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Getting That Bottle Rocket to Fly

Aug 16, 2008
You do not need to be a scientist to be able to make a bottle rocket, but you need to approach it like one, in the sense that you need to have the right tools and materials in place.

First gather all the necessary material you will need to construct a bottle rocket. These include a bottle of course. Any will do, but a 1 liter size soda bottle is preferable.

You will also need a bottle of rubber cement, paint thinner (1 can), a roll of masking tape, a hose clamp (1 inch) and a manila folder.

You should also have the following: a couple of 2in nails, two pieces of wood one measuring 2x4x12, and another 6x1/2x18; four sheets of balsa wood (6x4); five wood screws, an inch long.

An electric junction box, a 3" thin steel (about 1/8" diameter); a 12" string, a copper tubing 12" long, and a test tube stopper. In this project the size has to be 4 with an opening in the middle.

As for the tools, prepare a compass, drill scissors, sand paper, hammer, marker angle, air compressor, jigsaw, and a screwdriver. The size will vary according to the wood screw you selected.

To build the bottle rocket, begin by washing and drying the soda bottle. Use the paint thinner to eliminate all the glue, and take off the labels as well.

Take the balsa wood, and use the market to highlight a 5x3 shape (right triangle). Use the jigsaw to cut out the shape, and apply the sand paper to smoothen the edges. These will serve as the fins of your rocket.

Stick the fins onto the bottle with the rubber cement. Make certain that they are equidistant from each other. The masking tape will be used for straightening out the fins.

Take the compass and make a 4" circle. Use the scissor to slice a line from the outer circle to the center. Fold it into a funnel shape. Glue it, and add some tape. Put it at the top of your bottle, and you have its nose setup. Leave the glue overnight and then you can remove the tape.

Making the launching pad for the bottle rocket is easy. Take the 2x4 wood and cut it in half. Lay them so that each is approximately 18 inches separate from each other, Get the 18 inch wood and put it on the 2x4 so that both sides are resting on it. Use the screwdriver to drive a wood screw into the 18in board. Repeat the process on the other side, and the platform is complete.

Next take the junction box and inert a screw so that the junction box is connected to the platform. Drill a hole into the box so that the test tube stopper can fit in. Put the stopper in there. Place the copper tubing into the stopper. Connect the air compressor with the tubing using the hose clamp.

Get the wire and shape it into a horseshoe. Secure the string at the center of the horseshoe, and put inside the electrical box. Drill a hole in each 2x4 wood piece, and the platform for the bottle rocket is finished.

Take the launch pad outside, and hammer a couple of nails into the base so it is attached to the ground. Pour 20 ounces of water into the bottle, put a pin in its neck, set the air compressor to 45 psi. Pull the string and watch your bottle rocket fly.
About the Author
John Grant is a the author for a how to site where he is writing articles about how to build a bottle rocket.
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