How to make a limited use homemade rocket

***WARNING! Estes rocket fuel can be dangerous. Stand a safe distance away from the rocket while launching! NEVER do any adjustments to the propellant of the fuel! I will not be held responsible for any mishaps that happen before, during, and after construction and launch. ***

Parts List:

2 3”x 5” note cards

1 5”x 8” note card

1 wine bottle cork

1 1’x 1’ piece of card stock

1 sandwich bag

1 BIG rubber band

Elmer’s Glue-All

1 straw


Masking tape

1 eye screw


Spray Paint

Double Sided Tape

Exacto Knife

12” ruler

1 used Estes Rocket engine

Small saw

Clear Coat (optional)

Step 1 Casement for rocket:

Use a 6″ x 4″ note card, a used or unused Estes rocket engine, glue, and masking tape.

First, you put the engine on the 6″ side of  the note card.

engine in center of casement

Grab bottom edge of card then start rolling until the edge you grabbed is touching the rest of the note card. Be sure this roll is slightly tight!

side view of casement

Then spread glue on the part of the card that you haven’t rolled yet.

Rolling the note card to make casemnet

Finish rolling and tape up the other edge of the card using masking tape. Let dry.

While the casement is drying, you should make the nose come. I had some nose cones i picked up at a hobby store and used them. You could make your nose cones, but buying them is much easier. Instructions for making nose cones will be coming soon. I found one that perfectly fit the casement. It is best that you fit the nose cone while the casement is drying in case it is too tight, then you can make adjustments accordingly.

Here is the cone:

Now you need to make the fins:

You can use cardboard for the fins, but I used bass wood. I used the original triangle that I had left over from another project. I used the same principles to draw the other two fins. I decided to use three fins instead of four. For you amateurs, you should go with the four fin design. It is easier to figure out how to place four than three.

I used a band saw to cut out my fins but you can use an Exacto knife.

It is recommended that you sand your fins for more a more aerodynamic flight, but you don’t have to.

Now you need to glue the fins on the casement, which should be dry by now.

The procedure is simple. Just apply glue to the side of the fin that you didn’t sand. Be sure that you don’t put too much glue on the fin or you will have a very messy rocket!

Now let all the glue dry COMPLETELY and while the glue is drying, you should make the shock cord. I used two rubber bands, but if you have a shock cord then use it instead of what I used.

To tie the two rubber bands together use the square knot. If you don’t know what that is it is just puting the ends that you cut togther by tying : right over left and left over right, take all the ends and pull it tight. Now, that didn’t take as long as the glue took to dry so now you have to make the launch lug.

I used a regular straw and cut about an inch off. I tapered the ends for more a aerodynamic look. Then I just glued it on.

After you the glue on the fins has dried you should put another bead of glue to have more strength on the fins.

Once all the glue is dry, you need a way to hold the engine in the rocket while it’s in flight. I used an engine hook I had lying around, but you can cut a burnt engine up into 1/4 inch segments and just glue one of those in. (More info on that coming soon)

I put the engine hook on the casement and had the bottom of the engine hook stick out about an 1/8 of an inch so I can get the engine out after it has been used. I used my knife that was in my pocket, which probably was a little overkill but, it had a sharp point to cut a slit for the engine hook. You can use an Exacto knife for this job.

Now, just sick in the 90 degree bend into the slit and put masking tape over the hook of hoding the hook there, permanently.

Now you need a way for the rocket to come down safely. I used a parachute which adds a little weight, but  not much. You can use a streamer for recovery. I would recomend using marking tape that Geologists use to mark areas for exploration. Just cut about 6 inches of the orange streamer. Put a peice of masking tape on both sides of the streamer, at one end. Use a hole punch to punch a little hole for the kite string. Tie to one end.

Now you are pretty much done! It is recommended that you paint the rocket. This gives the rocket a nice smooth layer that makes the thing more aerodynamic. I will later have pictures on how mine turned out. Good Luck.


2 responses to “How to make a limited use homemade rocket

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