The Great Make: Rocketry Round-Up

Drones & Vehicles Rockets Science Space
The Great Make: Rocketry Round-Up

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

rocketryMake: contributor Andrew Terranova builds an Estes model rocket with his daughter.

Build a Soda Bottle Rocket

rocketryWith a few empty soda bottles and some PVC pipe, you can build a high-performance water bottle rocket.

Hydrogen-Oxygen Bottle Rocket

rocketryUse 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 player
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

eylPZPA32KXeFikREvery 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

rocketryThose 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

vypersquad2Hobby 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

megaGyroc_9A 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 player
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

m35_special_sugarrockets-16Make:’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 player
“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.

Discuss this article with the rest of the community on our Discord server!

Gareth Branwyn is a freelance writer and the former Editorial Director of Maker Media. He is the author or editor of over a dozen books on technology, DIY, and geek culture. He is currently a contributor to Boing Boing, Wink Books, and Wink Fun. His free weekly-ish maker tips newsletter can be found at

View more articles by Gareth Branwyn


Ready to dive into the realm of hands-on innovation? This collection serves as your passport to an exhilarating journey of cutting-edge tinkering and technological marvels, encompassing 15 indispensable books tailored for budding creators.