How to build a fiberglass rocket, part 1: materials

As promised, below is the full bill of materials that I’m using to build the Darkstar Extreme. It’s important to note that, aside from this particular kit, many of the other things in this list are optional, depending on your particular rocket design; frequently, parts or materials can be swapped out and replaced with other similar items.

red fiberglass rocket airframe sections
not pictured: almost everything

Rocket airframe

  • Darkstar Extreme kit from Wildman Rocketry, including:
    • Fiberglass booster (52″ length, 4″ diameter)
    • Fiberglass payload (24″ length, 4″ diameter)
    • Fiberglass coupler (11″ length, 4″ diameter)
    • Fiberglass coupler (6″ length, 4″ diameter)
    • Fiberglass nose cone (4″ diameter) with aluminum tip
    • Fiberglass motor mount (75mm diameter)
    • Fiberglass vent band (1.5″ length, 4″ diameter)
    • Fiberglass centering rings (x4)
    • Plywood centering rings (x2)
    • Fiberglass fins (3/16″ thick)
    • Aluminum bulk plates (stepped, CNC cut) for e-bay and nose cone
    • Misc. hardware (stainless steel nuts, washers, forged eye bolts, quick links)
  • Aluminum motor retainer (75mm) from Aeropack
  • Rail buttons (1/4″) for 1010 rail
  • Sandpaper to sand fiberglass (coarse, 60 grit)
  • Primer and spray paint


  • Resin (West System 105)
  • Hardener (West System 205)
  • Thickener (West System 406, colloidal silica)
  • Hobby epoxy
  • Chopped carbon fiber (1/8″ thick, 1/2 lb)
  • Syringe to inject epoxy


  • Kevlar harness (1″ thick, 8 ft length)
  • Kevlar cord (3/8″ thick, 25 ft length, with two loops) from One Bad Hawk, for drogue parachute
  • Kevlar cord (3/8″ thick, 25 ft length, with three loops) from One Bad Hawk, for main parachute
  • Drogue parachute (2 ft diameter) from Rocketman Parachutes
  • Main parachute (8 ft diameter)
  • Fire blanket (18×18″ nomex) x2
  • E-matches
  • Black powder (FFFF)
  • PVC end caps for ejection charges
  • Nylon shear pins (2-56 screws, 3/8″ length)

Electronics bay

  • Fiberglass “sled”
  • TeleMetrum flight computer
  • LiPo rechargeable battery
  • Terminal blocks
  • Button head screws, 2-56
  • Locknuts, 2-56
  • Molex connector kit, 4-pin
  • Molex connector kit, 8-pin
  • A23 battery for buzzer
  • A23 battery holder
  • Piezo buzzer, mountable on bulk plate
  • Terminal block for buzzer circuit
  • Push button switch
  • Wire for connections (20 awg, “bell” wire)


  • TBD – will probably use a J motor for the initial flight

Next rocket: Darkstar Extreme

Winter is not a popular time for high power rocket launches. Few clubs actually hold major launch events in the winter months – and the rare brave souls who do are nevertheless subject to the weather. I did find a local club (about a 4 hour drive from Seattle) that has a standing FAA waiver to launch one day each month, but the weather hasn’t been cooperating and so it was cancelled in December, January, February, and March.

Fortunately, spring is here, and clubs start holding many more launches in the coming months, as the weather steadily improves. Unfortunately… COVID-19 hit, and everything is cancelled until further notice. So April is out, and probably May as well. Everyone is at home, with shelter in place and lockdown orders in effect.

On the bright side, it’s a great time to start construction on my next rocket. My most recent project, the HyperLOC 835, has a 4″ diameter body, with a 54mm motor mount. The body is made from (very durable) cardboard and the nosecone is plastic. It’s a great rocket and I’m looking forward to launching it on several different motors, and with a flight computer and electronics bay capable of dual deployment.

My next rocket, though, will be the Wildman Rocketry “Darkstar Extreme.” It also has a 4″ rocket body, but with a 75mm motor mount that can fit more powerful motors, potentially up to an M. (As an aside, an N or O motor only comes in the 98mm variety and would require an even larger diameter motor mount.) The rocket body is made from fiberglass, and the nosecone is fiberglass as well with an aluminum tip.

rocksim design file of the darkstar extreme rocket
the darkstar extreme, in sexy and exciting two-dimensional glory

Above is the design file for the Darkstar Extreme, from Rocksim, a rocket design and simulation program.

And here’s the description from the manufacturer, Wildman Rocketry:

Leave it to Wildman to push the Darkstar to the Max with this radical upgrade. No Mildmen allowed!
This beast is ready to rock on any motor you can stuff in it!”

Can’t go wrong with that. Time to take full advantage of the quarantine.