High Power Rocketry ||
Experimental Rocketry Links
The best and most detailed web site about experimental rocketry with all the
science and math besides all the experimental results, detailed
construction, etc. He was heavily into sugar propellant but has
advanced and branched into epoxy and other propellants besides igniters,
rocket construction and much more.
Equally a prolific as Richard but with a little different direction.
Known for his "recrystalized" sugar propellant using corn syrup and probably
the first to document its use. Tiny motors, big motors, commercial
motor propellant reloads, teacher of rocketry, and with a great sense of
humor. Highly recommended.
Like Edison, when you read his archives of his
developments, you think of all the things that didn't work. Recently,
his "flexible" sugar propellant, also using corn syrup, has gained some
notoriety. His web site isn't the easiest to find specific things on
but interesting none the less. Author of K450 PVC Rocket Engine Design
and Construction. (see the comments below in the "book" section). Dan has made some huge sugar motors.
Dan has also become a recent "victim" of the
ATF in his experimenting with sugar fuel. Read the article
Another sugar propellant researcher. His videos show detailed steps of
making a number of different sugar propellants. He also has a forum
that in the past has gotten a lot of action. Scott has built some
large rockets. Check out what's in his "What's New" box, too.
I especially like their
tools and tips section -- tube cutting, fiberglassing and foam cutting.
Also lots of information about their motors and rocket projects, some very
unique and interesting. They use homemade aluminum motors and
potassium nitrate - sugar fuel up to 5" in diameter (that is HUGE!).
Something unique here: Stuart chronicles
building a tiny aluminum motor including nozzle without a lathe using lathe
tools clamped to his drill press. Also has made larger projects and
finally got a lathe (like some others of us plan to do). Very
The Amateur Rocketry Links Library:
Known for its vast coverage of rocketry through
copious links, it is a good source. I think
Rocketry Planet may be in
competition with the most links, though.
This is not a website to explain homemade rocket motors but it is incredibly
interesting! A liquid fuel rocket with attitude control and capable of
a soft landing just using the engine. It is a small group of
volunteers working two days a week and have developed a... well you have to
see it to believe it. Here is their latest video.
Amateur and Experimental Rocketry of Kurt Theis:
Some interesting experimental information such
as the reason for building in igniters in the top of the motor instead of
inserting from the nozzle end, machining aluminum cases on a lathe, other
tools, equipment, and more.
Jeff Hove: http://www.jeffhove.com/rockets/bicarcas.html
Bic Pen rocket, and an experimental rocket
motor and tests.
A small website but good for some ideas.
The premier experimental forum which started out as primarily sugar
propellant rocketry but covers all phases of rocketry.
PVC Motor Rockets:
Similar to Sugpro but smaller following.
Covering all facets of rocketry from model to high power and research.
How to Make Amateur Rockets
by John H. Wickman
the best book to start with in my opinion because he takes you through all
the math. He focuses on composite propellant -- ammonium nitrate and
ammonium perchlorate -- motors built using PVC pipe and Durham's Water
Putty nozzles and closures. He touches on other subjects. You
won't learn how to construct a rocket vehicle here or learn about
commercial motor reloads but a lot of his material is applicable to other
types of motors. Another area he goes into more extensively than
anyone else is finding a place to launch and how to get an FAA waiver.
company that bears his name, Wickman Spacecraft & Propulsion Company (WSPC),
designs and builds full size rockets and motors for the military,
commercial and educational groups so I think he knows what he is talking
about. He also holds classes where a person can go for a few days,
learn the science, build and test fire a rocket motor.
Experimental Composite Propellant,
by Terry W. McCreary, Ph.D.
book is spiral bound and available through many chemical, rocketry and
pyrotechnic suppliers. It is not available through bookstores.
Where I feel like the title of other books often are a little misleading
because they don't tell you what the book is about, this one is about just
what it says and more. It focuses on just what the title says and
explains all different kinds of ingredients and what they do and why from
a chemical view point. It also throws in "bonus" information --
building motors, igniters, test fixtures, engine design, casing materials,
and more. With a normal high school chemistry, physics and math
background, this is a readable, understandable, and very useful book. Dr.
McCreary has also co-authored a General Chemistry book (very expensive).
Rocket Propulsion Elements,
by George P. Sutton & Oscar
Available through bookstores. (Buy a
used one) This is the book you buy and set out on display or have it
in the foreground when you take pictures of you and your rockets or motor
building activities to make you look smart because most of us don't
understand most of what is in this book. It is a college level text
book and very detailed about rockets in general including liquid fueled and
all the mechanical systems and physics and engineering to go along with it.
If you are comfortable with partial derivatives and calculus, you may get
more out of it. Having said that, if you can't get something out of
it, then you are past the learning stage of your life and you are ready to
cash it in. You should be able to get ideas from all kinds of
resources even if you don't understand them all.
My Free 1979 Manual:
This is an old booklet about making black
powder rocket motors but is also applicable for learning how to make black
powder for igniters and ejection charges, rolled paper liners, and just for
the black powder motor information. I don't recommend black powder
motors at all, now, but for something different, you might want to try it
Amateur Rocket Motor Construction,
by David Sleeter
Available directly from him at
http://rocketsciencebooks.home.att.net/sleeter.html or at rocketry or
pyrotechnic suppliers or any bookstore. This is a published 514 page
paperback book. David's first edition of this book came out shortly
after mine and may have been completely independent of mine (I'll give him
the benefit of the doubt) but I'll also give him credit for continuing the
research and writing light years beyond my little booklet. The full
title of the book is "Amateur Rocket Motor Construction, A Complete Guide to
the Construction of Homemade Solid Fuel Rocket Motors." To me this is
misleading because it is only about black powder motors and very few people
in high power experimental rocketry would even consider black powder for a
fuel. Sugar propellant is far better, and composite propellant that
much better yet. It is a very well written book with extensive details
about every facet of black powder motors. That is on the positive
side. On the negative side, it is 514 pages but 40% is on individual
drawings of motors and tools that could have been compressed into a half
dozen pages by using single drawings with tables of the different dimensions
since they are otherwise identical. It is also strange that he is the
apparent author of "The
incredible 5¢ sugar rocket" which has been widely distributed over the
internet, often mentioned and has been responsible for many people getting
into experimental rocketry or rocketry in general. I also find his
website strange. It is a sub web of AT&T so he has not gotten his own
domain name, The company Rocket Science Institute just sells books but says
it is "a non-profit scientific and educational foundation in support of
"amateur" experimental rocket science, engineering, and technology.
This is no reflection on the great information available in the book, I just
find it all very strange.
PVC Rocket Engine,
by Dan Pollino
The second edition of
is now available. This version moves Dan into the "big league" as it
is now a soft bound book complete with ISBN number and available on
Amazon.com and other places. Congratulations, Dan, a big investment
that I am sure will pay off. This book is a step-by-step set of
instructions on how to build a PVC case, potassium nitrate and sugar fueled
K450 rocket motor that develops 300 pounds of thrust and per Dan, will
propel a rocket over 5000 feet. To start with, Dan has developed,
built, tested, and flown this motor many times and has, as far as I know,
worked out all the bugs so this motor will work consistently every time.
The instructions are so clear and so detailed that anybody even without a
background in experimental rocketry should have no trouble following the
directions and making this motor the first try. This is the way to
make a set of instructions! This is the way I try to write
The second edition edition has about four
times as many pages as the first because the first edition was an 8-1/2 X 11
format with four pictures and accompanying explanation (four steps) to each
page while the second edition is a 6 X 9 format and has one picture with
text explanation (one step) per page. The first edition was on card
stock and with a wire ring spine. The first edition had color
pictures, the second edition is in black and white with larger pictures.
This is normal in publishing because color pictures are VERY expensive to
print. There is no information lost in going to B&W pictures except
maybe in seeing the color of the propellant at different stages of its
preparation. The templates that were full size and included as pages
in the first edition are now downloadable from his website.
Bits and pieces of this book can be found from
his original website whose pages have been moved to the
section of his current website. These pages chronicle his
developments but it is worth the money to get his book and get the perfectly
laid out step by step details of a mature working motor.
has some unique methods that are very interesting. I like to support
any effort of any fellow experimental rocketry person and I hope he makes
a significant amount of money with his book. We spend so much money in this hobby that
getting a little back for all our efforts sounds really good. I
respect all the effort he has put out over the last several years and what he
has posted on his web site. Support an experimental rocketeer -- buy
his book. It is available from his web site, from Amazon.com and from
some rocketry suppliers but do him a favor and buy it directly from his web
Rocket Powered Skateboard by Dan Pollino
A 14 month development project and quite an
accomplishment. This is a very low thrust (for its size -- 22 pounds),
single use, long duration (9.5 seconds) rocket motor ignited while on the
skate board. This has got to be a thrill! This book, just like
Dan's previous book, PVC Rocket Engine, gives you step by step
details on how to build this intriguing "vehicle" so that anybody with
average mechanical skills would have no trouble building it. You may
find others on the web and on you-tube where people have strapped a model
rocket engine onto a skateboard but it just doesn't work. There is
more to the engineering to making a working rocket skateboard than that, and
Dan has engineered this device incredibly well, and being a mechanical
engineer myself, I know good engineering when I see it!
I was impressed with a number of features and
innovative methods that Dan has used. Safety items include a "dead
man's switch" that instantly extinguishes the rocket motor if a person were
to fall off or for any other reason release the switch. A pressure
switch in the extinguishing system in series with the ignition switch
insures that the rocket motor cannot be ignited unless the extinguishing
system is functional. Even a shock absorber on the motor mount is
included. This absorbs some of the the initial thrust that might
otherwise kick the skateboard right out from under its rider. The low
thrust long burn is just what is required to propel the skateboard with any
size person on it for real. And this is not a one shot ride.
Make up a whole batch of rocket motors at one time and you have a whole
afternoon of rocket propelled thrills.
I had some questions that may occur to other
readers and Dan was more than ready and willing to answer them. One of
my questions was, "You say the skateboard is street legal. How is this
so?" He said he called around and talked to all the relevant
departments and agencies and they say it is considered a motor vehicle and
breaks no laws by being ridden on the street. My advice is,
nevertheless, you might want to check local ordinances because cities have a
habit of passing city ordinances controlling things that might not be
prohibited at a state level. Dan's final comment to this question was,
"There is no law against
riding a rocket skateboard on the street."
That is fantastic news to me with so much of
our lives controlled and so many things outlawed, especially when it comes
to experimental rocketry.
I also asked about his interaction with the
ATF on the project. He had originally hoped to sell the completed
motors and if not that, then the kits to make the motors. The ATF
ruling was as I would have expected in lieu of their rulings in other
experimental rocketry issues in recent years, a person receiving a completed
motor would have to have a low explosives users permit, the same as for any
rocket motor over "G" size. He didn't mention it, but he also would
have had to have a manufacturer's permit which would have been a total
headache, I am sure. The ATF had no problem with selling kits but
considering liability issues, Dan decided just publishing this book was a
better choice. And that choice puts all that development Dan
accomplished at our disposal with instructions anyone can follow.
Not many people can afford a trip into outer
space, or to fly their own airplane. Many are not brave enough to go
bungee jumping, skydiving or free rock climbing. But here is a
down-to-earth honest-to-goodness rocket propelled thrill most anyone can
afford! Buy Dan's book and build the M-80 Rocket Powered Skateboard.
And before you ask, no I am not getting a dime
for any of these reviews -- they are my honest opinion and if I am excited
about someone else's projects, there is good reason.
The Complete Water Rocket Manual
by Gary Jacobs
Water rockets? Water rockets actually
have a much larger number of hits per day on search engines than
build-it-yourself chemical rockets. This is why I chose these to write
my first e-book on. I'll have to admit that chemical rockets, whether
sugar, BP or AP are more exciting, maybe just from the roar of the engines,
but water rockets have their own appeal and challenges. This book is
actually still in the writing stage but you have a unique opportunity to get
this book while it is in process and get updates as the writing continues.
Get the details here (main
page) or the in-process offer
Experimental rocket motors, parts (casing
tubes, phenolic liners, O-rings, nozzles, etc.), chemicals.
Hardware for experimental rocketry and other
scientific and hardware supplies. Load cells, nichrome wire, graphite,
electronics, parachutes, recovery, hybrid motors and supplies and more.
Snap ring type motors, reloads, electronics.
These are suitable for homemade (experimental) propellant as well as
Binder Design: http://binderdesign.com
Well known rocket kits,
hardware, recovery, experimental motors, more.
Green Monkey Aerospace:
Small experimental motors -- 13mm & 18mm
(summer of 08). Parts and kits. New
Reloadable Aluminum cases and fuel kits, AP
A/D Converters. Entry level one
(DI-194RS) with software for $24.95. I
use this one.
Free software dealing with : Bates Grain Burn
Rate Simulator, Hybrid Calculator, Density/Convertor, Batch Calculator, Kn
Calculator, Motor Calcs.
SRM-Solid rocket motor design, CASING - Motor
casing design, IGNITER - Rocket motor igniter design, CONVERT - Units
converter, EzAlt - Rocket Flight Performance Spreadsheet, SOAR - Rocket
Fantastic easy to use program to calculate max
acceleration, velocity, time to peak, recommended delay and maximum altitude
with the motor input, rocket weight, and rocket diameter. Includes graphed
Graphical User Interface to ProPEP. Propep is
a free program written some time ago by chemists tired of balancing reaction
equations by hand. It is used to determine results in propellant
formulas from a chemistry standpoint and gives data required to put into
other rocket motor software.
Bates Grain Calculator, $9.95,
The Propellant Characterization Calculator,
$4.95, Rocket Motor Calculator $4.95
The best free graphics image viewer,
converter, manipulator I have seen.
High Power Rocketry ||