I thought since my blog was created with a goal of not taking chunks out of your wallet for science fun, that I'd give you an alternate to buying a stomp rocket kit (which was recently on sale for $10.50 over the weekend - check with Amazon: Ultra Stomp Rocket, affiliate link, to see if the deal is still good). We used a kit for our Rocket Science Day in the park, knowing it was going to get a lot of good stomps (it even survived soccer cleats which slipped by us for a few jumps).
The cost of a Do-It-Yourself launcher is ~$10, using parts bought at your favorite home improvement store and ~30-45 minutes of set-up time (if you include going to the store for the items). I adapted this from homemade rocket launcher, mostly altering sizes since I can't store anything large, and taking into consideration the adaptation from one of the commenters since I couldn't get the bottle cap to stick to the PVC pipe.
Materials: (~$10 if you have PVC glue and pipe cutters already)
-8 ft of ½ inch PVC pipe
-Connecters (all slip fit):
- 1 – ½ inch 90 degree elbow
- 1 – ½ inch cross (+) fitting
- 2 – ½ inch end caps
- 1 – ½ inch coupling
-1 – ½ inch CPVC transition adapter with male threads
-1 – ½ inch CPVC transition adapter with female threads
-Empty, clean, and dry 2 liter bottles (plenty since each bottle has a limited lifetime of stomps - unfortunately for my family, I gave up my 27 year soda habit).
-PVC pipe cement/glue (note all purpose pipe glue is needed if you select to glue PVC to CPVC adapters – but you might be ok without gluing that part)
-Pipe cutters (optional, but they make life so much easier)
-Cut the ½” PVC pipe into length segments of sizes:
- 1 - 18" piece
- 2 - 11" pieces
- 1 -5" piece
- 1 - 14" piece
-Dry assemble your launcher to make sure everything fits.
- Once dry assembled, take pieces apart one at a time to PVC cement them in the arrangement as found above. It’s easiest to take apart one at a time as to not make mistakes. I recommend not gluing the bottle piece (ie. the coupling to the 18” PVC) to make it easier to exchange 2L bottles when necessary. I did use special all purpose pipe glue to attach the CPVC male adapter into the ½ inch coupling.
-Attach the 2L bottle to the adapter piece, slip fit ½ inch coupling onto 18” PVC pipe.
-Take the leftover PVC pipe and cut into ~12” segments. Use this pipe as the roller to wrap your paper around for your rockets.
-Follow directions on below on how to make a rocket for your launcher.
-Place your rocket on the vertical 14” PVC pipe and stomp/jump on the 2L bottle. Watch your rocket fly to the moon.
Paper Rocket Instructions:
-Take ½ inch PVC pipe and roll paper around it (we used construction paper).
-Tape the paper to itself (not to the pipe).
-Figure out the best way to close off the top of your rocket. What do you think will be the best shape? How will you do it? A cone is a really simple shape to make: take a circle and cut a slit through ~1/2 way. Then overlap the paper (twisting motion) until the paper forms a cone shape.
-Does your rocket need fins? How do fins help your rocket?
-Make another rocket of a different size (bigger, smaller, more, or less paper) or with different fins and nose cones. Note how each rocket flies.