Picture of 10 Minute Rocket
This instructable will teach you how to build a simple, ultra light rocket from household items (and of course a rocket engine)
Here's the supply list:
- 1 tube of superglue
- 1 roll of tinfoil
- 1 straw big enough to fit around your launch rod
- 1 deck of playing cards that you don't mind parting with
- 1 C rocket engine
- several rocket engine detonators + plugs
- 1 electronic detonator (and necessary cables)

WARNING: This is totally dangerous. I didn't die, but you might. It is NOT MY FAULT if you hurt yourself following these instructions.
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Step 1: Building Yourself Some Fins

The fins themselves are pretty simple, the difficult part is positioning them evenly around the rocket. To make a fin, first you'll need to fold a playing card in half hamburger style. Take your superglue and seal the folded halves together, like a sandwich. Glue is going to ooze out the sides and get all over your fingers, but just suck it up and take it like a man. Make two of these sandwiches and let the glue completely dry.

Now you can need to do a little bit of measuring, but nothing too complicated. Take one of the folded cards and put it perpendicular to the other, forming an L. Mark off the edge and cut it away so you're left with one square-ish shape. Repeat with the other folded card and, if you've done everything correctly thus far you should be left with two pseudo-squares.

Take these faux-squares and cut diagonally across from the curved corner to the corner directly opposite. You should now have four fin shapes, congratulations. Now onto the difficult part, attaching them.

This looks like a neat project to try out with my son.

cool rockets.are its works?
Well gee I just read all of ur comments and i think that i would learn less in a beginning physics class!
Shadow13!2 years ago
Great instructable. I've thought about doing this in the past and just haven't taken the time. Clever idea for the nose cone. If you backed each fin up a little then they could help support each other(see diagram). The only problem with a rocket like this is if it maintains a parabolic trajectory towards the ground rather then just tumble because if this happens then it will continue to gain momentum as if falls and can do considerable damage. Hopefully when the ejection charge blows it will blow the nose cone off causing it to tumble rather then follow a parabolic trajectory.
pie R []ed2 years ago
Hello (zach),
I loved the instructable, and it reminded me of rocket I made last summer. By made I mean that I found as many engines as I could, chad staged them, and stuck fins on 'em. Attached is a picture. It flew. Mostly.
rocket of death.jpg
LOL... Did this with a D engine. We glued a kabob stick to it so it looked just like a bottle rocket. Fun stuff, still have all our fingers !
and eyes?
Yes but i doubt he can hear anymore lol
Yep, I can still hear, although all of the industrial tools I've used have knocked my hearing out in a few places.
 Unfortunately, I'm blind in both ears and deaf in both eyes, so...
yapoyo Epeoples2 years ago
Yep, both eyes
Gluing a pointy stick to an already unstable rocket is about the only thing you could do that is more stupid then actually making it in the first place.
The stick makes it stable.
Cast the first stone...
frenchie164 years ago
I saw somebody launch a multi-stage one of these! Just loosely tape a booster engine (something like a B6-0) to a regular engine (say, a B6-5), put a cone-shaped thing on top, and tape the fins to the upper engine, but so that they extend down past the lower one a bit. WHen he launched it, it went up for a ways, we saw the second stage ignite, and then… it just disappeared into the sky.
Is the booster engine on top, or on the bottom?
That's the most awesome thing I've read all day.
jakee1176 years ago
u get a three good, but I extremely dislike the thought that i could kill my self... but I'd be happy what a hell of a way to die in your own amazing explosion dreaming of bigger ones.... im not emo I just like explosions and you may need to put a little more thought into the disclaimer, cuz it will probably not help you any... good one!
No, it wouldn't explode, the rocket will probably just fall over, crack your rib if it hits you, and probably make you go to da hospital. If it hits your nuts then you can be just like Justin Bieber, with his girly voice. Stoopid can drive says if we get the most cans in the Tri-State region he comes to give our school concert.
lol....that'd still hurt though
But then you'd be able to say, "I've been hit in the chest with a rocket" And Girls would be like, "Oh, wow, he's tough. Or an idiot." It depends, girls are weird.
Good point.
the only way i could see this killing u is if u lit it and then stuck it up anyway, its that or shoving it down ur throat and then igniting it. (tho there wouldnt be enough oxygen for it to stay lit)
"(tho there wouldnt be enough oxygen for it to stay lit)" Rockets don't need outside oxygen, they have the fuel and oxidizer both in the mixture. That's why we can use rockets in space. :)
im pretty sure they dont use rockets much in space, most of the time its just compressed air jets
Compressed air wouldn't work in space because... There's no air in space! The gas that was rushing out wouldn't work cause there's nothing for it to push against. They use rocket engines in space. Basically they have fuel and an oxidizer. The oxidizer provides the oxygen and the burning oxidizer and fuel provides the thrust.
clazman dla8883 years ago
Compressed air would still work!

The physics behind rockets is that "mass" be it air or other molecules. are exhausted from the nozzle. "Equal and opposite reaction"

The only problem with compressed air is that to achieve a sufficient mass flow rate the volume and pressure would be HUGE!!

Please take a physics class.
Instructables has a policy: "We have a "be nice" comment policy. Please be positive and constructive with your comments or risk being banned from our site."

The comment you responded to is 2 years old, and the information you posted was already covered in other comments. You posted 3 comments on this thread, and I would say that none of them followed the 'be nice' policy. People are here to embrace knowledge and to help each other, please don't talk down to them.

I know that it can be hard to humanize some random post on the internet, but remember that there is a person on the other end.
Compressed air works exactly the same way that rockets in space work. You don't have to "push against something". All you have to do is throw something off of the back really fast and for every action, you get a reaction.
newtons law " for ever action there is a equal and opposite reaction"
True, but that law was made on Earth. I'm not sure if it would apply to space.
clazman dla8883 years ago
Now, I've heard everything. Please take a physics class!!!!!!!!
Newtons laws apply everywhere, even space.  :)
They don't apply at the quantum level.  :)
and on the quantum level you do not exist untill I observe you, which since i have not done, renders your argument invalid
I love literalists. :D
literallists like you but dont think they know you well enough to say they love you ;)
I just realized how bad my spelling is xD
I did not know that. I thought that gravity affected them a lot, but it's been awhile since I looked at Newton.
In the case of rockets, the rocket is "pushing against" the gas that is being expelled.  Or, perhaps more correctly, the gas is "pushing against" the rocket.

There are two equal forces - one force is pushing the rocket one way, and the other force is pushing the gas the other way.

Imagine a mouse trap in space that is loaded with a marble - so that when the mouse trap triggers the marble goes flying.  What will happen is that the marble goes one way and the mouse trap goes the opposite direction.  There doesn't need to be a third thing (air) to 'push against'.

Since the marble has less mass than the mouse trap, and since the forces are equal, it means that the acceleration/velocity will be different for the two items - remember that F = mA (Force = mass * acceleration) and K = mV (Kinetic energy = mass * velocity).  If the marble is half the mass, it will be moving twice as fast.

This is exactly what happens when you expel compressed gas or use a rocket - the tiny particles of gas have very small mass, but they are moving incredibly fast.  This gives an appreciable amount of acceleration to the rocket.  This is why you always have to take into account that a rocket loses mass as it accelerates.
half right and half wrong.

the main rockets use ignition to produce thrust.

The MMU's (manned-maneuvering units) use small amounts of compressed air to move the astronaut in certain directions.
have u ever seen a rocket launch. there is a lot of fire coming out and that is not from compressed air and that continues to happen in space
whered u get that fact from??
forgot that. thx lol
and boom goes the dynamite
The fuel contains an oxidizer!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
explosions are nice
Pyre5 years ago
Ditch the

- several rocket engine detonators + plugs
- 1 electronic detonator (and necessary cables)

Way too complicated all  you need is a 5 cent birthday cake sparkler. Set the rocket down on it so the tip is in the engine, light the bottom of the stuff with a BBQ lighter, stand back. Lit off a lot of rockets this way and never had a problem.
zilcho Pyre2 years ago
Buy some slow burning visco cannon fuse online then just cut off about a foot and stick it up the end of the rocket. Works very reliably and no wires to get all tangled up!
finnrambo Pyre3 years ago
fuses are illegal for model rockets I think, estes detonator will do fine
Benjicg Pyre4 years ago
these types of rockets dont work as well that way, the model rocket c types come with electric launchers for a reason
temp Pyre4 years ago
how r ur eyebrows after the lauchs
avgas2 years ago
hi where can you buy electronic detonators and necessary cables, rocket engine detonator+plugs and a c rocket engine thanks cause i really wanna build one
this soooooooooooooo awsome
amarquues3 years ago
I am Brazilian and I love the site, all the rockets could do if it was not for lack of needed items
art.z3 years ago
Is there another way of launching these?
I mean, without the detonator? I got one from a friend when I was visiting the US but I lost the detonator somehow and brought only the engine!
I was planning on attaching it to a RC airplane!
Look at the comment below this
Oh, thanks!
couldnt you get a bottle roket and stick some fins on ??? :)
iceman14 years ago
you people are the reason why model rocketry is becoming illegal. Rocket launchers really? sparkelers? your motor needs more length bottle rockets????????!!!!!? really
FraKtuL4 years ago
I like the way you constructed a nose cone from aluminum foil, but it should be bigger so that the base of the nose cone is equal to the diameter of the motor. I'm going to make one using corrugated cardboard fins in a more conventional configuration and I will probably use tiny pieces of fabric to reinforce the joints where the fins attach to the motor. I won't spend too much time on it though, since it is only going to be used to light a brush fire with my shoulder-mounted launcher! Who says yard work has to be boring??? LOL
likhit4 years ago
very good i like it
Tombini6 years ago
Unfortunately the stability is not so good, I have done this many times and often they just spin out of control... Which is cool!
 I agree!
Try using fins that reach below the rocket motor bottom. This should provide greater stability through increased leverage. Be sure to angle the fins away from the nozzle. Longer fins=greater stability. A longer (and symmetrical) nose cone will help in the same way - be careful out there!
The point is that unless you have giant fins It will not stabalize, it needs to be taller. Send me a vid of a straight flying one of these :)
Tom Buckey5 years ago
I died when I fired this I'm suing you! only joking
boobiedoop5 years ago
cool man! I got a launcher gun I made out of PVC a whial back. Cant wait to launch these at stuff!
Launcher gun???? I'm intrigued......
baisicaly a hadheld launcher that u can aim wherever u like
bowmaster5 years ago
I would make a small hollow cone and fill it with flash powder before attaching it.
Ilze Venter5 years ago
is it dangers
fit2fly6 years ago
Kids! don't do this at home! Go to a friends house xD
hmm...ratchet gladiator?
2echo25 years ago
Awesome! WARNING: If you try the following variation, don't blame me if you loose a hand, an eye or your jaw. When I was a kid I knew someone who would glue a cherry bomb to the top as a nose-cone. Turn it fuse down and insert the fuse into the hole in the top of the engine. You may have to trim the fuse a little shorter. (Is this possible without igniting the fuse?) As long as you have long wires attached to you launch remote you shouldn't blow yourself up on launch.
berky935 years ago
cool - the best part is once the rocket reaches altitude, the metal tip will blow off because of the parachute ejection charge in the engine (unless you have one without it, more boring) if you make the tip pointy, be careful! but you could also make the tip filled with some liquid so its like dropping a little bomb.
eric115 years ago
I'm curious as what would happen if you did this with a F10-4
Jugglebug5 years ago
Wow... i was surprised that worked. My guess is it has a high failure rate due to instability?
bigpinecone6 years ago
gee this seems like an instructable that someone else made a while ago... HINT HINT
(zack) (author)  bigpinecone6 years ago
I never even saw your instructable, my friend and I just came up with this on our own today. Besides, yours is far less in depth.
piee6 years ago
where did u get the ... -1 C rocket engine - several rocket engine detonators + plugs - 1 electronic detonator (and necessary cables) ???????
Ph3nomin0n piee6 years ago
At a walmart, or anywhere they sell model rockets. Or if your indian like Raj (Aliens in America) go to the nearest hardware store and ask the racist clerk for the items :)
galenorama6 years ago
Thank you for posting this Instructable, but that is pretty darn dangerous. You could get in big trouble if the NAR ( found out.
dark sponge6 years ago
Cool! Unfortunately after you use it once, you can't launch it again without building another one...
Cmos40816 years ago
now I can use all my leftover engines wii! BTW neat design and simple. I used 3 engines in paper towel core (used 3 cylinders glued together in a giant rocket. haven't launch it yet.
dombeef6 years ago
Cool! Very Simply and Nice! Well Done!
dsman1952766 years ago
the engine seems to exposed to be safe, but cool none the less.
Aar000n3y6 years ago
This thing actually flies? I would think that it would be way off balance and would just spin around. Maybe get a video up?
(zack) (author)  Aar000n3y6 years ago
I didn't think it would work either, so I didn't bother to shoot a video.
xrobevansx6 years ago
estes used to sell a similar (albeit smaller) rocket very similar to this (the whole "finned-engine with a nose cone" approach) called "the mosquito". I think it used a 1/2 A engine though.
I think I'd prefer a mostly unguided 1/2A engine to a mostly unguided C6-5. Couldn't you have at least used an A8-3 or B6-4 to make it a bit less dangerous?
LinuxH4x0r6 years ago
benthekahn6 years ago
i might have to try this. Nice job!