3D printing offers new creativity in the world of model rocket design and fabrication.
Above is a computer model of some printed flying model rocket.
In these instructions I will take you thru steps needed to make really cool flying rockets.
Step 1: What you need
Things that you need.
- A 3D computer design program.
- A source for 3D printing.
- Model rocket simulation software.
Some things to remember.
- Model rockets must be lightweight.
- Model rockets must be stable when they fly.
- Model rockets must be safely returned to earth.
There is a great wealth of information available on the internet about model rocketry. In general commercially available model rocket engines are available at hobby stores and thru the internet. These engines come in a variety of sizes and powers.
In this case I am working with a standard size 18mm x 70mm engine, but don't let that limit you.
If you are new to model rockets, please download:
http://www2.estesrockets.com/pdf/1948MRST.pdf for a teaching document.
Step 2: Initial design
The nose cone usually ejects with the recovery system, commonly a parachute.
Here I show the development of the printable rocket starting with a very basic concept.
In version one of the rocket, I added a combustion chamber, nozzle, and payload section with a rounded nose.
In version 2, I wanted the combustion chamber to stand out more so I changed the fins, and added the fuel chamber and pipes. Raising the fins relative to the motor lowered the center of gravity (CG).
This made the rocket marginally stable. To raise the CG (increased stability) I thinned and lengthen the rocket arriving at the final version 3.
Remember the CG must be above the center of pressure (CP) in order for the rocket to be stable.