New enthusiast with some questions

The Rocketry Forum

Help Support The Rocketry Forum:

merlinfire

Member
Joined
Jul 29, 2016
Messages
9
Reaction score
0
As a bit of background, myself and two friends are interested in High-Power rocketry. We're all in late-20's early 30's, I'm a software developer and they're both mechanical engineers. Eventually, the goal is to make a 100% scratch, end-to-end launch/control system and rocket. But first steps first...

So this seems to be THE rocketry forum on the net and I wanted to ask you, if your goal was starting out 100% fresh today, with no prior rocketry experience other than computer games and back-of-the-napkin theorycrafting, how would you start? I am assuming you'd start with smaller model rockets and then work your way up, would you agree with that? Are the fundamentals of rocketry going to be the same, roughly, between the smallest model rockets and the largest sub-HPR rockets? Or should I stairstep up each class individually? Please note: not trying to diminish the value of any aspect of commercial model rocketry.

TLDR: want to eventually launch "big rockets" with everything including payload and control/telemetry designed in-house, and don't want to lose any fingers doing it. Looking for advice on where to start for best beginner experience. Expecting to learn a lot along the way. Also looking for good book suggestions
 

rharshberger

Well-Known Member
Joined
Oct 13, 2014
Messages
9,903
Reaction score
1,860
Location
Pasco, WA
First off welcome. One of the best ways is to find a local club, whether NAR or TRA is not really important at this stage. Probably start with low power kits like Estes and work your way up from there. Clubs have friendly, knowledgeable people who are willing to share their experience. Take your time enjoy working up through the ranks of Low, Mid and High Power, along the way you will learn about design, simulation, electronics (fly commercial ones, either pre- assembled or kits like Eggtimer Rocketry sells). You may also pickup composite construction, and other interesting skills, but a club and mentor are the best first steps.

Lots of information can be found here of course, however the search engine is kind of wonky which is why I generally search via Google and include the forum name as part of the search which usually results in good success.
 
Last edited:

Woody's Workshop

Well-Known Member
TRF Supporter
Joined
Aug 3, 2011
Messages
4,351
Reaction score
218
Location
Reed City, Michigan (Lower)
Welcome to the Forum!
Apogee.com is a great place to learn many things.
There are Peak of Flight news letters to read.
Video's to watch.
And they sell software, RocSim (which I have and use)
Stine puts out a good book to read to get you started as well.
Enjoy you journey, and be safe.
 

Rex R

LV2
Joined
Apr 21, 2010
Messages
6,101
Reaction score
147
Hi, welcome to the asyl I mean forum :). for reading material it is hard to beat the 'Handbook of Model Rocketry', apogeerockets also has some nice 'how to' videos. personally think one should start smallish...a baby bertha or an alpha(both by Estes) as the techniques leaned from building them Do carry over to the larger birds(plus it is cheaper to make mistakes with smaller rockets :)). then move up to the 'builder' pro series rockets which will take you up to 'mid power' (G motors). I would also suggest finding a 'local' rocket club(both TRA and NAR have club locators), you'll be wanting a club to do hpr certification plus it is more fun launching with a bunch of folks (who can help find your rocket :)). other folks will chime in shortly.
Rex
 

Bat-mite

Rocketeer in MD
Joined
Dec 5, 2013
Messages
11,142
Reaction score
1,877
Location
Maryland
Hello, and welcome to the greatest hobby in the world!

Here are my suggestions:
  • Read the Handbook of Model Rocketry by G. Harry Stine. This is the bible of rocket science for amateurs.
  • Go to the National Association of Rocketry web site, and find a club near you. Attending club launches, watching what others do, talking to people ... this is the best way to learn.
  • As you said, start with small builders' kits. A motor mount is a motor mount is a motor mount. Fins are fins. Centering rings are centering rings. Yes, what you do with a $20 hobby kit is what you do with a $200 HPR kit, only the materials, the adhesives, and the harnesses are different.
  • Each time you think you are ready for the "next step," check in here to TRF and start asking questions.
  • Before you start your first high power build, are buy Modern High Power Rocketry II, by Mark Canepa. Everything you could possibly want to know is covered in there.
  • Books are no substitute for experience, so remember to join a club.
  • Some people move into making their own motors, other buy commercial. Some get into hybrid motors, other stay with solid fuel. Some people stick with traditional-looking rockets, others get into trying to make weird things fly (toilets, trees, phone booths ...). Do what's fun for you.
There are three levels of HPR certification, each with its own requirements. The FAA controls the air space, and they use the NFPA (National Fire Protection Act) as a guideline for what is considered a high power rocket, and where and when you can launch one. Do not assume that anyone, anywhere can legally launch a high power rocket.

Level 1 allows you to fly rockets using H and I impulse motors, as well as sparky motors, and F and G impulse motors with a ton of thrust.

Level 2 requires a written test, and allows you to step up to J, K and L impulse.

Level 3 requires meticulous documentation, and gives you access to M, N and O impulse.

Anything above O impulse is controlled by the FAA and has its own legal requirements.

Hope this helps. Start small, work your way up, and have fun at every step along the way.
 
Last edited by a moderator:

ActingLikeAKid

Well-Known Member
Joined
Nov 17, 2015
Messages
1,133
Reaction score
13
Agree 100% with what rharshberger says -- finding a local NAR/Tripoli club would be an excellent first step. Concurrently, try building an Estes kit.
I would go with something like this:
https://www.amazon.com/dp/B002VLP67S/?tag=skimlinks_replacement-20
23 bucks gets you two rockets, a launch pad, and a controller. The Amazon can be put together in an hour or so, if memory serves, with 5 minute epoxy. It's pretty idiot-proof. The Crossfire will require a little bit more work. You'll need batteries for the controller, "wadding" for the rockets*, and engines. The latter two can be bought at your local hobby shop or online at Amazon or acsupplyco.com (where everything Estes is 40% off). When you build the rockets, cut a spill hole (there's a dotted line) in the middle of the parachute. I've landed on asphalt with that setup with no damage, and it makes for flights that come down relatively close by.

Go to the National Association of Rocketry site and look up how big a field you need to do low power launches. A good rule is to have a lateral radius of open ground equal to expected apogee. This table helps:
https://www.nar.org/safety-information/model-rocket-safety-code/#sitedimensions
With your built rockets and a friendly field (a lot of "soccer complexes" are perfect as long as there's nobody around), you should be able to have a fun afternoon of launches. And while many of the skills you'll need for HPR are unique to high power, you'll learn a lot from your mistakes with low power -- how to pack a chute, what "too tight" feels like, fin alignment tips and techniques, some of the basics of "what can go wrong".
Then go to a club launch. You'll probably see some cool launches, and club folks are universally happy to see newcomers. Ask questions.
Build more low-power kits. Build some mid-power kits; something like the Estes Pro Series 2 kits are a great transition from low power to mid power. They have a 29mm motor mount, so you can start using composite propellants (as opposed to the black powder of low-power). The downside is that you generally can't just launch a PSII kit in your neighborhood soccer field- you'll need to do that at a club launch.
Ask questions - both here and at your local club - about getting into high power. Get your Level 1. Start looking at electronics. Build an altimeter. Build a dual-deploy rocket**. Keep going to club launches, keep building, and before you know it, you'll be out at LDRS hoping to break 20,000 feet..... ;)

*-a much cheaper option is what rocketeers call "dog barf" - it's cellulose insulation, usually made by Greenfiber or cocoon. You can buy a bale for around 12 bucks at Lowe's that will last you pretty much forever. Wadding is like 5 bucks for a pack of 50 sheets; you'll use 1 to 10 sheets per low-power launch.
**-Don't know how much of the lingo you've absorbed yet, but "single deploy" is pretty simple: The motor burns; after the propellant burns, there's a delay section that doesn't produce thrust but is just there to wait until the rocket hits apogee. After the delay, a small charge fires up, blowing the nose cone and parachute out. Dual Deploy is more complicated: Everything with single deploy happens, and then either the motor's ejection charge fires OR an altimeter senses that the rocket has reached peak altitude and detonates a charge, blowing out the drogue chute. The rocket tumbles down to some pre-set altitude (usually 1000 feet or less), then the altimeter triggers a second charge that deploys the main parachute. The advantage of this is that you don't have a massive strain on the rocket with a main chute opening at 300 mph, but you also don't have the main chute open at apogee, which can make for a lot of drift. Dual deployment systems are somewhat complex - you need a power source, an altimeter, wiring, and charge cups. It's easy to screw it up.
A more-expensive but much-more-reliable solution is the Jolly Logic Chute Release: It's about $130, but does its job incredibly well. It holds fast around the parachute. The rocket deploys at apogee like a single deploy, but the parachute, held tight by the JLCR, flops around like a pseudo-drogue. At a set altitude, the Chute Release releases the pin that holds the chute tight, the chute unfurls beautifully, and your rocket lands at your feet.
 
Last edited by a moderator:

dhbarr

Amateur Professional
Joined
Jan 30, 2016
Messages
7,276
Reaction score
1,709
a SWE & 2 MEs?

Buy a 29/40-120 case from Aerotech, an Estes Star Orbiter from AC Supply, a Jawstand, and a piece of 1010 rail.

The remainder is left as an exercise for the reader :)

Edit: books; Handbook of Model Rocketry by Stine, Modern High Power Rocketry 2 by Canepa
 
Last edited:

Nytrunner

Pop lugs, not drugs
TRF Supporter
Joined
Oct 15, 2016
Messages
7,954
Reaction score
3,647
Location
Huntsville AL
Welcome to you and your friends!

It sounds like y'all will have the technical background to tackle a pretty large sized project if you get ambitious. How big would you like to go? :cool:
You can probably throw together a scratch Lo-power rocket in a week. (There are even videos on making small motors online that are easyish to find)

*Note: This forum restricts discussion of homemade motor formulation to the Research section. It requires at least L1 HPR certification to access.
**Other Note: If you hang out with a club with Tripoli members, there's a good chance there are people that make motors and can provide more info.
***Three Notes are a crowd: Hi-power Experimental (Research/EX) motors can only be flown under insurance at Tripoli "Research launches".

Like Woody said, Apogee is a good source of beginner's info. That and the NAR website or John Coker's website. All have a bunch of different techniques for learning.
I'm surprised no one has mentioned OpenRocket or RasAero II yet. They are free download simulation programs for flight profiles, recovery timing and design. Great for exploring the behavior of rocket designs.
That being said, they rely on using the database of Commercially produced and certified motors. If you move on to your own motor formulations (100% scratch :) ), those programs won't be as useful.

Unless you get fancy and want to develop a vertical guidance package, Passive rocket stability is exactly the same from Lo to Hi-power (and beyond).
A good standard design point is to ensure the Center of Gravity remains ahead of the Center of Pressure by 8-15% of the rocket length for the duration of the Boost and Coast phases of flight. (Commonly measured in body-diameters or "calibers of stability")
-and if you do devise a fancy vertical guidance package, please share it here. Or at least offer it for sale :)-

The airframe design should be a cinch for the Mechanicals. Paper/Cardboard/BlueTube and Balsa/Basswood/Plywood rockets can be created with strong Woodglues (Titebond II/III are favorites around this forum). Fiberglass/Canvas Phenolics/Carbon Fiber airframes need epoxies for proper bonding (Aeropoxy/Rocketpoxy/West Systems/US Composites are just a HANDful of the epoxies folks swear by). A majority of smaller rockets use Launch lug tubes on a launch rod for initial guidance, larger rockets uaually use little plastic "rail buttons" in 1010 and 1515 extruded rails, or Unistrut.

Looking at even bigger rockets and higher flights, tracking/altimeters/deployment electronics are less-commonly homebuilt, but a team with Software and Mechanical expertise could probably come up with some neat stuff.
Dual-Deployment logic is basically:
-Detect Launch (log data throughout flight)
-Ascertain point of apogee
-Deploy first recovery event at apogee
-Check for 2nd condition (usually specific altitude)
-Deploy main recovery event at Condition.

Have fun and post progress!
 

ActingLikeAKid

Well-Known Member
Joined
Nov 17, 2015
Messages
1,133
Reaction score
13
a SWE & 2 MEs?

Buy a 29/40-120 case from Aerotech, an Estes Star Orbiter from AC Supply, a Jawstand, and a piece of 1010 rail.

The remainder is left as an exercise for the reader :)

Edit: books; Handbook of Model Rocketry by Stine, Modern High Power Rocketry 2 by Canepa
I hadn't paid much attention to the Star Orbiter, but MAN it looks like if you glassed it and stuck an Eggfinder in the nose, it would make a hell of a MD 38mm kit.
 

K'Tesh

OpenRocket Chuck Norris
TRF Supporter
Joined
Mar 27, 2013
Messages
16,252
Reaction score
3,386
I'll just say Welcome...

I'll have to put off any advice until after I get some sleep.... it's pretty late here in China right now.

Oh... I do have one suggestion always remember this:

Pointy Side Up! :wink:
Jim
 

davdue

Well-Known Member
TRF Supporter
Joined
Aug 17, 2010
Messages
712
Reaction score
66
Location
Valley Center, Ks
Agree with all of the previous posts. Your post doesn't mention your location. I also didn't see any links to Tripoli Rocketry Association: https://www.tripoli.org. Their clubs are called prefectures. Just click on that and you can find a club near you. If you are in the East Coast of the U.S. The national Tripoli launch called LDRS (Large Dangerous Rocket Ships) is being held this year in Price, Md. https://www.ldrs36.org for more info. But I warn you if you go to a big launch like that you will be hooked and be building high power rockets and certified before you can blink. ;) Welcome to the forum and good luck. The up part of the rocket flight is the easy part.
 

BDB

Absent Minded Professor
Joined
Aug 22, 2015
Messages
2,207
Reaction score
449
I hadn't paid much attention to the Star Orbiter, but MAN it looks like if you glassed it and stuck an Eggfinder in the nose, it would make a hell of a MD 38mm kit.
I agree, It's a cheap kit and with a few modifications you could get some impressive performance.

To the OP....if your goal is to build big rockets, you could consider starting with the Estes PSII stuff. Progress from the Mammoth --> Star Orbiter --> Scion and from black powder E & F engines to composite F, G and H motors. That would take you from zero experience to level 1 certification pretty quickly and for not too much money. Plus you'd be building "big boy" kits the whole time.

+ 1 for the Apogee website. I read it religiously when I got back into the hobby.
+ 1 for OpenRocket. It or Rocksim, if you want to pay for it, are essential.
 
Last edited:

merlinfire

Member
Joined
Jul 29, 2016
Messages
9
Reaction score
0
i'm in Southwest Ohio, which I know has at least two significant airports within 30 miles, a major US airbase within 40 miles, etc. I wonder what that's going to do to my potential flight locations, once I start getting above a couple thousand feet.
 

75Grandville

Well-Known Member
Joined
Feb 20, 2014
Messages
837
Reaction score
114
Location
Salt Lake City, Utah
i'm in Southwest Ohio, which I know has at least two significant airports within 30 miles, a major US airbase within 40 miles, etc. I wonder what that's going to do to my potential flight locations, once I start getting above a couple thousand feet.
Ohio has 8 NAR chapters and 2 TRA prefectures - you're going to be just fine finding a launch location for HPR!
 

ActingLikeAKid

Well-Known Member
Joined
Nov 17, 2015
Messages
1,133
Reaction score
13
i'm in Southwest Ohio, which I know has at least two significant airports within 30 miles, a major US airbase within 40 miles, etc. I wonder what that's going to do to my potential flight locations, once I start getting above a couple thousand feet.
You should be fine....most clubs have done well at finding a location that's convenient to members (so not hundreds of miles into the boonies) and at the same time, can secure a 5000 to 10000 foot waiver. I flew at two locations in the Carolinas, one within 25 miles (as the crow flies) from CLT; the other about 30 miles from a smaller airport. As long as you're out of heavily trafficked corridors, you should be fine (and, of course, there's an "If you see something overhead, wait" rule.

Someone may be along briskly to tell me I'm wrong on this, but from what I've seen, you need to really head out into the country (more like >100 miles from an airport) when you're getting over 20k feet. And if you're just getting your toes wet now, it's going to be a while before you're poking that sort of hole in the sky :)


https://www.nar.org/find-a-local-club/nar-map-locator/ is a good source for finding a club near you. It looks like the Queen City folks may have disbanded, but the Wright Stuff club in Dayton looks active.
 

Zeus-cat

Well-Known Member
Joined
Mar 14, 2009
Messages
4,646
Reaction score
859
You should be fine....most clubs have done well at finding a location that's convenient to members (so not hundreds of miles into the boonies) and at the same time, can secure a 5000 to 10000 foot waiver. I flew at two locations in the Carolinas, one within 25 miles (as the crow flies) from CLT; the other about 30 miles from a smaller airport. As long as you're out of heavily trafficked corridors, you should be fine (and, of course, there's an "If you see something overhead, wait" rule.

Someone may be along briskly to tell me I'm wrong on this, but from what I've seen, you need to really head out into the country (more like >100 miles from an airport) when you're getting over 20k feet. And if you're just getting your toes wet now, it's going to be a while before you're poking that sort of hole in the sky :)


https://www.nar.org/find-a-local-club/nar-map-locator/ is a good source for finding a club near you. It looks like the Queen City folks may have disbanded, but the Wright Stuff club in Dayton looks active.
The Wright Stuff Rocketeers are very active! We meet every Tuesday night from 6 to 8:30 at eRockets (2790 Thunderhawk Ct. Dayton, OH 45414) We all bring rockets to work on. You can even buy one of the 800+ different kits and all manners of supplies right there at eRockets (Wow, who could imagine that!).

You are more than welcome to just stop in and work on a rocket or pick our brains for more info. We have two members who are L3 certified, and numerous L2 and L1 certified members.

We are currently launching about every three weeks at our high power field on a farm near Cedarville. We have a low power field in Huber Heights that we use when the weather or crops don’t allow us to use the high power field.. So we are launching all year round.
 

merlinfire

Member
Joined
Jul 29, 2016
Messages
9
Reaction score
0
Thanks for the heads up on both the WSR club and the eRockets store. That's just about 30 mins from where I work, so not too far. I might drop by sometime.
 

merlinfire

Member
Joined
Jul 29, 2016
Messages
9
Reaction score
0
So I picked up the "Handbook of model rocketry NAR handbook" and was reading through it. It seems like it is pretty adamant against DIY engines of any sort, period. I'm interested in DIY end to end here, and I'm not sure how much this handbook represents the hobby as a whole. There seems to be a lot of crossover between model rocketry and amateur rocketry, and as far as I can tell, the only delineation is rocket size/propellant mass. To what degree are the NAR guidelines "the rules", and do any of these hold regulatory or legal force, other than NAR membership/access to events? I want to be safe, but I also want to do my own thing here, very carefully. I see conflicting info between NAR and Tripoli, and I'm not sure what the difference is between the two, and I've seen in yet other places that neither of those really matter unless you want to launch at their events. What's the straight dope here? Thanks
 

rharshberger

Well-Known Member
Joined
Oct 13, 2014
Messages
9,903
Reaction score
1,860
Location
Pasco, WA
So I picked up the "Handbook of model rocketry NAR handbook" and was reading through it. It seems like it is pretty adamant against DIY engines of any sort, period. I'm interested in DIY end to end here, and I'm not sure how much this handbook represents the hobby as a whole. There seems to be a lot of crossover between model rocketry and amateur rocketry, and as far as I can tell, the only delineation is rocket size/propellant mass. To what degree are the NAR guidelines "the rules", and do any of these hold regulatory or legal force, other than NAR membership/access to events? I want to be safe, but I also want to do my own thing here, very carefully. I see conflicting info between NAR and Tripoli, and I'm not sure what the difference is between the two, and I've seen in yet other places that neither of those really matter unless you want to launch at their events. What's the straight dope here? Thanks
NAR has no research motors as part of their guidelines, TRA is the organization for EX aka research motors, other than that they are pretty much similar. The Handbook of Model Rocketry is a excellent guide to everything else rocketry, for the research motor data there are no official organizations motor making guides, TRA has guidelines on who can make and fly research motors and where. For more info on research motors there are several books available on solid propellants, and we have a whole forum section devoted to research motors (it requires a NAR or TRA L2 certification iirc and a US citizen for permission to access).
 

Bat-mite

Rocketeer in MD
Joined
Dec 5, 2013
Messages
11,142
Reaction score
1,877
Location
Maryland
So I picked up the "Handbook of model rocketry NAR handbook" and was reading through it. It seems like it is pretty adamant against DIY engines of any sort, period. I'm interested in DIY end to end here, and I'm not sure how much this handbook represents the hobby as a whole. There seems to be a lot of crossover between model rocketry and amateur rocketry, and as far as I can tell, the only delineation is rocket size/propellant mass. To what degree are the NAR guidelines "the rules", and do any of these hold regulatory or legal force, other than NAR membership/access to events? I want to be safe, but I also want to do my own thing here, very carefully. I see conflicting info between NAR and Tripoli, and I'm not sure what the difference is between the two, and I've seen in yet other places that neither of those really matter unless you want to launch at their events. What's the straight dope here? Thanks
The book was written by the founder of the NAR, and the NAR has always banned experimental (EX -- i.e., homemade) motors. In fact, this sort of led to the establishment of the Tripoli Rocketry Association, which allows EX motors for flyers who are Level 2 and up.

It is a matter of perspective. If you are the RSO at a launch, and someone brings you a rocket with a homemade motor, you don't know if you've just been handed a bomb. What is it made of? Did they get the formula correct? Is the liner sufficiently strong? Did they lubricate the O-rings? Heck, did they even use O-rings?

NAR's answers to this is: no EX motors. TRA says, "Okay, but we want you to be certified Level 2, so that we have some confidence that you know what you're doing."

Neither the NAR nor the TRA have any legal authority whatsoever. The only bodies with legal authority over rocketry are, at the national level, the FAA (they control the airways), and on the local level, any local ordinances, fire regulations, etc. A quick call to the fire marshal can answer the local questions.

The FAA is only concerned with high power rockets. They have a regulation, FAR 101, that explains how to legally launch HPR. They use the National Fire Protection Act, section 1102 for LPR and 1127 for HPR, as their guidelines.

The BATFE (Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives -- sounds like a party in West Virginia!) controls explosive and combustible substances. They regulate gunpowder, igniters, TNT, thermite, etc. The BATFE has worked with the NAR and TRA (well, sort of -- there was a huge lawsuit) to deregulate control of LPR BP motors, and all APCP motors. Part of the agreement (I believe) is that motor vendors will follow the NAR/TRA certification level system in regulating to whom they sell HPR motors.

So even though the NAR/TRA have no legal authority, you will not be able to buy HPR motors from a vendor without being NAR or TRA certified at the appropriate level.

So, if you fly at an NAR launch, they will get the required FAA approval for you, but you cannot launch EX motors. At a TRA launch, they get the FAA approval, and L2 and L3 flyers can fly EX motors. You are also ensured up to a million dollars as a member of these organizations.

If you go out to a random field on your own, you are responsible for getting the FAA approval yourself. You need to get your own insurance, and permission of the landowner. You can use whatever kind of motor you wish, as long as you abide by NFPA 1127.

I'm sure I oversimplified. Questions?
 

ActingLikeAKid

Well-Known Member
Joined
Nov 17, 2015
Messages
1,133
Reaction score
13
(Mods - if this is "over the line" into discussion of DIY motors, by all means delete this post, but my understanding is that the non-discussable aspects are "how to make them" and not "where and how they are allowed")
The book was written by the founder of the NAR, and the NAR has always banned experimental (EX -- i.e., homemade) motors. In fact, this sort of led to the establishment of the Tripoli Rocketry Association, which allows EX motors for flyers who are Level 2 and up.
(etc etc)
Excellent points, and I would add this:
There was an article some time ago in the Apogee Components newsletter called "How to build your own rocket motors!" I was a bit surprised to see it because Apogee Components sells rocket motors (why would they actively pursue eliminating customers?) and instructions for DIY EX motors are generally not something you publish broadly (because you know some high school kid will say "oh i can do that" and lose an arm). The article ended up being pretty tongue-in-cheek and basically saying "OK, after you've bought $15,000 worth of equipment and supplies and $5000 in safety gear, you may be able to produce motors that are less powerful than the commercially available equivalent. But after 400 years, you might break even on the costs!"

I think that (and I could be wrong!) most people who pursue DIY motors do it (as it seems like you are) for the challenge of doing it yourself. And it's a pretty big challenge. The dollar numbers above are an exaggeration of the article, but you will need to spend time and money making and acquiring the tooling to create DIY motors. If that's something you're interested in doing, Tripoli is probably a better fit for you. As to the "is the NAR book representative of the hobby?" question: In my experience, yes. Most folks are happy to spend a little extra to have safe and reliable motors delivered to them with a hazmat fee (or sold by an onsite vendor).

So if you're really interested in making your own motors, get a Tripoli membership, find a Tripoli club, work on getting your L1 (and then L2), and ask lots of questions of club members who do make their own motors.
 

Bat-mite

Rocketeer in MD
Joined
Dec 5, 2013
Messages
11,142
Reaction score
1,877
Location
Maryland
Cost is dependent on equipment and chemicals. I have seen videos on YouTube of people making sugar motors with a skillet, a piece of PVC, and an X-acto knife.

APCP motors that are on a par with commercial motors are going to be a lot more expensive. At one time, when I was considering the cost of HPR motors, I asked if making my own would be cheaper. I was told, no, not cheaper, but you can fly more big motors. There is a ton of up-front cost: chemicals, mixers, scales, test stands, test motors. You have to get familiar with BurnSim and how to classify your motors. And it takes a long time for the cost to balance out.

But, it isn't much more expensive to make ten motors than it is to make five motors, so you will make more and fly more.
 

BDB

Absent Minded Professor
Joined
Aug 22, 2015
Messages
2,207
Reaction score
449
Get your L1 certification (NAR or TRA), then you can start reading the experimental threads on TRF. There are quite a few people here who make their own motors. It's not economical (though sugar motors are pretty cheap), but it is another fun part of the hobby. You just can't do it under the auspices of the NAR.
 

Rex R

LV2
Joined
Apr 21, 2010
Messages
6,101
Reaction score
147
I believe that NAR made the distinction between a model rocket and amateur rockets, safe commercial motors v blow your self up motors...there were more than a few budding rocket scientists blowing up basements at the dawn of the space age.
Rex
 

DavidMcCann

Well-Known Member
Joined
May 15, 2016
Messages
2,656
Reaction score
169
The people saying EX is waaay more expensive are likely selling commercial motors. ;). Sure it costs more to get into than picking up a couple H reloads, but over time I think there is definite finincal benefit.

As for making bombs, and having to RSO ex, it's the same as a rocket. Ask some questions, determine if it's safe. It's not rocket scien.... oh wait....
 

merlinfire

Member
Joined
Jul 29, 2016
Messages
9
Reaction score
0
Thanks folks, I think you helped me understand that a bit better. I still have a lot to learn, and I'm going to take it slow when it comes to the experimental motors stuff. I have all my fingers and I want to keep it that way. That said, what is the typical path to become L1 certified? Apologies if that's already been covered and I overlooked it
 

BDB

Absent Minded Professor
Joined
Aug 22, 2015
Messages
2,207
Reaction score
449
No problem. All you need to do it fly an H motor and recover the rocket intact with two certified witnesses. That's easy to do at a club launch. That will get you Level 1 certification in either NAR and TRA. (Of course you would need to join one of those two organizations first.) It's not hard to do, but I wouldn't suggest having an H motor be your first flight ever. You can start pretty big (e.g. D-F motors in a larger kit), but work your way up to it.

https://www.apogeerockets.com/High-...pg=quickside&zenid=6ug3ft24lc71jlq6in50mt7gf7
 

markjos

Well-Known Member
TRF Supporter
Joined
Dec 21, 2010
Messages
321
Reaction score
56
...That said, what is the typical path to become L1 certified? Apologies if that's already been covered and I overlooked it
Like so many posts have noted, get involved with a local club. Look at other peoples projects, consider some popular mid-power rocket kits, familiarize yourself with reloadable motors in the mid-power range (like the AeroTech 29/40-120) so that you're comfortable selecting and using them as you move to high power. Get familiar with what it takes for (intentional) successful recovery. Start building, flying, sharing.

Have fun.

Mark
 
Top