Sugar Rocket/ Rocket Powered Shopping Cart!




About: I like to play with chemicals

This instructable will show you how to make a K class sorbitol rocket motor (almost an L) with a total impulse of 482 lb sec of thrust; and will show you how to attach it to a shopping cart! Warning! I am not responsible for what you do with your motor!

Step 1: Fabrication

To make this motor you will need to machine 3 parts on the lathe. I bought some aluminum tubing 2.5'' in diameter and 2.25'' ID for the motor, and some 2.25" stainless steel (304) for the nozzle. Graphite can also be used as the nozzle but wears a bit each use. I also bought some 2.5" dia aluminum for the end plugs. You will also need the appropriate snap rings and O-rings. I have drawings of the parts on CAD and have saved them as jpegs here.

Step 2: Casting the Grains

The rocket fuel mixture that I'm using for this motor is potassium nitrate and sorbitol. 35 parts sorbitol to 65 parts potassium nitrate is what I use. Mix about one pound of the propellant at a time and melt it in a cooking pan on a hot plate (do this outside and do not use fire to melt the mixture!!!!). sorbitol melts around 100 degrees celcius and the propellant wont auto ignite untill it is heated to around 500 C, so there is a nice safety margin; never the less be careful and dont do this around flammable things. The grains are bates grains and are 2.24'' in diameter 4'' long with a .95'' inside diameter; and a total of five grains in the motor. I use paper as my insulation/ burn inhibitor for my grains; you can use phenolic but this propellant is much more for giving than most others. Spray silicone relase on the insides of the mold where you dont want the propellant to stick.

Step 3: Mount Motor and Pack

To mount the motor I use hose clamps and exhaust clamps (the first time i used zip ties as a last resort and the motor came loose!!!). I put them through the shopping cart basket on the bottom. Your shopping cart may be different but you''ll need to find the balancing point on the shopping cart and attach the motor there. also make sure the motor is as far forward as it can be to add stability to the rocket. Next go to the desert or somewhere no one is around with no air traffic in case your motor comes loose the first time too; and pack the motor with 5 grains. next get a little baggy and fill it with black powder (about 5 grams) and stuff it into the back of the motor (the end with the end cap). Next get an e-match iginter and poke it up into the motor until it touches the black powder. Next put the nozzle in with its o-ring and a little silicone grease to help make a seal. Put the snap rings in then set the shopping cart in launch position and safely hook up your ignition system.

Step 4: Launch!!!

here are the videos of my launches!
This is the first launch attempt!

this is the second launch attempt!



    • Trash to Treasure

      Trash to Treasure
    • Gardening Contest

      Gardening Contest
    • Tape Contest

      Tape Contest

    4 Discussions

    Use the shopping cart bike "ible" and add your motor to that. That would be very cool to see.


    7 years ago on Step 2

    You should watch out with that setup. The hot plate has hotter and cooler parts, meaning you can get local highs. I'm sure that hot plate isn't bad, because it looks expensive. But, for people reading this, it could be disastrous. See attached picture, it should be a bit safer for the people out there. The metal rings could be anything. (e.g. cut from an aluminum can)


    7 years ago on Introduction

    I've also never had a cato with this design before. my secret is that the Kn never goes over 200


    7 years ago on Introduction

    This rocket uses entirely green fuel. Sorbitol is made industrially from corn syrup which is green energy. potassium nitrate is mined and can be made from horse manure or even human urine. there is no pollution what so ever.