How-To Geek

DIY Homemade Hybrid Rocket Engine [Video]

Remember the guy with the cool DIY astronaut ice cream build? He’s back with a mini hybrid rocket engine that runs off oxygen and acrylic.

I built a small rocket engine for demonstration purposes. The engine is built from a 2″ diameter acrylic rod through which I drilled a 0.5″ hole. The oxygen at 80 psi or less is passed through the hole and then is forced through a convergent-divergent nozzle at the tail end. The nozzle’s throat is about 0.25″ and expands to 0.625″. I lit the engine by inserting a burning cotton swab (with wooden stick) while a small amount of oxygen was flowing. The acrylic catches fire very easily in a pure oxygen environment. The engine can be throttled and shut off completely, which is a major benefit to hybrid engine designs. Solid-fuel rockets cannot be throttled or shut off, which makes them difficult to control.

[via Make]

Jason Fitzpatrick is warranty-voiding DIYer and all around geek. When he's not documenting mods and hacks he's doing his best to make sure a generation of college students graduate knowing they should put their pants on one leg at a time and go on to greatness, just like Bruce Dickinson. You can follow him on if you'd like.

  • Published 10/12/12

Comments (3)

  1. kamal

    how is this “homemade” video .. guy has industrial tools and some kickass knowledge !!!

  2. Rick S

    Lots of guys have those tools at home. My lathe isn’t CNC but can do the job. There are other ways too.
    Kickass knowledge can be found in a book and the rest is common sense.
    Everything burns fast in pure Oxygen even some metals. Pretty fair chance he could have used a piece of wood. But I agree the guy is smart.

  3. Nic In UK

    How much thrust did it produce?

    The vehicle for the attempt on the Land Speed record is using a hybrid rocket; the feed pump for the oxidiser is powered by an F1 race car engine of 750 BHP,

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