SpaceX inspired edf rocket

In the beginning of this year I was really amazed by the fast and successive achievements SpaceX made. So I decided I wanted to do a SpaceX related project. Being a SpaceX fan for a few year now, I decided to go for the Falcon 9 inspired look on my build. I'm referring to 'inspired' because I took some general proportion from the Falcon 9 rocket but had to make a lot of changes to get the "rocket" functional on the scale I was intending to build it. The "rocket" has a deployable landing gear, thrust vector control unit and uses a 6s 70mm 12 blade fan capable of 2.5 kg of thrust. The thrust vector control unit is being controlled by a Pixhawk X4 running Ardupilot V4.0.4 which is configured as a single copter. I'm essentially building a single copter in the shape of a rocket.

As mentioned above I decided to go for the Falcon 9 look but had to make some adjustments to turn this rocket into a functional one. The landing legs for example look very similar than the Falcon 9 booster landing legs but use a completely different way to deploy and retract them, simply because of the smaller scale I have to work with. I used standard 9g hobby servo's and designed a hinge mechanism to deploy and retract the legs, this means i had to make some cutouts in the body of the rocket in order for the legs to fold down nicely against the body of the rocket. All the legs are designed to lock in place once fully extended so there is no torque applied to the servos when the landing gear is under load, the forces of the landing gear are in line with the shaft of the servos once they are fully extended. 

Update 09-12-2020: after doing some more testing the landing gear seems to be not as durable as i would like it to be. I had to replace some servo's and a few 3D-printed arms broke during hard landings. I'm now looking into changing the servo's out for a small pneumatic system on the next version of this rocket. For now I'll just keep the landing gear fixed so i can proceed the testing with the current prototype.

The design and build video of the original landing leg system (using servo's) can be found here:

To control the speed of the landing legs and setup the max and min positions for each leg I decided to create a small Arduino based PCB which was manufactured by JLCPCB, the sponsor of this project. The Gerber files and Arduino code can be found in the files section of this project page.

I used a 6s 70mm 12 blade 2300kv electric ducted fan as thrust unit. This means I have to implement air inlets on top of the rocket, just beneath the nose/payload area of the rocket. The inside of the rocket needs to be as clean as possible in order for the air inside to flow uninterrupted. So I decided to move all the signal and power cables, that run from the top of the rocket to the bottom, on the outside in a channel, this way there are no lose wires inside the body where the air needs to flow.

On the bottom side of the rocket there are 4 fins that control the direction of the air that's coming from the EDF unit. This in combination with the throttle control of the EDF enables the rocket to have 4 axis of control. These 4 fins, the thrust vector control unit, are being controlled by a Pixhawk PX4 flight controller running Ardupilot that's configured as a single copter.

All the parts are designed using Autodesk Fusion 360, and are all printed with my Anet E12 and Reprap Prusa I3.

The maiden flight can be seen here: 

STL-files and the Fusion 360 source files can be downloaded here:

The Pixhawk config can be downloaded here

The Gerber file for the landing leg PCB can be downloaded here

The Arduino code for the landing leg PCB can be downloaded here

1 × 6S 70mm 12 blade edf (CW version)link:
1 × 80A Brushless ESClink:
1 × Pixhawk PX4 flight controllerlink:
1 × Arduino Nano (for the deployable landing gear)link:
8 × 9g Metal gear servoslink:
1 × DC-DC step down regulatorlink:
1 × Kapton tape (to attach the airflow adapters to the edf)link:
1 × Spektrum RC receiver (buy only when you have a Spektrum transmitter)link:
1 × 6S 1000mAh 70C lipolink:
1 × White PLAlink:
1 × Heat shrinkslink:
1 × Cat 7 network cable 1m lenght (goes from the flight computer to the TVC and landing gear)link:
1 × Female jumper cables (soldered onto the network cable wires)link:
1 × Landing leg controller PCBSee the files section on this page for the gerber and BOM file
1 × T-plug battery connectorslink:
1 × 12 AWG silicone wire to make the necessary battery connectionslink:

  • I added the Pixhawk config to the files section

    12/09/2020 at 18:08


  • It flies!

    09/24/2020 at 18:53

  • Added the Gerber file for the landing leg controller PCB to the files section

    08/16/2020 at 19:52


  • Added the Arduino code for the landing leg controller to the files section

    08/16/2020 at 19:49

  • Part 1: Deployable landing gear and thrust vector control

    08/16/2020 at 10:05


  • Hello @Hozan Danis, yes if you purchase the source files of this rocket, a link will be send to your email address, through which you can download the files.

    Brian Brocken
  • @Joa, this has to do with the center of gravity, A higher CG is easier to control than a lower, it’s like trying to balance a large and a small stick on your hand.

    Brian Brocken
  • Hello, are the edf rocket source files sent by mail after purchase.

    Hozan Danis
  • Really nice. Why is the EDF fan at the top of the rocket instead of being at the bottom?

  • Hello @Sushant Hugge, The gerber file for the pcb can be found in the files section on this page. Kind regards, Brian

    Brian Brocken

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