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 a warranty-voiding DIYer who spends his days cracking opening cases and wrestling with code so you don't have to. If it can be modded, optimized, repurposed, or torn apart for fun he's interested (and probably already at the workbench taking it apart). 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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