I’m usually not one to go giving out endorsements for random things, but in my most recent project, a Level 2 High Power Rocket (blog posts forthcoming), I was so thoroughly impressed with some of the materials (mostly accessorizing, you could say) that I felt inclined to put those names out there as valuable resources for rocketry enthusiasts or enthusiast-want-to-be’s.
To build a good high power rocket, you need a good binding agent to keep together those pieces that ought not be separated. For those critical joints, every rocketeer should have a good epoxy. For those instances when wood glue is not strong enough and superglue is too brittle, epoxy fills in quite well. And even better than epoxy is steel-reinforced epoxy. Now perhaps I am persuaded by the term “steel-reinforced” lurking in the label coupled with my previous experience using marine epoxy (bad idea), but this stuff is really quite amazing. In general, I have had really good experiences with J-B Weld brand epoxies. They are easy to mix, easy to apply, and easy to clean up when finished.
Coloring is significantly less important in rocketry, but it gives every vehicle a distinct personality. I have found it incredibly difficult to spray paint tall cylindrical surfaces in university courtyards, where the wind inevitably always picks up at inopportune moments (always, as it turns out). Recently, however, I’ve found a new brand of spray paint that I am particularly pleased with. Rust-oleum spray paint has everything I need in a good spray paint. Just one coat yields a solid bright color, eliminating the need for multiple coats, which caused part of my Patriot I rocket to get wrinkles on the airframe. Even better, the paint dried extremely quickly, which is good for getting a painting job done in a short window. The best part was the price. For under $5, I got a standard size bottle (see left) of high-quality spray paint.