- What is a good rocket for me and my kid to build?
- What rocket would you recommend for a school (cub scout, girl scout, 4H) group?
- I (and/or my kid) want to fly at your launch this weekend. What can I get?
- Want to learn/teach the basics of rocket building?
- Want something for a one-time launch, and have plenty of other things to do?
If you are of the category #1 persuasion, you have many, many options. If you are building the rocket solo, or with another family member, the important thing to consider is how much time you want to spend in the build. Messing with wood and paint is rewarding, but it does take time - not good if you want to fly tomorrow morning. Fortunately, there is a whole line of rockets produced by Estes and Quest that feature plastic parts that are easily assembled in 30 minutes or so. The Estes Alpha III is my favorite; their Generic kit is also nice. One of the more unusual kits is the Dragonite, which snaps together, requiring no glue - there were quite a few of these at a recent cub scout launch. Quest has their line of Quick Kits, with the Astra III being the most popular. Any one of these will have you ready to fly in under an hour, and you will still learn the basic parts of the rocket.
These rockets are also good for group builds and you can buy them in bulk. I get many of the Alpha III's from AC Supply, where you can get 12 for $72 ($6 per rocket). Quest also offers several bulk packs featuring the Astra III, Starhawk, and other fast builds.
|Alpha III bulk pack (Click to enlarge).|
I have always been partial to the Estes Alpha, as I have built a zillion of these over the years. A new favorite is the Balsa Machining Service's School Rocket. At $5.25 a model, it's cheap, has quality parts (laser cut balsa fins and slotted body tube, streamer, balsa nose cone), and goes together very nicely. Great for first timers, and also really good for groups who have an hour or more in their build session.
|Estes Alpha (click to enlarge).||BMS School Rocket (Click to enlarge).|