Instructables

How to Make Black Powder Rockets & DIY Tooling

Picture of How to Make Black Powder Rockets & DIY Tooling

For a long while when I first started into pyrotechnics I avoided rocketry. It was not that I found rockets less enjoyable to watch than other forms of pyrotechnics, I simply believed they required a large array of expensive tools and therefore passed them over because I was more interested in spending that money on chemicals for building big and impressive shells.

It took years of envying others who could build rockets and watching the soft lift into the sky before I realized that I preferred shells lifted in that manner to those that are blasted out of a mortar. That realization forced me to reconsider rocketry as something I would like to experiment with.

I was still unwilling to spend hundreds of dollars on commercially made tooling for something I wasn’t even sure if I would enjoy, so my only option was to make tooling myself. Black powder rockets are the safest type of rocket to make and use, and the simplest to perfect, so they proved to be the best type to start with. The tooling I designed and the method in which it is used can be seen demonstrated in the video below:



Now onto how to make the tooling...

Step 1:

 
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bpetno1 year ago
hey man how dangerous is this stuff. im 15 and want to make some for model rocket engines. what is the likelihood of an auto ignite
Do yo think flour could be a possible fuel?
sgfidlin1 year ago
Do you need a license to make these?
halamka1 year ago
I use a vise to press the powder. I use gloves and plywood and goggles. I drill the hole later. I watch where it might explode. I built and launched a lot of aluminum beach chair rockets. I used wood nozzles with 2 or 3 wood screws. The ratio of 3 will usually explode soon after takeoff. Length, diameter , nozzle diameter. These rockets can be dangerous. The powder burns extremely well. Santa Cruz Ca is not a good place to launch. I put a round piece on the end of a stick. Altitude is difficult to measure. Maybe 2000 feet. I put 1 in front of a fan and wrote a computer program. The computer program had an altitude of maybe 1500 feet. Acceleration maybe 600 feet/second/second. velocity maybe 600 feet/second.If you launch yourself the diameter should be at least 3 feet to reduce the acceleration to an acceptable number.
I liked your explanation of the method. Could it be done using sugar and sodium nitrate and if I do, should I have a 65-35% mix, or something else?

Also, if I use black powder, will it burn more efficiently if I mess with the mixture or should I stick with the standard?
http://www.jamesyawn.net/

That web site has links to making sugar rockets which are much safer to make and use than black powder. You use potassium nitrate, a little iron oxide (rust) and sugar mixture as a fuel. They do not start grass fires like black powder can. Have fun and be safe.
NightHawkInLight (author)  sarge89or2 years ago
Sugar rockets are not safer to make than black powder. Black powder rockets are made by the millions every year in exactly the process shown in this video. Sugar rockets are not particularly dangerous, but they are certainly more dangerous than black powder considering you need to cook the sugar fuel. They also can start fires just the same as black powder rockets, your statement is totally unwarranted.
CatfishTom2 years ago
You know you have my vote on this one! I have finally adjusted my carbon to put an end to my CATO's. I was using only airfloat with the normal recipie. I've now cooled it down by adding another 10% of 60 to 80 mesh and so far so good. Had fun last night!
Any recomendations on a nice long tail? I've tried to add aluminum flitters but just not confident I'm using enough. I'll try adding more when I finish my press. You know that pucker factor when slaming a 2 lb. sledge on those drifts??? I'll feel a lot better pressing with a sheild between me and the press.. BTW, I alos have some 80 mesh Spherical Titanium if that would add to any effects, but again, I'm an amature, so not doing anything I'm not 100% sure of.
Later, Tom.
NightHawkInLight (author)  CatfishTom2 years ago
Your spherical Ti will work very nicely for a bushy tail. Try 5% or so and see how that works for you. As a rule of thumb, stick to spherical metal powders when pressing or ramming. They have less friction between particles and are therefore much safer.