Model rockets

posted by Jeff | Wednesday, February 25, 2009, 10:38 AM | comments: 8

One of the things I find myself doing frequently is talking about things I want to do, but never actually do them. Like the other day, we were in a Hobby Lobby (the yarn slut made me go), and I was thinking, "I wonder if they have model rockets, because that's a hobby." Sure enough, they did.

When I was in high school, I got this old key switch from my grandfather. No idea what it was fun, but I liked just holding it in my hand and turning it. I would imagine the first scene in the movie War Games. "Turn your key, sir!" I wanted to launch some shit.

He also gave me a four-foot stainless steel rod to build a model rocket launch pad. So I took some 2x4 pieces, nailed them together and routed a cable through a plastic project box, with aligator clips on one end and a 1/8" mono plug at the other end. I bought a steel project box with a button, a light and a battery holder, and mounted the key switch in it to make a "launch control." It was sweet. I wonder if I still have it somewhere.

Anyway, even then, the engines were kind of expensive, but it was still a rush to launch something 2,000 feet into the air. The first rocket I built was pretty simple. Then I built the SR-71 Blackbird, which was more challenging to build, and a lot more impressive to launch since it was so big. Estes still makes all of this stuff.

I've walked by the model rockets before in countless stores, and Saturday I did it again. As Diana looked for yarn, I stopped and thought about it, and couldn't really explain why I never stopped to really look and buy something. I was very much annoyed with myself! This time I bought one of the simple kits with a pad, launcher and two rockets. It's stupid that I always talk about doing stuff and never do.

I need to get some paint, glue and a knife, but I already cracked some of the junk open. Hopefully this weekend I can build and then launch perhaps next weekend (it's gonna be too cold to be hanging outside this weekend).



February 25, 2009, 3:59 PM #

I've made many rockets including the Blackbird. For my 8th grade science project I loaded the side tubes full of fishing weights to change the altitude and landing time.

A few summers ago my brother and I rigged one together with old pieces . It's always a rush to see it launch.


February 25, 2009, 5:12 PM #

Launching rockets was fun. It was a great alternative to blowing shit up and setting things on fire, which we would do anyways.

I need to remember this when Jacob and Alex get a few years older.


February 25, 2009, 6:19 PM #

I was really into the model rocket thing for quite a while, back before 2002 when I got fully into parks and coasters. I had a bunch of Estes stuff, even had some of the "high-power" Aerotech stuff with the reloadable metal engine casing. Never got to fly those because of not having any fields big enough here, and needing an FAA waiver if it weighed over a pound.

I still have a box of rockets in the garage, and a couple containers of the Estes launch pads and controllers. One of these days I may get something out and try flying one again, but it's not a priority.

Most fun I ever had with it was building a rocket out of paper towel tubes and cutting cardboard fins out of a box. Almost killed myself with that thing, good thing I brought a fire extinguisher with me...

I had the Blackbird, but I sucked at assembling it.


February 25, 2009, 6:43 PM #

I had the SR-71. Dad made the Saturn V. Thing hovered about 12 feet up with 4 D size engines, then did a 180 and buried itself in the earth. Man, that thing was heavy.


February 25, 2009, 8:33 PM #

Saturn V was the one I really wanted for quite a while, although I never got it. I didn't have the model building skill to do those big advanced ones.


February 25, 2009, 10:52 PM #

Last summer I was helping my dad's boss get some rockets together for her nephew's birthday party. While at the hobby store, I stumbled upon this. (not my personal pictures) It was a cinch to make and looked absolutely ridiculous sitting on the launch pad waiting to blast into the sky. It flew pretty high before crashing into the ground rather forcefully. Apparently I didn't shield the parachute enough with the wadding and the engine managed to melt a pretty big hole in it. Afterward I wished I would have gotten into model rockets more as a kid. I guess it still isn't too late.


February 26, 2009, 12:52 AM #

OMFG. I must get one of those, that's fucking awesome.


February 27, 2009, 10:24 PM #

At this moment I'm looking at two rockets ready to fly ..... been doing this with the grandkids for several years now and it's still a "blast" . I remember the launch control you made. Would be cool if you still had it!

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