Homemade Rocket Made from Grocery Store Paper Bag and Spent 18mm Engine

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brockrwood

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I present to you, "Propell", the rocket my 7 year old child and I built in 2008.

The body tube was made from rolling paper from a supermarket paper bag around a form made out of spent 18mm rocket engines.

The fins were cut out of cardboard from a box that once contained something else.

The elastic shock cord came from the household sewing kit.

The nose cone was rolled from ordinary copy paper and then glued to a piece of spent 18mm engine.

The shock cord was quite permanently attached by gluing the end of the shock cord into the end of the nose cone using polyurethane glue (boy that stuff foams up!)

A streamer was cut from a piece of plastic supermarket bag and tied to the shock cord.

A 1/4" cardboard ring, cut from a spent 18mm engine, was glued into place as an engine block.

The two launch lugs were made from a paper straw liberated from Ted's Montana Grill. Those Ted's Montana Grill straws are very strong and, since they are made from paper, they glue on nice and tight to a paper body tube using ordinary carpenter's wood glue.

As you can see, Propel (named by the 7 year old) is a minimum diameter model rocket. An 18mm engine is friction fitted into the bottom of the rocket using masking tape.

There have been some hard landings and at least one lawn dart landing. That is why there is a seam in the middle of the rocket where we had to splice the two pieces of body tube together using yet another piece of spent 18mm engine.

I found the plans for rolling the body tube and the nose cone on the internet somewhere. I cannot remember where.

Propell just keeps on flying. The fins are bent but never break off.

The rocket is basically indestructible.

The Moral of the Story:
If you have paper, glue, cardboard, a straw, and a couple of spent 18mm engines, you can make a model rocket that flies over and over again and becomes a family heirloom.

propel_01.jpg

propel_02.jpg

propel_03.jpg
 
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brockrwood

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Looks great.
I have a few rockets made by rolling and gluing paper. Lots of fun to build and fly.

There was a handy tutorial I found on the web which showed how to roll an ordinary piece of notebook filler paper into a body tube. For strength, I used a grocery store paper bag (poor man's "Kraft" paper) rather than notebook paper. I can't figure out where I found that tutorial. Of course, that was 2008. The tutorial could have long since been removed from the web.
 

lakeroadster

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Correct.

Of course, in Denver and Boulder, each of those bags will cost you a quarter now.

It's not THE reason we left the front range, but certainly would have been added to the list.

Quite the cesspool of humanity down there, where logic and proportion have fallen sloppy dead.
 

BABAR

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I present to you, "Propell", the rocket my 7 year old child and I built in 2008.

The body tube was made from rolling paper from a supermarket paper bag around a form made out of spent 18mm rocket engines.

The fins were cut out of cardboard from a box that once contained something else.

The elastic shock cord came from the household sewing kit.

The nose cone was rolled from ordinary copy paper and then glued to a piece of spent 18mm engine.

The shock cord was quite permanently attached by gluing the end of the shock cord into the end of the nose cone using polyurethane glue (boy that stuff foams up!)

A streamer was cut from a piece of plastic supermarket bag and tied to the shock cord.

A 1/4" cardboard ring, cut from a spent 18mm engine, was glued into place as an engine block.

The two launch lugs were made from a paper straw liberated from Ted's Montana Grill. Those Ted's Montana Grill straws are very strong and, since they are made from paper, they glue on nice and tight to a paper body tube using ordinary carpenter's wood glue.

As you can see, Propel (named by the 7 year old) is a minimum diameter model rocket. An 18mm engine is friction fitted into the bottom of the rocket using masking tape.

There have been some hard landings and at least one lawn dart landing. That is why there is a seam in the middle of the rocket where we had to splice the two pieces of body tube together using yet another piece of spent 18mm engine.

I found the plans for rolling the body tube and the nose cone on the internet somewhere. I cannot remember where.

Propell just keeps on flying. The fins are bent but never break off.

The rocket is basically indestructible.

The Moral of the Story:
If you have paper, glue, cardboard, a straw, and a couple of spent 18mm engines, you can make a model rocket that flies over and over again and becomes a family heirloom.

View attachment 515478

View attachment 515479

View attachment 515480
I suspect it is implied, but the proof of a truly great model rocket comes down to one thing:

did you (and other significant interested persons) have fun building and flying it?

if so, it’s a check in the big “W” column.
 
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brockrwood

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I suspect it is implied, but the proof of a truly great model rocket comes down to one thing:

did you (and other significant interested persons) have fun building and flying it?

if so, it’s a check in the big “W” column.
The former seven year old is finishing the second year of college. When the child returns home for the summer we shall launch!
 

Sandy H.

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The former seven year old is finishing the second year of college. When the child returns home for the summer we shall launch!

Do you believe that the former seven year old learned anything with said rocket that has affected their college career in a positive or negative way?

Sandy.
 

Sandy H.

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The seven year old bonded with daddy. That has a positive effect on college and more.

Good point, of course. I was meaning more technical (i.e. helped with math, learned patience etc.) but what you said would obviously be the biggest impact!

Rocketry is often associated with engineering/science influences, but I think it can have positive influences in many different ways.

Sandy.
 

ThirstyBarbarian

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I like it!

I’ve built a few trash rockets, mostly to use old, sketchy motors in. I used the same technique of rolling and glueing paper around a used motor mandrel to make the motor tubes.
 

brockrwood

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Good point, of course. I was meaning more technical (i.e. helped with math, learned patience etc.) but what you said would obviously be the biggest impact!

Rocketry is often associated with engineering/science influences, but I think it can have positive influences in many different ways.

Sandy.
Sadly, the STEM part was lost on the child. They are more into smoke and flame. Child now taking art classes in college. :)
 

Sandy H.

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Sadly, the STEM part was lost on the child. They are more into smoke and flame. Child now taking art classes in college. :)

As an engineer, the STEM stuff is obviously important from my perspective, but I believe there is much more to life and art is one of those things for sure. A co-worker's son went to college and started in engineering 'to be like dad.' To be clear, his father was actually trying to steer him away from engineering, but the son thought that's what he should do. After a few semesters, he asked if it was OK to try something different. He did some computer science and was doing well, but you could just see that it felt like work, not something he was motivated to do. His dad asked him if he wanted to switch again and if so, what would he want to do. He said he really enjoyed art and sculpture the most and that's what he changed to. His son became a much happier person after that.

I am a huge fan of people with artistic talents that I don't have and think that maybe, as a society - not individual cases, have pushed STEM a bit too much. I think kids shouldn't be forced to feel like they have to follow STEM careers if they have gifts in the arts.

Anyway, I wasn't trying to sidetrack your thread. The bottom line is that it is very cool you and your child will get to fly a classic rocket built together years before!!!

Sandy.
 

brockrwood

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As an engineer, the STEM stuff is obviously important from my perspective, but I believe there is much more to life and art is one of those things for sure. A co-worker's son went to college and started in engineering 'to be like dad.' To be clear, his father was actually trying to steer him away from engineering, but the son thought that's what he should do. After a few semesters, he asked if it was OK to try something different. He did some computer science and was doing well, but you could just see that it felt like work, not something he was motivated to do. His dad asked him if he wanted to switch again and if so, what would he want to do. He said he really enjoyed art and sculpture the most and that's what he changed to. His son became a much happier person after that.

I am a huge fan of people with artistic talents that I don't have and think that maybe, as a society - not individual cases, have pushed STEM a bit too much. I think kids shouldn't be forced to feel like they have to follow STEM careers if they have gifts in the arts.

Anyway, I wasn't trying to sidetrack your thread. The bottom line is that it is very cool you and your child will get to fly a classic rocket built together years before!!!

Sandy.
I think we we should expose our children to all sorts of life paths and let them figure out what they are passionate about. The gist of “emotional intelligence” is let your heart tell you what you want. Let your head tell you how to get it. Not the other way around.

Of course, if my kids could just be DaVinci-like polymaths who are geniuses at everything, that would be cool. ;-).
 

jqavins

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Where they don't belong.

The arts are important. The arts are worth spending money and time on in our schools. The arts are a part of this well balanced society.

"Well balanced" meaning that there are many and diverse aspects of culture and education. Up to a point it's handy to draw lines around some of them to refer to as a category, e.g. STEM. But it makes no sense to draw that line around Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics, and Art.

You don't here people suggesting Architecture, Sculpture, Painting, Literature, Music, Theater, Dance, and oh, we should add in Geology.
 

Pepe Le Pew

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At my age I have tried everything I wanted to do including art. I was a sailor, an American fighting man, a school teacher, a business owner a draftsman, an aviator, electronics technician, a father, husband and mentor. I had the open door gift to try anything from my mother, and one fabulous teacher that I had since first grade. That teacher also gave me my first job and introduced me to my wife of 30 years. Arts have always had a huge influence in my life, but so has technology, science, of course math and other subjects. My sister graduated Princeton University with two majors and owns an art academy in Highland Park, NJ. Follow your hearts desire and success in just another part of living.
 

brockrwood

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Sadly, the STEM part was lost on the child. They are more into smoke and flame. Child now taking art classes in college. :)
In defense of my child liking the smoke and flame part of rocketry, I like smoke and flame, too. I just dig the STEM part as well. I am re-learning some high school physics because of rocketry.
 
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