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Cheap-and-easy model rocket

by tmartin Jul 3, 2011
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Not to put toooooo fine a point on it ... model rocket safety code needs to have motor ejection ... and this rocket come back down without the motor ... kinda fluttering down .. like the classic Mosquito ... then really kinda cool ... and safety correct ...

I'd love to see it with a launch lug ... and in both an 18mm and 13mm size ... and fire off just a mass lot of them in a night launch.

Recommend that you use a strip or two of electricians tape (or even masking tape) to add a little friction to the rocket engine and prevent it from sliding out.

I built a simple launch pad with plywood and two metal rails (to compensate for lack of launch lugs).

I was able to successfully launch the rocket three times using Estes A8-3 engines. The rocket showed no sign of damage either from engine exhaust or landing/recovery.

While launch lugs would be a fantastic plus, it is a great little rocket as it is! Bravo!

looks good indeed, but where is the launch lug ?

scald down to 50% and it works as a pencil topper (more like a half-pencil cover :) )

If you are attempting to recover the rocket and night launching then perhaps consider glow in the dark filament:


One problem with that: I (personally) wouldn't go looking to recover a rocket at night

Since it blows apart anyway, why not have it become a streamer or a helicopter?

Putting the rocket engine at the base of the rocket doesn't hurt stability. (Very counter intuitive, I don't understand the physics.) That leaves more space at the nose for fancy stuff.

If there is a spiral of very thin material up to a relatively robust nose cap, my (untested) theory, is that th
e recovery charge would blow the nose cap off and the thrust would unwind the spiral. This would put a spin on the whole thing. And it would spiral down, relatively gracefully.

If the rocket motor snapped into its section, or was glued there, the whole thing might be recoverable as a unit. Once re
covered, it could be disposed of properly, since it could only fly once.

Those are all good ideas, my ultimate hope is to expand the nose section and place some sort of payload bay there so you can put a firecracker or parachute, or maybe a printed black powder charge in there so it explodes properly like a firework or becomes more recoverable. My hope with this one being loosely fit is that the charge would blow the motor out the back and the change in balance would cause the body to de-stabilize and tumble to the ground since the bodies aren't too stable without the motor. For all I know that may be happening, I need more testing during the day when I can spot it better. If it does turn out to disintegrate I may start using PVA so that it biodegrades. Feel free to post any derivatives, I'll upload the solidworks part so people can modify it once I can locate it.

It most likely explodes because the ejection charge goes into a closed cavity. You need a large vent or pop off nose cap.

use magnesium, less fun than thermite, but cheaper and safer

It needs more C4. Fixes everything.

And also a special blasting cap to get it to ignite from the ejection charge...

incendiaries. thermite should guarantee ignition of the plastic, if you add some first fire into the mix of thermite so it'll actually light.