Rocket Locket




About: Awesome Gear I've designed myself.


Section of copper pipe
Old CD
Coat hanger
Paper Clip
Sand paper, various grits
Soldering torch optional

Step 1: Make a Copper Sheet

Cut a section of copper pipe. If you don’t have a pipe cutter use a hack saw or other safe means.
Cut the section open with a pair of metal shears.
Use pliers to open it up and then a hammer to flatten it out.
Cut it in half.

Step 2: Make the Relief Indentation

Cut a section of coat hanger and wrap it around a circular shape. I used a 36mm socket. Bend the coat hanger in the center with a pair of plies. Bend the open ends of the hanger inward to finish the bottom. Cut off the excess.

Tape the wire frame onto the copper sheet. I used aluminum tape but only because that is what I had on hand. Other heavy tape should work fine. Place the assembly, wire side up, on a piece of wood or small loop carpet. Hammer the wire into the copper sheet evenly and all the way around.

You should now be able to see the shape of the wire frame showing through on the other side. Now lay the assembly wire side down. Use a small ball peen hammer struck by a larger hammer to make a relief indentation of the wire frame. See the pictures. Keep on hammering until the indentation is fairly smooth.

During this step the rocket will bow. To counter this, place the assembly on a flat surface and use a punch to gently hammer the wire frame. Do this until the rocket is flat again.

Step 3: Make the Fins

Cut the corners off of the upper portion of the copper sheet. Use one of the corners and shape a fin. Place the fin on both sides of the rocket and outline it.

Cut the rough shape out with metal shears. Leave a tang at the bottom of the rocket. Use pliers to bend the tang back.

Step 4: Make the Bubble Cockpit

Use progressively larger drill bits to enlarge the cockpit window. Use a cutting bit to further the expand the hole.

Cut a old CD in half and use tape to remove the silvering. Place a piece of the CD over the back side of the rocket. Use a heat gun to soften the CD so that forms in and through the window.

Use a cutting bur to shape the CD window down to size.

Step 5: Make the Back Side and Flame

Trace the rocket on the other half sheet of copper. Cut the shape out with metal shears. Use a cutting bit to cut a slot that corresponds with the tang on the other half of the rocket. Use rough sand paper to texture the flame in a downward design.

Make the flame concave with the head of a carriage bolt and a hammer against a scrap piece of wood. Bevel the edges of the flame with a file or sand paper.  

Step 6: Add Accents

Solder on the third fin.

Use a socket to form a circle in copper wire. The wire I’m using came from my wife’s scrap booking supplies. It can be found at any craft store. Solder the wire circle over the widow. Sand off any excess solder.

Use super glue to set the CD bubble window in the cockpit.

Now the back side. Use a paper clip to form a picture holder as seen in the picture. Solder the clip in place. While you have the torch handy, discolor the flame of the rocket with heat.

Step 7: Polish and Assemble

Sand out tool marks with 400 grit sand paper. Go on to 1000 grit and then polishing compound and a polish wheel. I think leaving some tool marks adds character.

Use the back side of the rocket for a template. Cut out your picture and place it in the clip. Set the tang in the back side. Use a paper clip to make a jump ring. Drill a hole at the top of the rocket and connect it together with the jump ring.

If you want you can drill an additional hole in the tang and use a ring to secure it closed.

MakerBot Challenge

Participated in the
MakerBot Challenge

2 People Made This Project!


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61 Discussions


2 years ago

Wow. You are the Man! Thank you, I want to try this like soonest.


Reply 3 years ago

No. You have to be able to solder some of the pieces. Although you could just eliminate them. The 3rd fin and the paper clip. Then you could do it without soldering.


3 years ago

stunning and such a fun design lovely !


5 years ago on Introduction

What was your method with flattening out the copper tube? I am lacking in arm strength and having trouble using pliers thanks!

1 reply

Reply 5 years ago on Introduction

I used pliers to open it up enough so I could use a hammer to flatten it. You may be able to open it up by placing 2 claw hammers against each other and using the claw parts to pry it open. If you try that be careful and wear eye protection just in case.


6 years ago on Introduction

This. Is. Amazing!! I love the entire project - you made it incredibly interesting. Awesome!!


7 years ago on Step 7

This project is incredible! I love the descriptive explanations and the critical thinking behind each step. It is also very helpful to better understand how one would plan and organize his/her creative process.

Thanks so much for sharing. :D


7 years ago on Introduction

Chiming in here way late, but here's one tip for dealing with the silvery solder on copper pieces. I use a saturated vinegar and sea salt "pickle" heated in a crockpot to remove oxidation and flux residue from my copper pieces. This solution turns blue as it becomes saturated with copper molecules. Use the blue pickle to copper plate the solder after removing excess solder. Simply remove a small amount of pickle to another container, toss your piece in it and pinch off a little bit of steel wool. Throw the steel wool in the stew on top of your piece and wait a few minutes for the magic to happen. The copper molecules in the pickle will plate onto the piece and cover the solder. The plating will be thin, so polish carefully or you'll remove it. Plating works best when the piece is very well cleaned of oil or fingerprints. I use an alcohol prep pad to wipe it down before I drop it into the plating pickle.

If you need to mix a batch of fresh pickle, simple pour white vinegar into a glass container or small crock pot, throw in a handful of sea salt. There are no particular proportions, so no need to sweat amounts, just dump it in. Heat it until it is very hot using whatever method you choose and toss a copper scrap into the pickle. Let it sit in the heat for a bit and just continue as directed above. Warning: Use pickle in a well ventilated area and do not boil, the fumes, while not very toxic, are not very pleasant. Keep your pickle pot covered while heating.

MrBalleng, you are amazing and I have a request. Would you please do a video describing all the various "improvised" tools you so cleverly use? Sure would be helpful for this broke, metal banging, gal.

2 replies

Reply 7 years ago on Introduction

rsmith63, thanks very much for explaining this! I've always wondered how to copper plate the unsightly silver solder. Your method sounds very easy and more importantly, cheap!!! And I second the video request! :D

MrBalleng, excellent instructable as always. Keep up the awesome work. You are an inspiration to those of us just getting started with metalworking and feel overwhelmed by all the specialty tools that they say one needs. Thanks for keeping it simple and noob-friendly.



Reply 7 years ago on Introduction

Your a genius! I never thought of that. Thanks so much for the advice. I'll make a video. I'm still working on my last video which was "how to solder" but it's not up to par yet. Thanks again.


8 years ago on Step 7

i was just thinking as i read through this again.. did you try to run the chain through through the second ring as well as the the jump? i only ask becaus of the angle it would create, making it a more dramatic looking piece ya know?

1 reply

8 years ago on Introduction

I'm only sorry that I saw this when I was on a break at work. Now I have to wait until I get home to give it a try. This is beautiful work and appeals to the artist as well as the astronomer.


8 years ago on Introduction

Can you tell me how big the pipe was? I think I got one to thick, lol.