed by John Lee

Construction Rating: starstarstarstarstar
Flight Rating: starstarstarstarstar_border
Overall Rating: starstarstarstarstar
Manufacturer: Estes
(OOP) Estes Micron

Brief:
The Micron is a small and simple rocket with 4 fins and a nose cone intended for 13mm motors. It is not minimum diameter but its also not much more than minimum. It comes with some orange flagging to serve as a streamer but would probably do just fine as a nose-blow.

Most of my recent project have involved making repairs but you can only sit around waiting for glue to dry for so long before wanting to try something new. This was at the top of the "quick and easy" pile so I got started on it.

Construction:
The first step in construction is to mark the motor tube for the engine hook and for the centering ring. A slice is then made for the hook and the centering ring is slid over the hook to its mark and glued into place. This is not a normal "ring" but a fat "coupler type" tube which serves the purpose.

The kit provides for a paper tri-fold mount but I wasn't having any of that. I ran a piece of Kevlar® under the aft end of the engine hook and tied it around the motor tube. I secured the Kevlar® with some yellow glue. The end was then passed through the body tube and I was able to pull the mount into place without a bulge showing. The aft end of the motor tube should have been flush with the body tube but mine sticks out about 1/8".

As a general rule, I prefer the wraparound fin guides to the end marking guides and this kit came with the former. It was cut out from the instruction sheet, taped into place, and the lines for 4 fins were transferred. They lines were then lengthened with an angle and pencil.

I put a bit of yellow glue on the root edge of each fin, pressed it into place, and removed it to dry in order to form a double glue joint. While waiting for the glue to dry, I used tube plastic cement to glue the base of the plastic nosecone into the cone itself.

A bit more glue was applied to the root edges of the fins and they were put in place. All of the fins were filleted and the launch lug was set in the crook of one fin and the BT.

Finishing:
Elmer's Wood Filler was used to fill the balsa grain and the fins were then sanded down smooth. The Micron was put it the booth and primed with Kilz.

The primed rocket was then lightly sanded and given 2 coats of gloss white. The spray booth was otherwise occupied so more traditional methods were employed: I stuck on a dowel sunk into the yard.

I covered up the entire rocket except for the nosecone in foil and painted the cone with gloss black. That gave me something to hold on to. When the masking was removed, I had a simple but neat little rocket.

All that was left was to apply the decals. There was a roll pattern around the top and an Estes logo. They added a bit of color to this project and I think it looks pretty sharp.

Construction Rating: 5 out of 5

(OOP) Estes Micron

Flight:
The Micron got its maiden flight at my monthly club launch. I got the club equipment set up before anyone else arrived and decided to go ahead and launch it. I loaded it with a 1/4A3-3T and set it on the pad. When it lifted off, it went straight up. I am constantly amazed and surprised by how well even a very light rocket does on the 1/4A. It deployed its streamer and then I lost sight of it. I didn't see it again until it hit me in the head!

Video of the first flight can be seen here.

Almost immediately, another club member arrived. We both prepped our rockets with me choosing to give the Micron another shot. This time was on a 1/2A3-2T. It again boosted well, deployed a bit early, and recovered safely despite the streamer not unraveling all the way.

Video of the second flight can be seen here.

Recovery:
PROs: It's light enough not to hurt when it hit me in the head.

(OOP) Estes Micron CONs: It hit me in the head!

Flight Rating: 4 out of 5

Summary:
This would be a nice first rocket, if it was made any more. You have to do some gluing and painting but its simple. It an fly on a small field but keep you eyes peeled so you don't lose it.

Overall Rating: 5 out of 5

Flights

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