GoPro Model Rocket





Introduction: GoPro Model Rocket

This is a completely scratch-built model rocket designed to carry my GoPro camera.

It is 42" tall and flies on three "E" size Estes motors, and its recovered by a 54 inch parachute. The camera is housed completely within the main body tube (not in the nose cone), which allows for great footage on the way up, and great right-side-up footage on the way down. This also eliminates any drag issues.

I've included a video of the rocket's first flight in the comment section below.

Thanks for looking!

Step 1: Rocket Body Tubes

Two 18-inch tubes were made using the method I have outlined in this instructable. Each tube was made using a 3" mailing tube as a blank.

Step 2: Motor Housing

The motor housing tubes were made using the same method described in the instructable noted in the previous step. The engine block rings shown in the first photo were made from 1/4" MDF. The two circles that hold the three motor tubes were cut from 1/8" craft plywood.

All craft plywood used for this project was cut with a scroll saw.

Step 3: Connect Two Body Tubes

The motor housing was glued in place in the end of one of the body tubes. 2.5 inches were removed from each tube, one to be used as a coupling and the other as part of the camera housing.

Pieces of craft plywood were cut and glued into the tubes to act as reinforcement.

Step 4: Fins

Four fins were made from 3/16" balsa. These were glued in place with wood glue. These were made extra large to create enough drag so the rocket will fly stable.

Step 5: Camera Housing

The camera housing was made with craft plywood along with the body tube material that was removed earlier on. Scrap foam was cut to shape and glued in place to hold the camera snug within the housing.

Step 6: Add Camera Housing to Body Tube

An opening was cut in the body tube where the camera bay will be exposed. The camera housing unit was slid in from the top of the tube and glued in place.

Step 7: Nose Cone

This part was the highlight of the project for me. I've always struggled with making my own nose cones for homemade model rockets, and finally found a method that produced something I was mostly happy with. It will take some refining, but it worked reasonably well this first time around.

The nose cone was made from 1" pink foam insulation circles that were cut, glued together, and then shaped on a homemade makeshift lathe. I used a sanding block with 60 grit sandpaper to sand down the foam into the final nose cone shape.

Step 8: Parachute

The parachute was made with polyester jacket liner and tulle in a method similar to one described in this youtube video.

I was hesitant to make a parachute in this manner for a model rocket, as both materials are fairly flammable. If the parachute is packed properly and an appropriate amount of wadding is used, it should be fine.

Step 9: Paint

The nose cone was painted with three coats of decoupage gloss to seal it prior to painting with spray paint. (Spray paint eats the foam if it is not sealed well.)

The entire rocket received a few coats of primer and then three coats of white spray paint.

Step 10: Camera Bay Cover

The camera bay is covered by a piece of plastic cut from a 1-liter soda bottle. It is taped in place with clear tape once the camera is turned on and placed in the bay in preparation for flight. 

I'm excited to get some great shots with it. Watch out neighbors!



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Here is my first video from this rocket... probably more to follow. Thanks for taking a look!

How did you get the ejection charge for the parachute with the gopro dividing the rocket body?

The top and bottom pieces of the camera housing shown in step 5 had holes cut in the back half, so the top half of the rocket body was not actually sealed off from the bottom.

It's the pressure from the ejection charge that actually pops off the nosecone, so as long as there is airflow from top to bottom of the body tube, it works. Good question!

Great build. Would love to do something like this but sadly I Don't have the resources


I am building this for my students can u please tell me the approx cost of the total construction without the Go pro ?

That's a tricky question, and the answer depends on what you have available. My total cost of materials that went into the finished rocket was probably only a few dollars.

However, the bits of foam for the nosecone came from a $30 sheet of insulation foam. The craft paper that made the tube came from a $20 roll of craft paper. And on and on $$$.

So doing this completely from scratch would definitely add up.

I would highly recommend starting with an existing rocket kit and modifying it to hold a camera, perhaps completely externally to simplify things. (That's actually something I've been wanting to do and write an instructable on, but it's still a ways down on my to-do list.)

Whatever you decide to do, good luck!! :)

thanks for your reply but to be honest my students have seen this and loved it and they want to do it so i have no choice.

Any instructions i should know about that is not listed?

This is my first time so i am following the exact instructions listed

I cannot add any more details than what I shared initially, as I posted this several years ago and the project is no longer fresh in my mind.

I can say, however, that I would strongly advise not taking this project on if you are new to model rocketry.

This was very much an advanced and experimental design, and a beginner will more likely have success in emulating a much simpler rocket design.

If you wish this is my skype id : jad.a.daniel

You haven't put any weight in the nose? How does it look for stability?