“If women don’t find you handsome, at least they’ll find you handy.”

A frequent quote made by Red Green, lead character of “The Red Green Show”. Usually every episode Red would build some outrageous contraption out of old car parts and other junk held together by duct tape. An inspiration for us all.

Tools Handy For Rocket Building

Cutting Tools

coping saw – for making curved cuts in thin wood or plastic if an electric scroll saw isn’t available

hack saw – for cutting larger PVC pipe and metal parts

hobby saw & miter box – for precision cutting of small parts

miter box – for guiding a hand saw to make accurate square cuts

paper punch – for making a single hole in paper, makes a neat hole in parachute material for attaching lines

power saw – for cutting any wooden parts you might need, either a scroll saw, jig saw, or band saw for curved cuts and a small table saw for straight cuts; needs adult supervision to operate!

scissors – for cutting the plastic bottles; for cutting parachute material and paper patterns

utility knife – for plunge cuts into bottles; cutting fin material; various other trimming and shaping jobs

Drilling Tools

drill bits – for drilling PVC for launchers; building mechanisms

drill press – for precise drilling by clamping your workpiece; it can also double for some lathe work on small pieces if you make adapters and are careful; needs adult supervision to operate!

rotary hobby tool – for small drilling, cutting, grinding and shaping jobs

Machining Tools

mini metal working lathe – specialized tool for creating custom parts and altering common materials to your specific needs; it can be used to reduce the outside diameter of,  and cut grooves in, tubes and other round materials; it can be used to cut threads in round stock; it can also drill perfectly centered holes in small round objects; probably one of the priciest tools you’ll have in your workshop and you will need some training material, practice and patience to use all of its capabilities well; definitely needs adult supervision to operate!

tap and die set – for cutting standard threads that match common nuts and bolts; dies cut threads around the outside of metal or plastic rods to create bolts; taps cut threads inside drilled holes so that bolts may be turned through them; taps and dies may also be used to repair slightly damaged threads; low-priced and easier alternative to cutting threads with a lathe

Drawing Tools

beam compass – for drawing accurate larger circles such as when making a cardboard pattern for parachutes; a pencil is attached to the center point by a long adjustable rod

bow compass – for drawing small circles and arcs of up to a few inches in radius

drafting triangles – for fast and accurate 30, 45, 60 and 90 degree angles

pencils – for marking on wood and paper; sketching plans

permanent markers – fine points, for marking on bottles and PVC

protractor – for less common angles not found on drafting triangles

Filing Tools

flat files

round files

semi-round files

Holding Tools

bench vise – for holding down your workpiece for heavier work, especially cutting or shaping metal

binder clips – small but very strong clamps for small thin objects


rubber bands

spring clothes pins

rubber shelf and drawer liner – the odd bumpy rubbery material used to line kitchen drawers to keep things inside from sliding around; makes a good non-slip work surface; a piece also comes in handy to wrap around PVC pipe to better hold it in a vise with less damage,  it also helps save the skin on your hands with a better grip when forcing tight-fitting pipes together or apart

Measuring Tools

calipers – for making accurate outside measurements, inside measurements and depth measurements on small objects

micrometer – for very precise measurement of the thickness of small objects

ruler / straightedge – for measuring distance; for checking alignment of assemblies

scales – for weighing components and complete rockets when reducing weight is critical for performance; needs to be able to measure in small increments such as grams

tape measure used for sewing – for measuring around the circumference of bottles when fitting one inside another for splicing

Plumbing Tools

flaring tool – for expanding the end of small tubing into a slightly conical shape, made for some plumbing fittings

tubing cutter – for making neat even cuts on smaller PVC and other pipes

Sanding Tools

power sander – belt or disc style, bench mounted is preferable, for faster shaping and smoothing of PVC and wood; needs adult supervision to operate!

sand paper

sanding blocks

sanding sponges

Safety Tools

eye protection – safety glasses or face shield in case of explosion or small objects thrown by exhaust from rocket; also needed when working with power tools in your shop

hearing protection – ear plugs or ear muffs when working with higher pressures in case of explosion; also needed around loud power tools

breathing protection – dust mask when using a power sander; appropriate mask for using strong chemicals like plastic cements, or a good ventilation system if you can’t work outdoors


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s