For a look at even more Star Wars_ replicas, launch the gallery here.
Sitting in the California desert, Andy Woerner’s rocket-powered replica of a Star Wars X-wing fighter looks fully prepared to make a run at the Death Star. But for Woerner and his rocket club, building the ship was as big a challenge as what the rebels faced in that galaxy far, far away.
With no specs, they started by measuring a circa-1980 toy model. From that they designed their 21-foot-long plywood version using a CAD program. No detail was overlooked-for example, to get the four 60-pound wings to open and close like the movie’s fighter, they took a tiny 2.3-horsepower electric motor from a radio-controlled helicopter and linked it to a complex series of gears, chains and shafts.
Unfortunately, the real Force affecting the X-wing at the desert rocket show was gravity, and when it began flying erratically, the group had to blow it up by remote control. Still, Woerner hopes he instilled a love of rocketry in the many kids who got to sit in its cockpit beforehand. No doubt, as Yoda might say, an unforgettable experience, it was.
****How it Works**
****Cost:** $7,000 Time: 2 Months
Using an inflatable ball as a frame, the group made a fiberglass mold of R2-D2’s head, sat it on a plastic turntable, and hooked that up to the motion system from a radio-controlled boat so they could turn the head from a distance.
Just before the rocket reached roughly 700 feet, a series of charges was supposed to release four parachutes-on the wingtips, the nose and the tail-allowing the fighter to land intact.
When the rocket veered on its ascent, the team activated the parachute charges all at once via radio control, turning it into a fiery mess of plywood and parachutes, while keeping it away from the crowd.
For a look at even more Star Wars_ replicas, along with additional images of the the X-wing rocket, launch the gallery here.
The fighter in action:
The H2Whoa Credo: DIY can be dangerous.
We review all our projects before publishing them, but ultimately your safety is your responsibility. Always take proper safety precautions, and follow all laws and regulations.