Rocket motor above designed and built by students using our "How To Make Amateur Rockets" bookset
Click here for more information on this student rocket project
If you have dreamed of designing, building and launching your own rocket, you have come to the right place. CP Technologies was started in 1994 with a three booklet/video series on how to make your own solid rocket motors. These booklets were written by John Wickman, a professional rocket propulsion engineer with over 30 years of experience in solid, liquid and exotic Space propulsion technologies. The success of the booklets and videos was recognized by the U.S. Government by their award of the 1996 Tibbett's award for the commercialization of U.S. Government rocket technology. The original booklets, videos and software were replaced in 1997 with a new book/video/software set called "How to Make Amateur Rockets". This bookset has been revised and updated for the 2nd Edition.
The 2nd Edition classic book/software/video set sells for just $49.95, which includes shipping within the United States. This book is completely illustrated with photographs and drawings. With this book, you will get software programs written for Microsoft Windows. In addition, you will get a video, over an hour long, covering the material in the book. We show you how to design and build your own motors, rockets, find a launch site and get an FAA waiver so you can just enjoy flying rockets.
You can be saving over $50 on J class reloads by making your own motor and save $100's on larger impulse reloads and motors. Don't fall for the myth that you don't save money making your own motors and reloads. Click here for an actual cost analysis on a 54mm Aerotech J90W reload.
With this bookset, you will not have to pay a hundreds of dollars for rocket kits. After all, what are you really buying with that rocket kit? You are paying for the time someone took to design that rocket. Plastic nosecones and cardboard tubes don't cost a hundred dollars or more. With our "How To Make Amateur Rockets"bookset, you will be able to design and build from scratch your own fleet of rockets. Tired of showing up to launches with the same rocket as everyone else with only a different paint job? Now you can break free from the pack by learning how to design the rockets you want to fly and save money, too!
This class will teach you how to design and build your own solid rocket motors in a relaxed and fun environment. This is NOT a "cook book" propellant formula or "cook book" motor design class that leaves the students without the knowledge to design their own rocket motors or formulate their own propellant. This class will teach you how to design a solid rocket motor to a desired pressure-time and thrust-time curve.
During the class, your instructor will give you a peak chamber pressure and pressure-time curve shape and you will design and build a motor to meet that goal. After your motor is built, it will be tested to see how close you come to the goal. Don't worry. You will succeed with the knowledge given to you in this class. Shown below is a pressure-time curve from a student in a previous class. His goal was a progressive pressure-time curve with a peak pressure of 300 psi. Using the information learned in the class and our FPRED motor design software, he nailed his design goal. But his results were not unusual, all of his fellow students nailed their design goals, too.
If you want to learn how to design solid rocket motors to a specific thrust and pressure and be able to design for progressive, neutral or regressive pressure or thrust curves, then this is the class for you. If you are now designing motors based on Kn values, but have no clue as to what your chamber pressure is or how to control the shape of the thrust - time curve, then this course is for you.
Your instructor will be John Wickman, a professional aerospace engineer and internationally known in the field of solid rocket propulsion. He will show you how to formulate a composite propellant for burn rate, performance or combustion temperature. He will also show you how to design a propellant grain pattern to give you the thrust time curve you want and how to design the motor so it doesn't structurally or thermally fail.
A highlight of the course will be when you press the firing button on the control panel. It will not be an ordinary firing button or control panel. It is the original firing button and control panel used by Aerojet, once called the "General Motors of Rocketry" by Time magazine. From this historic control panel was test fired solid rocket motors powering Polaris, Minuteman and MX missiles including tactical missiles such as Sidewinder, Maverick, Harpoon and many others. You will merge with solid rocket history as you press the firing button.
Our resource page has a list of suppliers for chemicals, electronics and things you will need for your rocket and rocket motor. It also has blank FAA waiver forms, information on data acquistion software installation instructions, book updates and a lot more.
It may be hard to believe, but yes, they were at one time. Even Robert Goddard conducted his initial rocket experiments with only his limited personal financial resources and never did make a living out of it until World War II. You see amateur rocketry is the foundation for all rocketry today whether it be professional, model rocketry or high power rocketry. The great ancestors of the modern rocket were amateur rockets built by the early pioneers of rocketry. These men had dreams of rockets taking people to the Moon, Mars and beyond. For the most part, they were considered crackpots who did not understand basic physics - "rockets cannot work in the vacuum of Space as there is nothing for the rocket exhaust to push against". Of course, today we know that this is utter nonsense.
In the 1930's, these crackpots formed amateur rocketry societies to pool their financial resources and combine their skills to make successful rockets. These groups had names like "Verein fur Raumschiffahrt - VfR" (translation: Society for Space Travel) or the "American Interplanetary Society". The American Interplanetary Society later renamed itself the American Rocket Society (ARS) in an attempt to lessen chuckles and hoots from the establishment press and scientific/engineering community. The VfR had members like Wernher von Braun, Klaus Riedel and Willy Ley. The ARS had members like H. Franklin Pierce, Max Kraus, Edward Pendray and James Wyld. The ARS later became the professional society for aerospace engineers, The American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics or AIAA.
Amateur rocketry was given an undeserved bad reputation with the propaganda theme of "you'll kill yourself if you make your rocket motors". Model rocketry organizations and commercial manufacturers led a major propaganda campaign to paint all amateur rocketeers as "basement bombers". The drum beat steadily until this "politically correct" message was firmly imbedded in the minds of all rocketeers, fire marshals and government officials. The few voices speaking out against this propaganda were not given much credibility. The old time amateur rocketeers of the 30's were now "professional" aerospace engineers and had no time or interest in the survival of amateur rocketry in America. Forgetting their roots, these engineers felt amateurs had nothing to contribute to rocketry except bad publicity and accidents.
Today, things are different. Amateur rocketry is emerging from the dark ages of the past few decades. Technologies in the form of composite solid rocket propellants and the personal computer are responsible for the renaissance of amateur rocketry. While many commercial manufacturers and some model rocket organizations are still trying to suppress amateurs, they are losing the battle. NASA and aerospace industries are realizing that amateur rocketry lays the best foundation for aerospace engineering skills that will be needed tomorrow.
CP Technologies was created in 1994 to sell educational materials on making your own composite solid rocket motors and rockets. John Wickman, President of Wickman Spacecraft & Propulsion Company, had been approached by several people in high power rocketry for information and help in making their own rocket motors. Not being familar with high power rocketry, he attended an LDRS rocket launch and saw how big the hobby was and the definite need for more information beyond what was available at the time. His first effort was three booklets along with some software and videos to design and build your own rocket motors. When the booklets were released, the company received severe criticism for telling people how to make rocket motors. The attacks were basically, "You're bringing the basement bomber back and they are going to kill the hobby." While these people were probably well meaning, things had changed from the 1950's and 60's. In those days, composite solid propellant technology was classified due to the "Cold War." By the 1990's, this technology was in the public domain and offered a safe way for people to make rocket motors. Despite the effort of organized rocketry groups to stop the re-emergence of amateur rocketry, this new offshoot of the hobby grew. In the late 1990's, the first edition of the "How To Make Amateur Rockets" bookset was published that now included information on making the rocket along with the rocket motor. This was followed with a second edition of the bookset. A lot of different rocket designs were tested at the launches of the local High Plains Rocket Society in Casper, Wyoming.
In 2004, we started a "hands on" motor design class that we continue to offer three times a year during the summer. This unique class offers a way for people who want hands on guidance on their first rocket motor to get into the hobby. Unlike other classes that only show you how to mix and cast propellant, this class lets you design, build and test fire your own rocket motor. We have also taught a modified version of this class for new engineers at the Air Force Rocket Propulsion Laboratory as well as college students and instructors. If your organization wants a special class, let us know.
CP Technologies continues to work on new educational materials and technologies for amateur rocketry. Some of them will begin to be coming onto the market this year so watch our news page or facebook page for annoucements.