Introduction: 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
To build this Instructable you will need:
1/8" Stiff Metal Dowel
20ft of Wire, no larger than 1/8" in diameter
1/8" Drill Bit
Flat Piece of Wood, at Least 12"X12"
Rocket with engines and igniter plugs (Of Course)
Optional but Recommended:
2 Aligator Clips
Step 2: 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
Put the rod into the hole. I secured it with Epoxy/Super Glue, however this isn't necessary.
Step 4: 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
Cut the wire so that you have 2, 10' segments and strip both sides of each piece.
Step 6: 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
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
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
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
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
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.