Introduction: Rocket Locket

Picture of Rocket Locket


Section of copper pipe
Old CD
Coat hanger
Paper Clip
Sand paper, various grits
Soldering torch optional

Step 1: Make a Copper Sheet

Picture of Make a Copper Sheet

Cut a section of copper pipe. If you don’t have a pipe cutter use a hack saw or other safe means.
Cut the section open with a pair of metal shears.
Use pliers to open it up and then a hammer to flatten it out.
Cut it in half.

Step 2: Make the Relief Indentation

Picture of Make the Relief Indentation

Cut a section of coat hanger and wrap it around a circular shape. I used a 36mm socket. Bend the coat hanger in the center with a pair of plies. Bend the open ends of the hanger inward to finish the bottom. Cut off the excess.

Tape the wire frame onto the copper sheet. I used aluminum tape but only because that is what I had on hand. Other heavy tape should work fine. Place the assembly, wire side up, on a piece of wood or small loop carpet. Hammer the wire into the copper sheet evenly and all the way around.

You should now be able to see the shape of the wire frame showing through on the other side. Now lay the assembly wire side down. Use a small ball peen hammer struck by a larger hammer to make a relief indentation of the wire frame. See the pictures. Keep on hammering until the indentation is fairly smooth.

During this step the rocket will bow. To counter this, place the assembly on a flat surface and use a punch to gently hammer the wire frame. Do this until the rocket is flat again.

Step 3: Make the Fins

Picture of Make the Fins

Cut the corners off of the upper portion of the copper sheet. Use one of the corners and shape a fin. Place the fin on both sides of the rocket and outline it.

Cut the rough shape out with metal shears. Leave a tang at the bottom of the rocket. Use pliers to bend the tang back.

Step 4: Make the Bubble Cockpit

Picture of Make the Bubble Cockpit

Use progressively larger drill bits to enlarge the cockpit window. Use a cutting bit to further the expand the hole.

Cut a old CD in half and use tape to remove the silvering. Place a piece of the CD over the back side of the rocket. Use a heat gun to soften the CD so that forms in and through the window.

Use a cutting bur to shape the CD window down to size.

Step 5: Make the Back Side and Flame

Picture of Make the Back Side and Flame

Trace the rocket on the other half sheet of copper. Cut the shape out with metal shears. Use a cutting bit to cut a slot that corresponds with the tang on the other half of the rocket. Use rough sand paper to texture the flame in a downward design.

Make the flame concave with the head of a carriage bolt and a hammer against a scrap piece of wood. Bevel the edges of the flame with a file or sand paper.  

Step 6: Add Accents

Picture of Add Accents

Solder on the third fin.

Use a socket to form a circle in copper wire. The wire I’m using came from my wife’s scrap booking supplies. It can be found at any craft store. Solder the wire circle over the widow. Sand off any excess solder.

Use super glue to set the CD bubble window in the cockpit.

Now the back side. Use a paper clip to form a picture holder as seen in the picture. Solder the clip in place. While you have the torch handy, discolor the flame of the rocket with heat.

Step 7: Polish and Assemble

Picture of Polish and Assemble

Sand out tool marks with 400 grit sand paper. Go on to 1000 grit and then polishing compound and a polish wheel. I think leaving some tool marks adds character.

Use the back side of the rocket for a template. Cut out your picture and place it in the clip. Set the tang in the back side. Use a paper clip to make a jump ring. Drill a hole at the top of the rocket and connect it together with the jump ring.

If you want you can drill an additional hole in the tang and use a ring to secure it closed.


THEMONEY (author)2017-06-27

Wow. You are the Man! Thank you, I want to try this like soonest.

Andy_Fuentes22 made it! (author)2016-10-04

Thank you so much for posting this Mrballeng, it was so much fun working on it, I gave it to someone special.


chrimicho0613 (author)2016-02-14

Is it possible to make this if you don't have a solderer?

No. You have to be able to solder some of the pieces. Although you could just eliminate them. The 3rd fin and the paper clip. Then you could do it without soldering.

he didn't, so I assume yes.

Mindmapper1 (author)2015-12-19

stunning and such a fun design lovely !

Dustin Rogers made it! (author)2014-05-01

Mother's Day is right around the corner, so I figured this would be the perfect gift for my wife, especially since parting words with our boys is 'Love you to the moon'. Thanks for the idea, inspiration, and the instructable Mrballeng. It was straightforward yet a bit challenging.

I changed up how the back plate stays put by soldering a tab to each wing. Undo the jump ring and slide the back plate up. And I could not get the window formed without it getting a bunch of bubbles in it. Maybe my heat gun gets too hot? Thanks again.

Dustin Rogers (author)2014-04-28

love it!!!

daviafleming (author)2014-03-06

Currently attempting this

ash_doge (author)2014-01-02

What was your method with flattening out the copper tube? I am lacking in arm strength and having trouble using pliers thanks!

Mrballeng (author)ash_doge2014-01-03

I used pliers to open it up enough so I could use a hammer to flatten it. You may be able to open it up by placing 2 claw hammers against each other and using the claw parts to pry it open. If you try that be careful and wear eye protection just in case.

QueenK (author)2013-02-14

This. Is. Amazing!! I love the entire project - you made it incredibly interesting. Awesome!!

katrina.maile (author)2012-06-25

This project is incredible! I love the descriptive explanations and the critical thinking behind each step. It is also very helpful to better understand how one would plan and organize his/her creative process.

Thanks so much for sharing. :D

rsmith63 (author)2011-11-24

Chiming in here way late, but here's one tip for dealing with the silvery solder on copper pieces. I use a saturated vinegar and sea salt "pickle" heated in a crockpot to remove oxidation and flux residue from my copper pieces. This solution turns blue as it becomes saturated with copper molecules. Use the blue pickle to copper plate the solder after removing excess solder. Simply remove a small amount of pickle to another container, toss your piece in it and pinch off a little bit of steel wool. Throw the steel wool in the stew on top of your piece and wait a few minutes for the magic to happen. The copper molecules in the pickle will plate onto the piece and cover the solder. The plating will be thin, so polish carefully or you'll remove it. Plating works best when the piece is very well cleaned of oil or fingerprints. I use an alcohol prep pad to wipe it down before I drop it into the plating pickle.

If you need to mix a batch of fresh pickle, simple pour white vinegar into a glass container or small crock pot, throw in a handful of sea salt. There are no particular proportions, so no need to sweat amounts, just dump it in. Heat it until it is very hot using whatever method you choose and toss a copper scrap into the pickle. Let it sit in the heat for a bit and just continue as directed above. Warning: Use pickle in a well ventilated area and do not boil, the fumes, while not very toxic, are not very pleasant. Keep your pickle pot covered while heating.

MrBalleng, you are amazing and I have a request. Would you please do a video describing all the various "improvised" tools you so cleverly use? Sure would be helpful for this broke, metal banging, gal.

ElChick (author)rsmith632012-04-11

rsmith63, thanks very much for explaining this! I've always wondered how to copper plate the unsightly silver solder. Your method sounds very easy and more importantly, cheap!!! And I second the video request! :D

MrBalleng, excellent instructable as always. Keep up the awesome work. You are an inspiration to those of us just getting started with metalworking and feel overwhelmed by all the specialty tools that they say one needs. Thanks for keeping it simple and noob-friendly.


Mrballeng (author)rsmith632011-11-26

Your a genius! I never thought of that. Thanks so much for the advice. I'll make a video. I'm still working on my last video which was "how to solder" but it's not up to par yet. Thanks again.

scoochmaroo (author)2011-08-16

So sorry to take so long!

Mrballeng (author)scoochmaroo2011-08-17

Alright!!! Thank you. Now this instructable is complete. =)

phand124 (author)2011-07-08

i was just thinking as i read through this again.. did you try to run the chain through through the second ring as well as the the jump? i only ask becaus of the angle it would create, making it a more dramatic looking piece ya know?

Mrballeng (author)phand1242011-07-08

Never thought of it. Good thinking.

Nirgal38 (author)2011-06-23

I'm only sorry that I saw this when I was on a break at work. Now I have to wait until I get home to give it a try. This is beautiful work and appeals to the artist as well as the astronomer.

poofrabbit (author)2011-06-08

Can you tell me how big the pipe was? I think I got one to thick, lol.

Mrballeng (author)poofrabbit2011-06-08

The pipe I used was 1" in diameter and about the same thickness as the edge of a dime.

poofrabbit (author)Mrballeng2011-06-12

Thank you for letting me know! You are a super star!

poofrabbit (author)2011-05-03

I love this and I'm going to try it. Thanks for the great idea and great instructable! I voted for you as well, good luck!

Mrballeng (author)poofrabbit2011-05-03

Cool, Thanks!

Asmodeous (author)2011-04-16

nice! but you need better directions to go with all your pictures.

mcshawnboy (author)2011-04-05

MB, I love UR stuff and gave you 5 stars! Your live out maxim of beauty in simplicity. I can't wait to see what you do next ! What do read or view that inspires you? I've hammered out one nickel and heated it & ready to make my "Bottle-cap" the other nickel flew off the anvil to be lost in the "Hoarders" like clutter of my bedroom. It takes a lot not to destroy the blank while getting to the correct diameter. What did you use to solder it w/o silver showing up on the copper? I love to work with copper & would like to solder my homemade chainmaille rings, but don't want the silver to show.

Mrballeng (author)mcshawnboy2011-04-05

I just keep my eyes open. One this I do is notice other other people's jewelry and figure out how I could make it myself. Another is to ask someone what their favorite shape and the make pedant out of it.

If you look closely at the 7th picture you can still see the silver solder. I filed away the excess to minimize the color contrast. I know you can braze copper to keep a constant color but I don't know how to do it myself.

Rowen27 (author)Mrballeng2011-04-13

Might I suggest 'bright copper', a liquid chemical finish that when painted on deposits a layer of copper on the metal. It is meant to coat solder so it would probably work well for this and it can be gotten at stained glass suppliers. Look for it under 'patinas'.

CrimsonCrow (author)2011-03-29

Will you marry me?

Mrballeng (author)CrimsonCrow2011-04-12

I'm flattered ;)

Hisart (author)2011-03-28

Very impressive!

Did you put any finish on it?

An outstanding instructable!

Mrballeng (author)Hisart2011-03-28

Nope, no finish. I thought it would look better as it oxidizes.

Hisart (author)Mrballeng2011-03-29

Then I wouldn't wear it as a necklace, unless you like a green spot on your chest! LOL

mcshawnboy (author)Hisart2011-04-05

To avoid the discoloration many folks that enjoy the beauty of copper will apply thin coats of clear nail polish or clear lacquer or polyurethane. I do chainmaille & wire- wrapped jewelry where many suggest these coatings. If you use only copper wire in a design there's special wire that's pre-coated to avoid the green patina.

Dread_Neck (author)2011-03-30

How does it take shape if its on something solid?

Mrballeng (author)Dread_Neck2011-03-30

Hammering the copper expands it. By hammering within the wire frame the rocket starts to "inflate".

Dread_Neck (author)Mrballeng2011-03-31

I cant make that indent!!!!

Mrballeng (author)Dread_Neck2011-03-31

I'll post a video on it if that would help you.

Dread_Neck (author)Mrballeng2011-04-01

Thanks!!!! I appreciate it!!!

ArtfulAl (author)2011-03-29

do you think it would work with thinner copper? I have some copper sheeting, but its pretty thin.

Mrballeng (author)ArtfulAl2011-03-29

Yes, see my two sided heart instructable.

ArtfulAl (author)Mrballeng2011-03-31

what thickness of copper did you use? about how thick was the end copper sheet?

CaptainBalsa (author)2011-03-31


Congratulations on a job well done, both in concept and in execution. As someone else has already commented, this project embodies the spirit of Instructables.

You have my vote . . . if I can figure out how to cast it.

nanosec12 (author)2011-03-30

Nice !!
Gets a 5 of 5 from me, and my vote.

Mrballeng (author)nanosec122011-03-30


Dread_Neck (author)2011-03-30

I'm do you make the 3rd fin?

Mrballeng (author)Dread_Neck2011-03-30

The third fin is cut out from one of the corners of the copper sheet. See step 3.

action pig (author)2011-03-29

I am definitely making this. Very nice job!

About This Instructable



Bio: Awesome Gear I've designed myself.
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