Let's Make Robots!

Homemade Rocket Motors

Create a solid rocket motor at home!

Manufacturing combustion chambers and nozzles, cooking rocket fuel and using PVC pipe to create custom rocket motors right at home! Not only is making your own rocket motors an exciting and fun project, you can save money making your own rather than buying professional rocket motor kits.

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Cool stuff, I always crystalize my KNO3 to try and get a more pure powder, I notice it leaves less of that white hard stuff after burning.

If you have the white hard residue, it generally means you are using too much potassium nitrate. Too much fuel will leave a black carbon residue.

A balanced mixture leaves no residue.

 

 

Hmmmm, TWSS? I'm not sure...

OT KL, way OT.

Lost you. What's TWSS?

Thats what she said?

"...cooking rocket fuel..."    what is your recipe?   it sounds dangerous.   is it legal?

Dangerous, Yes, it is. I once had a pan of potassium nitrate/sugar mix ignite. It was a little scary at the time and it left black marks on the ceiling that took a lot of work to get off. It also filled the whole house with a sweet, thick smoke.  Nothing else happened from it, but it could have been potentially worse. Now I use the water method and evaporate it off --much safer.

In the United States, legality seems to be in question.

On the KNO3 + Sugar rocket legality: http://www.rocketryplanet.com/content/view/1062/28/

We all know that M80s, cherry bombs and the like were banned under the Child Protection Act of 1966, but did you know you need an explosives manufacturing license even to make what most people think are "legal" rockets?

The BATFE (Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms & Explosives) a.k.a. "ATF", considers any mixture containing potassium nitrate (or any nitrate, actually) as an explosive*, even though it seems that everyone but them realize that potassium nitrate mixtures burn, they do not explode.

Since they are the ones making and enforcing the rules that govern the lives of every would-be rocketeer, we are in a quandry as to what to do. If we look further into their rules, they state that you cannot possess any completed rocket motor containing 62.5 or more grams of fuel without an explosives manufacturing license (issued by them).** 62.5 grams is roughly 2 ounces or about two tablespoons depending on the components in the mixture, so if you have rocket motors/engines with more fuel than that, you will be violating the ATF directives, if you do not have an explosives manufacturing license.

They do go on to say that you may make rocket motors for your own use on your own property, but any that are greater than 62.5 grams of fuel mix must be stored in an ATF approved type 4 (or better) explosion-resistant storage bunker/magazine, and if you take them off your property (such as to a launch site) you must have a special permit to transport explosives. 

____________________________________________________________________

 * ( http://www.ttb.treas.gov/regulations_laws/notice_943.pdf  This is a list of materials the ATF considers "explosives".  Here is a quote from that .pdf (specifically mentioning the recent addition of nitrate mixtures to the list.):

The five additions to the list are as follows:

1. Azide explosives
2. HMTD
[hexamethylenetriperoxidediamine]
3. Nitrate explosive mixtures
4. Picrate explosives
5. TATP [triacetonetriperoxide]
We have added these explosive materials to the List because their primary or common purpose is to function by explosion. ATF has encountered the criminal use of some of these materials in improvised devices.
 ‘‘Nitrate explosive mixtures’’ is intended to be an all-encompassing term, including all forms of sodium, potassium, barium, calcium, and strontium nitrate explosive mixtures.
 

  ** (On an ATF web page, they address "hobby rocketry". Here is an excerpt from that page:

Fully-Assembled Motors

Any fully-assembled rocket motor containing more than 62.5 grams of propellant is subject to the permitting, storage and other requirements of Federal explosives law and regulations as set forth at 18 U.S.C. Chapter 40 and 27 C.F.R. Part 555. Any other fully-assembled rocket motor (i.e., any fully-assembled motor containing up to 62.5 grams of propellant) is exempt from regulation pursuant to longstanding ATF policy. Pending future rulemaking, certain fully-assembled motors containing 62.5 grams of propellant or less are also considered to be exempt as propellant actuated devices.

Reload Kits and Propellant Modules

Any reload kit or propellant modules that can be used in the assembly of a rocket motor containing a total of more than 62.5 grams of propellant (even if the individual propellant modules each contain 62.5 grams of propellant or less) are subject to the permitting, storage and other requirements of Federal explosives law and regulations. All other reload kits and propellant modules (i.e. reload kits and propellant modules that can be used only in the assembly of rocket motors that contain a total of no more than 62.5 grams of propellant per assembled motor) are exempt from regulation pursuant to longstanding ATF policy. Pending rulemaking, certain reload kits and propellant modules that can be used only in the assembly of rocket motors that contain no more than 62.5 grams of propellant per assembled motor are also considered to be exempt as propellant actuated devices.

 I didn't quote the whole thing (extremely long) but I will mention that they also include rocket igniters as explosive devices and if you make your own igniters, again you must have an ATF explosives manufacturer's license.
)

The fuel will ignite when exposed to an open flame, but other than that it's safe and completely legal.  I use KNO3 and sugar with karo syurp for a binder.  More on the recepie is at: http://sites.google.com/site/airwavershr/Home/rocketry.  Thanks for viewing!

Why you need a binder? KNO3 and sugar (btw what sugar?) can be just molten, mixed and then casted.

PS: Link says 'Page not found'.