An Alternative Way to Hold Your Rocket When Spray Painting
-by Jim Basler
When it comes time to spray paint your model rocket, the most commonly recommended method for "holding" the model is to insert a rolled-up newspaper into the bottom of the rocket and use the rolled-up newspaper for a handle. This approach has two flaws: first, it makes painting a rocket longer than your arm awkward, and second, what do you do with the rocket while the paint is drying — stand there and hold it for an hour? Here is an alternative that I’ve found works very well.
First, get a length of 3/8" dowel cut to about 2' in length. Second, cut a 4" long length of 1" x 4" board, and drill a 3/8" diameter hole in the middle of it (for larger rockets, use a larger board, such as a square piece of 1" x 6" or 1" x 8" board — or 2" x 6" or 2" x 8" if you prefer).
Place over one end of the dowel a spent 18 mm (i.e. "B" or "C" engine) casing (you may want to wrap a little bit of tape around the dowel first to ensure a snug fit). Then insert this engine casing, with dowel attached, into the engine mount of the rocket.
With the dowel sticking out of the bottom of the rocket, you have a handle that is just as convenient as the rolled-up newspaper; however, once you finish painting the rocket, you can insert the other end of the dowel into the hole in the board, creating a stand that will hold the rocket upright while the paint dries.
This stand can also be used to hold the rocket when the rocket is longer than your arm, so that you can spray from the nose of the rocket to the tail in one smooth stroke, as is recommended for a quality finish.
This approach can also be used for "D" engine rockets (rockets with a 24 mm motor mount). Just place a spent "D" casing over the existing "B" or "C" casing already on the dowel.