Introduction: 3D Printed Model Rocket

In this instructable I help show you how to design a 3D printable model rocket.

Things needed

A 3D printer and Drafting software

A launcher. You can buy one online, or make your own (There are lots of good instructables that can help you do this).

Model rocket engines (size and variant depend on your rocket)

Prior knowledge and experience with both model rocketry and 3D is very helpful but not necessary.

Step 1: Research

Model rockets come in various shapes and sizes. Do a little research to decide what kind of rocket you want to make. Here is a couple of good links. It is important for you know the basics of model rocketry for your safety.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Model_rocket

http://www2.estesrockets.com/pdf/Estes_Model_Rocke...

Step 2: Design

When designing your rocket you will need to determine what size engine you want, number of stages and the recovery system your rocket will use. I recommend starting off with something simple then go for something more complex. This instructable will focus on a "small" single stage B size engine rocket (Though it can fit some A and C size engines) with a parachute recovery system.

A dimensioned sketch makes the next part easier.

Step 3: Draft

After you have your basic design, draw it in a 3D software (I used Inventor). Depending on the size of your printer multiple parts my be necessary (I broke mine up into 3 parts).

A few things to keep in mind

-Tolerances, you want to have a little bit of wiggle room so you parachute will deploy, and to allow you to change out motors more easily.

-Some form of way to attach your parachute to you nose cone and main body. (I used 2 littles holes)

-Some form of way to hold you engine in. (I used a paper clip bent and glued inside 2 little holes on the bottom.)

-Scale, to have proper stability you rockets should be many times taller that wide.

-Weight, the lighter you rocket is the higher it will fly.

Here are my files in Ipt and STL format. These were drawn in inches so scaling may be necessary.

Step 4: Printing

I am not expert on printing so do what ever works for you, but here are a few tips that might help.

-Printing everything vertical may help prevent crooked rockets.

-The lighter the rocket the higher it will go, so less fill may be beneficial.

Step 5: Assemble

Put all your pieces together, attach parachute and engine. My parachute was make from a trash bag and some fishing line, so use what ever works for you.

Step 6: Launch!

Find a nice wide open space away from other people and vehicles, and launch it.

Make sure when launching you keep away from the launch pad when its wired up to prevent burns and being hit.

Another thing to be cautious of is the rocket on its way down. If nose cone does not detach it could become dangerous. When testing mine once the nose cone did not detach and ended up several inches into the ground.

Step 7: Fix, Improve and Get Creative

Fix design flaws, improve where possible and try new designs. After my original rocket I design a two stage rocket. (It didn't work very well though)

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Bio: Engineering student at UNC Charlotte
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