Tuesday, October 24, 2017

Rocket Launcher

Launching Estes rockets is fun; really fun. When I was younger I had a proper launch setup with rocket stand and handheld launcher. At some point those got lost and/or thrown out. The past few years to launch a rocket I just grabbed a long coil of wire and a 9-volt battery. Connect the wire to the Estes igniter, hold the battery against the wires, and lift off!

I'd like my son to have a slightly more... authentic(?) experience.

For the launcher, I want a nicely packaged box, with "ready" indicator light, launch button, and most importantly a safety key switch. That way I can hold onto the key while hooking the wires up to the igniter (without worrying about my son pressing launch prematurely).

Other than the key switch, all the other parts were leftovers from prior projects.

Drilled the holes for the key switch, light, and push button.

Quick and easy crimp the wires together. (There is a hole in the side for the long wire that goes out to the rocket.)

Wiring diagram for those that can't follow the above mess...

When the key is turned, the light illuminates signalling that the rocket is armed. Press the red button and electricity goes out to the igniter to launch.

And it works! There was basically no wind so it landed feet from the launch site.

Next up is a proper launch stand!