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Best rocket fuel for a beginner?


BlastFromThePast

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So I'm thinking about focusing more on rockets rather than shells and the like and I'm wondering where a good place to start is. I've been doing some looking around and have found many different comps. I've done a little with KN/SU in the past so I will obviously be starting there again, as well as making some BP rocket, (I still have to buy KNO3 and sulfur), but if I was going to buy 1 or 2 other chemicals ontop of those which ones should I purchase? Keeping in mind of course, I want to be dealing with a relatively safe mix. This is a link to some that I have found...http://www.pyrocreations.com/rocket_propellants1

Which should I try after doing the aforementioned 2 comps. Thank!

 

Also, I don't have a ball mill, YET, so it would be helpful if one could be recommended where it isn't absolutely crucial to have said tool.

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Are you going to use rocket tooling or you will drill the nozzle?Buy for a test a smaller quantitie of kno3 and sulfur just to test some rockets and start with a small id rocket like 1/2'' they are very good rockets start with a simple 60/30/10 composition
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I was thinking about making my own tooling. I was watching a video made by NightInHawk (i'm pretty sure) and he was showing off his homemade rocket-tooling set. If I decide to go the kitty-litter way, is there a limit to how much power/what type of propellant I use or will the nozzel hold up. I guess what I have in mind is some sort of whistle mix.
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Whistle mix is NOT for beginners. It is safe to assume you do not have a press as well. Whistle mix MUST be pressed. This is no place to cut corners.

 

Those new to rockets should use BP. Screen mixed fuel works just fine for core burners with a nozzle. Start with 60/30/10 for standard BP spindles. It will take some time to dial in a good fuel for your tools, chems, and technique.

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Alright, won't go near whistle mix for a while. Does anybody know what kind of payload a 1/2" ID 2" BP rocket motor can handle? The charcoal I'm using is balsa. Would that be too quick of a burning BP for rockets?
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a true core burner 1/2" wide should be 5" long. Are you making end burners, or just short core burners?
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Alright, won't go near whistle mix for a while. Does anybody know what kind of payload a 1/2" ID 2" BP rocket motor can handle? The charcoal I'm using is balsa. Would that be too quick of a burning BP for rockets?

 

Like CaliforniaPyro said, 2" seems short for a 1/2" rocket. Without a mill, you will be better off making a coreburner, which would use a 5" long tube. Once your fuel is dialed in, you should be able to lift a festival ball or maybe a 2" ball shell to the appropriate height.

 

I have not had good luck using balsa charcoal in rockets. It burns fast, but does not produce as much gas which mean it does not give much thrust. Believe it or not, but I have been able to get good results using screen mixed fuel and commercial airfloat charcoal. I have better results Alder charcoal and ball milled fuel, but it is not necessary.

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I'd buy some metal powder such as titanium to give the rockets a bit of a tail.

 

Best of luck.

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Interesting. Well I guess I'll start with pine in my BP and go from there. I don't really have much money to be buying other woods to make charcoal at the moment and I'm having a hell of a hard time trying to identify the trees around where I live so I'll have to figure that out. To what extent is the zinc/sulfur comp used in pyro these days?
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Also as I was reading around a couple days ago I found someone mention a 75/25 KClO3/Su rocket mix. Does anyone have any experience with this? And, if this is a legitamite comp, does it similarly apply to making KNO3/Su where it is better to melt down the sugar and add the oxidizer? Or is this something that can be mixed dry and then pressed?
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Zn/S isn't all that common any more. People will occasionally use it, but it's really not very popular outside of the kewl circles. It's heavy and doesn't really make all that much thrust in comparison.

 

I'm not sure about that chlorate and sugar mix. I definitely wouldn't melt them together. A chlorate/lactose mixture will ignite before either of the chemicals melts. I suspect the same would be true of sucrose and most other sugars. Seeing someone mention a mix like that, even if not intended to be melt cast would still probably make me question their credibility.

 

There are plenty of cheap and easy to obtain wood sources. If you're willing to forage a little bit it can be basically free. Pines are typically fairly easy to pick out. Not all pines will be created equally of course, but thats what test batches are for. Willows and maples tend to be fairly characteristic looking and generally make good quality charcoal. Cottonwood, if local, can be easy to pick out by the horrific mess it makes when it seeds. To be honest, most home cooked woods will make at least decent BP. Often times the wood chips and wood curls found as animal bedding will be pine or cedar and make good BP, and are pretty cheap to start.

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That's a really great idea, with the animal bedding. I can get like 2 pounds of the stuff for $5. As far as the chlorate sugar mix goes, if you think that's not a good idea than I'll steer clear. I was certain that melting them together would be a bad idea but just thought I might ask. Are you saying no also to dry mixing them and packing it as well? I apologize, as I didn't really understand if this

Seeing someone mention a mix like that, even if not intended to be melt cast would still probably make me question their credibility.

is being directed at me or in general.

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Just sort of in general. That just sounds like a death wish to me.

 

If you're going to try it, you really need to press it. Also the friction from removing the tooling would make me incredibly uneasy.

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Yeah no I won't be doing that then. I'm just gonna start with some BP endburners and then move on to core burners.
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You will want a mill for end burners. They will need the hottest BP you can make.
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How well of a BP can you get using a coffee grinder. I know its not ideal and really doesn't compare to having a mill but is it even sufficient enough for rockets
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I would advise against putting live material or compositions into a coffee grinder. I've personally had what was potentially contaminated charcoal light up in a coffee grinder.

 

I really don't mean to be harsh here, but it sounds like you've been listening to some rather poor information sources. You may want to look into getting some of the established, legitimate pyrotechnic literature. It's not cheap on the surface, but it will save you a lot of time, expense, and experimentation in the long run. There are also plenty of good pyrotechnic information sources on the internet. There are also plenty of poor ones as well unfortunately.

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No no no, I wouldn't "mill" them together. I'm just talking about mill the charcoal and KNO3 in their own grinders and then use the precipitation method.
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In case you didn't see I did edit my last response. It didn't come out how I was intending it to.

 

I suspect with good charcoal you can probably get something that is too hot for a core burner, but might still be a bit lacking for end burners. Good charcoal will definitely be key. You might not need to go down the precipitation or CIA route. Just thoroughly mixing them together could be enough to get the job done. There is only one way to tell though.

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Why not just start with a core burner? They have the advantage of using slower fuel than other rockets and still being able to lift a decent header. Traditional core burning black powder rockets are also the best ones to start out with. Other than the tooling and a proper mallet you don't need anything special. Assuming you have a good, warm, sunny day, the fuel can be made and dried in a few hours and ready to ram. Perfect for beginners.
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