Picture of Model Rocket LED Glow Effects
This is my entry into the Let it Glow Contest. If you like it, please vote.

Now that school, and therefore finals, are done I can finally finish this Instructable. It has been waiting to be completed for about a month now but I've been so busy with other things that I waited till the last hour to finish this Instrcutable and enter it in to the contest.

Model rockets are cool and lots of fun. The same applies to LED's and other simple electronics. So you now wonder, why not combine the two. Well, here I will combine the two, and also feed everyone's secret addiction to fire (you know it's true) by adding LED Glow effects to a high flying model rocket.
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Step 1: Gather Materials

Picture of Gather Materials
To do this, you will need:

  • Model rocket
  • 3 10mm LED's (colors may vary)
  • 3 3032 coin cell batteries
  • Wire
  • Soldering supplies
  • Hot glue gun
  • Hot glue sticks
  • Electrical tape
  • Exacto knife
  • Razor blade (unless you want to cover your Exacto with hot glue)
  • Small saw (optional)
  • File (helpful)
  • Mini butane blowtorch (or jet (windproof) lighter)

Step 2: Building the Rocket

Picture of Building the Rocket
If your rocket is already built then skip this step. If not, build the rocket now following the instructions that it came with. I built this rocket from one of the mostly pre-made kits (yes, I know, not a real rocketeer) but any rocket will do.

Step 3: Cutting

Picture of Cutting
My rocket had 2 indents on the side of the nose so I decided to light them, as well as the tip. Start by using your Exacto knife to cut two holes, the size of your LED's, in the sides of the nose. Also cut off the very tip of your rocket's nose. Make sure your LED's fin in the holes you made snugly. Use your fingers, and file if necessary, to get all the plastic "fuzzies" or burs off your work.
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Awesome idea man! Looks great! One question tho, do the parasite gliders work good? I heard they are cheaply made and dont fly very well. I might buy one but thats holding me back. Pleez reply Thnx :)
Lotus145 years ago
Very cool, i liked it a lot. Keep it up!
you could have went with a 2 part plastic mix that makes a clear "cast" of anything you set it in.... drill into it a bit to set the leds to make sure its a good fit... and to make sure it would be clear all you would need to do is b4 perminitly setting the LEDs in place you would use a clear coat of finger nail polish. It helps to know these things when doing mods _... btw using hot glue could be useful on the desent back to the ground because it is a rubber type substance.
i would have rather used an ultra bright blue LED at the tip so it could be seen going up @ night along with the side blue lights.... nice mod btw im impressed so faR!
eng_johny5 years ago
its a good job , but i want to know the device that give the thurst firce to the rocket to launch , and where i can buy it ? thanks johny
marc92 (author)  eng_johny5 years ago
That would be a model rocket motor. They can be found at hobby stores, or sometimes in the toy section of Walmart. Best of luck!
aka_daryl6 years ago
great instructabe, by the way what type of rocket is that i would like to buy one to try this?
marc92 (author)  aka_daryl6 years ago
Thanks! I think it was an Estes rocket, Shuttle Xpress, to be exact.
I am going to try something similar to this with the Estes customizer set except making it so I could put it in the clear payload section of the model and another idea that you could try is to get a cheap and light weight green laser pointer and somehow rig it to the model rocket so if you fly it at night you could follow the laser beam to find the rocket while it is in the air or on the ground after it comes back down.
marc92 (author)  TheDeviant136 years ago
Good luck. The laser pointer is a great idea too.
yea i have loads of old CD drives it wouldn't be hard to salvage the laser i supose
(removed by author or community request)
the red laser in a regular CD drive can be seen by the naked eye
kanamin5 years ago
OH MY GOD I think I used to have that rocket, gone now. Ahh childhood D:
temp6 years ago
someone is going to be like "Holy guacamole it's a UFO!"
piee6 years ago
what is the function of the benz0matic lighter????? and how you launch the rocket huh????? can u explain more to me how to launch the rocket thanx..... i hope u will k
marc92 (author)  piee6 years ago
The large (blue) propane is not used, but it was photographed because I tried it as a method of remelting the hot glue to make it look smooth. To launch the rocket, follow the instructions in the paperwork that came with the rocket. If you don't have that paperwork, reply, and I will post a picture of them for you.
piee marc926 years ago
can u post to me the paperwork and the .... yhe important is where can i get the rocket engine.....
wow. makes me wish i still had model rockets.
Ian016 years ago
5, 3, 2, 1. Four sounds too similar to "FIRE!" which is only said/shouted if something that shouldn't be is on fire, e.g. the grass.
five sounds like fire .not four .i don't ask to be rude but do you have a speech impediment?
marc92 (author)  somebullcrap6 years ago
Accents can vary causing both five and four to sound like "FIRE." Say "five" and "four" with all the accents you can think of, e.g. Boston, Southern, Canadian, etc. Most likely you will find that five and four can both sound like "FIRE."
Xerillum marc926 years ago
My opinion is that it should go threetwooneboooom. Just my opinion though.
marc92 (author)  Xerillum6 years ago
That works too :-)
marc92 (author)  Ian016 years ago
Good point. People, (unlike me,) that are seriously involved with rocketry should heed this warning. Also be careful with five.
DJTOONJR6 years ago
where did u get the LED lights at though? i like wantmore cuz i(for some reason) put lights on my backpack..idk why.. i was just rwally bored lol... and i would like to know where to get em..
marc92 (author)  DJTOONJR6 years ago
LED's can be purchased at Radio Shack, on eBay, or where the ones used here came from,
DJTOONJR6 years ago
lol i had this rocket... came wit 2 little planes on the side as well.. only thing is dat the first day i launched it, it landed in someones roof and never got it bak ahah
marc92 (author)  DJTOONJR6 years ago
Mine also came with two planes, but I opted not to launch them because recovering them at night would have been challenging.
Loveofchaos6 years ago
could you add some LED throwies so that once the parachute deployer charge goes off, some LEDs come out making it a safe... cool looking (not very cheap) firework...... more like electrowork =p
marc92 (author)  Loveofchaos6 years ago
Great idea! Maybe I'll try it.
LinuxH4x0r6 years ago
Nice! (although i'd probably use rechargeable batteries)
marc92 (author)  LinuxH4x0r6 years ago
Good idea!
mattgatten6 years ago
Way cool. I've been wanting to do this with a few of my 'hot rod' R/C cars and racing planes. There are a buttload of 10mm LED's for cheap, cheap on 'The Bay'. Here's a highly filtered list of them. Enjoy.<br/><br/><a rel="nofollow" href="">10mm diffused LED's on Ebay</a><br/>
marc92 (author)  mattgatten6 years ago
Cool! Post some pictures if you do
macwhiz6 years ago
I have the same rocket! :) Ha Ha!
marc92 (author)  macwhiz6 years ago
Cool. Are you going to try this?
macwhiz marc926 years ago
Yoooder6 years ago
How hard would it be to make these blink? If you could get them to blink at a constant rate it would be cool to record with a high-speed camera to get acceleration/speed. Maybe it's too much work, but I think it would make an awesome science-class experiment :)
marc92 (author)  Yoooder6 years ago
Great idea! I'm not an expert with IC's but I know that you would use a 555 timer. I just don't know how to set it up. I bet if you Google'd it you could find plenty of information, and I don't think it would be that difficult to do.
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