# Homemade Rocket Fuel and Engine [closed]

I want to put an action figure in orbit but I need to know how to make a secure yet not too expensive rocket fuel engine. The design of the engine must very primitive and not too complicated.

I've read some information about hydrazine and hydrogenperoxide but it is too dangerous to use and make at a noncommercial scale. Although I studied some chemistry in highschool, I don't have so much knowledge about this matter. So far my best bet is blackpowder based fuel engine. What do you suggest?

• wired.com/2011/12/to-build-a-diy-spacecraft-is-a-daunting-task This is the perfect place for you to find out the right answer ! – user16191 May 13 '15 at 22:57
• The best way to get into space without anything complicated is to use a balloon. Getting into orbit requires sophisticated control systems to manage the rocket thrust: just having powerful thrust doesn't do it; the fuel isn't your limiting factor. – matt_black Apr 18 '16 at 9:30

Note: I'm not a modeler myself, but tested several recipes of rocket candy and read rocket modeler forum for a while.

First of all, you have to think if you will be satisfied with solid propellant or want a liquid fuel engine.

Building home-made liquid fuel rocket engine is very hard. One need to find pumps, make combustion chamber from something very heat-proof and reasonably stable chemically. Anyway, some successful reports may be found on the internetz. Note, however, that if you can choose safe liquid fuel, like kerosene or some alcohol, there is no safe oxidant for liquid-fueled rocket engine. The closest thing to safe oxidant I can imagine is nitric acid, that require work on fresh air or in specially designed room and tends to form explosives on contact with many things, like milk protein (yep!), some of which are volatile

Solid-fuel model propellants are much easier to prepare and use, there are numerous articles in the internetz about such fuels. The most common one is rocket candy, prepared from potassium nitrate and sugar. I tried it to see how it works (I didn't build any rockets), but instead of sugar I used sorbitol. Rocket candy based on sorbitol can be melted and then can be casted in any form. wiki article contains both info and links to sites with well-testes recipes by successful modelers.

Another possible option is making missile model based on some classical jet. There is quite simple pulse jet and there are some books about home-made turbine jet designs.

Anyway, I recommend to search nearby rocket modeling club and find supervisor.

I dont know if this old post is viable but here goes! This post covers an commonly asked question/goal. Most of the responders to the OT are sadly correct, it's nearly impossible for a average builder to find or to design and produce a LF rocket. I have scoured the internet for ten years looking for a obtainable LF rocket engine, or kit or someone that has a (model) liquid fueled (LF) rocket engine with the ISP etc to put even a tiny payload into LEO. There is only one LF kit I know of (the Solitaire ?) and it hasn't nearly the power to achieve the escape veloicty etc for my goals. Even a solid fuel design of the highest efficiency would be huge and no longer in the realm of 'model rocketry', high power or otherwise. My last design was a three stage all solid fuel motors. It had a fuel grain nearly 15' long and 2.5' OD (tapering to 12") for stage three. All three stages used nozzles that were chrome moly outer shell wound with carbon carbon/graphite thread meant to be semi ablative. It would have had gimbaled nozzle linked to a gyroscope for stability. Even with all the above my calculations indicated I could expect only an sub orbital ballistic shot that would obtain a apogee of about 130km. The space shuttle type propellant would not produce enough ISP to produce the escape veloicty to pull out of earths gravity well. Close but no B-nanner, lol! I am fairly sure if I added clustering first stage and an exotic fourth stage LEO would be achievable.

Why didn't I build it? First too much red tape. It would be more illegal than building any destructive device. Second MONEY!!!! Even if I did the most of work myself 100K would just get me started. on the three stage version! But hang in there! There are some fun stuff being done with Hi altitude balloons and rockets, or just balloon carrying telemetry. Also Hybrid rockets are interesting but again they fall short in the power needed for orbital applications.

• Welcome to Chemistry.SE! Take the tour to get familiar with this site. Mathematical expressions and equations can be formatted using $\LaTeX$ syntax. For more information in general have a look at the help center. At the moment this reads more like a comment than an actual answer - could you elaborate a little more. With a bit more rep, you will be able to post comments on any question/answer. – Martin - マーチン Apr 18 '16 at 7:50

I think that if you want a orbit, you should ask NASA, because the biggest ever rocket homemade reached " just" 56 kilometers. For NASA space starts at 100 km. A orbit asks for multiple stages with several tons of fuel, and the lowest orbit is higher than the edge of space, so its almost impossible to send a rocket into orbit.

• I don't know how hard it would be, it might not be so hard than it appears, I mean, the only think i want is put in orbit (elliptical probably) a small mass then the only think i need is some V increment in a direction. With an arduino autopìlot rocket and an aerostatic balloon (10 km) as first stage maybe there will be possible. I haven't calculated yet. – MirlvsMaximvs Dec 3 '14 at 11:43
• "The reason it's hard to get to orbit isn't that space is high up. It's hard to get to orbit because you have to go so fast." - xkcd what-if 58, Orbital Speed what-if.xkcd.com/58 I'd honestly recommend playing some Kerbal Space Program or Orbiter to get an intuition on why going into space is hard. – Zemyla Apr 16 '19 at 17:34

Ok so first of all you cant get into orbit with anything "simple"... Remember that as the altitude increases, the pressure decreases, the makeup of the atmosphere changes, temperature changes and so on.

Now on to rocket fuel, if you want to go high, I suggest sinking some time into a hybrid engine. A hybrid engine uses a solid fuel and a liquid or gaseous oxidizer. There are some good example videos on YouTube of engines that use a hollowed acrylic rod for fuel and use either nitrous oxide or straight O2 to produce a very effective, throttle-able engine. However if you just starting out, I suggest rocket candy, its a cheap, homemade solid fuel+oxidizer mixture that is great for experimenting with. You can usually use sucrose and either potassium nitrate or sodium nitrate, I suggest the sodium nitrate as it is slightly lighter, but then again I'm a perfectionist.