Many a Make: reader, especially those of us of a certain age, cut our teeth on building and flying model rockets. This one hobby required you to gain at least a basic aptitude in model construction (and all of the skill sets involved there), basic design and engineering skills, understanding the science and aerodynamics of flight, rudimentary electronics, ballistics, and much more.
Given the importance of rocketry for many of us in developing as makers, it’s no wonder that Make: has covered a ton of rocketry projects of varying stripes over the years, from kiddie water and stomp rockets to serious high-powered efforts. Here is a selection of some of these projects and articles from the past ten years.
Rocket Science for Kids
Make: contributor Andrew Terranova builds an Estes model rocket with his daughter.
Build a Soda Bottle Rocket
With a few empty soda bottles and some PVC pipe, you can build a high-performance water bottle rocket.
Hydrogen-Oxygen Bottle Rocket
Use electricity to split tap water into hydrogen and oxygen gases, then use this explosive gas mixture to power a two-stage, electronically-timed rocket.
Make Bottle Rocket LED Fireworks
[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7uE_FZ9R66k]Launch lots of little lights in a rocket and see them parachute back down with this unique and fun project.
Build Your Own 10-Rail Launcher
Every rocket nerd dreams of having a multi-rail launcher for his or her rocket group. In this classic Make: magazine project, Doug Desrochers shows you how to build an awesome 10-rail mega-launcher.
A Tribute to the 1970 Estes Catalog
Those of us DIY techie types who came of age in the 70s remember the Estes catalog of that era with a near-holy reverence. I still remember pouring over the 1970 catalog like it was the cover of a psychedelic rock record, like its pages contained esoteric secrets I could divine if I just studied them hard enough. In this wonderful piece, lifelong rocket hobbyist, Stefan Jones reminiscences on the impact the 1970 catalog had on him.
In a follow-up to Stefan’s Estes catalog piece, I posted a piece linking to an appreciation for the late Mike Dorffler, creator of the Cineroc. The Estes Cineroc was on the rocket-borne 8mm movie camera which was sort of the Holy Grail of model rocket hardware. Sadly, it appears that the appreciation essay my article linked to is no longer there.
Scratch-Built Colonial Viper Model Rockets
Hobby rocket couple Verna and Randy scratch-built a fleet of Colonial Vipers from Battlestar Galactica, based on the old Estes kit.
Upsizing the Estes Gyroc
A group of Florida hobbyists have created a monstrous version of the classic Estes Gyroc. But will it fly?
Developing an Ardunio-Based Flight Computer
[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mibHgib7Rh8]A group of college engineering students built the ultimate rocket datalogger and controller. Things have been quiet on the Carbon Origins channels of late, so we’re not sure what the current status is of this project.
Make Your Own Sugar Rocketry Motors
Make:’s resident pyromaniac, Bill Gurstelle, shows you how to make rocket motors out of potassium nitrate or saltpeter (KNO3) and sugar.
Building and Testing a Hybrid Rocket Motor
[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TLPWqCMb7DE]“For demonstration only,” brilliant science hacker, Ben Krasnow, walks us through his homemade hybrid rocket engine, made by combining a rod of poly(methyl methacrylate) with gaseous oxygen. Watch as he shows the fabrication methods for constructing the rocket as well as detailing the rocket engine’s ignition properties.
To read more of the rocketry coverage Make: has featured here and in the magazine, check out the Rockets tag.