Picture of Iron Man Model Rocket
I have loved model rockets since I was a kid, but instead of building from kits I prefer to make funky ones from scratch. About a year ago, I got the idea to make a dual-engine model rocket in the shape of Iron Man. The idea presented a lot of unique challenges--which I've enjoyed working on--but this was one project I was happy to finally get out of the way.

I spent many nights lying awake trying to figure out how to make a man-shaped model rocket flight-stable, how and what to make him out of (to keep the weight down), how to construct the parachute deployment system, how to mount him onto a launch rod, what kind of launcher I would have to make, and on and on. I resolved most of the issues, and I'll show you how all of these ideas came together.

There were plenty of missteps and failures along the way throughout this project, but I've cut most of that out in order to keep this as straight-forward as possible. Please excuse the shoddiness of the exterior details on the finished rocket. This is less about the actual Iron Man character, and more about my journey and the process of trying to make and fly a crazy man-shaped rocket. In the end, you'll see that I had mixed results with this project.

I began by making the head, which I figured would be the hardest part. You can see the details of that here.
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cczzmm2002071610 months ago
what if you positioned the rocket engines in the hands? Would it affect flight? Would there be an overall better or worse performance? Would the legs upset the flight? well theres only one way to find out!
suzycarlson3 years ago
We are going to be the Avengers for Halloween and Joey is going to be Iron Man. Can you whip up some costumes for us?? Hahaha. Seriously though...store bought is embarrassing but Joey has no time to help with law school. What do you charge for custom Halloween costumes?
seamster (author)  suzycarlson3 years ago
I think you have me confused for someone else.

(Ha ha. Let's chat in private. Long time no see!)
mary candy4 years ago
wau so cool!
The main pic is amazing !
ross3535 years ago
genius. would you be able to put two smaller rockets in his arms leading down to his hands? you could have them go off after the legs run out
The farther out from the central axis of the model that you mount engines, the more stability problems you will have. Trust me on this--I've been chased around the parking lot by a Saturn 1B with off-center thrust.
seamster (author)  ross3535 years ago
I actually toyed with this idea! In the end I abandoned it. If I did this again, I could possibly include two rocket engines in the hands that shoot off at the same time as the feet, but it would require making a wiring setup to handle the four engines located in completely different places.

I'll add this to the list for the next version!
Mrballeng4 years ago
Really enjoyed this!
yokozuna4 years ago
I can see it now.... "Hello... Progressive? I need to make a claim, Iron Man just crashed on top of my car. No... really."
finnrambo4 years ago
I'm not even a fan of ironman and i give this 5 stars! (try monokote instead of masking tape next time though, should work for weight)
toogers4 years ago
very nice! if you wanted to make it fly a little better, i would decrease the head weight and make the bottom a bit heavier. also, you might want to move the rockets to the hands, so that instead of pushing the mass upwards, it's pulling it. it would be a lot more stable.
rcsuperhero4 years ago




lukete4 years ago
it sure is good........but the materials used are not easy to get :p
seamster (author)  lukete4 years ago
I didn't have too much trouble coming up with materials, but I guess it really depends on where you live, and how much you're willing to spend. I generally try not to spend very much on my projects, but this one required a little more than usual.
zigzagchris5 years ago
Next step is put the engines in his hands like in the movies
kcls5 years ago
Way cool. This must have taken a lot of hard work, and I would be devastated to see it crash. I wonder why the parachute didn't come out? You get 5 stars for your amazing effort and craftsmanship!
seamster (author)  kcls5 years ago
Thanks, I'm glad you liked it!

A few people have asked about the parachute. I've got some more information on the parachute spread throughout the comments section.
Oliver 2695 years ago
Keep his head and repair it's flight damage. Set it on a shelf and use it for inspiration. Perhaps with a hollowed out body and a more conventional rocket inside supported by balsa struts........ How many hours do you have in his head anyway? Hundreds??? Really nice.
seamster (author)  Oliver 2695 years ago
Yep, I'm already working on all the details for the next version, and it will most likely include a lot of balsa, super glue, and monokote.

I did have a lot of time invested in that head. The problem is my next one may be a smaller scale to use up some smaller rocket tubes and engines that I've got lying around. So a new head will need to be made as well.

...We'll see if I ever get around to it. No promises!
Spint5 years ago
This project is pure win!
seamster (author)  Spint5 years ago
Thank you!

There are some really great projects in this contest. We'll see how it goes!
dark sponge5 years ago
Wow! I didn't get a grasp on the scale of this (I thought it was about a foot tall at first) until a couple steps in. WOW, I Love it, 5 stars and voted!
seamster (author)  dark sponge5 years ago
Hey, thanks! I'm tempted to remake this, but smaller and lighter so it will hopefully fly a little better.
bustedit5 years ago
sick. love the size, and the photo of the launch looks nuts (i cant view the vid @ work, unfortunately) if you ever do a MKII, try using tissue paper and dope over your foam skeleton, like an old balsa model plane. it would be more fragile, but certainly less heavy.
seamster (author)  bustedit5 years ago
Hey good idea! I thought about using monokote or something similar. But tissue and dope would be even lighter. I should probably do the whole thing out of balsa. Maybe if I had a laser cutter..

The video is quite bad. The photo is much cooler than the actual video.
ski4jesus5 years ago
great job! I love the idea, but i wonder why you didnt put the parachute in him for the flight, especially after all that work? but anyways, great job!
seamster (author)  ski4jesus5 years ago
There were a couple of reasons I didn't include a parachute.

I knew the weight was such that he would never gain enough altitude to have time for a parachute to deploy. In the video, you see him come crashing down, a couple seconds pass, and then the motors shoot their ejection charge, which is what pushes the parachute out. So it wouldn't have made a difference anyway. That's the logical reason.

The emotional reason is this: this project offered a lot of unique new challenges for me (which is what I look for in a project), but I was generally unhappy with the results. So after months of thinking about it and working on different aspects of it and having it drive me nuts, I was really looking forward to watching it crash. Kind of crazy, huh?
Uhhhh, yes! Haha, yes, I do understand! cool project anyways!
So cool. It almost look so real :) Hi5!
well way to complex
umm a little to complex for me
chndt20085 years ago
haha! You're smart!
brunoip5 years ago
awesome, 5 stars
Jayefuu5 years ago
Fantastic as always Seamster!
seamster (author)  Jayefuu5 years ago
Thank you!
john henry5 years ago
i can imagine what other would say when they see it flying...... holy $#^% is that man flying??? very nice instructable ^_^

Very nice!! I love this idea.

I really like that you are in a "toys building" mode like me, I should definitly try this :D Although mine will probably have explosives packed in his head and body. I just like to see them explode mid-air ^^

You got my vote in the contest buddy :)
seamster (author)  MichelMoermans5 years ago
caitlinsdad5 years ago
Very cool. Of course, if it were me, I would have a cluster of engines concentrated in one spot with flames shooting out of his...

Model rocketry was a blast growing up as a kid spurred on by the real great space race.  Too bad it has become costly and prohibited to do in many places.  Maybe add on clear plastic stablizing fins next time.  My creation was a "Little Joe" Saturn V command capsule test booster made from box cardboard.  It must have turned out about a few pounds.  It crashed and burned but the slow spiral from the first time I used a D engine was the best.
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