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In MAKE Volume 35, we explored the dangerous side of making. Among the projects we featured was the Homemade Sugar Rocket, a classic build where you make your own rocket engine from scratch, using granulated sugar and potassium nitrate.

MAKE reader Ian Kimball of Philadelphia shared his sugar rocket build experience in the Maker Camp Community on G+:

Just say KNO3.

Sugar rockets that is.

They flew and continue to fly magnificently! At first we were making our own fuses with varying success and some duds. After the Visco fuse arrived every engine launched with altitudes and flight times far exceeding our expectations (need larger field). Following some recommendations we upped the engine size from .375″ to .625″ dia. and around 2.5 inches in length with a .125″ bore for the core.

We love this project and are looking forward to experimenting with the variables and applying some science to discover our altitudes, launch speeds, and how tweaking the burn rates and engine dimensions can improve performance and predictability.

Ian tells me he’s a fine woodworker with a background in computer science and applied mathematics, and he enjoys building with his two sons, Gaelin (8) and Alistair (10). He’s currently gathering parts for “the must-have fusion reactor project” that we featured in MAKE Volume 36.

Fun sugar rocket side note: The Sugar Shot to Space collective has the goal of lofting a rocket powered by sugar propellant into space (62 miles above the Earth’s surface). Who will make it happen?

Not yet a MAKE subscriber? Let’s fix that today! A MAKE subscription is also a fantastic gift. And if you’ve built a project from the magazine, please send us photos — we’d love to see them!

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Laura Cochrane

I’m an editor at MAKE and CRAFT. I like hiking, biking, and etymology.


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