Model Rocket Tips

A few little things I've learned and tried that help...

Field Box

Get yourself organized with a field box. Tackle boxes are ideal for this purpose as they have lots of nooks and crannies. They're cheap too--mine cost $25 at Outdoor World.

I keep all of my launch supplies, and most of my building supplies in mine. It makes it easy to build rockets at the kitchen table and put it all away at the end of the night, while ensuring that if I need to make a field repair I can do so.

I also put labels on the bins to keep everything tidy. Engines come with labels you can cut to size and then tape to the tackle box.


Mylar Chutes & Streamers

We seem to melt a lot of parachutes, so I have to make new ones periodically. Go to a camping store and buy one of the cheap disposable mylar "space blankets." This material is more melt resistant than the trash bag plastic of most rockets, and its easier to see glittering in the sun too. Pick up some heavy duty thread at the sewing store, tape disks from office supply, a hole punch (to make holes through the disk and chute so you can knot the shroud lines), and you are ready to make parachutes and streamers.

I like to attach mine with snap swivels, and keep the chutes separate from the rockets until just prior to launch. This gives a lot of flexibility to swap chutes, try a streamer on a windy day, and that sort of thing.

Coffee Filter Recovery Wadding
My Fat Boy had been the world's worst about melting chutes. The big diameter body tube seems to allow hot gasses to evade the wadding and attack the chute no matter how much I use. My V-2 has an even bigger tube and more poweful engine, so I came up with a new idea. I drop a coffee filter in first and pack the chute atop. This works really well for any rocket large enough to accomodate a filter.

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All material 2001-2006, Robert W. Warfield.