Saturday, February 11, 2012

Homemade Squeeze Rocket Launchers

Tada - homemade squeeze rocket launcher:


Materials:
Small water bottle
Small straw (comes in a pack of 50-100 for ~$1 in most grocery stores)
Bigger straw (recycled from a McD's soda)
Small sticker

Launcher Assembly:
*Drill a hole, with similar size diameter as your straw, into the cap of the water bottle.
*Cut the small straw down to ~3 inches.
*Insert straw into newly made hole.
*Glue the straw into place (optional).

Rockets:
*Various size straws closed off completely on one end with a small sticker. (You can vary length/diameter, but the diameter of the rocket needs to be large enough to easily come off of the smaller straw with a squeeze of the bottle).
*Nerf-ish rockets (these too are fairly cheap - we found a pack at Fry's around Christmas that we've been using with our other rocket launchers too).

Notes:
*The launcher works better with one quick hard squeeze.
*Plastic water bottles are poor quality plastic and deform really easily.
*You can blow into the straw to quickly reform the bottle (demonstrated in video below).
*I don't recommend gluing the cap onto the bottle since you might want to stick a long skinny to recover the bottle shape.
*Ultimately it takes 2 minutes to put together, so it's not worth getting frustrated over the bottle.

Variations:
*Alter the length and diameters of the straw rockets being launched.  Note the differences between the rockets.
*Decorate the straws being launched.
*Give the straws fins and wings.  How does that change the flight of the rocket?
*Aim for a target.
*How high can you launch the rocket to the sky?

Here's a video of Big and Little J launching the rockets.  It's hard to capture the flight of the rocket.  The first launch was the Nerf-like rocket and the second was the straw:

4 comments:

  1. I'm going to try this for my science project. My name is Zoe Bush. I live in Livingston

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    1. Awesome! I hope you have a lot of fun making your rocket launchers. What is going to be your scientific question?

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  2. can you use normal sized water bottles?

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    1. Yes. Normal size water bottles work. However, the more eco friendly design of disposable water bottles means that they don't have a lot of squeezes before you need a new one. I found it works best with the mini soda bottles. The bigger the bottle, the more air you have to move to get the rocket to launch. Good luck!

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