Build and Launch a Model Rocket


          Model rocketry is a fantastic hobby for the young scientist. Many current engineers and scientists got started on model rocketry as children. It is a great way to build and learn assembly skills, as well as general science knowledge. Model rocketry involves building small scale rockets that are propelled with small model rocket engines. The model rockets come in many different designs but generally are hollow tubes with fins attached for stability in the air as well as a detachable cone at the top for aerodynamics and parachute deployment.

Step 1

Buy your model rocket kits and supplies. A model rocket kit will come with all materials needed to build a model rocket excluding tools such as glue and scissors etc. In addition you may have to buy the model rocket engines separately. You may also have to buy the model rocket launching base with ignition switch. Some model rocket kits come with this while others do not.

Step 2

Assemble your model rocket tube. The tube may be in one piece or several. If it is a slip fit multi piece tube then you must slide the tube pieces together using glue on the outside edges of the smaller diameter tube section that fits into its parent section. Follow the instructions in your manual to set this up correctly.

Step 3

Attach the model rocket fins to the bottom of your rocket tube. Some model rocket kits come with precut fins, others give you the dimensions and the materials that you must cut to size yourself. Once you have the fins cut to length, use glue to attach them to the bottom of your rocket tube. If your tube was precut with fins slots from the factory then attach the fins to the slots. If not then you must use a marker to mark the sections of the tube where you will attach your fins.

Step 4

It is time to attach the rocket engine to your tube. There are a few ways to do this depending on the type of model kit. Some model kits design the diameter of the tub slightly larger than the diameter of the model rocket engine. This allows you to slide the rocket engine up the bottom of the tube. If the rocket is not snug and easily slides out then you may have to glue the outside of the rocket engine to the inside of the tube. Other rocket kits have some type of separator between the rocket tube and the rocket engine. The rocket is either press fit into the center of the separator or glued to it. In any case follow the instructions on your model rocket kit manual to use the proper method.

Step 5

Now attach the parachute to the inside top of the rocket tube. The parachute is folded up many times such that it can be slid into the top of the rocket tube. Following the instructions, glue a section of cardboard or paper to the string that attaches to the parachute. Then glue this cardboard strip to the inside of the rocket tube, between one to two inches down into the tube. Make sure this attachment is very tight and left to dry as this is the only thing holding the parachute to the rocket body. If this attachment point comes lose your rocket will lose its parachute and plummet to the ground.

Step 6

After shoving the parachute into the body of the model rocket, it is time to attach the nose cone. The nose cone is usually a pre made piece found in your model rocket kit. The nose cone must eject after the rocket finishes burning so make sure you do not glue the nose cone to the rocket body! This is a common beginner’s mistake. The nose cone must just slip fit into the top of the rocket. If you glue the nose cone to the body then it will prevent the parachute from deploying, possibly destroying your rocket.

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