Tips

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This page collects a list of short (1-3 sentences) tips for using OpenRocket. Later on they may be included in the software as a "tip of the day" system.

General use[edit]

  • You can type in equations in the entry fields instead of numbers. For example, to double a length you can type 3.1*2.
  • The component tree will display any component comments as tool tips. You can set the comment on the Comment tab of the component configuration dialog.
  • If you want to always load a specific .ork file, you can specify the filename as a command line argument when starting openrocket.
  • You can choose your preferred units from EditPreferences.... You can individually change the units by clicking the unit symbol.

Rocket design[edit]

  • A rocket design can have a number of motor configurations. When simulating a flight, you select which motor configuration you use. You can edit the motor configurations using ToolsMotor configurations...
  • Motors can be attached to either body tubes or inner tubes. You can attach one on the Motor tab of the configuration dialog.
  • You can scale a single component or an entire design using EditScale...
  • You can define custom materials by selecting Custom from the bottom of a material selection list.
  • You can select ready components from the preset dropdown on the top-right of the component editing dialog. Tick the box in the table to add the component to the dropdown menu.
  • You can select components by clicking them in the diagram, or edit them by double-clicking.
  • To get the best accuracy possible, you can weight your components and enter the override the calculated weight on the Override' tab when editing components.
  • You can define through-the-wall fin tabs on the Fin tabs tab when editing a fin set.
  • Your rocket's surface roughness can affect flight altitude significantly. Select the appropriate roughness on the Component finish dropdown. You can set the same finish for all components by clicking Set for all.
  • You will see immediate results of a flight simulation on the lower-left corner of the design diagram. This reflects a flight with your currently selected motor configuration.
  • In case OpenRocket cannot reliably compute the aerodynamic properties of the rocket, you will see warnings on the lower-right corner of the design diagram.
  • You can create clustered rockets easily using the Cluster tab when editing Inner tubes. Any motors or components attached to the inner tube will be present on all copies of the inner tube.
  • Centering rings, Engine blocks, Couplers and Bulkheads can automatically compute the relevant dimensions from the other components when the Automatic checkbox is selected.
  • You can simulate launch rails or pins by creating filled launch lugs of the corresponding size.
  • Only body components and fin sets affect the aerodynamics of the rocket. Even if an internal component extrudes outside of the body tube, its effect will not be taken into account in simulations!
  • You can add stages to your rocket by pressing New stage on the main screen. Stage separation is configured on the Separation tab when editing a stage.
  • You can fully customize the simulation plots on the Plot data tab. Choose on of the preset configurations or experiment with the other options.
  • You can export simulated flight data to be analyzed by another program using the Export data tab when editing a simulation.
  • The ball on the left side of the simulation table indicates the state of the simulation. Grey means that the simulation has not yet been run, red that the design has been changed since the simulation was last run, yellow means the data has been loaded from a file, and green means it is up-to-date.
  • If a potential problem occurred during a simulated flight, you will see a red exclamation mark (!) next to your simulation. Hover over the simulation to see what the warning is about.
  • You can duplicate components or move them to another design by using normal copy-paste functionality.
  • You can move components by drag-dropping them in the component tree.
  • You can examine details on the stability and drag characteristics of your rocket using ToolsComponent analysis...
  • You can optimize the shape, size or mass of your rocket using ToolsRocket optimization...
  • Custom expressions allow you to compute flight parameters that are not computed by OpenRocket by default. You define them using ToolsCustom expressions... See the wiki for ideas.