Introduction: Homemade Rocket With Rocket Fuel and Engine

Picture of Homemade Rocket With Rocket Fuel and Engine

I really like and enjoy estes rocket, and I decided to make one myself. 
I also made the fuel and the engine. All is made from the materials you can easily obtain or even have at your house right now. 

They can go up to 300 meters (1,000 ft) on this fuel. 

Making the fuel involves working with the ammonium nitrate, please before you do it, read this article -
Especially the "What are the immediate health effects of ammonia exposure?" paragraph, so you realize the risks you are taking and I am not responsible for the consequences.

Step 1: Material for the Fuel

Picture of Material for the Fuel

At first lets make a fuel of our rocket. 
What we will need:
1. Ammonium nitrate (how to get described in the next step)
2. Baking soda
3. Water
4. Sugar
5. Jar/bucket
6. Measuring cup 
7. Newspaper

Step 2: How to Get Ammonuim Nitrate

Picture of How to Get Ammonuim Nitrate

Ammonium nitrate is commonly used in agriculture as a high-nitrogen fertilizer. It is also used in instant cold packs, as hydrating the salt is an endothermic process.
So, the easiest way to get it is to buy a cold pack. Open it and remove water from it. 

I am pretty sure you could also order it online, but for me the cold pack seems the easiest way.

Step 3: Mix

Picture of Mix

Use the measuring cup to add 2 cups of ammonium nitrate and 2 cups of baking soda. 
In this step it is important to keep the proportion. 1:1. The size of measuring cup may 
slightly vary, but its important to use the same one for adding everything. My cup was about 200 mL

Step 4: Mix

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Add 17 measuring cups of water into soda and ammonium nitrate. 
Use the same cup you used in step 3. 
Mix everything together. 

Step 5: Boiling

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Boil the solution for about 30 minutes. Stir gently while boiling. After 8-10 minutes ammonia gas is going to produce,  after 15 minutes there is going to be a lot of gas producing, after about 25-30 minutes the reaction is going to stop, and no ammonia gas is going to be producing, that's how you know you are done. 

It very important that you boil this OUTSIDE. 
DO NOT boil it inside, because as you boil, ammonia gas is going to produce. Ammonia gas is very toxic if inhaled, so try not to breather it in, and its good to wear a mask as you are doing this. 

Please before you do it, read this article -
Especially the "What are the immediate health effects of ammonia exposure?" paragraph, so you realize the risks you are taking and I am not responsible for the consequences. 

Step 6: Cooling

Picture of Cooling

After you are done with boiling, let the solution cool for 5-7 minutes.
Then add one cup of sugar and mix. 

Step 7: Dunk

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Put newspaper in the solution and let it soak in there for 3-5 minutes 

Step 8: Dry

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When you newspaper is fully impregnated with the solution, take it out and let it completely dry. 
Your rocket fuel is finished. 

Step 9: Rocket Engine

Picture of Rocket Engine

1. Fuel (newspaper made in previous steps)
2. Paper
3. Tape
4. Pen
5. Scissors 

Step 10: Folding

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Take half of the newspaper sheet. 
Fold it twice in half.
Then in half one more time.
Roll it up. 

Step 11: Tape

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Tape the newspaper you rolled.
Tape one end completely, and leave another untapped. 

Step 12: Folding

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Take a piece of paper.
Fold it in half. 
Then roll the tapped newspaper in it. 

Step 13: Tape

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Tape the newspaper inside the paper. 
Leave about 0.5 inch gap on one side.
Cut the left over part on the other side and tape it. 

Step 14: Hole for a Wick

Picture of Hole for a Wick

At the side you left a 0.5 inch gap put the rod from the pen inside. 
Fold the sides and tape them. 

Step 15: Wick

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Roll the newspaper and insert it into the previously made hole. 
Your engine is ready. 

Step 16: Rocket

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Now there is different ways you could launch it.
1. Tape a stick to an engine and launch it just like that (step 17)
2. Make a rocket yourself (step 18)
3. Insert this engine into estes rockets and launch it.

Step 17: Launching the Engine

Picture of Launching the Engine

Take a stick, preferably really light one and tape it to the engine. 
Put the end of the stick into the ground, light up the wick and enjoy. 

Step 18: Homemade Rocket

Picture of Homemade Rocket

1. Bottle
2. Cardboard
3. "Airborn" or "M&M" flask, or anything with that round, "rocket" shape. 

Step 19: Rocket

Picture of Rocket

Cut cardboard into triangle shape and glue these "triangles" around the body of the rocket.
Make another hole at the other end of the rocket body.
Cut off the top of the bottle, roll it, and glue it inside the rocket body. 
Also, if you are going to launch it from the estes launching platform, take a little piece of paper roll it and tape to the side of the rocket. (Thats how you will secure your rocket on the platform)

Step 20: Lauch

Picture of Lauch

Now go out and launch your rocket. 
I will soon upload the videos. 


KedarP6 (author)2017-06-21

superb very innovative

Rocketere (author)2017-06-17

Use: potassium Nitrate. (found in stump remover) and sugar then blend it up.

that can create nice fuel

C.S.Aswini (author)2014-12-06

other than explosive items like potassium nitrate&ammonium nitrate can we use someother.please suggest some

There is no way to make rocket fuel without something that explodes. It wouldn't work at all if there was no explosions.

Alex_T (author)rorypmasterson2016-02-03

*pressure, as made from explosions. I cite rocket balloons.
Also, combustion, not explosions, if I can nitpick without looking like a nerd. Explosions powerful enough to send up anything would do it in pieces. Even solid gunpowder from Estes is packed extremely tight so it burns very slowly (what with limited O2 for burning)

Al Hamshari (author)Alex_T2017-05-11

ALex, gunpowder contains plenty of O2, so packing it makes it much more powerful, rather than slow cumbustion. Btw , there will be no explosion as long as there is an escape way for the gases. Dont ask Newton, ask yourself.

Alex_T (author)Al Hamshari2017-05-11

Packing gunpowder gives less space for each piece of gunpowder to burn, and it needs space for the exhaust gases to go, so it doesn't burn when there's no space for gases to escape, aka when it's packed. It only burns on exposed sides, meaning it burns slower. There won't be an explosion without a way for gases to escape because it won't burn.

Mipy (author)Alex_T2016-09-13

Exactly, NERDS FOR THE WIN!!!(upbeat musical crescendo)

AlixxS (author)Alex_T2016-09-09

Be proud of your nerdyness. It means youve been at least somewhat properly educated

AlixxS (author)rorypmasterson2016-09-09

Rocket fuel doesnt explode if used properly. It combusts, much like the gasoline or diesel fuel in your engine. But instead of pushing a piston head, it applies the thrust directly out its jet

You don't always need explosives to propel a rocket, for example, if you have ever seen a bottle rocket, it just shoots straight up from fuel, that's why it makes a" swoosh" sound when it takes off

LisaB182 (author)C.S.Aswini2016-02-06

Try using a baking soda and vinegar rocket. The kids and I had one years ago and it launched pretty well...had to ask the neighbors to retrieve it from their yard!

AlixxS (author)LisaB1822016-09-09

While those rockets are fun, you cant (safely) get them up more than about 50 feet. To achieve any real altitude, true pyrotechnic rockets are needed

AlixxS (author)C.S.Aswini2016-09-09

Potassium nitrate isnt inherintly explosive. In fact, its sold in bulk at hardware stores under the name "stump remover"

HoraceO (author)C.S.Aswini2015-11-03

water rockets, compressed gas rockets(vinegar and hydrogen peroxide), even Co2 rockets ...use your imagination and experiment and have fun just ALWAYS REMEMBER SAFETY IS MOST IMPORTANT

Alex_T (author)HoraceO2016-02-03

You mean vinegar and baking soda? There's little reaction from that and hydro perox.

Pyromaniac88 (author)C.S.Aswini2015-02-01

In case you didn't know, rocket fuel needs combustion to create thrust. If you don't want to use chemicals like KNO3 and (NH4)(NO3), then try a bottle rocket. They run on water but they are not as fantastic as a fire propelled rocket.

joshadkisson (author)C.S.Aswini2015-01-12

just an fyi, not sure, about ammonium nitrate, but potassium nitrate is an oxidizer, meaning that by itself, it is not flammable. if you add the other ingredient you needed to make the propellant (powdered sugar), then it becomes dangerous and flammable. the potassium nitrate and powdered sugar is a better and less hazardous way to make rocket fuel anyways, no production of ammonia gas.

Redrocketman (author)2016-08-30

waste of time. I'll make sugar motors that will KILL them

rebeccaz4 (author)Redrocketman2017-03-13

This recipe uses sugar..

cw9806 (author)2017-02-28

It was too weak when I made it. Barely got off the ground. too much water maybe?

Aaritra (author)2017-02-26

Hey,guys I launched it from my building roof,it nearly went out of the sight.superb!!!!!!!!!!!!

Roman Dolewa (author)2017-02-26

How much thrust, in newtons or pounds, does this engine produce?

Banamana (author)2016-12-11

it was awesome

Banamana (author)2016-12-11

cool steps broooo

quatzecoatl (author)2013-07-01

I could be wrong on this, but I'm pretty sure you need an LEP to make rocket fuel

AlixxS (author)quatzecoatl2016-09-09

It depends on what type of fuel, how much per batch, and how big of a rocket engine you make. If you poke around, you can find the legal guidelines.

fishik (author)quatzecoatl2013-07-06


ImageMaker (author)fishik2013-07-10

I think he means "Low Explosive User Permit" or LEUP. It's certain you need one to store homemade rocket motors or propellant; whether you need one to make propellant is open to a certain level of interpretation, but the commonest reading appears to be that you can make non-detonating materials (like rocket propellant) without a Federal permit as long as they're used the same day they're made, i.e. not stored. State and local restrictions may cause you some heartburn, however.

As noted below, there are also some Federal restrictions on purchase of certain chemicals that are precursors or process ingredients in making methamphetamine -- for instance, I found recently that I can no longer buy "strike anywhere" matches, not because they're hazardous (no more so than they've been for 150 years or so) but because the tiny amount of phosphorus in the heads was being used in making meth. If ammonium nitrate is in that category, American farming is on its way out...

The phosphorus is in the striking pad and not the head of the match.

Alex_T (author)MobileCasinoBoy2016-02-03

that's sandpaper, otherwise it would be engulfed in flames. It's not, though, because while I don't know where this person is, but I can still buy them in bulk from the local walmart.

ImageMaker (author)Alex_T2016-02-09

The big difference between strike anywhere and "safety" matches is that safety matches have the phosphorus only in the striking surface, while strike anywhere have it in the white tip of the head. The striker isn't "engulfed in flames" because the phosphorus is too thinly distributed to sustain combustion (fire triangle -- you must have fuel, oxidizer *and heat*), but in combination with the chlorate in the match head, it can start the match head mix burning.

just so you know strike anywhere matches light anywhere the phosphorus is in the math head or it wouldn't light lol lol

yea... thats why they have to put the phosphorous in the match head in strike it anywhere matches.

That's true of safety matches (the kind you can only strike on the striking pad) but not of classic strike-anywhere type. It's the tiny bit of phosphorus in the head that lets you strike them on a zipper, shoe sole, even a particularly coarse five o'clock shadow.

ImageMaker (author)quatzecoatl2015-12-08

As I understand the BATFE regs relative to rocket fuel (and even explosives), for federal compliance, as long as you're not legally disabled from possessing explosives you can make rocket fuel, as long as you either consume it the same day, or meet legal storage requirements -- which don't always require a Low Explosives User Permit. State and local laws, however, may completely prohibit rocketry outside NAR- and Tripoli-sanctioned model and high power rocket activity; making your own motors is completely prohibited by NAR, and sanctioned by Tripoli only after you're certified to a high enough level.

TruthHunter (author)2015-08-24

Cold packs in the USA no longer contain ammonium nitrate. Instead they

are made with a salt solution.

JackM39 (author)TruthHunter2015-09-23

Ammonium Nitrate is a salt.

HoraceO (author)JackM392015-11-03

no it is iodized sodium chlorate

AlixxS (author)HoraceO2016-09-09

A salt, by definition, is the molecular bonding of a metal or meteloid to a nonmetal. Ie, sodium chloride, potassium chlorate, etc

1piemanpie (author)HoraceO2016-04-13

umm isn't that salt :/

AlixxS (author)TruthHunter2016-09-09

Yes, and that solution is called Ammonium Nitrate. I just bought a box yesterday, and it says it right on it

pnahar (author)2016-07-27

Can any other fuel be used and if I go outside and buy Ammonium Nitrate what's the concentration that should be used?

Cward553 (author)2016-06-03

I made it but the solution was to weak. maybe 7 cups of water instead of 17?

jayden squire (author)2016-04-20

If i do this in Australia where i live and get cought i will probly go to jail for 20 years or so

AmmarJ (author)2013-06-30

I tried this launching just the engine, and mine started smoking and hissing but did not take off, would you know why?

Alex_T (author)AmmarJ2016-02-03

If the chemicals are old it won't work. the papers should be loose. Oh, and a little funny tidbit: Baking soda is a great thing to put out fire. It releases CO2, which is what's in fire extinguishers.

fishik (author)AmmarJ2013-07-06

I don't really know, but it could've been because the wick wasn't installed correctly. It should be deep inside the engine, so everything ignites at once and it takes off.

theegghead (author)2015-04-27

do you know about what size roll makes which rating (the commercially sold ones have ratings such as A-8, C-6 so on so forth). Also, with the estes rockets, will the parachutes be able to deploy? And one last question, can this be ignited electronically? (just wondering because this looks awesome and I may try it...)

HoraceO (author)theegghead2015-11-03

3/4'' x 2 3/4'' of Kno3 is equivalent to an E45 booster engine

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