How much does it cost you to build a model rocket?

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Kirra Labas

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You may not have thought about this (if so, sorry for the tricky question), but I really want to know roughly how much you spend to build a single model rocket. (Not high-power rocket... but interesting as well)
I hope you can share it.
 

Antares JS

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You can spend anywhere from a dollar or two for a scratch-built micro maxx rocket to $100 for an Estes Saturn V. It varies a lot depending on the size and intricacy of the model. Most low power rockets probably run you around $20-30 to build, but that doesn't include launch equipment and motors.

My most expensive high power rocket ran me about $350, but that doesn't include the motor case or reload. I'm also probably going to spend about twice that on my upcoming level 3.
 

neil_w

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My typical scratchbuild LPR probably costs me something like $25-$30.

That includes tubes, nose cone, wood (for fins), centering rings, parachute, shock cord, motor hook, launch lug, paint, and decals. Prices taken from BMS where I normally purchase most of that. Does not include adhesives, tape, sandpaper and other consumables.

Complex designs with a lot of nose cones will inevitably cost more.
 

Scott_650

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You may not have thought about this (if so, sorry for the tricky question), but I really want to know roughly how much you spend to build a single model rocket. (Not high-power rocket... but interesting as well)
I hope you can share it.
Edited

Looking at couple of typical beginner “builder” kits (rather than prefinished, plastic fin “E2X” rockets) here’s my take:

Case 1 - Estes Viking, kit cost is between $8-14 depending on where you buy it. Picked the Viking because the fiberboard fins don’t need filled or sanded. Assuming you have nothing on hand but common household stuff - knife, scissors, ruler, pencil - you’ll need glue (we’ll use Elmer’s Glue All) a 4oz bottle costs $1.50 and paint (simple single color paint job, no filler or masking) a 3oz Krylon “Short Cut” can is $4, I’d recommend a yellow or orange so the green decals will look ok, unfortunately the Viking has a two piece nose cone so you’ll need either plastic cement or CA (Krazy Glue) - we’ll go with CA, a $2 tube at the checkout counter. And that’s it - roughly $16-26 from kit to launch.

Case 2 - a bigger rocket that flies pretty nicely, Quest Big Betty, kit cost is $11-18 again depending on the vendor. If you want a nice finish we’ll need to fill the balsa grain and tube spirals - water based latex wood filler is the simplest path - cheap ($4 for a 3.5oz tube of Elmer’s Carpenter Wood Filler) and easy to come by, still need glue so we’ll stick with Elmer’s $1.50, let’s splurge on paint - filler primer (Rustoleum 2 in 1 Filler Primer at Lowe’s) $6, can of white Rusto Pro for the base coat plus a can of yellow Rusto Pro so we can duplicate the face card
paint scheme, $12, the Big Betty doesn’t need any glue for the nose cone so we’ll skip the CA. Oops, forgot SANDPAPER - $6 for a multi grit pack! Total $41-49, which includes supplies that will easily build more kits.

So there’s my quick cost breakdown - you could spend less, build that Viking with just CA and fly it unfinished for less than $10 or you could spend more though that would mostly be on paint for more complex schemes.
 
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heada

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I've seen a ball point pen with taped on cardboard fins flown on a MMX. Whole thing cost less than $2 including motor.

I've built $500 kits with $200 worth of add-on parts (retainers, harnesses, parachutes), $300 worth of electronics and batteries, $300 motor hardware and $300 reloads.

Cost is directly related to size and complexity. Nothing wrong with flying a $2 pen or the $2k beast. My sweet spot is 38mm body with 24mm motors. Kits can be had for less than $20 and D12 motors are less than $4 each.
 

mtnmanak

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You can find good Estes kits on Amazon for less than $10 with free shipping (it is the shipping that kills you at other sites).

If you have a decent hobby store close enough, you can probably find clearance kits for under $10.

If you are really cost conscious and want to use "real" rocket parts (as opposed to paper towel tubes, cardstock, etc), you could probably scrounge at your local club for enough parts to make a rocket for nothing. I know I almost always have a bunch of spare Estes parts I don't mind giving away.

If your question is more about the broad picture of rocketry and not so much about saving money, then this hobby can and will suck your wallet down like a giant space squid vortex if you want to get into bigger and bigger rockets. For low and mid power rockets, you can easily start spending hundreds of dollars a rocket, if you want. However, most LPRs run between $10-50 and most MPRs can be had for $20-$70. It would be difficult to do a Level 1 Cert for under $50 (including motor), L2 for under $100 (including motor). It is possible, but not likely. At the Level 3 stage, well, I have already dumped $2000 into my Level 3 project and I haven't even started assembling it yet... and that does not include a motor.
 

mtnmanak

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Now that I think about it, I am pretty sure most rocketeers on TRF are like me - they have a box stashed away of broken rockets they plan to "fix" someday and fly again. I know my box has to be cleaned out periodically after I let it get too full. Someone could probably get enough parts out of my "broke box" to build 5-10 rockets.
 

Vilius SR

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Model rocket kits

Model rocket kits cost from $5 to $325, with the average price being $45. But, as others have said, it's not hard to find good models for under $20.

Also:
  • The average price of level 1 model rocket kits is $18.83
  • The average price of micro rockets is $10
  • The average price of high power rockets is $146 (but can be as little as $45)
And the launch equipment will cost you about $40.

Building

Assuming you don't have any of the building supplies, it can cost you (on average) $10-$50 depending on how professionally you want your rocket to look.

Launching

Launching a low-power model rocket will cost you about $4.7 per flight. And launching a mid-power rocket will cost roughly $23 per flight.

Finally, as the source of these figures (https://simplerocketry.com/model-rocket-avg-price-to-buy-build-launch/) says, these numbers were derived from hundreds of product prices to give you a general idea of model rocketry costs. But real prices can be a lot lower or higher than their averages.

By the way, a poll done by the author shows that most rocketeers think model rocket prices are fine.​
 
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Alan R

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I think the cheapest kit I've ever bought was a recent clearance find at hobby lobby: $7 . Estes kits include pretty much everything you need to "build a single model rocket". Lets add the glue and sandpaper to that price: $1 each at the $1 store. $9
I have also built a complete rocket, including the tubes, from scratch. Nose cone was cardstock i had laying around, body tube, motor tube were from kraft paper that was used as packing material, parachute made from a plastic grocery bag.
I already had glue and some elastic stuff around the house. That made the actual cost = $0. Caveat though, there were scrap parts and glue, fins from leftover balsa, etc that came from other stuff that probably cost money.
 

Funkworks

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If you count in consumables like glue, masking tape, sandpaper, primer, paint, it can add up. Not sure anyone ever counted how many rockets could be built with one epoxy kit, one roll of masking tape, one spray can, etc. Hard to say because not all rockets use the same amount,

And now if you count in equipment and tools: build rack, fin alignment jig, drill, dremel, extruded aluminum angle, lathe, etc. then cost per rocket depends on how many rockets you use them with. So If you pay $25 for a building rack for one rocket, add $25 to the rocket cost. If you use the $25 rack for 5 rockets, add $5 to the cost of building each rocket.

Maybe someday, someone will develop and practice the hobby of "rocket building accounting".
 

PayLoad

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If the OP contacts the board within the next 20 minutes, I will buy & delivery any kit he wants
 

RocketTree

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$0 - You can easily make one out of regular materials around the house (tin foil roll is BT50/24mm motor)

$5 - Rocketarium Messenger
 

Kirra Labas

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Oh, is it too late?
(Speaking isn't exactly my forte, so I usually just lurk...)
 

shockie

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well my 1st kit, an Estes Scout cost about $0.70....... If I rolled my own body tube and nose cone and used thick cardstock for the fins, and a piece of trashcan plastic for a parachute, I could probably spent maybe $2 bucks on a model rocket.
 

David Schwantz

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Hey payload, am I to late for that offer also??
 

neil_w

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Hey payload, am I to late for that offer also??
1621036358380.png

And here I thought I was going to flex my muscle asking for this one, didn't realize I was so small-time.
 

modeltrains

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You may not have thought about this (if so, sorry for the tricky question), but I really want to know roughly how much you spend to build a single model rocket. (Not high-power rocket... but interesting as well)
That 'tricky question' bit does apply in my case since I already have all the necessary tools, paints, and finishing supplies on-hand for use in other hobbies.
Therefore the only thing I discernibly 'spend' to build a single model rocket is time.
After, of course, spending some money to acquire the rocket kit itself.
 

kuririn

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It's like asking someone how much it costs to buy a car.
Some people get a Nissan Versa.
Some (not me) get a Lamborghini.
A matter of personal choice and the deepness of one's pocket.
 

Sandy H.

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If the OP contacts the board within the next 20 minutes, I will buy & delivery any kit he wants
If Payload grants the OP an extension to 94 minutes vs the specified 20 minutes and sends him a kit, I will send both of them an Art Applewhite 18mm or 24mm Stealth kit - assuming the OP is located in the continental US. I'll even throw in another kit for the OP that is a more conventional rocket kit if he'll post pictures of what he got.

Sandy.
 

Kirra Labas

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If Payload grants the OP an extension to 94 minutes vs the specified 20 minutes and sends him a kit, I will send both of them an Art Applewhite 18mm or 24mm Stealth kit - assuming the OP is located in the continental US. I'll even throw in another kit for the OP that is a more conventional rocket kit if he'll post pictures of what he got.

Sandy.
Seems there are a lot of generous people on this forum. But unfortunately, I don't live in the US.
 
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Sandy H.

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The deepness of one's pockets


Seems there are a lot of generous people on this forum. But unfortunately, I don't live in the US.
Sorry, then. Shipping within the US for rocket kits can be fairly cheap when using our postal system, but I have really never had good luck shipping outside the US without extreme shipping fees. Maybe I just don't know what I'm doing, but that's been my experience so far. . .

Depending on what rocket resources you have locally (hobby shop or local rocket distributors) will definitely affect the prices you'll have to pay for kits. Scratch building can open up your options when using locally sourced materials to save on extreme shipping costs.

Best of luck! Hope your first kit goes well!

Sandy.
 

Kirra Labas

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Sorry, then. Shipping within the US for rocket kits can be fairly cheap when using our postal system, but I have really never had good luck shipping outside the US without extreme shipping fees. Maybe I just don't know what I'm doing, but that's been my experience so far. . .

Depending on what rocket resources you have locally (hobby shop or local rocket distributors) will definitely affect the prices you'll have to pay for kits. Scratch building can open up your options when using locally sourced materials to save on extreme shipping costs.

Best of luck! Hope your first kit goes well!

Sandy.
Thank you
 
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