Newbie: Make your own rocket from scratch or buy a kit?

Discussions about techniques for rocket building. Leave your tips and tricks to making the perfect rocket.

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Newbie: Make your own rocket from scratch or buy a kit?

Postby Kae » Fri Feb 08, 2019 3:42 pm

Hi all,

I am a total beginner here, and am interested in doing some rocketry with my 10 year old son.

I see some 'make your own rockets from scratch' you tube clips etc, starting with cardboard, scissors, etc, and I also see the various options to buy a mostly pre fabricated kit and start from there.
The first option would seem more fun.

What would peoples advice be on this one?

Is it realistic for someone with no experience to follow a youtube clip, build a rocket from absolute scratch, and get a results that actual works?
Or would you recommend just beginning with a pre-fab kit, and working up from there?


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Re: Newbie: Make your own rocket from scratch or buy a kit?

Postby OverTheTop » Fri Feb 08, 2019 4:15 pm

Hi Kae, welcome to the forum!
You can try making a "scratchie" if you think you have the skills, and buy (or scrounge) the materials. Look up "swing test" to see if it is stable before you fly it. Parts are readily available from Australian Rocketry.

The advantage of buying a kit is all the parts are there, and probably a nice stet of instructions. Low power rocketry (LPR) is quite straightforward and doesn't need much in the way of tools, but an instruction set can be comforting during assembly when you start out. The kit also has all the relevant parts and of the correct size. It is also likely to be stable as designed, as a matter of safety from the kit manufacturer.

Kits come in different skill levels so if you are a bit ham-fisted you can select an easy skill level, but if your crafting skills are better you can go for the more challenging designs.

If you want to help your son do it I suggest an ARF (almost ready to fly) or very easy kit since attention span can be short. That is the quick way to the thrill of a launch.

Where are you based? I suggest attending a club launch if you can. Great fun and you can see some of the bigger motors in action.

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Re: Newbie: Make your own rocket from scratch or buy a kit?

Postby SpaceManMat » Fri Feb 08, 2019 5:30 pm

If you do want to design your own rocket then I recommend you get a copy of Open Rocket. It will tell you a lot about how your rocket will perform, you can share your design for others to review here as well. One other consideration is where you are launching, if it’s with a club they will have launch equipment ect, but if you are doing it on your own you are going to want your own launch equipment. In which case a starter kit with everything in it may be the way to go.
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Re: Newbie: Make your own rocket from scratch or buy a kit?

Postby Sirbrad » Fri Feb 08, 2019 6:18 pm

For comparison, I started with a basic low power kit to get the hang of things and then tried scratch building a few rockets.

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Re: Newbie: Make your own rocket from scratch or buy a kit?

Postby october sky » Mon Feb 11, 2019 10:43 am

I'm a firm believer in starting with the kits and even ready to fly ones as that is how you learn the 'ropes".... 8)

This gives you then guidance to do your scratch built ones and try to attend a rocket launch as that is one of the best inspirations to get going. :D

Most of all, enjoy the journey with your son and don't rush it....bigger rockets will follow... :P
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Re: Newbie: Make your own rocket from scratch or buy a kit?

Postby Kryten » Tue Feb 12, 2019 11:48 am

I agree 100% with October Sky.
Start with a basic kit so you can learn the fundamentals of design and construction
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