It Isn’t Rocket Science — Wait, Maybe It Is

We don’t know why, but for some reason, the more dangerous something is, the more hacker appeal it seems to have. We like to deal with high temperatures, high voltages, dangerous chemicals, and powerful lasers. So [Tech Ingredient’s] recent video about homemade rocket motors certainly caught our attention. You may need a little commitment, though. The first video (yes, there isn’t just one) is over an hour long.

Turns out, [Tech] doesn’t actually want to use the rockets for propulsion. He needed a source of highly-ionized high-velocity plasma to try to get more power from his magnetohydrodynamic project. Whatever you want to use it for, these are serious-sized motors. [Tech] claims that his design is both powerful and easy to build. He also has a “secret” rocket fuel that he shares. What is it? We won’t spoil the video for you, but it is a sweet surprise.

The video isn’t just a how-to. There is a lot of discussion about how rocket motors work, which isn’t as intuitive as you might think. Of course, when you build rockets, weight is everything. There’s generous use of epoxy to provide strong barriers and seals without a lot of weight. If you just want to see the pyrotechnics, you can start with the second video — a smaller investment at less than 12 minutes.

The largest motor was roughly an H-class motor, which is very powerful. A top-end commercially available model rocket engine is usually an F-class and each letter is double the amount of thrust, so these are serious size motors.

If you want a better look at what happens inside a motor, try building this one. Surprisingly, you can even 3D print a liquid engine.

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