Picture of Cork Launcher

Project Goal: Students build and modify a simple trigger-release cork launcher that fires at least 10 feet

Design Variables: Number of rubber bands, length of the launcher, number of combined launchers

Key Concepts

  • Trajectory is the path that an object follows through the air or other fluid
  • Trigger is a device that sets off a mechanism

Prep: Carefully cut corks into quarters (2 per student)

Safety: Always aim cork launchers away from people, even when unloaded.

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Step 1: Materials

Picture of Materials

For the basic model, you'll need:

6 craft sticks
3 craft cubes
2 rubberbands
1 clothespin
Hot glue

Step 2: Frame and trigger

Picture of Frame and trigger

In the first picture, the sticks appear to be long shallow steps, descending from right to left. This is necessary because the rubber band will be released from right to left. If the edge of the craft stick is exposed, it may catch the rubber band and cause the shooter to not work properly.

Two cubes are placed close together on one end to support the trigger. This will make more sense in the next step.

Finally, the trigger (clothespin) is glued on.

Step 3: Attach the rubber band

Picture of Attach the rubber band

The rubber band that is used to fire the cork is simply taped to the front of the shooter.

Bonus! If you choose not to tape the rubber band to the front, then you'll have a rubber band launcher!

Step 4: Load and fire!

Picture of Load and fire!

Use a utility knife or other tool to cut a piece of cork into a disk shape. This will help tremendously with the aerodynamics of cork.

To load: use two fingers to pull the rubber band back into the open trigger. Close the trigger, then let go of the rubber band. Insert the cork disk between the strands of taut rubber band.

Launching is easy: just aim and push the clothespin!

Try to limit the number of cork disks the students can take home

HollyW210 days ago

great project

JeremyA47 months ago

made this and it shot like Kobe #greaterthanMJ

hahahahahahaha yah u wish he's not even good. MJ all the way.

Eric T1 year ago

you could launch aircraft.cars or boats with this a peg at the bottom of a wood car to ketch the rubber band. place the peg in the front middle and back launch from each to see what the results are. make a glider from a straw and foam for wings or any part you want. Looks like fun.

kurtwied1 year ago
try using this design just try converting it to a crossbow or trebuchet. but i still love all your projects!:)
Where would you get craft cubes from?
doncrush2 years ago
Lance - have you considered modifying/combining this with the Rocket launcher project? With the right modifications this would probably launch the rockets pretty well.
WYE_Lance (author)  doncrush2 years ago
Hey Don, good to hear from you. Yes, I considered this, and I tried shooting straws from these in my class earlier this morning. It does work quite well! But it is a little bit more difficult for the students to use.
doncrush2 years ago
Same here...as always Lance makes the engineering connect! I love the connection to Angry Birds. We NEED more educators like Lance!
Schmidty162 years ago
Very cool can't wait to make one