3D Printed Model Rockets

I completely redid my design for the bounty towel paper model rocket so I could print the model upside down and get much more aggressive looking tail fins for the 3D printed model rockets.

Preparing to slice up my 3D model rocket base using my Prusa Slicer software
3D model rocket base in Prusa Slicer
Printing the 3D model rocket base
3D printed model rocket base and custom launch controller

Free Download

I had a few requests for the file so I will post them here. Over time I have found some differences in diameter of the paper towel rolls and you may need to wrap electrical tape around the base to get them to fit properly.

Click below to download a compressed file containing the models in a specific format called .3mf.

DIY Model Rocket Launcher

DIY Model Rocket Launcher

A DIY 3D Printed Rocket Launcher

After successfully launching a multitude of my 3D printed Bounty Towel rockets, my kids and I decided we needed a more badass rocket launcher than the bland and generic store bought mass manufactured versions. My biggest complaint with the generic store bought models is when you press the switch you get very little feedback on what is happening. This is especially concerning when the rocket doesn’t immediately launch. There is also ample opportunity for improvement in the aesthetics department on these devices.

If we wanted an awesome rocket launcher we were going to have to print, build, wire, and assemble it ourselves!

Model Rocket Launcher Plans

Bill of Materials (BOM)

DIY 3D printed rocket launcher cover

DIY 3D Printed Rocket Launcher Cover
DIY 3D Printed Rocket Launcher Cover with electronics mounted
Wiring up the DIY model rocket launcher


A DIY Model Rocket Launcher
Model rocket launcher in use

DIY Model Rocket Launcher Download Link


3D Printed Rockets

For the second iteration of the bounty towel rocket I made the fins much bigger and I made the nose cone more aerodynamic looking. In an effort to get better flight telemetry we taped two nickels to the inner nose cone in order to get the center of pressure (CP) behind the center of gravity (CG). In our case two nickels was enough for a perfectly straight flight of our 3D printed rocket into the heavens.

Model Rocket Launch
3D Printed Rocket Fins
Comparison of the first and second generation prototypes

3D Printed Model Rockets

3D Printed Model Rocket Prototype 2

For the second iteration of the 3D printed Bounty paper towel rockets I’m now pushing the envelope when it comes to minimum wall thickness of the printed assembly to save weight and material as well as optimizing the print time. I cut down the size of the tapered piece for the nose cone and base that slide into the power towel roll ends. The diameter for the model engine is better but still too much of a tight interference fit for my liking. That will also require some more “dialing in”.

Black: Prototype-1, Red: Prototype-2
Bounty Paper Towel Roll Model Rocket

Next Iteration

The 3D printed rockets are not satisfactorily stable and have a tendency to flip ass over teacup in midair. After further research I have been most recently enlightened that we need to modify the design parameters such that the center of pressure (CP) is behind the center of gravity (CG) for suitable stability. A destabilizing force is created when the CP is above the CG. the next design is going to have much bigger fins and the nose cone will have internal threads to accept a 1/4 UNC bolt (and nuts if needed) to push the model rocket’s CG forward to obtain better stability.

3D Printed “Bounty Towel” Rockets

I always enjoyed building model rockets with my dad and sister as a kid but always found the construction process of cutting, sanding, aligning, and gluing the balsa wood fins to be tedious and take a lot of fun out of the process. Back then the hot glue gun fixed a number of model rocket fabrication shortcomings for me.

Paper Towel Roll Concept

For a good while now every time I see an empty paper towel roll I see a model rocket body. I’ve been mulling a concept in my head for some time now to design and 3D print a model rocket nose cone and model rocket fins that could attach seamlessly to a paper towel roll to serve as the model rocket body. We had some empty bounty paper towels in the house so this weekend we fired up the CAD and the 3D printer and gave it a shot. The final results came out better than I could have expected!

3D printed rocket base
3D printed model rocket nose cone
3D printed model rocket fins and engine mount
3D printed rocket made to fit in a used bounty paper towel roll
Model rocket engine
3D printed model rocket engine mount
3D printed model rocket Prototype-1 and Prototype-2
My son preparing the 3d printed model rocket for launch on our makeshift launch pad.


It works! Our only problem was that we only had wimpy “A” rated model rocket engines on hand. Due to the weight of the assembly combined with the underpowered rocket engine the first two 3D. Printer paper towel roll prototypes went less than 100 feet into the air. Other than that everything worked splendidly.

Next Iteration

My goal for the next iteration is to take the design down to the minimum 3d printer wall thickness (the internet is telling me the minimum is about 1.5 to 0.8 mm for the absolute minimum) and see how well the structural integrity of the design holds up. That combined with some “C” rated model engines should add some serious kick to our rocket power of these 3D printed “bounty towel” rockets. This isn’t rocket science (or is it?)

Prusa MMU2S Build

I’ve been wanting to add multi color printing capability to my 3D printing repertoire and pulled the trigger on ordering a Prusa MMU2S. My son has increasingly become more interested in 3d printing and helped me execute the majority of the build. I was grateful for his help. The whole build took us two long (and I mean L-O-N-G) afternoons to complete the build.

Prusa MMU2S build

Prusa Mk3s+ upgrade

The website says you need to upgrade from the MK3S to the MK3S+ before performing the MMU2S upgrade. I didn’t mind the fact the MK3S to MK3S+ was only $49.99.

DALL·E 2 – OpenAI

How to Use DALL E 2

Polaroid of Godzilla attacking Tokyo
DALL E 2: A Polaroid of Godzilla attacking Tokyo

To keep this list as dense as possible I am not posting many pictures or photos in the post. Mostly lists of prompts to serve as inspiration.

DALL E 2 Prompts

DALL E 2 Beginner General Effects

  • Digital Art
  • Detailed
  • Hyperdetailed
  • 3d Render
  • Photorealistic
  • High Resolution
  • Shaded colored line art
  • Oil Painting
  • Colored manga art
  • Adding, photo, after anything makes the images never generate unrealistic objects
  • “painted by…” is more effective than writing: “painting by…”
  • “in the style of” triggers fan-art. But “painting by” or “original by” creates the style-convincing imitation
  • The camera point of view : top/bottom view, ground level…
  • The framing of the subject : full length, bust shot, close up I use also “profile pose” sometimes and the classic “high detail”
  • Adding “ subtle smoke” gives usually a good vibe to the portrait
  • “Bokeh” is for a blurry background

Art Styles

  • Alternative
  • Indie
  • Superflat
  • Surrealism
  • Realism
  • Rococo
  • Contemporary Art
  • Impressionism
  • Pop Art
  • Neo-Pop Art
  • Comics Illustration
  • Neo-Noir Comics
  • Fantasy Illustration
  • Pixel Art
  • Vector Art

ABC doing XYZ by/in the style of ” ____”, painted by, or original by…

  • Adolph Menzel (Realist painter focusing on historical subjects)
  • Arthur Rackham (Book illustrator who’s work is noted for its robust pen and ink drawings, which were combined with the use of watercolour)
  • Caspar David Friedrich (Romantic landscape painter)
  • Edmund Blair Leighton (Pre-Raphaelite painter specialising in Regency and medieval subjects)
  • Simon Stålenhag (Sci-Fi digital artist specializing in 1990s retro-futuristic art focused on nostalgic Swedish countryside alternate history environments and giant robots)
  • William-Adolphe Bouguereau (Academic/Realist painter focusing on the female human body in classical themes)
  • John William Waterhouse (Academic/Pre-Raphaelite painter focusing on women from ancient Greek mythology and Arthurian legend)
  • Albrecht Dürer (Renaissance painter and woodcut printmaker)
  • Frank Frazetta (Fantasy and science fiction artist and illustrator, noted for comic books, paperback book covers, paintings, posters, LP record album covers, and other media)
  • Jack Kirby (Comic book artist)
  • Mœbius (Cartoon artist, same artist as “Jean Giraud”)
  • Jean Giraud (Cartoon artist, same artist as “Mœbius”)
  • Charlie Bowater (Digital artist and illustrator of book covers)
  • Albert Bierstadt (Realist landscape painter)
  • Charlie Bowater (Digital artist and illustrator of book covers)
  • Albert Bierstadt (Realist landscape painter)
  • Ivan Shishkin (Realist landscape painter)
  • Hayao Miyazaki (Manga and anime artist)
  • Thomas Cole (Realist landscape painter)
  • J. C. Leyendecker (Illustrator best known for his poster, book and advertising illustrations)
  • N. C. Wyeth (Realist painter and illustrator)
  • Chris Bachalo (Comic book artist)
  • John Lavery (Painter)
  • Shintaro Kago (Manga artist)
  • Johann Karl Bähr (Painter)
  • John Buscema (Comic book artist)
  • John Singer Sargent (Portrait painter)
  • Käthe Kollwitz (Expressionist painter)
  • Otto Dix (Expressionist painter)
  • Anton von Werner (German realist)


  • Banksy (street art, public installations)
  • Andy Warhol (pop art)
  • Takashi Murakami (superflat, anime-inspired)
  • Tim Burton (gothic, dark, and quirky)
  • Norman Rockwell (Americana)
  • William-Adolphe Bouguereau (Neoclassical)
  • Jack Kirby (superhero comics)
  • Frank Frazetta (fantasy and science fiction illustrations)
  • Keith Haring (street art)
  • Alan Moore (comics)
  • Frank Miller (comics)
  • Salvador Dali (Surrealism)
  • Vincent van Gogh (post-Impressionism)
  • Zaha Hadid (Deconstructivism)
  • Jean-Honoré Fragonard (Rococo)
  • Marjane Satrapi (graphic novels)
  • Arthur Rachkam (comics)
  • Günther Ücker (performance art)
  • Carl Spitzweg (Romanticism)
  • Gil Elvgren (pin-up art)
  • Michael Sowa (illustration and animation)
  • Roy Lichtenstein (pop art)
  • Shigenori Soejima (Japanese Video Game Artist)
  • Yoshitaka Amano (Japanese Visual Artist)

Digital / 3D Artists

  • Hal Lasko
  • Erik Johansson
  • Sara Ludy
  • Aiste Stancikait
  • Jason Naylor
  • Nik Ainley
  • Sean Charmatz
  • Alberto Seveso
  • Stephen Mcmennamy
  • David McLeod

Art and Illustration Styles

  • Abstract Art
  • Nouveau
  • Contemporary
  • Cultural
  • Cyberpunk
  • Expressionist
  • Fantasy
  • Fine Art
  • Folk Art
  • Graphic
  • Historical
  • Horror
  • Humorous
  • Illustration
  • Magical Realism
  • Manga Art
  • Modern
  • Mythological
  • Naturalistic
  • Painterly
  • Political
  • Portraiture
  • Realistic
  • Renaissance painting
  • Romantic
  • Sci-Fi
  • Surreal
  • Symbolic
  • Traditional
  • Vintage
  • Western

Camera Styles

  • Aerial
  • Portrait
  • Lens type (24mm, 35mm 50mm, 80mm, 135mm, 200mm)
  • Shutter speed (1/50 sec, 1/250 sec, etc)
  • Depth of Field (f/1.4, f/1.8, f/2, f8, etc)
  • EXAMPLE A photo of a golden retriever taken with a Canon 5Dmk3, 50mm lens, f/1.4
  • Bokeh (to get a blurry background)
  • pinhole-photograph (grainy vintage pinhole-photograph of Godzilla)


  • Foreground
  • Background
  • Extreme close up
  • Profile pose
  • Close up
  • Medium Shot
  • Medium Full Shot
  • Full Shot
  • Long Shot
  • Extreme Long Shot


  • Ambient lighting
  • Chiaroscuro
  • Cinematic Lighting
  • Foggy
  • Golden Hour
  • Holographic
  • Liminal
  • Luminescent light
  • Studio Lighting
  • Single light source
  • Transparent

Digital Art Styles

  • Isometric
  • Pixel Art
  • Anime
  • Digital Art
  • Steam Punk
  • Cyber Punk
  • Ukiyo-E Art
  • Deco Art
  • Vector Art
  • Low Poly Art
  • Glitch Art
  • Bauhaus Art
  • Clay Art
  • Modern Art
  • Coloring Book
  • Line Art
  • Ball Point Pen Art
  • Pencil Art
  • Graffiti Art
  • Cartoon Art
  • Stock Art
  • 3D Art
  • Synthwave Art
  • Children’s Drawing
  • Watercolor Art
  • Psychedelic Art
  • Infographics
  • Chibi
  • Emoji
  • Digital Wireframe

Camera/Picture/Movie Styles

  • Vintage Photo
  • GoPro Camera
  • GoPro Photo
  • Thermal Photo
  • X-Ray Photo
  • Fish Eye Lens
  • Disposable Camera
  • Contact Sheets
  • Flash, Harsh Flash, Overexposed
  • Polaroid
  • Macro Photography
  • Double Exposure
  • Long exposure or Slow Shutter speed
  • Disposable Camera
  • Lomography for light leaks and vivid colors
  • Drone Photography
  • Kodachrome Film
  • Telephoto Photography
  • DAGUERROTYPE – the OG photographic medium of the late 1800s.
  • Surveillance: Try words like trailcam, dashcam, CCTV, security footage

Painting Styles

  • Abstract
  • Acrylic
  • Charcoal
  • Colored Pencil
  • Comic
  • Digital
  • Drybrush
  • Etching
  • Fresco
  • Gouache
  • Ink
  • Lithography
  • Marker
  • Oil
  • Pastel
  • Pen and ink
  • Pointillism
  • Renaissance
  • Sumi-e
  • Surrealism
  • Watercolor

DALLE 2: Godzilla riding a bicycle, illustration by Michael Sowa

Other Styles

  • Abbozzo sketch (a preliminary or rough sketch for a painting)
  • Anaglyphic 3D (Think the red and blue glasses to see 3d)
  • “ligne claire” style by Mœbius”
  • “Old paper texture”
  • Impresa”; a type of personal insignia popular amongst both tradespeople and nobility in 16th century Italy
  • One line drawing

Other Fun

  • Stacked Characters (think movie poster of characters) Input keywords: “stacked characters” + e.g. “painted art,” “illustrated textless movie poster”, “comic cover art”
  • A detailed image of (blank), created by using Fourier series
  • Artist Style Cheat Sheet
  • Knolling (Organizing items in neat parallel lines) Photo of a knolling of a camping dude
  • wikihow how-to-illustration instructional guide for a DIY…
  • One tip for getting extremely high “resolution” images is to include an expensive camera lens. (A portrait of a dog, Canon 135mm f/1.8
  • Another variation of the camera lens trick is you can specify a specific phone, for example an iPhone 11 pro
  • Polaroid of _____
  • Add, double-exposure prism rainbow
  • AUTOCHROME – a very early colour film format that makes certain colours pop OFF.
  • FASHION PHOTOGRAPHY. Ask for this and terms like ‘editorial’, ‘magazine’, and outfit/setting prompts, to generate amazing get-ups fit for fashion week.
  • Retro scifi [insert device description]
  • Experiment with Photograph versus Adventure Photograph
  • Adding the term “masterwork” yields good results with art related prompts
  • Add “photoshop” key word for unrealistic photographs
  • In the foreground: list___, in the background: list___; style qualifiers (year)
  • adding “professional” in front of “digital art” seems to massively improve image quality
  • “line art” is always black and white, unless you add “colored” in front of it, which will color it
  • “3D” art is an actual 3D render, not 2D art drawn in a 3D style
  • “comic book art” is similar in style to “colored fully shaded line art”, just a bit different
  • Book cover art
  • Octane Render

Dall E 2 Prompts

  • A Polaroid of Godzilla attacking Tokyo
  • Godzilla riding a bicycle, illustration by Michael Sowa
  • Godzilla and King Kong both eating ice cream from McDonalds, illustration by Banksy
  • Fantasy botanical illustration knolling
  • Cave art of Godzilla
  • In the foreground, a godzilla attacks Tokyo, ; in the background, King Kong is climbing the Tokyo Tower while planes fly overhead. 1955
  • Realistic detailed professional shaded colored line art of Godzilla attacking Tokyo

DALL-E 2 Online Access Waitlist

You can request access to the DALL e 2 Online Waitlist <–here.

Blue Mountain Antique Gas Engine and Tractor Show

Blue Mountain Antique Gas Engine and Tractor Show

The Blue Mountain Antique Gas Engine and Tractor Show (also more affectionately known as the “Jacktown Engine Show” is an excellent annual event for anyone interested in antique engine machinery and our industrial history. The event is held in Bangor, Pennsylvania and offers a wide variety of antique engines and tractors on display. There’s something about hit-and-miss engines that just feels nostalgic. Maybe it’s the way they putt-putt along, or the fact that they’re usually found on old farm equipment. Either way, these antique engines are fascinating pieces of history.

The Blue Mountain Antique Gas Engine and Tractor Show
Jacktown Engine Show
The Blue Mountain Antique Gas Engine and Tractor Show
Jacktown Engine Show
Jacktown Engine Show
Jacktown Engine Show

Jacktown Engine Show Flea Market

There is also a very impressive flea market at the back of the jacktown engine show with a variety of antique and vintage items. Most of the flea market is focused on machinist tools, Americana antiques, and an eclectic assortment of hardware. This year I was casually scanning for another behemoth vise to refurbish but was unable to find one that caught my eye. I picked up a a few hand tools including a very nice machinists file, a demagnetizer, and some deep discounted zip ties for my garage shop.

Tractor Pull

My children and I enjoyed watching the tractor pull contest.

Jacktown Tractor Pull Contest

Prusa Delta-P Fan Duct

Prusa Delta-P Fan Duct

2022 Kensington Derby

2022 Kensington Derby

I decided to go with a side-by-side tandem bicycle concept for this year’s Kensington Kinetic Sculpture Derby. To start we acquired 2 gently used bicycles at exceptional discounts from the Trenton Bike Exchange and two trailer bicycles as well. To attach the bicycles together we purchased 1” square tube stock from Finkles Hardware Store in Lambertville, NJ.

Bicycles acquired from the Trenton Bike Exchange
Weld preps to build a side by side tandem bicycle

The primary design constraint was to be able to fit everything in the back of my minivan for transportation so the cross members were spaced at 22” apart. This eventually turned out to be just sufficient room for my son and I to pedal shoulder to shoulder side by side. The side by side tandem bike was accomplished with two cross members welded between the bikes. The first steel member was placed directly between the fixed portion of the front steering joint and the second member was placed immediately below the seat. The rear cross member had to be carefully placed or it could potentially interfere with the pedaling motion.

Side by side tandem bike
Side by side tandem bike
Side by side tandem bikes with trailing bikes

For steering I welded one flange off of the front outer fork on each bike and then attached with 2 threaded Rod end joint bearings. The connecting steering member for the side by side tandem bike was fabricated from steel tube and two corresponding nuts welded onto each end. To finish off the quad bike setup we mounted the two rear trailer bikes onto the seat posts (as designed) of the two front bikes. Test drive revealed the bike was easy to steer and the whole concept worked. Success! I later experimented with a removable cross member for rear trailer bikes for better stability of the rear riders but it significantly negatively impacted the ability of the turn radius, so I scrapped that idea. The biggest lesson learned for the side by side tandem bike is you really have to get the alignment correct such that both bikes are perfect parallel to each other and perpendicular to the ground. The flex in the base can create some unnerving leaning or tilting while riding side by side and any mistake in welding up the two together will further amplify this challenge.

Kinetic Derby Float: Queen of Hearts
Vinyl cut decal
XL playing cards were zip tied to the wheels
Queen of Hearts decal cut on the vinyl cutter

Kinetic Derby Theme: Queen of Hearts

We chose the theme of Queen of Hearts for our kinetic derby bike. We used the vinyl cutter to cut a massive Queen of Hearts vinyl decal and then mounted it to a thin plywood base with XL playing cards glued down around it. This piece was conveniently cantilever mounted to the front welded cross member of the side by side tandem bike. We fabricated a heart out of leftover pink insulation foam (from the old rhombus body) and spray painted it red and then cantilever mounted it to the rear cross member. The whole thing amazingly was able to be broken down and shoe-horned into the back of my mini van as intended (just barely).

Derby Day

We got soaked! It rained off and on most of the day. I was dismayed to see a few floats break down after the first corner. Thankfully our bike assembly held up except for a blown tire in my rear bike about mid-race. Somehow we were able to finish the race on one flat tire and make it to the mud pit.

Kensington Derby
Kensington Derby
Kensington Derby
Kensington Derby
Kensington Derby
Kensington Derby
Kensington Derby

At the award ceremony we won the Media Choice Award which was a thrilling end to the day. Thank you Kensington!