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How Do I Make a Rocket?

The most common way to build a rocket is to buy a prepackaged kit.
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  • Written By: Renee Booker
  • Edited By: E. E. Hubbard
  • Last Modified Date: 24 July 2014
  • Copyright Protected:
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    Conjecture Corporation
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With thousands of different rocket designs available, there are an equal amount of ways to make a rocket. The fist step in making a rocket is to decide on a design, which will be largely influenced by the costs involved. The most common way to build a rocket is to purchase a prepackaged kit; however, many builders choose to assemble from scratch. A few materials are needed prior to construction, including posterboard, double-sided tape, and spray adhesive, as well as three wooden dowels in 0.75-, 0.50- and 0.25-inch (1.9-, 1.27-, and 0.64-centimeter) diameters, a piece of fine-grit sandpaper, and a piece of maple wood.

The first step to make a rocket from scratch is to assemble the body tube by cutting the posterboard into four equal rectangles, each measuring 11 inches (27.94 cm) wide by 14 inches (35.56 cm) long. Use the 0.25-inch (0.64-cm) dowel to pre-roll both of the 11-inch (27.94-cm) edges of the posterboard by curling the board around the dowel and rolling it over a couple of times. Next, place a strip of double-sided tape along the length of one of the pre-rolled edges. Apply an even coat of spray adhesive to the side of the board opposite the side with the tape. The edge of the board with tape is then rolled around the 0.75-inch (1.9-cm) dowel towards the glue side until all of the posterboard is rolled up to form a cylindrical tube.

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Follow the above instructions using a sheet of 11 by 20 inch (27.94 by 50.8 cm) posterboard and the 0.50-inch (1.27 cm) dowel to form a second tube. Cut one inch (2.54 cm) off of the end of this tube and insert it into the rocket body. Apply all-purpose glue around the inside of the body, approximately 3.5 inches (8.89 cm) from the bottom. Push the cut section of tubing down the body until it contacts the glue. The bottom of the tube should be 3.5 inches (8.89 cm) from the bottom of the body tube.

The next step to make a rocket is creating the fins. A piece of maple 12 inches (30.48 cm) long, by 1.5 inches (3.81 cm) wide, by 3/32 inch (0.24 cm) thick will be needed. Mark a point in the middle of the wood piece to use as reference. You will then mark another point along the bottom edge of the piece 1 inch from the left edge, and one more point along the top edge 1 inch from the right edge.

Mark the last two points 1 inch (2.54 cm) out from the middle on the top left and bottom right. Cut the wood diagonally from the bottom left mark to the top left mark, and diagonally from the bottom right mark to the top right mark to form the fins. Sand the leading edges of the fins to a point with a fine-grit sandpaper to improve aerodynamics. Use all-purpose glue to attach the fins at even intervals around the base of the body tube.

Use a piece of scratch copy paper 2 inches wide by 3 inches long and roll it around a 1/8-inch dowel to form the launch lug. The paper should be glued together using all-purpose glue. Glue the launch lug vertically, alongside one of the fins.

To make the nose cone, mark the middle point along the upper edge of a 3x5 index card. Roll the left edge inward and wrap the right edge around the left section to form a cone. Note that the nose of the cone should be located at the mark made in the middle of the card.

Unroll the cone until only the first fold made on the left side is showing and apply spray adhesive from the point where the left edge meets the card to the right edge. Re-roll the cone now that the glue is in place. Trim the excess paper off of the bottom of the cone, making sure that the diameter of the bottom of the cone equals 0.75 of an inch (1.9 cm). Use all-purpose glue to secure the cone to the top of the body tube.

Apply a small amount of glue to the rocket engine casing and insert the engine in the bottom of the rocket. Attach the igniter to the rocket engine via the plastic plug included with the engine. In order to make a rocket unique to your personality, apply paint or vinyl sticker designs to the body and fins.

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