Want to become a better rocket modeler? We're here to help. We have made several YouTube videos that will show you the techniques to build great looking model rockets that are light and strong. When you start following these tips, your rockets will fly higher, faster, and will survive harder landings. And your friends will be in awe of your building talents.
Please let us know what you think of the videos by voting for them on YouTube. And send us an email with suggestions for future video topics.
(Video #183: Sep 29, 2015)
The construction of the rocket was completed in the last step, so now the decoration can begin. This video shows the installation of all the vinyl decals on the rocket.
(Video #182: Sep 15, 2015)
This video shows the installation of the leg latch piece that is the part the locks the leg in the deployed position and prevents it from collapsing when the lander touches down on the ground.
(Video #181: Sep 15, 2015)
This video shows the step of removing the glue-dam tape that was applied in the previous video.
(Video #180: Sep 01, 2015)
This week's video shows the application of the internal fin fillets that secure the fins and engine mount inside the body tube of the lander rocket. It involves creating a dam from tape on the outside of the tube, to prevent the glue from seeping out between the joint of the fins and the tube. If there are any large gaps between the fins and the edge of the tube slots, then you'll need to use a thick epoxy glue instead of wood glue. When the glue is hard, the fins will be very strong, which is what is needed for this Mega Lander model rocket.
(Video #179: Aug 18, 2015)
The engine mount was completed in a previous installment, and now it can be glued into the body tube. But before that is accomplished, the shock cord must be tied on.
(Video #178: Aug 04, 2015)
This step in the construction of the Star Lift Mega Lander model rocket is the installation of the dowel that allows the foot piece to pivot and spring open. The dowel is cut and the feet are sanded to allow the parts to rotate freely.
(Video #177: Jul 21, 2015)
This video shows the installation of the leg hold-down pockets, and the strakes on the top part of the tube. The strakes add strength to the tube without adding a lot of weight. Be careful not to get super glue on the paint, or it could mar the finish.
(Video #176: Jul 07, 2015)
In this week's video, the tube coupler is glued into the body tube of the rocket. The slots for the hold-down pocket are then cut out of the coupler once the glue is dried.
(Video #175: Jun 23, 2015)
This short video shows the installation of the final fin onto the engine mount assembly, and the application of the glue fillets. This makes a very strong assembly.
(Video #174: Jun 09, 2015)
In this video, you'll begin to glue the fins onto the motor tube of the lander. Remember to keep the aft ring free of glue, because it is just a temporary brace to hold the fin in place while the glue sets up. You can also put a glue fillet on the aft bulkhead that is in the red coupler tub
(Video #173: May 26, 2015)
This video shows the installation of the metal screw eyes in the bulkheads using wood glue. The coupler bulkhead is also glued into the base of the red tube coupler. It is an easy step, but allow the glue time to dry afterwards.
(Video #172: May 12, 2015)
Star Lift Assembly - All the wood parts at this point have been assembled, and we'll now sand them smooth to get rid of the rough edges so that they slide easily over each other. After they are sanded, you'll apply the second coat of wood stain.
(Video #171: Apr 28, 2015)
The leg latches are assembled in this step. The latches, as you'll see in the video, hold the legs in the open position for landing. We don't want them to fold back up when the rocket touches down, or the rocket will tip over.
(Video #170: Apr 14, 2015)
This video shows how to assemble the leg hold-down pockets. The important part is getting the width of the sides spaced correctly. This is where the special spacer piece comes into play. It sets the distance apart so the that the piece fits onto the body tube correctly. Remember to allow the glue to dry before doing the other two pieces.
(Video #169: Apr 01, 2015)
In this step, the plywood pieces that make up the legs are glued together using wood glue. This step will be performed three times to create all the legs.
(Video #168: Mar 17, 2015)
The wood stain that was put on in the last video is now dry. The video shows you how to sand the surface of the wood to smooth it out. You'll also see which edges need to be rounded to make the rocket more aerodynamic
(Video #167: Mar 03, 2015)
This short video shows how to paint on the wood stain on all the plywood parts. It can be kind of messy, so wear gloves and cover the table with a big sheet of plastic.
(Video #166: Feb 17, 2015)
Because this rocket kit has large and intricate plywood legs, decorating the model is a challenge. So instead of painting it after assembly, this rocket will be finished prior to construction. This video shows you why this needs to be accomplished, and gives you the pointers necessary to get started.
(Video #165: Feb 03, 2015)
The Star Lift Mega Lander is a mid-power rocket that is designed to land upright after its flight. The rocket extensively uses laser-cut plywood parts to give it a unique look, and to make it easier to build. The first step in the construction of the Star Lift Mega Lander rocket is to cut the launch lug in half and glue the portions into the slots on the body tube. We used slots on this rocket to mark the location of the launch lugs, because that assures that are straight down the side of the model. After the glue is dry, go ahead and apply paint primer to the tubes followed by white paint.
(Video #164: Jan 20, 2015)
Because this is a competition rocket, it needs to follow the rules of the FAI event. In this video, we'll trim the length of the rocket to exactly 500mm. We'll also balance the rocket so we can know where to attach the launch lug. The lug is optional, and you won't need to attach it if you are launching out of a tower or off of a piston. Finally, you'll get some tips on how to fly the rocket, such as coloring the bottom of the blades to make it more visible in the sky.
(Video #163: Jan 06, 2015)
This step in the construction of the Rotary Revolution shows how to install the rubber bands that are used to deploy the rotor blades of the model rocket. After that, the blades have to be balanced, so that the rocket doesn't perform a coning motion as it descends. This will allow the rocket to hang in the air longer
(Video #162: Dec 23, 2014)
This video covers the installation of the rotor blades onto the hub of the gyrocopter. Before they can be attached, the wood is strengthened with a thin nylon mesh material. This prevents the wood from splitting. The slot is cleaned out, and a drop of glue is all that is needed to hold the blades onto the support arms.
(Video #161: Dec 09, 2014)
At this point, the body of the rocket is complete, and the graphite shaft for the hub is ready to be attached to the tube. In this step, the Kevlar shock cord is attached to both the tube and the graphite shaft.
(Video #160: Nov 25, 2014)
To prevent the rotor hub from sliding backwards along the graphite shaft, you'll need to install a little tube that acts as a stop. This video shows you how to position and glue this tube into place on the rocket.
(Video #159: Nov 11, 2014)
You'll see how to assemble the nose cone and affix it to the central shaft. You'll need a drill bit and some epoxy or foam-safe super glue for this step.
(Video #158: Oct 28, 2014)
This video covers the construction of the rotor hub by installing the plywood blade posts and their hinge pins. The pins are cut from a small aluminum tube and are glued to the hub plate.
(Video #157: Oct 14, 2014)
This week's video covers assembling the hub used on the gyrocopter. In the last video, you saw how to curve the rotor blades by getting them wet and then wrapping them around a PVC tube. This video starts after the blades have dried out. You'll remove the blades by unwrapping the mummy strips. Next, you'll get an overview of the pieces that make up the plywood hub. You'll start assembly by installing the aluminum tube shaft, and then reinforcing the plywood to make it stronger. Finally, you'll start sanding the slots to accept the blade posts.
(Video #156: Sep 30, 2014)
The Rotary Revolution is a new competition style helicopter duration rocket. In this first video, you'll see the technique used to curve the three rotor blades by soaking them in an ammonia and water solution (Windex window cleaner), and then forming them over a plastic PVC-pipe.
(Video #155: Sep 16, 2014)
See the step-by-step process of putting one of Apogee's ejection baffles together and mounting it into a model rocket tube.
(Video #154: Sep 01, 2014)
This video is an interview with British modeler, John Jacomb. Here John describes some of the innovative technology that went into the models that the team from the UK was flying at the World Space Modeling Championships.
(Video #153: Aug 19, 2014)
The youngest Van Milligan daughter gives you a quick look at the latest Apogee toy: The Laser Cutter!
(Video #152: Aug 05, 2014)
Attaching the parachute is the final step in the assembly of the I.T.S. rocket. It is very fast, so I'll also show you how I fold the chute for launch. The most common mistake is folding it too tightly. Because this rocket weighs so little, the chute doesn't snap open like models that are heavier, so you have to fold it loosely so that it wants to open on its own.
(Video #151: Jul 22, 2014)
To increase the descent time of your rocket, you'll need to balance it so it hangs horizontally. In this video, you'll see how to install an empty rocket casing into the motor mount, and then to balance the rocket. It is pretty simple!
(Video #150: Jul 08, 2014)
This video shows the assembly of the large 32" diameter parachute that goes into the International Thermal Sailor. It is pretty straight-forward, but there is one little technique that you should do to prevent the lines from tangling.
(Video #149: Jun 24, 2014)
With the shock chord anchored to the body of the rocket, the next step is to attach the nose cone. This nose cone is very fragile and comes with a lightweight foam shoulder. Gluing the shock chord to the nose and gluing the shoulder into the nose cone is what is shown in this step. You'll also see how to create a loop in the shock cord where you can attach the parachute later. This competition style model rocket kit is available on the Apogee Components web site.
(Video #148: Jun 10, 2014)
This video shows two ways on how you might attach the shock cord to a competition style rocket like this one. The first way is for streamer and parachute duration events, and the second method is for helicopter duration events.
(Video #147: May 27, 2014)
This video shows how to attach the fins to your model rocket. But before we do that, you'll need to finish sanding them to provide a smooth surface finish. While this video shows a free-hand approach to attaching the fins, it is recommended that you use a fin alignment fixture to make sure they really are straight. If your rocket cork-screws on the way up, it is always a mis-aligned fin that is the cause.
(Video #146: May 13, 2014)
This video shows how to sand an airfoil into the fins of the rocket kit. You'll also seal the wood using water-thin super glue. The end result will be a light-weight, and glass-smooth surface. Note: Be careful when doing this step to wear safety glasses. If you're working with younger children, the adult should be the one to seal the wood using this technique. Super glue generates heat as it cures and can burn your skin if it comes in contact with the adhesive.
(Video #145: Apr 29, 2014)
This video shows how to attach the transition to the body tube. The trick is to make a two-step coupler that the transition slides over. It provides both strength and alignment for the transition. We'll also use the special alignment tool that was created earlier to make sure the transition is perfectly aligned with the tube, because there is no internal support inside like on a normal rocket. Finally, to make sure the transition does not come apart, you'll put a thin film of glue along the splice where the paper edges come together.
(Video #144: Apr 15, 2014)
This video shows how to install the engine mount into the conical transition of the rocket that we made in the last step. The engine mount is installed by pushing it in with the alignment tool that we made previously. The most important thing to remember when installing the engine mount is to make sure the fin lines on the tube match up with the lines on the transition.
(Video #143: Apr 01, 2014)
The hardest step in the construction of this rocket is making the paper transition section. This week, I'll show you a tip that will make rolling and joining the edges together a lot easier. This transition is important, because the thrust-loads from the engine must pass through the skin, as there is no tube runnng through the inside of it.
(Video #142: Mar 18, 2014)
The problem we'll have in assembling this rocket is aligning the paper cone to be parallel with both the front tube and the engine mount tube. To assure everything will be straight, we'll construct this alignment jig. It is a simple tool, but it is indispensable for making a perfectly straight rocket that has a structural transition section.
(Video #141: Mar 04, 2014)
This is a new series to go with a new rocket we're releasing soon. The rocket is named I.T.S., which stands for International Thermal Sailor. It is a competition rocket that meets the requirements of the FAI parachute duration competition (F.A.I. is short for: Fédération Aéronautique International, which is the world governing body for air sports, aeronautics and astronautics world records). FAI A-engine parachute duration is one of the events being held this July at NARAM-56 here in Colorado, so we wanted to release a basic model that will get you a qualified flight per the rules. Since it is a duration model with a big parachute, there is no reason that this rocket won't be the winner. You'll find that it seems to float effortlessly, and will easily catch a small thermal and soar away.
(Video #140: Mar 04, 2014)
This video describes the new "International Thermal Sailor" rocket's shape, which is a byproduct of the rules of the event. It should be noted that this same body tube can actually be used in three different FAI contest events: parachute duration, streamer duration, and helicopter duration. Eventually, Apogee will have a helicopter version using this same body tube. The rotor head and blades will be similar to the Gyro Chaser kit, just bigger to take advantage of all the room inside of this big body tube.
(Video #139: Feb 19, 2014)
Since we're done with the construction, I'm also including a launch video, so you can get an idea of what to expect when you launch the rocket.
(Video #138: Feb 18, 2014)
With the glider trimmed for flight, it is now time to prepare it for flight by installing a new rocket engine, the burn thread, and the rubber band. This will have to be done every time you launch the Cirrus Breeze rocket glider.
(Video #137: Feb 04, 2014)
This is a video series that covers the construction of the new Cirrus Breeze rocket glider kit. At this point, the glider has been constructed. But before it can be launched, it must be trimmed for flight. Trimming is the process of balancing the glider by adding weight and tweaking the control surfaces for a level flight. It requires that you head out to a grassy area and toss it around.
(Video #136: Jan 27, 2014)
Before you can trim the glider, you'll need to insert a burnt out rocket engine, so that rocket is at the right gliding weight. This mimics the actual condition of the glider after it has been boosted into the air by a rocket motor. You'll also need to attach the rubber band to the sliding wing. The reason for this is to bring the wing forward to the gliding position. At that point, you're ready to begin the hand tossing of the glider, which you'll see in the next video, or on the DVD that comes in the rocket kit when you purchase it.
(Video #135: Jan 27, 2014)
To keep the burn string from cutting into the paper tube, you'll need to provide a support and tie-down. On the Cirrus Breeze rocket glider, we use a stiffened piece of burn-resistant cord. This video shows how to install this cord onto the motor tube of the rocket glider
(Video #134: Jan 07, 2014)
The rocket motor pod construction was complete in the last video. This video will show you how to glue it onto the fuselage boom of the glider and well as where the launch lug is positioned.
(Video #133: Dec 24, 2013)
Adding the rocket motor pod is the next step in the assembly of the Cirrus Breeze Rocket Glider kit. In this video, you'll see how to prep the tube by adding lines down the length, and punching two vent holes into the tube. You'll also add the nose cone and the engine block.
(Video #132: Dec 10, 2013)
Attaching the wing to the sliding box is a critical step in the assembly of this rocket boosted glider. It needs to be straight and even so that the glider will fly without turning to one side or the other. In this video, you'll see my technique for attaching the wing. Also in this step, you'll add glue fillets to the wing and tail pieces to increase their strength.
(Video #131: Nov 26, 2013)
In this video, you'll see how to glue on the horizontal and vertical tail pieces. Before those go on, you'll also need to add a couple of plywood stops to the forward part of the fuselage boom. These limit the amount of travel the wing makes as it slides forward during glide.
(Video #130: Nov 12, 2013)
The wing on the Cirrus Breeze Rocket Glider is mounted on a slide-box. This box will slide along the fuselage boom, and allow the glider to boost straight on rocket power, and then transition nicely to a glide. In this video, we'll assemble and glue the slide box pieces. They are all laser-cut wood, so it actually assembles rather quickly.
(Video #129: Oct 29, 2013)
While the sanding block is out from sanding the wing of the Cirrus Breeze kit, the tail parts can also be airfoiled by sanding. In this video, you'll also see how to sand the fuselage boom to reduce aerodynamic drag, and so that the wing will slide along it easily.
(Video #128: Oct 15, 2013)
With the airfoil having been sanded into the wing, the next step is to cut the wing panels apart so that they can have their edges bevelled. When they are glued back together to give the wing a polyhedral shape, the beveled edges will provide maximum gluing surface area. This creates the strongest glue joint possible. After beveling the edges, the wing fixture will be used to hold the panels in the correct position so the panels can be glued together. This will give us a uniform wing shape so the glider will have the correct dihedral.
(Video #127: Oct 01, 2013)
The most important part of the glider is the wing. If the wing is build incorrectly, it affects both the boost and the glide of the model. In this step, you'll see how to correctly sand an airfoil into the wing. This is a tedious process, but don't skimp on it. If you have a razor plane, it can save some time, but you have to be careful not to gouge the wing surface.
(Video #126: Sep 30, 2013)
To make the polyhedral wing that the Cirrus Breeze rocket glider uses, you'll need some special fixtures. This video takes you through the assembly of the wing gluing fixture, and the wing sanding fixture. These two fixtures come with the glider and the whole kit can be found at Apogee Components, Inc. web site
(Video #125: Sep 21, 2013)
This video describes the tools that you'll need to build the Apogee Components Cirrus Breeze rocket glider kit. This model rocket is a breeze to build thanks to these video instructions.
(Video #124: Sep 07, 2013)
This week's video is a little teaser video that shows you what unique features this new glider has. I put a lot of engineering into this glider to make it simple to build and a joy to fly. For example, besides all the wood parts being laser-cut, there is a unique curved fuselage boom that gives a straight boost and a quick transition to glide.
(Video #123: Sep 03, 2013)
The Dual egg foam protector for the TARC model rockets can be tricky to use. As you slide it into the tube, the foam will want to bunch up and create a wedge that prevents its further insertion into the tube. In this video, you'll see how to modify the protector so that it can easily be dropped into the tube, and removed after the flight.
(Video #122: Aug 20, 2013)
Finally, we get to the actual launch of the "Level 2" rocket kit. The rocket is complete and all the electronics and the ejection charges have been installed. You'll see in this video that we'll be at the launch pad where the rocket will be loaded onto the rail. Then we'll install the igniter into the rocket motor and send it skyward. We'll finish up the video with a post-flight analysis of the rocket and how well it performed.
(Video #121: Aug 06, 2013)
Launch Day! This video starts out by hooking up the igniters and installing the ejection charges. Be very careful with the ejection charges, and only arm the rocket when it is in the vertical position. Once the ejection charges are installed, the rocket is buttoned up, the removable rivets are put in. The parachute is installed next and the nose cone put on. Finally the shear pins are screwed in.
(Video #120: Jul 23, 2013)
On the launch day, we need to prepare the rocket for flight. Here we're using a Cesaroni 54mm motor and we need to adjust the delay and assemble it in the casing, both of which are pretty straight forward. We will also pack the drogue parachute into the lower tube and assemble the electronics bay.
(Video #119: Jul 09, 2013)
The rocket construction is now complete, and it is time to perform the final installation of the flight parts. This video shows the installation of the shock cords and the parachutes. NOTE: Everyone asks which shock cord goes where. PUT THE LONGER ONE with the drogue parachute. This one comes out when the rocket is going fastest, so you want the extra length to give the rocket a chance to slow down as much as possible.
(Video #118: Jun 25, 2013)
In the last video, we left off at the point where the masking tape was applied to the rocket so the second color could be added. This video picks up at that point, outside and painting the rocket. The first two minutes are just the technique I use with rattle-can paint, so you can probably skim through that portion. We then skip forward a day, and come inside to remove all the tape we've put on the rocket. After an inspection, it is time to install the engine retainer, which is bonded on using JB Weld epoxy. Then the decal is put on the rocket, and essentially, the building portion of this project is done.
(Video #117: Jun 11, 2013)
The rocket now has its base color applied, which was done the same way as applying the primer (shown previously in Part 16). This video shows how to mask off the area onto which the second color will be applied. Along with masking tape and plastic sheeting, you'll need some pin-stripe tape, so that you can make curves easier.
(Video #116: May 28, 2013)
All the construction of the rocket is done, and in this video, we'll get it ready for the paint process. We'll actually take some of the parts off the rocket, like the rail buttons, so they don't get paint on them. There are some additional areas where we don't want paint to go, so those will be covered with masking tape. You'll also see the paint primer applied to the rocket using a spray gun. You can use aerosol cans, but that can be more expensive. Finally, we'll sand out the primer after it has dried, to remove any small surface blemishes. Multiple coats of paint may be necessary to remove the rough areas.
(Video #115: May 14, 2013)
Once the electronics is installed in the e-bay section of the rocket, the "sled" (the board) on which they are attached needs to be positioned correctly. This will allow the on/off switch to be accessed from the vent hole. That means the vent hole serves two purposes: to allow the air pressure to equalize inside the section so the pressure sensor on the altimeter can correctly measure the altitude of the rocket, and to allow the electronics to be turned on/off quickly. In this video, you'll see how to adjust the position of the sled so the switch is in the right place.
(Video #114: Apr 30, 2013)
This video shows how to wire up the altimeter so that it is connected to the battery, the on/off switch, and the two ejection charges. It is actually easier than you might imagine. The basic skill you'll need is how to strip wires so you can plug them into the right ports on the altimeter
(Video #113: Apr 16, 2013)
The ejection canisters are just small cups that are mounted to the bulkheads on each end of the electronics bay. They will hold the black powder that is used to pressurize the rocket and kick out the two parachutes. Since they will get a jolt when the charge goes off, they need to be securely attached, so we'll use a screw as well as epoxy to hold them down. At this time, you can also install the terminal blocks on the bulkheads. These are simply used to make attaching the igniters easier. Finally, we'll mount the on/off switch to the ebay sled using epoxy. Use extreme care, and prevent the epoxy from getting into the push-switch.
(Video #112: Apr 02, 2013)
Shear pins are temporary fasteners that hold the nose cone onto the rocket while it ascends upward. The larger the diameter of the rocket tube, the more they may be needed. The reason is the pressure inside the tube becomes greater than the atmospheric pressure surrounding the rocket at altitude. The higher the rocket goes, the larger the pressure differential. Therefore, the internal pressure wants to equalize with the external pressure, and the nose cone wants to pop off. The larger the diameter the tube, the greater the force (remember, force is pressure differential times the area of the base of the nose cone). If the nose comes off prematurely, it could shred the rocket or the recovery parachute, causing an unsafe launch.
The shear pins, then, are used hold the nose cone on the rocket in spite of the internal pressure. When the ejection goes off, it creates more pressure than the pins can withstand, and they shear in half, allowing the nose cone to come off at the proper time. Since they are cut in two, they have to be replaced before the rocket is relaunched. In this video, you'll see how the nylon-plastic pins are installed into the rocket.
(Video #111: Mar 19, 2013)
Since this is a dual deployment rocket, it will require electronics inside to control the ejection of the recovery devices. In this video, we'll start installing the altimeter to the sled that goes into the ebay.
(Video #110: Mar 05, 2013)
The Level 2 High-Power Model Rocket, which uses dual-deployment for recovery, is nearing the half-way point in construction. Here you'll assemble the ebay temporarily to make sure it fits together, and you'll also put the bulkhead into the base of the nose cone using epoxy clay to build up a shelf, and liquid epoxy to lock it in place.
(Video #109: Feb 19, 2013)
For a dual-deployment model rocket, the electronics bay will have a number of holes that will need to be drilled for the hardware that holds it all together. Here you'll see the holes drilled on both bulkheads, the holes for the removable plastic rivets and the vent hole for the altimeter and on/off switch.
(Video #108: Feb 05, 2013)
This is a fiberglass e-bay, so it is assembled in a different manner than one made from cardboard tubes. Everything has to be epoxied together, and scuffed up beforehand, so that a good bond is created. In this video, the end-plate bulkheads are assembled, and the external tubes are bonded together.
(Video #107: Jan 22, 2013)
After 24 hours, the epoxy portion of the fin fillet is fully cured. This is the structural part of the fillet, and it would be hard to crack a fin made this way. But aesthetically, it may need a little bit of sanding of the edges of the fillet to make them smooth and so they blend in perfectly with the rocket tube. The secret ingredient is carpenter's wood filler. It is easy to work with, and makes the edges look perfect. In this video, you'll see how easy it is to thin out with some water, and paint on your rocket. In 20 minutes, you can be sanding all the fins.
(Video #106: Jan 08, 2013)
The fin fillets add strength to the rocket as well as lower the aerodynamic drag. We'll use the Fix-It epoxy clay for the structural aspects, and come back later (in the next video) with some Elmer's Carpenter's Wood Filler to feather out the edges and make it look pretty. While it looks like this will take a while, it is one of the fastest methods of getting great looking fillets without a lot of hard work.
(Video #105: Dec 24, 2012)
This is where the engine mount and the fins get bonded into the tube with epoxy. The engine mount tube is first sanded to roughen up the surface so that the epoxy has something to grip to. The fins are then bonded to the rocket at the same time as you'll bond in the motor tube.
(Video #104: Dec 11, 2012)
In this episode, you'll position the rings on the motor mount and get it ready for the engine retainer. One option that I also talk about in this video is the tail-cone style engine retainers. Since these are a bit different, you do have to plan for them ahead of time, because it affects the location of the rings on the engine mount tube
(Video #103: Nov 27, 2012)
Planning ahead in this video. The aft rail button needs to be installed prior to bonding the engine mount tube into the rocket. To place them on the rocket, we'll be drilling a few holes into the main tube.
(Video #102: Jan 01, 1970)
Before gluing any parts in a rocket together, you first should do a fit-check. That is what we'll do in this video. The parts were a little too snug, so you'll see me sanding them down so that they go together easier.
(Video #101: Oct 30, 2012)
We've had a number of requests over the years about how to build a fiberglass rocket. In answer to those requests, I'm releasing the how-to videos here in the Apogee's Advanced Rocketry Workshop. The kit shown in the videos is called the "Level-2," which is being made for us by Madcow Rocketry. Besides being all-fiberglass, this kit is designed to be flown as dual-deployment, and uses a 54mm motor mount. To give you an idea of the performance of a fiberglass rocket like this, on a small J-size motor, this rocket is expected to fly around 2,300 feet high.
(Video #100: Oct 16, 2012)
Shear pins are used to keep the nose cone securely attached to the rocket, until the ejection charge pushes it off. They are made of soft plastic, and are sheared in half when the nose starts sliding out of the tube. In this video, I'll show you how to install shear pins in your rocket.
(Video #99: Oct 02, 2012)
The Quest Q2G2 igniters are great for clustering black-powder motors. Most people wire them up in a parallel circuit, which is fine. But did you know they can also be wired in a series circuitry? In this video, I'll show you a 3-engine cluster where they are wired in series. This simplifies the twisting together of the leads. It also allows you to test continuity of all the igniters at once, because if one igniter is bad, you'll have an open circuit and continuity will fail to be achieved.
(Video #98: Sep 18, 2012)
The U.S. Rockets Piston Stager is a Skill Level 5 model. That ranks it among the highest in difficulty among the rockets we carry. One reason is that the instructions are vague on how to mount the electronics that control staging.
In this video, I'll show you how I would mount the staging timer in the rocket, and how to put the rocket together for an awesome flight. I'll even show you what the flight will look like with an actual launch video. When everything is set up properly, it is a very cool flight.
(Video #97: Sep 04, 2012)
You're probably asking: "What is a motor extension? And why might I need one?" These are very good questions, and I'll try to answer them in this week's video. The short story is that they allow you to use shorter motors in those minimum diameter rockets that already have the AeroPack Minimum Diameter Retainers installed. You might have the rocket set up for a 6 grain motor, and then you decided you want to test fly it on a 2-grain motor to test out your electronics first. The motor extensions allow you to span the length gap between the 2 and the 6 grain casings.
(Video #96: Aug 21, 2012)
As you know, I was at NARAM a couple of weeks ago. NARAM is the NAR's annual model rocket contest. It is where you go to compete for fame and fortune... Or just have a lot of fun. My daughters wanted to give you a kid's perspective, so that you'll know what to expect if you ever decide to attend yourself.
(Video #95: Aug 07, 2012)
You can make a simple ejection charge canister for your high power model rocket with a rubber glove. In this video, you'll see how quick you can make the holder for the black powder.
(Video #94: Jul 24, 2012)
Here is a little trick on using the AltimeterOne to test if your dual-deployment altimeter is firing at the correct altitude. This involves using the "curr" mode when placing the unit in a vacuum chamber. It is a simple test that will give you the reassurance that the dual-deployment altimeter is setup and working properly.
(Video #93: Jul 10, 2012)
Attaching external pods to your rocket can be a cumbersome process while trying to make sure the tubes are aligned perfectly straight. In this video, I'll show you how to get that straight alignment, as well as a quick trick to seal off the vent holes between the tubes. These two tips will allow you to make strong and functional external pods.
(Video #92: Jun 26, 2012)
My daughter wanted to do another video, so I told her to talk about the Fix-It epoxy clay and what it can be used for. A lot of people don't realize how useful it can be, so here is a little glimpse for you.
(Video #91: Jun 12, 2012)
Putting down water-slide decals isn't too hard. But there are a couple of frustrations that we often hear about, like the decals tearing, and them not sticking down properly. So we'll cover them in this week's tutorial video. And since a lot of peosple liked my daughter doing the video last time, I let her take over the staring role again this week. She does make a couple of flubs, like telling you to blot away the excess water with water, but I think you'll be able to figure out what she's saying.
(Video #90: May 29, 2012)
Because pressure-sensitive decals (the sticker kind) grab hold of a rocket so fast, they can be hard to position on the model where you want them to go. It is even worse when they wrap completely around the outside of the rocket, because then it is hard to line up the edges perfectly. In this video, you'll see a simple trick to make repositioning the decals a lot easier. I'm letting my daughter get in front of the camera this time.
(Video #89: May 15, 2012)
This unique jig, called the "Slot Machine" allows you to cut straight slots in model rocket body tubes for through-the-wall fins. The advantage of this jig is that it can cut tubes of any size without having to re-adjust it. Just imagine how quickly you'll be able to cut slots in your high-power rockets.
(Video #88: May 01, 2012)
I got a question a week ago about using an Estes A10-3T motor in the Apogee Apprentice rocket kit. The answer is, “yes.” It is possible. But it requires an adapter to put a smaller diameter motor into a big diameter engine mount. These special adapters are available, and they are simple to use.
(Video #87: Apr 17, 2012)
There are many ways to make a shock cord mount. What you'll see in this video is three ways. They happen to be the ones that I use most often for low and mid-power model rockets.
(Video #86: Apr 03, 2012)
It is called the Ultimate tube marking guide because it was specially made to custom fit the most common body tube sizes perfectly.
(Video #85: Mar 20, 2012)
The Estes model rocket tube cutting guides are a set of rings that clamp down on a body tube, allowing you to cut them easily. They work great with kids, and they fit all the common body tube sizes.
(Video #84: Mar 06, 2012)
The problem with most of the high power plastic nose cones is that it is hard to get anything to stick to the polypropylene material. It has a waxy feel to it, and it is hard to get anything to adhere to it, whether it be paint on the outside or epoxy on the inside. I'll show you how to add steel BB's to the inside of the nose cone, and hold them in place with a wooden dowel that passes through the wall of the nose cone.
(Video #83: Jan 01, 1970)
How do you hold reload casings in rockets that are just barely big enough for the motor itself? The answer is a product called a "minimum diameter retainer". In this video, you'll see how to install and use one for either the Aerotech or the Cesaroni model rocket motors.
(Video #82: Feb 07, 2012)
Does your recovery device have to come out the front end of the rocket by pushing the nose cone off? That is a question I recently got from a customer here at Apogee. The answer is no. You can use a technique called rear-ejection. In this case, the parachute is ejected out the rear of the rocket as the engine mount slides out the back.
To see more about this technique and how to use it, watch our latest rocketry video.
(Video #81: Jan 24, 2012)
In this video, I'll show you how to repair the tube after it's been split, by cutting off the front end and splicing on a new tube.
(Video #80: Jan 10, 2012)
In this weeks video, I'll start with two of the most common fin repairs that you'll need to learn to get your rockets back in launch shape. The first is where the fin pops off the rocket on landing, and the second is where it breaks but doesn't fall all the way off.
(Video #79: Dec 27, 2011)
A little something different this week. I moved the camera out of the studio, and into our shop where we make the rocket parts that go into the kits. What you'll see this time is how we make the cast-resin nose cones that go into the Heli-Roc kits.
(Video #78: Dec 13, 2011)
In this video, we'll finish up the assembly of our paper nose cone by putting on the shoulder. Then, using a short piece of Kevlar shock cord, we'll create a loop so that you can attach your new nose cone to the parachute and the rest of the rocket.
(Video #77: Nov 29, 2011)
In our last video, I showed you how to create the paper template to make the conical part of the nose. The next step, after printing it out, of course, is to cut it out and to then roll it into a conical shape. Remember, we're making an inner and an outer cone in order to get a nice sharp point on the tip. So you'll see the assembly of both cones and how they're put together.
(Video #76: Nov 15, 2011)
This is part 1 on how to make a paper nose cone for a model rocket. In order to achieve the best looking cone, you have to size it correctly to fit the model rocket body tube. We'll use the RockSim.com software to draw out a paper template that will be rolled into the cone.
(Video #75: Nov 01, 2011)
Last time, I showed you how to use the new Guillotine Fin Alignment Jig, but I let one thing up in the air. That was that you had to pre-mark the locations for the fins on the tube. In today's video, I'll show you the technique that I use to create a paper wrap-around fin spacing guide. I create these on my computer, so that I can be extremely precise, and so that I can save them for future rocket products. Every designer will need to create these types of wraps sooner or later, so here is you chance to see the process in action
(Video #74: Oct 18, 2011)
The Guillotine Fin Jig is one of the most versatile alignment fixtures that we've ever seen. It allows you to put fins on straight, on any size tube, not just the standard sizes!
(Video #73: Oct 04, 2011)
The Wireless controller is a big hit with customers. But there are many questions that we've received about the device. In this video I'll answer some of the right questions, such as: "will it ignite a copperhead igniter?"
(Video #72: Sep 20, 2011)
In this video, you'll see how you can take an ordinary wing (this works on all wings), and cut it into panels and then glue them back together again with the aid of a special wing jig. You'll have cool looking wings that actually fly a lot better.
(Video #71: Sep 06, 2011)
This is the final video in the construction of the Dual-Deployment rocket. This time, the rocket is fully painted, and now you'll see Erin install the parachutes in preparation for flight. At the end of the video, you'll get to witness the first launch of this rocket!
(Video #70: Aug 23, 2011)
Many people that are just starting in rocketry are wondering how to put together the 3-piece launch rod that comes with our starter sets. The reason they ask is that the pins on the ends of the rods are a bit tight. I like them like that, because then the rod doesn't fall apart when you're moving the launch pad around on the field. So in this week's video, I'm going to show you a couple of tricks that you can use to get the rod together in just a few seconds
(Video #69: Aug 09, 2011)
The next step is the most tedious in finishing your rocket, but a vital one. Sanding the primer and getting a smooth, bump-free finish is of utmost importance when a smooth, glossy topcoat is desired. The paint-sand-paint-repeat technique can be used for any rocket, low to high power.
(Video #68: Jul 26, 2011)
With the rocket body assembled, it's time to get color on the kit. We'll have to start with a few coats of primer in order to get that exquisite finish. In this week's video, you'll see a technique for using automotive primer through and airbrush. You can use the aerosol can primer too, if you like
(Video #67: Jul 12, 2011)
The high-Power rocket that Erin has been assembling in this series, is intended as an easy-to-build dual deployment rocket. That means it is going to carry electronics to fire off two separate ejection charges. In this week's video, we'll finish assembling the electronic's bay (called the e-bay or an altimeter bay) and install the rivets. At the end of this video, we have a nearly-functional rocket! The e-bay is the standard 4-inch Mad-Cow altimeter bay, so this video can also help you if you are interested in that product as well.<
(Video #66: Jan 01, 1970)
The high-Power rocket that Erin has been assembling in this series, is intended as an easy-to-build dual deployment rocket. That means it is going to carry electronics to fire off two separate ejection charges. In this week's video, we'll start assembling the electronic's bay (called the e-bay or an altimeter bay). The e-bay is the standard 4-inch Mad-Cow altimeter bay, so this video can also help you if you are interested in that product as well.
(Video #65: Jun 14, 2011)
Ever wanted to see how to make near-perfect fin fillets? In this week's video tutorial, Erin is going to add the epoxy fillets along the fins to enhance the strength of the fins. They will also reduce the drag along the corner of the fin where it meets the tube, so the rocket will fly higher too. The video starts with securing the rail button down with epoxy clay to prevent the parachute from snagging on the bolt that protrudes through the tube. Then you'll see the steps to creating fillets so smooth, that people will be begging you to tell them your secret. And it is easier than you'd think. See how it is done now!
(Video #64: May 31, 2011)
Putting together a high power rocket is actually easier than you might imagine. In this fourth video, you'll see how install rail buttons and the Aeropack engine retainer.
(Video #63: May 17, 2011)
Putting together a high power rocket is actually easier than you might imagine. In this third video, you'll see how to sand your fins and glue them in place. We're not done with the fins yet, though!
(Video #62: May 03, 2011)
Putting together a high power rocket is actually easier than you might imagine. In this second video, you'll see how to tie on the shock cord to the engine mount, and then to glue the engine mount into the body tube.
(Video #61: Apr 19, 2011)
Putting together a high power rocket is actually easier than you might imagine. In this first video, you'll see how to assemble the engine mount, which is the heart of the high-power rocket.
(Video #60: Apr 05, 2011)
So you're thinking about getting your High-Power Level 1 Certification? Excellent. There are many good reasons to get it, besides it being a lot of fun. In this week's video, I'll go over some of the most frequently asked questions that we receive from flyers as they come to us for advice on which kit to get. I'm sure this information will be useful to you if you already have a Level 1 certification, because you'll be able to pass it on to those you mentor.
(Video #59: Mar 29, 2011)
Build your own Rogallo-Wing glider! This is an instructional video that shows how to assemble a flexible-wing glider, called a Rogallo glider. It was named after Francis Rogallo the NASA engineer that invented the concept in the 1960's. A Rogallo glider was one of the methods tried out for returning the Gemini space capsule back to earth from space. So it does have some history as being "space-exploration" related. How cool is that?
(Video #58: Mar 08, 2011)
Having some tools to mark your body tubes will make designing and building your own rockets go a lot faster. The standard tools that every designer should have are the Estes Tube Marking Guides. While they've been around for quite some time, they are still pretty effective. In this video, you'll see a number of ways to use them to build your own rockets.
(Video #57: Feb 22, 2011)
A quick parachute attachment loop can be added to your model rocket nose cone by using a little glob of epoxy clay and a piece of high-strength shock cord. You can also use a metal screw eye, or an eyebolt using this same technique.
(Video #56: Feb 08, 2011)
Changing a rocket's shape in flight is challenging because you need some sort of triggering device to start the transformation process. In this video you'll see two ways to initiate the conversion: the sliding piston, and the burn thread.
(Video #55: Jan 25, 2011)
Drilling a clean, circular hole in a paper tube (such as needed for an altimeter breather hole) can be a challenge, because the fibers of the paper can be stringy and shift rather than being cut crisply. This video shows you how to clean up the edges of the hole to insure that it looks professional and functions correctly.
(Video #54: Jan 11, 2011)
The small aluminum engine mount adapters can be tricky to use with single-use motors from Estes or Quest. This video shows you the techniques that we recommend. All that is required is a bit of masking tape.
(Video #53: Dec 29, 2010)
The 18mm motor retainer was originally designed specifically for reloadable motors. But with a little ingenuity, you can use it with single use motors too. This video will show you how adding a little bit of tape makes all the difference.
(Video #52: Dec 14, 2010)
Want to be able to teach school students how to track their rockets to see how high they launched? It is actually pretty straight-forward and you can get decent results with very inexpensive equipment using single station tracking.>
(Video #51: Nov 30, 2010)
The AltimeterOne altimeter has undergone a significant upgrade modification to make it even better. It now displays either English or Metric units, plus it has a low-battery icon that shows when it is time to recharge the unit. In addition, it also has a special mode that allows you to see the current altitude in real-time. This mode is great for educators, as it will show the students how the pressure changes with altitude. In other words, you can watch the altitude change as you ride up in an elevator! Or you can turn it on and see how high you've hiked up a hill. This video goes through the new features of the latest version of the AltimeterOne so you can see it in action.
(Video #50: Nov 16, 2010)
Looking for some ideas on how to incorporate rocketry into your school classroom? This video will give you some ideas on how to tie rocketry to the subject matter you're already teaching in your class. Your students will have a greater appreciation for the importance of what you are already teaching them.
(Video #49: Oct 27, 2010)
This video gives you an introduction to the fascinating world of helicopter-recovery rockets. There are many different types of helicopters, and I'll show you a few of the different ones that I've come across in my journeys in rocketry
(Video #48: Oct 07, 2010)
Big rockets are easier to transport when you can disassemble them. Putting them back together is easier if you use these reusable plastic rivets. This video will show you how to use them in your big rockets.
(Video #47: Sep 27, 2010)
The Aerotech rocket kits, because they are the only high power kits to have engine hooks, can cause some confusion among new modelers. If you use a single-use motor that is short, the motor will slide in too far. How do you get the motor to stick out far enough so that the engine hook will engage over the top of the motor? In this video, we'll show you a simple technique for repositioning the motor without a custom-length spacer tube in front of the engine
(Video #46: Aug 31, 2010)
What exactly is a zippered body tube? What causes the problem to occur, and what can you do you minimize the chances of it happening to your rocket?
(Video #45: Aug 17, 2010)
Imagine using GPS to track your rocket's location? Would you ever lose a rocket again? Add to that the capability to receive flight data, such as altitude and acceleration in real time. Wouldn't that be educational and add value to your rocket's flight? This video explains the main features of the TeleMetrum payload that allows you to do these advanced things.
(Video #44: Jul 20, 2010)
It isn't always necessary to switch from a plastic parachute to a nylon cloth parachute. A plastic chute can be strengthened pretty easily, and it is far cheaper in the long run. This video will show you how to add strength to a plastic chute without adding a lot of weight by running the suspension lines over the top of the canopy. I'll even show you how to do it if the chute has a central spill hole cut in the middle to help stabilize the chute.
(Video #43: Jul 08, 2010)
To get a perfect finish on your rockets, you have to smooth out the surface defects. Filling the canyons (called the spirals) in body tubes is one of the things that frustrates a lot of modelers. I won't try to fool you, it does take effort. In this video, you'll see the easiest technique that I've come across for filling deep spirals in tubes.
(Video #42: Jun 21, 2010)
One way of tracking how high a rocket flies with high accuracy is accomplished with theodelites. These instruments allow you to record the elevation angle (up and down) and azimuth angles (north-south-east-west) that the rocket makes as it ascends. It is easier to do than it sounds.
(Video #41: Jun 08, 2010)
Would you like better looking rockets? Joining tubes together correctly will make the rocket look great and will greatly speed up the process of getting the rocket ready to paint. Learn the correct way to joint tubes!
(Video #40: May 25, 2010)
How accurate are altimeters? Which is the best one? These are common questions that are hard to answer, because of the randomness of the atmosphere. This video explains what that means and how it relates to the accuracy of electronic altimeters.
(Video #39: May 11, 2010)
Teaching model rocketry doesn't have to be scary. You only need to cover the basics to be successful, as rocketry by itself will excite your students. In this video, we are teaching the basics by helping the students design a rocket for a specific mission. In this case, it is a drag race rocket.
(Video #38: Apr 27, 2010)
Young children have a hard time attaching shroud line strings to plastic parachutes on model rockets. If you're working with boy scouts or school children, you'll see my method of tying the suspension lines to the chute canopy. The kids will have an easier time, and the rocket will come down straighter and slower.
(Video #37: Apr 13, 2010)
You can quickly and inexpensively spruce up your rocket by adding details to the outside, called texture. Your friends will be in awe when they see the rocket that you've built.
(Video #36: Mar 30, 2010)
How exactly is a streamer attached to a rocket? This video shows you one method of getting it done.
(Video #35: Mar 30, 2010)
Looking for maximum drag from your streamer recovery rocket so that it will fall as slow as possible? This video shows you how to make the accordion folds in your streamer.
(Video #34: Mar 16, 2010)
Looking for a way to spice up your rocket designs and make them look more like a NASA rocket? Try adding a wiring tunnel to the outside. When you add them to your rocket, it gives it a really cool and realistic look.
(Video #33: Mar 02, 2010)
This video concludes our discussion of the proper steps you'll need to follow when selecting rocket motors for your own designs and kits.
(Video #32: Feb 16, 2010)
This video will give you the step-by-step process for picking the right motors for your rockets. You'll get safe and successful flights by matching the motor to the rocket and the weather conditions.
(Video #31: Feb 02, 2010)
I like longer shock cords because they have less of a tendency to zipper a body tube at parachute ejection. But the obvious problem with long cords is that stuffing them into a tube can be tedious and they can get tangled more easily than a short cord. In this video, I'll show you one technique that I use to prevent these long cords from getting tangled so easily.
(Video #30: Jan 18, 2010)
This video concludes the series on dual-deployment altimeters. We'll finish the discussion about setting up the device with the altimeter's software, and also how to view the data that gets stored on the altimeter during the flight.
(Video #29: Jan 18, 2010)
In this fourth video in the series, we'll show you how to set the altimeter to deploy the parachutes at the correct time during the flight. You'll also see how to use the altimeter to perform electronic staging
(Video #28: Jan 05, 2010)
In this third video, we'll talk more about mounting ejection charges, and about some of the safety considerations you'll need to be aware of. You'll also see a bench test of two altimeters in a vacuum chamber.
(Video #27: Jan 05, 2010)
In this second video on Dual-Deployment rockets, we'll show how to mount your altimeter into a avionics bay, and how you might attach the ejection charge to the bulkhead.
(Video #26: Dec 22, 2009)
In this first video, we'll explain what dual-deployment (ejecting two separate parachutes) is, and explain how the Entacore Dual-Deployment Altimeter works that controls the rocket.
(Video #25: Dec 09, 2009)
Conformal parts are things that adapt to the curvature of the tube. It includes parts like canopies and thick fins. The advantage is that they are stronger, and are easier to paint because there are less gaps that need to be filled. This instructional video shows you how to make them.
(Video #24: Nov 24, 2009)
This video shows you how to cut out your own centering rings to use in your own rocket designs. You'll save money, and have the great satisfaction of knowing that you built the rockets yourself.
(Video #23: Nov 10, 2009)
You've designed your canted engine mount, but the engine mount tubes interfere with each other. This video shows you how to build the rocket and take care of that interference issue. Part 2 of 2.
(Video #22: Oct 27, 2009)
Not only do canted engines make a cool smoke plume, but they can prevent a rocket that cartwheels across the sky should one motor in the cluster fail to ignite. This video shows you how to set-up the design so that the rocket will always fly straight. Part 1 of 2.
(Video #21: Oct 13, 2009)
RockSim does not allow you to directly print out a 1-to-1 (full scale) drawing of your design. But if you export the 2D drawing and open it in a drawing program, you can print out a full size drawing of your design. This video will walk you through the steps.
(Video #20: Sep 29, 2009)
29mm motor mount adapters for 38mm kits are deceptively simple looking. "How do you use them?" is a common question people ask. This video will show you a few simple techniques.
(Video #19: Sep 13, 2009)
"Is it hard to assemble a reloadable rocket motor from Aerotech?" This is a common question that we're asked. I don't know if you'll believe me if I say it is; so I'll show you how to put one together in this video. You can judge for yourself if I speak the truth.
(Video #18: Sep 01, 2009)
Piston launchers recycle the gases from the rocket engine and give the model a higher initial kick at launch. This results in higher speeds and higher flights from the rocket. In this video, you'll see how piston launchers work, and how to use them to maximum effectiveness.
(Video #17: Aug 18, 2009)
You have to keep your rocket motor from moving either forward or backward. This is called restraining the motor. There are a number of ways to do this, and in this video, you'll see answers to the common questions that we're asked.
(Video #16: Aug 04, 2009)
Adding a paper lamination to the surfaces of balsa wood fins greatly increases the strength of the fin as well as creating a smooth surface that doesn't require a lot of sealing to get it ready for paint. It can be done to any kit fit to make a great looking model, and I highly recommend doing this for rockets that are intended to break the sonic barrier (the speed of sound).
(Video #15: Nov 30, -0001)
Do you have a big rocket that needs to be converted to take smaller diameter engines? That is the purpose of an Engine Mount Adapter. The one shown in this video is special. It is designed to be used with rockets that already have an engine hook built into them. They are hookless in nature, meaning you don't need a separate engine hook to hold the motor into the adapter. It is a simple device that will allow you to swap out motors quickly between flights.
(Video #14: Jul 07, 2009)
This video will show you how to properly prepare your model rocket for flight. You'll see: inserting the wadding, folding the parachute, inserting the motor and its igniter, placing the rocket on the launch pad, and some safety tips for the actual launch. The result? A perfect flight where the rocket is recovered so it can be flown again and again.
(Video #13: Jun 23, 2009)
This is the final video in the transition construction series. Here, you'll see the final assembly of the removable transition section, and how to prepare it to accept the paint.
(Video #12: Jun 08, 2009)
Assembling the transition once it has been cut out from the pattern sheet is the first thing you'll see in this video. Once that is assembled, we'll start building the structure that goes under the paper shroud. The shroud is simply to smooth the airflow over the rocket, and does not carry any structural load.
(Video #11: May 26, 2009)
In part one, you saw how to create the paper pattern sheet for the transition using the RockSim software, or by drawing it yourself using the equations in the book Model Rocket Design and Construction. Now we'll start cutting the pattern out and apply the special glue to assemble the conical shroud.
(Video #10: May 12, 2009)
A transition section is used to make a smooth and gradual joint between tubes of different diameters. That helps lower the drag so the rocket can fly higher in the sky. In this video, you'll see some of the preliminary stuff on how to make your own transition sections from heavy paper.
(Video #9: Jan 01, 1970)
Payload bays are easy to make if you have that special shoulder piece that connects the tubes together. But solid balsa wood cylinders (called balsa nose blocks) are expensive. A cheaper alternative is to use a tube coupler with a cardstock disk in it. In this video, you'll see how to make the bulkhead and attach a loop where you can connect the parachute.
(Video #8: Apr 08, 2009)
If you want to create a long model rocket from two shorter tubes, you'll need a tube coupler. In this video you'll see how to make your own and save a boat-load of money.
(Video #7: Mar 29, 2009)
You can add a lot of strength to a centering ring without switching to an expensive and heavy plywood ring. In this video you'll see our top three choices to make rings stronger.
(Video #6: Mar 01, 2009)
Cutting body tubes to a custom length is a skill that you'll need if you want to make your own designs. Imagine taking a long tube and cutting it shorter, but at the same time its edge is straight and crisp. Here you'll see one of my favorite techniques that allows you to achieve that result.
This technique also works well for cutting off the damaged end from the front section of a rocket.
(Video #5: Mar 03, 2009)
This is an alternative method for cutting tubes to length. It isn't quite as good as it takes a real steady hand to get a straight cut. But if you practice a few times, you'll get some great results. This method also works much better with bigger tubes than with smaller ones.
(Video #4: Feb 14, 2009)
This video shows how to mount an altimeter into a small model rocket. There are many good rockets that can be used for science fair projects, such as the Payloader One or Zenith rockets, but often the payload bay is too short for the altimeter. In this video, you'll see how to modify the rocket to make the altimeter fit. The tools used in this video are: razor saw, hobby knife, and a small drill bit.
(Video #3: Jan 29, 2009)
If you really want to build durable rockets, you gotta use through-the-wall fin joints. That is, a small tab on the base of the fin extends down into the side of the tube and is glued directly to the engine mount tube inside. The advantage is the bending force needed to snap a fin off are so great that you'll probably break the wood before you'll break the joint where it attaches.
Cutting slots is a technique I put in the Skill Level 3 category. It takes a steady hand, and a little patience. And as you'll see in this video, even I can screw it up... But I'll also show you how to correct the mistakes if you do make them.
(Video #2: Feb 02, 2009)
I didn't have time in the previous video to show how to properly angle the wood's edges to make a stronger and more visually appealing joint. So this video will show you that technique. There really aren't any special tools that you'll need to bevel the edges. I'll show you in this video how to accomplish it with simple hand tools like a hobby knife and a sanding block.
(Video #1: Jan 15, 2009)
This video will show you how to take a simple model and add spin tabs to the bottom of the fins so that it will spin when launched. This has a same effect as a rifle bullet that spins to fly straighter. How hard is this to do? Great question. I consider this a "Skill-Level 3" procedure.
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