Introduction: The Green Rocket

Rocketing is an exciting hobby and a good, no great plan is always appreciated. I started with experimental rocketry in 2006 and have since done some cool stuff. It wasn' t my major hobby at the time, but I quickly fell in love with it. There are a lot of plans on the internet on how to build a rocket, but why not one more. So I have designed a fully detailed plan of how to make your very own model rocket. Note: I use my own terms, some may be real and the others is how I understand them.

This rocket is really great, you can use almost anything you can find. I mean anything, go diving in the dumpster if you think you can get your materials there. The only thing you will need to spend some money on is the fuel.

To prepare yourself for disappointment you will have keep in mind that you don't always get everything right the first time. From failure you learn something. Now enjoy making your very one model rocket.


Step 1: Materials

There aren't much materials, but you do need all of them.

1) Cardboard - for the body and engine wall. It can almost be anything, as long as it is about 2x
thicker as paper. You can try paper, but working with something that is stronger is much better.
You can even take the cover of a school exercise book.
2) Shotgun shell - This will be the engine. Just make sure that the shell is not loaded and still
contains the primer. Refer to picture named 'The Shell 1'
3) Masking tape and some electrical tape(insulation tape) and a straw
4) Some sand or cement powder - the sand is for the stop at the top of the engine. Or you can use
the stop shown in the picture below.
5) Cardboard - this will be for the fins. Cardboard that is about 1mm thick works just fine. Just
make sure that it is light. I use cardboard that is made out of lairs. Check the pic.
6) Fuel - This is the most important. I use a solid fuel that I developed myself after much trial and
error. I do not recommend trying to make your own, rather buy some. It is very important to
wear safety glasses and gloves when working with the rocket fuel.
Safety glasses should actually be used everywhere. If you really want to make your own fuel,
do some research. When you test your fuel just test small amounts at a time because you
can't predict how the fuel will behave. Tip: grind your mixture to a fine powder, be careful, it
could ignite. If you want to make your own fuel, but need some help, be on the lookout for my
Instructable. I may be making one real soon.
7) Find a round piece of wood. This will be the nose cone. You can also use anything else that is
the shape of a cone and will fit.
8) Fuse. You can order some at this site:
9) A piece of wire. About 3mm thick and 2,5 feet in length.

Anything that you do not understand, just contact me.

Step 2: Tools

You will need:

- scissors
- a ruler
- knife(Can also be used to make the cone)
-some sand paper(if you do not have a wood lathe.)
- hammer
- Something to shape the nose cone with. I machined mine.
- Safety glasses
- Gloves
- Electric Drilling Machine
- 4mm drill bit
- Glue gun

I am sorry for the inconvenience, but in SA we work in metric.
Click on the link below for a converter.

Step 3: Making the Body

Making the body is fairly simple.

1) Cut out a piece of cardboard of about 210mm x 340mm, or just use an A4 cardboard paper. Remember, if the shotgun shell your using is a different size you must adjust the sizes of your project.
2) Find a piece of tubing that has the same diameter as the rib(Picture: 'The Shell - 1') on the metal cap shown in the picture. Mine is 22m. Or you can also take 3 used shotgun shells and put some tape around them shown in the picture below(Picture named 'The Shell 3').
3) Now take the cardboard paper and roll it around the shells lengthwise(Picture 6). Next take the electrical tape and tape the new formed tube at 3 places as shown in picture 1.
4) Now take the isolation tape and tape a single strip along the visible edge of the cardboard paper(picture 7).
5) The fins. Study picture for the dimensions.
6) Attach the fins using a glue gun. Use the fin placement picture below to attach the fins, remember the fins run along side the body(parallel). For me it is much easier to attach the fins at the very end. Print out the picture to make it easier.
7) To make sure that the rocket goes up we will use the straws as guiding slides. Cut two pieces of straw of about 40mm each. Space them equally on the length of the tube and use the glue gun to attach them. Make sure they are straight, use the rod to make it easier.

Anything that you do not understand, just contact me.

Step 4: Making the Nose Cone - Machining

Follow the Pictures.

Last picture shows cone dimensions.

Unfortunately, if you do not poses a lathe it would take a little more time to make your nose cone. You will then have to use what you have, like sand paper, pocket knife or a bench grinder.

Anything that you do not understand, just contact me.

Step 5: Making the Engine Ready

The engine is also quit simple to make.

1) Remove the the primer from the shell, be careful not to damage the primer.

2) Next remove the insides of the primer. Watch the video, just excuse the sound. I used a nail to remove the insides.

3) Now you will need to drill the primer to increase the hole too 4mm. This will be the nozzle of the engine. Insert the primer back into the shell. Just remember, you will have to calculated a new nozzle size if your shell is bigger or smaller.(Picture: 'Shell and Primer'). Replace the primer.

4)Next take a piece of cardboard. Cut the cardboard to the dimensions shown in the picture below(if your shell is the same as mine). If it not the same, for the length calculate the circumference of the shell(diameter x pi) and then multiply it by 1,5. For the width measure the inside depth of the shell and subtract about 20mm from it(it is for the stop and when you close the shell).

5) Take the cardboard and roll it up so that it is smaller than the inner diameter of the shell. The
rolled up cardboard must fit into the empty shell. After you have inserted the rolled up cardboard
just insert your finger and turn it in the opposite direction at what you rolled it, make sure it is
nice and tight in there.(Picture: 'Insert the inner cardboard')

Your done with the engine, now you just need to load it.

Use VLC Media player if the video doesn't want to play.

Anything that you do not understand, just contact me.

Step 6: Making Fuel

Making your own fuel is about just as easy as making the rocket. Al you need is some products from the drug store and you are off.

What solid rocket fuel should do.
The faster the fuel burns the better. The more aggressive(big flame) the better. The less products(stuff that is left over after powder has burned) the better.

1 - Potassium Nitrate/Salpeter(KnO3)
2 - Sulfur(S)
3 - Powdered sugar
4 - Charcoal(The carbon (C))

3 parts potassium nitrate; 2 parts sugar; 1 part sulfur; 1 part carbon.


The potassium nitrate and sulfur you can get from the drug store.
The carbon you can get from charcoal, just powder a piece of charcoal.

Mix these chemicals together, mix them very good. For better results you can make the whole mix into a fine powder with a coffee grinder. The finer the better.


Want to try and better the formula, here is a tip. Salpeter is the oxidizer in this mixture, but adding too much would slow down the burn rate and increase the products(residue).

Step 7: Loading the Engine

This will take some precausion.

Follow the pictures, it is easier for me to explain. NB!!!!!

After completion of the engine remove the tape that you taped over the metal side of the shell to stop the power from falling out. Take your drilling machine with the 4mm drill bit inside and drill threw the nozzle into the engine for about 35-40mm. This is so that you can insert the fuse and to create your combustion chamber.

To buy some rocket fuel. Go to
They sell it in a kit, calculated roughly it would cost less than 5$.
You will also get three pieces of fuse with this kit. These products are available in South Africa.

Anything that you do not understand, just contact me.

Step 8: Lift Of

Just be patient we are almost done. Now you will have to insert the engine into the body. Make sure that the engine sits tight and doesn't fall out. Add the fins if you have not attached them yet. Next you should insert the fuse. The fuse should be about 100mm long.If it is a fast burning fuse just make it longer for your own safety. If the fuse falls out just bend it once. Take the rod and push it into the ground, about half a foot. Take the rocket and load it onto the rod using the straws. Make sure the rocket is about 40mm of the ground, use a piece of wood or something.

Before you light the fuse just make sure that you are in an open area. An area of 200m x 200m would be large enough.

You are now ready. Just light the fuse.


After the fuse caught a lite do not go to the rocket, please move away from the rocket at least 8m. If you think the fuse got blown dead by the wind wait 5 minutes before approaching the rocket. Safety is of major importance and we only have one body, so treat it with respect !

Anything that you do not understand, just contact me.

Step 9: Hope That This Doesn't Happens to You.

While testing a new rocket I encountered a little problem. The nozzle was too small for the size of the engine and the pressure in the rocket became too much. Don't worry, my nozzle size will work.

I can not emphasize the importance of safety !!
Please move away from the rocket after you set it a lite ! And if the rocket does not launch wait for a few minutes before approaching the rocket !!!


team-America made it!(author)2012-12-19

its 60:40 ratio or for example 60 grams of stump remover with 100% KNO3 and 40 grams of sugur and if you add rust powder it burns faster and stronger

electronicz made it!(author)2012-05-03

What does the Sulfur and the Carbon (Charcoal) do? Can I just have a mix of 3 parts potassium nitrate 2 parts sugar? 5 Stars

jdu+randt made it!(author)2012-07-15

The Sulfur lowers the ignition temperature to allow the fuel and oxidizer to burn more rapidly if I remember correctly.

JetBoer made it!(author)2012-05-10

I am not completely sure about what the sulfur does, I knew it a long time ago, all that I know is that the mix doesn't fair well without the sulfur.. The carbon acts as a fuel. I have not yet experimented with sugar, so I cannot tell you whether the 2 parts sugar will work. I have recently watched a video where the two guys uses 65g KNO3 and 35g Sugar, they mix it together and melt it over about 350 degrees Celsius until a past, then you can put it in your engine.

electronicz made it!(author)2012-05-10

Ok, thanks for the info and good instructable.

micnic made it!(author)2011-04-13

will that really work

JetBoer made it!(author)2011-04-13

Absolutely, my friend and I probably shot over a 20 rockets using this method. There is another way, but then you would have to construct the while engine from scratch with cardboard and quick set cement for the nozzle. Using a shell is much easier.

Karroo+Oakey made it!(author)2010-09-21

Hey, this is really good!
Well laid out and very understandable. You've got to post some of the other stuff you've done - even if it's only in a slide show!
When I've got a bit of time I am so going to do this!

bylerfamily made it!(author)2009-06-03

Wow!This is the first good ible I have seen about rockets.

About This Instructable




Bio: I build, therefor I am!
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