Amateur Rocket Motor Construction

Amateur Rocket Motor Construction
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Written for people who aren’t rocket engineers, Amateur Rocket Motor Construction teaches the reader how to make real solid fuel rocket motors with simple tools and easy-to-find materials. Richly illustrated with more than 600 photos and drawings, this incredible 8-1/2” x 11”, 528 page book contains everything you need to know to make 5 homemade rocket fuel formulas and 54 proven and tested rocket motor designs.

Sizes range from a tiny C-6 to an I-100 what will take a 3-foot rocket to 7,000 feet. Burn times range from 0.7 seconds to 6.3 seconds, and motor thrusts range from 4 pounds to 58 pounds. Depending on where you buy the chemicals, the homemade rocket fuel will cost from 25 cents to 2 dollars per pound, and depending on the size, a finished rocket motor will cost from 15 cents to 3 dollars, about 1/10 the cost of a commercially-made motor. Construction costs for the other motors fall somewhere in between.

Each design includes a full page of test stand data plus 2 flight performance predictions, as calculated by Rogers’ Aeroscience Alt4 rocket performance prediction software. Nineteen chapters cover everything from safety and buying or making the chemicals to propellant formulation, motor construction, and homemade test equipment. Please note that Amateur Rocket Motor Construction is not a synopsis of information from other sources. Everything in this book is new and original work based on 6 years of extensive R&D by the author.

In the photos below, to give you an idea of the incredible quality and scope of this book, are included images of the cover art, the table of contents, and some of the interior pages. If you’re fascinated by the idea of building and flying homemade rocket motors, then this is the book you’ve been waiting for!

Add this terrific resource to your library today!

Reviews for Amateur Rocket Motor Construction

Professor Terry McCreary of Experimental Composite Propellants says this about the book:

I received "Amateur Rocket Motor Construction" by David Sleeter (Teleflite Corporation) a week or so ago. The book is an extremely-detailed description of the construction of blackpowder-type rocket motors, from C8 (3/4" diameter, 3 1/4" long) to I65 (2" diameter, 14" long). For those not familiar with the general construction method: A metal former is constructed to mold the nozzle and core. A paper casing is placed over the former. A powdered clay-ceramic mixture is tamped into the bottom of the casing to form the nozzle. This is followed by the propellant, tamped in place in small portions. A delay charge follows, then a clay or paper retainer is added, and the metal tooling is withdrawn.
Here's the quick version: It's a big book, 500+ pages, beautiful photos, extremely clean and clear drawings (and lots of them). Information on almost every aspect of motor construction including: photos of ingredients (some neat photomicrographs); making tooling without a lathe; machining instructions for those who do have a lathe; where to get and how to extract potassium nitrate; types of paper that can be used for casings and what *not* to use; formulations that use sodium nitrate (sometimes easier to find locally than potassium nitrate); stepwise photos AND drawings of the motor-making procedure. All the tested motors given in the book are coreburners, but detailed information, propellant formula, drawings of tooling, caveats, and detailed construction procedure for endburning motors are provided for the individual who wishes to experiment in that direction.
One comment, not a criticism: For the individual who wishes to make large or numerous BP motors, I would strongly suggest Lloyd Sponenburg's book on milling for the amateur pyrotechician (Skylighter and others vend the book, it's about $20). A "sponenmill", properly constructed and loaded with sufficient milling media, will mill large amounts of propellant at a huge time savings.
"More education is almost always better than less." I hope that one or more vendors attending LDRS will be selling this book. Look for them. For the individual who is interested in stretching his/her mind, "Amateur Rocket Motor Construction" is a must-have. (I would *really* like to see one of those H137 motors taking off)

Best regards -- terry

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Product Reviews

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Reviewed by wncranger
02/16/2012 - 06:22:37 PM
An amazing book!
This is an excellent book on manufacturing black powder rocket motors. The author has performed prodigious research which is evident on every page. This book is packed with solid gold material: data, photographs, charts, tables, procedures, precautions, blueprints, and so much more. Forget making motors for a second, this book demonstrates the scientific method better than any other I have read. You simply must have this book in your library. I can't recommend it highly enough. The science is incredible.