We created a project for building different model rockets fast and easy. For this, we made a customizer for the nose and fins. The cool thing now is you can use whatever you find around your house.
And especially we want to encourage you to experiment at every stage and have some fun doing it. Our way and the materials used is just one way of many. This is why we have the customizer! Usually, we have the most fun when it is not working right away. So go ahead and experiment, fail, and do it again.
Please adhere to the Model Rocket Safty Code!
Step 1: Create 3D Model
When you know what to build the rocket with, go ahead and build the 3D model of the nose cone and the fin unit. We had a cardboard tube and just took this as the body for our rocket.
To make that as easy as possible we created this little configurator/customizer. The nice thing is that we took some physics of rocketry into consideration as well.
It runs right in your web browser, just like that. And, you can download the customized files - they are ready for 3D printing.
Step 2: 3D Print It!
Step 3: Rocket Engine
In the configuration step, you have chosen the dimensions according to the rocket motor you want to use. Be careful putting the rocket motor in place: Do not alter anything on the motor.
Put it in place. It should have a snug fit.
Take a wire (we took a metal paper clip) and if you have a high-quality 3D print it should perfectly fit into the predetermined fixing. Now bend it on the bottom part and the top part to secure the rocket motor, as shown in the pictures above or in the instructions that came with the rocket motor.
Step 4: Recovery System
For a save return to mother earth, we are going to need some device that decelerates the rocket and all its parts. You can achieve that effect with a glider, a gyrocopter, or a parachute. We choose a parachute. Fitting to the theme we choose a space blanket (can be found in expired first aid kits) because it's especially low-weight, low-bulk.
Choose a form of the parachute silk that supports a gliding motion (we encourage you to have some fun experimenting).
Fold it in a way that makes it likely to open on its drop down.
Assemble the Parachute
Fix the parachute to a string system. We used kite string.
- Punch small holes in the edges of the parachute.
Before you do, reinforce the hole borders before with some Scotch tape!
- Fix the strings to the parachute.
Make sure all the strings are the same length!
Step 5: Final Assembly
Now it's time for the final assembly and some super glue!
- Glue the fin unit to the rocket body shaft.
- Glue a little guiding tube to the shaft. We used a piece of a straw (the yellow tube in the picture above).
- Take a rubber band and fix it to the nose cone (there is a little hole in the nose cone).
- Glue the rubber band with the nose cone on the one end and glue the other end of the rubber band (not the nose cone itself!) to the rocket shaft.
- Knot the parachute recovery system to the rubber band - approximately in the middle.
Use flame-resistant recovery wadding in between the rocket motor engine part and the recovery system. Stuff it in the tube first.
There's an instructable on here how to make some flame-resistant recovery wadding yourself - we haven't tried and don't know how safe it is...
Then follows the neatly folded parachute. Then the strings. Then the rest of the rubber band.
Lastly, put the nose cone on the body tube. It should have a snug fit. A little tape helps if it is too loose, but you don't want it to be too tight as the recovery system has to be shoot out by the rocket motor.
Step 6: Ready for Lift-off
Now it is "T-3 hours and counting": The crew departs for the launch pad!
And this is it. Now you're on your own and we'd love to get any feedback on how your journey into space went: Write us an email!