DIY Model Rocket Launch Controller
How to make a simple rocket launcher controller for model rocketry. Includes a schematic of a simple two-switch controller circuit, as well as recommendations to purchase switches with a high enough current rating. as well as details on improvements incorporated in a more complex controller. Article includes photos of launches and rocket parachute descent. Apr 27, · Model Rocket Launch Controller Step 1: What You Will Need. Step 2: Preparing the Project Enclosure. On the top of the enclosure, drill a 3/8 in. hole for the momentary pushbutton Step 3: Attaching the Battery Holders. The next step is to glue the battery holders in place - on the inside of Estimated Reading Time: 4 mins.
I built my own launch system to have benefits over the stock controller included in the Estes kit. In fact, this mame may have started with nothing more than the desire to create a fancy box with Hollywood movie switches.
Yes, the tip of the switch is a blinking red LED! You can read more about the pilot switch in a related article. The igniter is not polarized, so either wire from the cable can be connected to either jack. In the event that I come across a polarized igniter, the orange jack is hpw and the brown launcheer is ground.
That spans the range of 4 AAs, 2 LiPoly, and up to a standard motorcycle or car battery. However, the circuit is protected such that nothing will happen if the user connects the cables incorrectly. Although there appears to be plenty of room on the inside, the switches on the top of the case are fairly deep, and their cables and interconnects take up a lot of room. How to calculate the power of the case material is electrically conductive and the controller can be connected how to make a model rocket launcher a potentially lethal power source automotive batteryI made sure none of the electrical connections rociet contact with the case.
Even the circuit board is attached using nylon screws. The anodized surface is an electrical insulator, so even a stray wire internal wire is unlikely affect the user. The nice thing about using an external battery with removable cables is that the launch system can be disabled by pulling a cable if necessary.
The text is printed on a laser printer onto full sheet stickers Avery The custom launch controller must be operated in a very specific way, or launchfr it aborts the launch until the layncher is returned to the safe position. If you toggle any switch or press any button prematurely or out of sequenceor if the continuity test fails at any point after being armed, the status light blinks red and the launch is aborted.
The same is true if there is a power loss or microcontroller reset. In other words, any unexpected condition puts the launch controller into an error state that requires the lockout switch returned to safe mode.
I was concerned that the launch sequence would be difficult for the kids to learn. But, they memorized it almost instantly. Lockout released! Testing continuity! Rocket armed! Countdown begins Home Patreon Links Books. Custom Rocket Launch Controller article continued from previous page I built my own launch system to have benefits over the stock controller now in the Estes kit. Custom model rocket launcher front view. A key-based switch so that I movel take the key to the launch pad without worrying about the kids accidentally launching the rocket.
Upon further consideration, it is unlikely that the anything the kids have access to could substitute for an Estes peg safety key, since it would need to be conductive, non-tapered, and about the size of the hole.
Connects to an external rechargeable lead-acid gel cell or AGM to increase the number of launches without consuming alkaline batteries. Upon further consideration, rechargeable NiMH batteries what is the incantation for the demon slayer quest would work fine in the Estes controller without being damaged by a dozen high-drain launches per day.
Heavy-duty cable to deliver a larger percentage of the energy to the igniter. Power through a relay rather than through the switches to deliver a larger percentage of the energy to the igniter how to make a model rocket launcher to increase the selection of usable switches since current-carrying capacity would no longer be boundary. More rugged. Power indicator.
Detects open-circuit and short-circuit. Buzzer to prevent silent countdowns. Microcontroller safety features such as requiring a countdown, requiring a specific switch order, and time-limit on igniter power to avoid short-circuit damage.
Cool-looking switches. More fun for the kids. The igniter arming control is a covered pilot toggle switch. Maake and Interior The rear of the rocket launcher box has four banana jacks and a buzzer. Rear of custom rocket launch controller with jacks and buzzer. Rocket launcher circuit how to get rid of junk email installed in aluminum case.
Side Views The sides of the custom launch controller case have instructions and status information. Side of rocket launcher. Other side of rocket launcher. Launch Sequence The custom launch controller must be operated in a very specific way, or else it aborts the launch until the key is returned to the safe position.
Launch control sequence. Power on the how to bleed boat trailer brakes illuminates Insert the key in the Lockout switch in the safe position and turn until the key is vertical. You cannot remove the key in this position. So, if you walk away with the key, you know the launch controller must be in the safe position. Test the igniter by flipping up the Test Igniter switch. If the igniter is good, the status light turns green and the Arm switch will light up red.
Lift the Arm switch cover and flip the Arm switch to the up position. A five second countdown begins. The launch countdown is accompanied by a buzzer. Thus, you cannot quietly initiate a launch.
When the five second countdown is complete, the launch button ring lights up as a rapidly flashing blue. You can continue your countdown if a longer countdown is desired. You have up to twenty-five seconds to press the launch button. Pressing the launch button powers the igniter for milliseconds, regardless of whether you continue to hold down the launch button for a longer period.
Rear and Interior
Mar 31, · Estes Model rockets have been around a long time so there is a lot of resources on line to help with you with this process. Here's a great guide to their ignitors and motors. The Process is simple - ignitor end goes into the whole of the motor first, then the plug to keep it in. Attach the two gator clips of the leads to the ignitor when your on the launch mybajaguide.comted Reading Time: 7 mins. This is a video of how to make a launch station and launch pad for model rockets. This is a video of how to make a launch station and launch pad for model rockets. Mar 19, · A model rocket launch controller is designed to do just one thing – ignite the rocket motors. An igniter is electrically initiated which in turn ignites the black powder or composite propellant. In practice, if the safety key is removed from the Safety Key Switch of a model rocket launch controller, neither the igniter nor the continuity indicator can touch both ends of the input dc mybajaguide.comted Reading Time: 3 mins.
When I was a kid, I loved playing with Estes Rockets, so I decided to get back into the hobby but using all of my maker skizzls. Fully Open Source for anyone to make! Arduino Code on GitHub. Thing Files for 3D Printing on Thingiverse. Things you are going to need to complete the Instructable and Launch your own 3D Printed Rocket are put together in a comprehensive list in an Excel Spreadsheet with links to the components I used - You can always use your own if they are laying around!
For the actual rockets - I highly recommend designing your own or finding one on Thingiverse. Also having a 3D printer, experience with Arduino, and knowing how to solder will be incredibly useful in making the launcher and launching your own 3D printed Rockets!
Also if you are under 18, please acquire an adult for supervision! You will be using controlled explosives later on! I've hosted all of my 3D printing. I've found the best way to orient the print for the launcher case is shown in the screenshot of MakerWare. I printed it with. Using no supports works just fine, despite the overhangs.
Once you have the components, build the circuit on a breadboard and connect it to the Arduino. To test to see if you wired the breadboard correctly, your launcher should function just as it does in the video. If something doesn't work, go back and double check your wiring and connections. The potentiometer is used to set a time between 1second - 2 minutes and the red arcade button begins the countdown. The toggle switch closes the "launch" circuit and acts as a safety mechanism.
Only when it is closed will power be sent to the rocket to ignite the engine. Current only flows for the duration of the buzzer after the timer counts down. I used a glue gun to mount some the electronics.
The holes have a high tolerance, so adding in some extra glue tightens everything up nicely. Since most of the parts are panel mounted, you don't need much glue.
Make sure you give yourself plenty of extra wire to connect to the Arduino board. In order to get the launcher ready for the field, transfer the circuit from a breadboard to a Protoboard or Arduino Protoshield. This will make your launcher much more reliable so you aren't left fiddling with it in the field and can spend more time launching rockets. It will also allow you to quickly remove your Arduino Uno for other projects. Note: Soldering is required for this step. For the two leads that go to the launch pad, use about 20 ft of wire in the colors of your choosing.
I chose red and yellow. Put gator clips on the end so you can clip it to the ignitor for the rocket engine. You can then wrap the wire around the cleat on the side of the case. Package all the electronics and Arduino in the case carefully. Make sure you don't have exposed wires that aren't insulated. Everything will fit nice and snug, don't be afraid to add a little pressure. To keep the back cover on you can use some tape or glue.
I love using a glue gun because I can re-heat the glue to undo what I did. Your unit should work just as it does in my video. I used an ignitor to make sure it performs as expected. If it does not work as expected, go back and double check your connections and the schematics.
Attach the parachutes with a simple knot to the capsule. The parachute is made by Estes, but I'm sure you can make your own out of a grocery bag and some string. The embedded video shows how to prepare a rocket for launch - it uses different components but the process is the same.
Estes Model rockets have been around a long time so there is a lot of resources on line to help with you with this process. Here's a great guide to their ignitors and motors. The Process is simple - ignitor end goes into the whole of the motor first, then the plug to keep it in.
Attach the two gator clips of the leads to the ignitor when your on the launch pad. Go to a nice big field that's away from a lot of dry brush and away from the population. Find a place that has:. Open Area - It is very important you launch your model rockets in open areas, away from homes and businesses. It is recommended to use an open field, like a farm or athletic field. Make sure to ask for permission first. Even Ground - Launch your rockets from a level platform and always straight up.
If the launch pad is tilted just a few degrees your rocket could end up several hundred feet away. Flying your rocket at a 90 degree, perpendicular angle will offer the maximum height out of your rocket engines. Question 2 years ago on Step 3.
Do the two batteries run the Arduino and clock? How many launches do you get out of the two 9 volt batteries? I find my 6 volt launcher only does about a dozen launches before I have to change batteries. Someone should make an instructables on how to build the launch controller. Would be cheaper and more available. Thanks for the guide.
Sounds like Estes rockets might be into sponsoring a contest on Instructables this summer. Stay tuned. Reply 7 years ago on Introduction. Launch It! Pro-tip: don't publish any rocket 'ibles until cinco de mayo so they'll all be eligible for the contest. You may enter more than one project. Very cool, great work I just built one with a trio of 's, not as fancy with the countdown display, that's for sure Interesting project But on the other hand, looks like more fun than your standard Estes controller a button and an LED.
Out of curiosity, how much do the rockets come out weighing excluding motor? By chall ChallTech Follow. I'm a bioengineer that hates biology. Attachments Components and Sources. Note: You will also need Adafruit's Arduino Libraries to run the red 7 segment display. The launch pad is pretty basic. You can find these at your local hardware store or hobby shop. Some type of ceramic plate or aluminum plast reflector I actually used a old pizza tray. Some way to anchor it to the ground, a weight or the quick 3D printed base I made.
I also 3D printed a red ball to prevent people from poking their eye out when I'm transporting the long thin stainless steel rod. Find a place that has: Open Area - It is very important you launch your model rockets in open areas, away from homes and businesses.
When the coast is clear, and your ready to launch, insert the key into the launcher and turn it to the right, the Arduino will boot up and play a sound. Use the knob to set the countdown - 1second - 2 minutes. Hit the RED arcade button to start the launch. When the countdown hits 0, current is sent to the ignitor while the buzzer is on and the rocket will blast off! If it doesn't blast off during those 8 seconds.
Wait about 5 minutes before approaching the launch pad you probably have a dead engine or the ignitor broke - they are fragile! Participated in the Arduino Contest View Contest. Did you make this project? Share it with us! I Made It! NathanC 2 years ago. Reply Upvote. Is there a way to bypass the timer and manually launch the rocket?
DhruvS68 Question 2 years ago on Step 3. Answer Upvote. TonyaL 3 years ago.