A Dream Takes Flight: Tanish’s Journey from Idea to Launch

It’s a cold, overcast day in New England, and a small crowd is assembled in an open field, eagerly anticipating the launch of a model rocket called the “Eggcubator.” The rocket is loaded on the launch rod, and the ignition clips are connected. As the countdown begins, there is a mix of excitement and nervousness in the air. Will the rocket fly? Will it achieve its flight goals?

The Spark of Inspiration

Have you ever had a project in mind that you just had to chase but didn’t quite know where to start? Well, that’s exactly where Tanish, a seventh grader with a budding interest in rocketry, found himself. Inspired by his future high school’s rocket club, Tanish wanted to build a rocket from scratch to prepare for the American Rocketry Challenge. With 5,000 students competing each year, the American Rocketry Challenges gives middle and high school students the opportunity to design, build and launch model rockets and hands-on experience solving engineering problems.

A Shared Vision for Making

Tanish had launched kit model rockets before, but designing one from scratch was something new. That’s where Our Next Make came in. Our Next Make is a YouTube channel featuring SOLIDWORKS employees, Chinloo Lama and Sal Lama, as they tackle a variety of makers projects, from practical to just-for-fun. Over the past few months Chinloo and Sal worked alongside Tanish to learn what it would take to design and build a model rocket. Here’s how the adventure began.

Video: Our Next Make: How to Build a Custom Rocket

Design Challenges and Breakthroughs

A few months prior to launch, Tanish researched the competition rules and produced three rocket designs using a program called Open Rocket. It’s a free app that anyone can use to design and simulate a model rocket. The challenge for this year’s competition was to build a model rocket that could carry a large chicken egg to an altitude of eight hundred feet, stay airborne for between 43 and 46 seconds, and return to the ground safely with an unbroken egg.

During the next month, Tanish modeled his ideas in SOLIDWORKS and met with Chinloo and Sal to refine the overall shape of the rocket. They brainstormed ideas for the crucial finishing touches, including the fins, the egg cradle, and the motor housing. They landed on an egg cradle that fits inside the nose cone and twists and locks in place, and a sleeve for the motor that uses the same twisting concept to hold it in place.

Making Magic: Fabrication Day

Once the design was complete, and the off-the-shelf materials, including the cardboard tubes for the body were in hand, the next stop was the 3DEXPERIENCE Boston Fab Labto bring the design to life. Final measurements of the purchased parts were taken so the 3D model could be adjusted before printing.


With a little guidance from Chinloo and Sal, Tanish learned how to use a 3D printer and printed the nose cones, fins, motor housing, and egg cradle. He even got to put his stamp on the rocket with paint and an “Eggcubator” stencil. Nothing beat seeing the joy on Tanish’s face when he saw his creation take shape right in front of him.

The Final Countdown

On launch day, Tanish arrived at the field excited to launch, but the rocket first needed to be reviewed by the American Rocketry Challenge officials. They had Tanish perform a spin test to simulate the stability of the flight, which the rocket passed. However, the biggest concern was that the type of motor Tanish chose was missing a delay, which could be catastrophic in flight.

When a motor has a delay, the rocket coasts until the forces of gravity and drag slow it to zero, which happens at the apogee of the flight, the perfect time to deploy the parachute and why a delay is so important. For a second, launch day was almost scrapped, but thankfully, an official was generous enough to give Tanish a spare motor with a five-second delay so that he could maintain his launch.


Tanish slid his rocket’s launch lug over the launch rod and took a step back. It was time for the moment of truth. 5, 4, 3, 2, 1 – launch!

Beyond the Launch: Looking Ahead

Launch day taught us two big things. First, we learned just how crucial rocket motor delays are. And second, we found out the hard way that plastic parachutes don’t really like the cold, and that there is a nylon alternative that performs much better. Instead of seeing a cracked egg as a setback, testing and experimenting is often the best way for an engineer to improve. Tanish plans to use what he learned for future flights, marking a successful first launch. Inspired by this experience, he’s starting a middle school club to share his passion and knowledge about rocketry.

Introducing Partners in Making

And that’s a wrap on Tanish’s first custom rocket adventure, but this is just the beginning of something bigger over at Our Next Make. This year, with a new project they are calling Partners in Making, Our Next Make will be partnering with other makers, from novices to experts in their craft with big ideas, but not all the pieces to make them happen. That’s where Partners in Making comes in, helping makers get past that one hurdle that’s standing between them and their project coming to life. Stay tuned for more Partners in Making projects in the next month.

What’s Next on Your Maker Journey?

Whether you’re a hobbyist, a DIY enthusiast, or someone who just loves to create, the power to make anything you can imagine is at your fingertips.

Learn more about 3DEXPERIENCE SOLIDWORKS for Makers, CAD for DIY, and personal use projects.


Dassault Systèmes SolidWorks Corp. offers complete 3D software tools that let you create, simulate, publish, and manage your data. SolidWorks products are easy to learn and use, and work together to help you design products better, faster, and more cost-effectively. The SolidWorks focus on ease-of-use allows more engineers, designers and other technology professionals than ever before to take advantage of 3D in bringing their designs to life.