CAD drawing of "Swamp Gas" flying saucer

Builds in progress…

I have two main projects I’m currently working on. The first is an idea I had a very long time ago, for a scratch-built saucer rocket with lighting effects. This rocket’s name is Swamp Gas.

CAD rendering of flying saucer model rocket
I want to believe.

This rocket has been slow (glacially slow) to come together, but I think I might actually finish it over the winter. It’s built around a one-meter-long strip of Adafruit NeoPixels which will run along the outer rim of the saucer, and all of the other dimensions are derived from that. I made a big step forward a couple of months ago when I started learning the basics of KiCad and designed a carrier board for the components that would drive the NeoPixels (designed around an Adafruit Trinket M0, a very small Arduino microcontroller). Within a couple of weeks, I had the fabricated boards back from OSH Park and wired one up!

I’m gradually making progress on the motor mount and internal fins:

Internal components of saucer rocket

There will be a translucent 3D-printed dome on top with green LEDs lighting it from inside, and there will be a small parachute in there as well. The rocket will fly on 29mm composite motors – probably Es and Fs.

[EDIT: design files for Swamp Gas, including KiCad files and Arduino code for the lighting controller, are available on GitHub.]

The other rocket I’m building is coming together much more quickly. It’s a Lotus 5 kit from Composite Warehouse that I bought on sale a few weeks ago. I haven’t settled on a name for it yet. It’s slightly modified in that I’ve rounded the outer corners off of the fins (just because I liked the way it looked, and I have a fondness for rockets with rounded fins). I just bonded the centering rings to the motor mount, and will put the mount in the airframe either tonight or tomorrow.

Motor mount for high-power rocket

This rocket will fly on 54mm J motors; simulations say the CTI J360 Skidmark and J449 Blue Streak will probably be good motors for it and will put it in the ~3000 foot range.

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