Introduction: Model Rocket Ignition and Launch Pad for Less Than $5

Picture of Model Rocket Ignition and Launch Pad for Less Than $5

This is a simple Instructable, teaching you how to build your very own model rocket launch pad and ignition system. The reason I've made this Instructable is because most launch systems are very costly, up to $75 or more extra for a kit with one. You also cannot ignite the engines using a flame, due to safety reasons. An electrical pulse is required, hence why a 9-volt battery was used. I have never seen any DIY rocket ignition systems anywhere I've checked for this cheap, including this website. This was the determining factor in me posting it here so that others may use my idea.

Step 1: Step 1: Necessary Materials

Picture of Step 1: Necessary Materials

To build this Instructable you will need:

Soldering Iron

Wire Stripper

1/8" Stiff Metal Dowel

20ft of Wire, no larger than 1/8" in diameter

Switch

1/8" Drill Bit

Flat Piece of Wood, at Least 12"X12"

Rocket with engines and igniter plugs (Of Course)

Optional but Recommended:

Super Glue

Electrical Tape

2 Aligator Clips

Step 2: Step 2: Dowel Hole

Picture of Step 2: Dowel Hole

Using a drill, make a 1/8" hole near the edge of the piece of wood, about halfway Down, and an inch or two in.

Step 3: Step 3: Rod Placement

Picture of Step 3: Rod Placement

Put the rod into the hole. I secured it with Epoxy/Super Glue, however this isn't necessary.

Step 4: Step 4: Wire Holes

Picture of Step 4: Wire Holes

Drill two more 1/8" holes near the rod. This is where the wires will be threaded through in a later step.

Step 5: Step 5: Cutting and Stripping the Wire

Picture of Step 5: Cutting and Stripping the Wire

Cut the wire so that you have 2, 10' segments and strip both sides of each piece.

Step 6: Step 5a: (Optional)

Picture of Step 5a: (Optional)

Using electrical tape, tape the two 10' segments together. This just makes it easier to carry the apparatus around without the wires getting tangled and messed up.

Step 7: Step 6: Hooking Up the Wires to the Battery and the Switch

Picture of Step 6: Hooking Up the Wires to the Battery and the Switch

Connect one end of one of the 10' segments of wire to an end of the 9-volt battery, and one end of the switch to the other end of the battery. Next, solder the other end of the switch to one end of the other 10' segment.

Optional: I wrapped this entire portion up with electrical tape so that it is less messy.

Step 8: Step 7: Feeding the Wires Through

Picture of Step 7: Feeding the Wires Through

Take the two free ends of the 10' segments and feed them through the two holes you drilled in step 4.

Step 9: Step 7a: (Optional) Aligator Clips

Picture of Step 7a: (Optional) Aligator Clips

I soldered alligator clips to the loose ends of the wires. This helps connect them to the igniter plug and keep the wires in place.

Step 10: Step 8: Hooking It Up to the Rocket

Picture of Step 8: Hooking It Up to the Rocket

Take your model rocket and place it on the rod, using the straw-like part that will come with your rocket. Next, hook each wire to one of the prongs coming from the igniter plug that will come with the rocket engines. Orientation of the wires does not matter; As long as one wire goes to one prong, there will be enough energy from the 9v battery to short circuit the igniter and launch the rocket.

Step 11: Step 9: We Have Liftoff!

Just go a safe distance away and close the circuit using the switch by holding it down for about 5 seconds, or toggling it for the same amount of time. Above is a video of me using the system to launch a 2-stage model rocket that I threw together in about an hour. It startled my little sister, whose voice you will hear near the end of the video.

Step 12: Step 10: After Thoughts

Picture of Step 10: After Thoughts

The above pictures show what both the igniter plug and launch pad look like after 1 launch. The Rocket will singe the pad itself, but in my experience with over 10 launches with this pad, it has not caught on fire or been any real hazard.

Comments

MsSweetSatisfaction (author)2014-11-02

Awesome job! Looks like it works really nicely, and I love the price point.

Thank you!

dlp000 (author)2014-11-03

Great launch pad.

If I might offer a suggestion, to protect the board take the top off a soup can, poke a hole in it and place it over the launch rod, you can even bend it a bit to focus the exhaust if you like.

many happy launches.

CameronG2 (author)dlp0002014-11-04

Thank you!

You know, originally I was going to plate the top of the pad with some aluminum, but I couldn't find any. Your idea is awesome, and I will update this instructable once I add that.

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