Instructables

Arduino Model Rocket Launcher for 3D Printed Rockets

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Picture of Arduino Model Rocket Launcher for 3D Printed Rockets

When I was a kid, I loved playing with Estes Rockets, so I decided to get back into the hobby but using all of my maker skizzls. So here's a really cool Arduino Rocket Launcher launching 3D Printed rockets from my MakerBot Rep2! Enjoy! Fully Open Source for anyone to make!


Arduino Code on GitHub

Thing Files for 3D Printing on Thingiverse

 
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Step 1: Acquire all the Components

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Things you are going to need to complete the Instructable and Launch your own 3D Printed Rocket are put together in a comprehensive list in an Excel Spreadsheet with links to the components I used - You can always use your own if they are laying around!

For the actual rockets - I highly recommend designing your own or finding one on Thingiverse.com. Also having a 3D printer, experience with Arduino, and knowing how to solder will be incredibly useful in making the launcher and launching your own 3D printed Rockets!

Also if you are under 18, please acquire an adult for supervision! You will be using (controlled) explosives later on!

Step 2: Start 3D Printing rockets and enclosure for the Arduino Rocket Launcher

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I've hosted all of my 3D printing (.STL) files for the Launcher on Thingiverse and even the SolidWorks files if you want to tweak them:

http://www.thingiverse.com/thing:284198

I've found the best way to orient the print for the launcher case is shown in the screenshot of MakerWare. I printed it with .2mm height and with a raft. Using no supports works just fine, despite the overhangs.

For the Rockets, I suggest either the following (I will add more as I test them):

3D Printed Rocket with Forward Swept Fins by QwykSylver
Disposable Rocket by kebes22

Step 3: Follow the Schematic and Build it on a BreadBoard First

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Once you have the components, build the circuit on a breadboard and connect it to the Arduino. This is advanced for someone getting started in electronics/wiring/Arduino, but if you have some experience with electronics this step won't be too bad.

The Arduino code can be found on my GitHub:
https://github.com/chall2009/Arduino-Rocket-Launch...

Note: You will also need Adafruit's Arduino Libraries to run the red 7 segment display.

Adafruit_LEDBackpack - https://github.com/adafruit/Adafruit-LED-Backpack...
Adafruit_GFX - https://github.com/adafruit/Adafruit-GFX-Library

Ωmega7 months ago

Someone should make an instructables on how to build the launch controller. like the one you made, but with simple ICs instead of a whole Arduino. Would be cheaper and more available. Thanks for the guide.

wilgubeast8 months ago

Sounds like Estes rockets might be into sponsoring a contest on Instructables this summer. Stay tuned.

chall2009 (author)  wilgubeast8 months ago

That would be awesome! I'd love to be involved if possible.

Launch It! Contest is scheduled to start on 5/5. Pro-tip: don't publish any rocket 'ibles until cinco de mayo so they'll all be eligible for the contest. You may enter more than one project. :D
Lee738 months ago

Very cool, great work... I just built one with a trio of 555's, not as fancy with the countdown display, that's for sure...

By the way - that is one big mosfet to drive an LED!

chall2009 (author)  Lee738 months ago

Thanks! I know its a big mosfet - just had them laying around! :-)

Doctroid8 months ago

Interesting project... though I'm not sure I'd want to use a microcontroller as the basis for a single station launcher; a bit of overkill. But on the other hand, looks like more fun than your standard Estes controller (a button and an LED). Out of curiosity, how much do the rockets come out weighing (excluding motor)?

Let's get ready for war!

zackgow8 months ago

Nice big red button to launch the rocket!

hahmed118 months ago
Greatttt
Mizchief1008 months ago

Insane yo! Not often do I see an Arduino project that's this fun (and explosive). Killer work.

Awesome!