Standard Template

First, download this PDF and be sure to print it out at 100% on standard 8.5 x 11 letter paper.

The new template looks like this:

Next, use the launch tube from the launcher kit as a mandrel to make sure it is the right size.  Alternately, you can get 1/2″ PVC pipe at Lowes or Home Depot, and cut it to 12″ lengths to use as a mandrel.  This works well when working with groups.
You will also need a roll of tape.  Almost any type of tape will work. We prefer to use Scotch 0.94″ wide General Purpose Masking tape.  You can get 9 roll contractor packs from Lowes or Home Depot.

 

A few tips & ideas:
1.) If you wrap the template too tightly around the forming pipe, it will be tough to remove from the forming pipe and tough to fit onto the launch tube.  Even if you get it onto the launch tube, it is much more likely to make “Confetti” (blow off the nosecone) when you try to launch it.  If it is too loose, it will not fly as high, as the pressure will escape out around the gap.  A nice sliding fit is best.
2.) I like to trim the leading and trailing edges of the fins.  Besides looking good, they are less likely to fold over with the high g forces of launch and upon landing, which can make the rocket not fly as straight.  They are also less likely to get caught when falling through tree branches.
3.) Experiment with the fins – how well does the rocket fly without fins?  With one fin?  With two?  Can you make the rocket fly well with only two fins?  How about where the fins are placed?  What if the fins were in the middle or the front of the rocket?  If they are not mounted straight?  If they are made large?  How small of fins will still work? Have fun experimenting with them.
4.) For dusk or night time launches, we have experimented with using clear tape to attach “Glow Stick Bracelets” to the sides of the rockets, available from Oriental Trading Company and many other sources.  We have also used glow in the dark stickers, stars and moon shapes are the most popular.  Also, we are experimenting with cutting the “guts” out of these “light up spike balls” from Oriental Trading Company and attaching them to the rocket.  The force of launch starts the lights blinking, and they stay on for the full flight.  One other idea is to mount some “LED Throwies” to the rocket.  Instructions for throwies can be found here.
Please give it a try and let us know what you think.
Now go launch something!