Black Powder Rocket Motors.

In this instructable I will show you how to build a Black powder rocket and how to put it onto a car.
This will also outline other things you can do with these rockets
There is always the possibility of using other types of fuel such as the sugar and KNO3 fuel in the same way

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Step 1: Materials

You will need the following.

Rocket tube/motor;
An A3 piece of paper
PVA (white) glue
Black powder -
Bentonite clay (as above)
A 15mm dowel with 4mm bore (bore optional)
A spindle with 4mm bore extension (optional)
and tube, and ramming device could be used. or if you want you could remove 1/2 the fun and buy your own pre made motor?!?!?!?

Toy car

Of course you dont have to make some BP you could buy some, or already have some. but the Black powder on my other instructable is well suited to this project and will burn at a good rate.

Step 2: Rocket Tube

Cut your piece of A3 paper into 6cm wide strips. T
ape the end of one strip on the other end of your workbench than you are, and apply PVA glue from the far end to 4cm from your end. Place dowel on your end of paper strip and tightly roll to the end.
Take off the tape at end a glue last bit on, and then take out dowel. Repeat with all strips.
Leave to dry for at least 2 hours before ramming so they have time to harden, but they reach their hardest over night and after this time they work best.

Step 3: Motor Packing

When using these motors, they work best with a bore in it, it makes burning faster and more efficient, for bore you'll need to use a spindle and a dowel with bore hole (see picture). If you don't want a bore, do this step without spindle and drill a nozzle when done, (ram on top of a piece of tape).
First place your tube on the spindle and add about ½ a table spoon of clay, ram this down by putting dowel in tube and hitting with hammer.
Do this until a 1cm depth of clay is formed. Add Black Powder ½ tablespoon at a time and ram after each addition leaving a little over a cm at the top.
Then add more clay and ram until nearly all of tube is full.
(if using spindle pull off tube, if not drill a hole through the bottom of tube, about 2cm deep).

Step 4: Making the Car

Get your toy car and tape a piece of straw, 2cm less than the cars length in the middle of it. Tape or glue a rocket motor on top, run string through straw and tie at both ends to create track, this will keep car on course.

Step 5: Using Car

Set up track with about 10 meters of string (try fisjing line), its more fun to race more than one car at a time.
To start, put a fuse in the nozzle of the rocket and jam with pieces of wood, or blu-tack. NOT GLUE.
Light fuse and enjoy (but stand well clear.
make sure you secure motor and straw VERY well onto car, lots of stress goes on these.

Step 6: Tips and Cautions.

The bore(and nossel) should be about 4mm in diameter, if too small rocket might explode, if too big rocket will get sow thrust. The bore and nozzle increase efficiency of rocket.
Don't ram too much at one time or rocket wont perform as well.
Don't use anything but lead balls in your ball mill, anything else will either create sparks or bee too soft.

You could also use these engines on planes and run them off a ramp without string, or by themselves with stick attached for vertical flight.
In one of the pictures you can see a rocket motor mounted in a paper model rocket and in another a 8cm rocket motor of the same principle attached to a explosive shell which will be observable in action in my video.
Experiment with different lengths of rocket for different effects.
If you add more charcoal to black powder tail will be more spectacular.

Beware; most countries/states ban these unless they stay grounded.
Please do not attempt to use any of these motors in any way near dry grass, trees or petrol stations because they could cause a fire.



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    63 Discussions


    4 years ago

    bp rocket engines are very legal in the US. and they are 100% allowed to leave the ground! tht is what they are made to do! i think the law has a bigger problem with people using bp rocket engines in weird ways like, maybe taping them to a car and lighting them on the ground:) lol. but i think its safe to say you can make and do most anything with bp rocket engines and youll be fine as long as there is no damage to property or people:)!


    8 years ago on Introduction

    eek... good instructable, BUT...

    When working with, ramming, black powder, use non-sparking tools... (brass, plastic, wood...) and gloves (welder's?) to provide at least a little protection for hands in case of explosion, and a blast shield of some sort to protect face and body.

    Light dampening black powder will provide protection from accidental ignition. Of course, the completed motor will need a lot of time to totally dry before it can be used... perhaps a light bulb in an insulated box as a drying box (looking for maybe 100degrees Fahrenheit). (Use someplace where an explosion won't cause damage or a fire of course.)

    Be safe....

    2 replies

    Although I have no problem with your extra caution, I will say this: The Meal Powder I use to make these motors is not pressure sensitive, that is it won't ignite from ramming. Using non Sparking tools is always a good Idea. I manage with the wooden tools I have. I have never had any trouble with leaving the motors to dry. If you see my Black Powder making instructable you will see that in that process I allow the individual elements to dry separately before mixing them, that way there is no chance of ignition. For example, in the past I have dried KNO3 in the oven at a very very low heat to dry it out because it was fertiliser quality material.

    Thank you, however, for the cautious procedural advice that you have given. There is no problem in being extra careful with these methods.

    I know I may rant about safety, but I also know there are some youngsters that read these. I don't mean my rants as criticism - I just throw them in if they seem to have been overlooked to ease my own conscience.

    Years ago, there was a company that provided instructional manuals for making black powder and black powder rocket motors. They also sold heavy paper tubes in standard motor sizes for making the rocket motors and other supplies...

    The cautions I gave were the ones they gave...

    I have seen pictures of little kids (like 5 years old) in South America and Mexico mixing black powder ingredients in cloths for fireworks. A sheet about 3 or 4 feet square is held at each corner by a child and the ingredients are rolled back and forth, corner to corner by lifting one corner of the sheet at a time. And these are not small amounts. They look like 1 to 5 pounds at a time. The children are protected only by the fact that the powder is lightly dampened - I presume to inhibit ignition by static electricity spark.

    (65 and still in possession of all my fingers, thumbs, eyes and eyebrows - even though a few things went wrong - like when a circular saw blade tooth broke off.)


    11 years ago on Introduction

    Nice instructable I like it!_
    But one question: Can I replace the BB with something like natriumchlorate with sugar?
    I knew that natriumchlorate with sugar is very dangerous but i work with it since one year...

    4 replies

    Reply 10 years ago on Introduction

    The English for natriumchlorate is sodium chlorate I am not sure if it is one word or two no matter Natrium is the Afrikaans word for Sodium maybie even dutch or Hollands ? these languages are very similar to each other


    I don't have experiance with that particular combination, but if the mixture burns up the tube then it will give out thrust for the rocket. but if that mixture burns too quickly it probably won't work.


    9 years ago on Step 6

    "most countries/states ban these unless they stay grounded". That's like saying a bird is allowed in our state BUT HE CANT FLY! haha, nice instructable.


    10 years ago on Introduction

    flowers of sulfur and sulfur is the same thing !!! try melting some flowers of sulfur and you will believe me if you buy flowers of sulfur from a pharmacy it will be pure


    10 years ago on Introduction

    Even better run it off a ramp with wings attached and try to make it land in a circle on the ground. If someone can do this and tape it (it must land close to the center of the target), I will make a video doing whatever you ask (as long as it is legal).


    10 years ago on Introduction

    your videos are hilarious, you should do stand up, lol

    Kipkay actually only shows how to attach a motor to a car. You will find this one is a lot more in-depth and addresses construction and alternate uses. This instructable benefits the people who do not have access to commercial rocket motors.