How to Build a Soda Pop Bottle Rocket Launcher

So we were having a work picnic and we wanted to have some kinda geeky fun ... a Soda Pop Bottle Rocket Launch was suggested....problem is we didn't have a launcher and the picnic was coming up soon!! Never fear, master builder Wireb to the rescue...he designed and built the launcher described here. I built some rockets, we tested things a bit...we brought some supplies to the picnic for others to try building and yay! the rocket launching at the picnic was a success, rockets launched over 100 feet powered just by water and compressed air (approx 100psi) ...laughs and fun were had by all...pretty cheap, no misfires and no injuries! (And while the Aquapod Soda Bottle Rocket Launcher is available for $40 on ThinkGeek .com we made this system ourselves! (and we know it's sturdier, easier to use and more powerful))

NOTE: Use caution! Although we had no misfires, we've heard from other rocketeers that these bottles can blow even under the 100 PSI or so needed here, thus a long launch string is necessary. Be aware of the launch area as well, these can fly >150 feet high and at least that far in any direction, we don't want to take out any passers byl

This Instructable contains the design of our bottle launcher and describes how you can build one and some rockets for yourself and then have some kinda geeky fun too!

Test Flight Video:
First enjoy a video of one of our test launches using the "Patriotic Minion Soda Pop Bottle Rocket" with on rocket camera, minion and parachute! Frog Eye View included!

Here's the view from that launch from the on-rocket camera:

(This Instructable has been submitted by The Rabbit Hole Maker Space group as part of the Instructables sponsorship program)

Step 1: Supplies Needed for the Launcher and Rocket:

To Create a Soda Pop Bottle Launcher you need the following parts:

  • 1 1/8" OD x 2 1/2"stock aluminium 
  • 2 1/2" long 1/2" x 1/2" square aluminum bar stock
  • 9 1/2" of 1/2" PVC pipe
  • 3 7/8" OD x 1/8" O rings
  • 3 8-32 screws by 3/4" long
  • 2 8-32 nuts
  • 3 8-32 washers
  • 3 8-32 lock washers
  • 1 8-32 x 3/8 flat-head screw
  • 1 1/4" x 1 1/2" pipe nipple
  • 1 1/4" pipe tee
  • 1 5" pipe nipple
  • air compressor hose connectors (or connectors for tire pump)
  • air compressor hose or tire punch
  • 1" x 1.75" x .01" thick iron bar stock 
  • Pipe thread tape
  • pull ring/ key ring
  • string
Tripod Base:
  • 1/2" pipe nipple by 4 1/2"
  • 3 chunks of 1" iron angle iron by 16" 
  • 3 scrap pieces of flat bar stock ~ 4 1/2" x 2 1/2"
  • scrap piece of iron 2 x 1
  • 3 5/16" x 1" bolts
  • 3 5/16" washers
  • 3 5/16" locknuts
  • 3 tent stakes or large 11" landscaping nails to stake tripod down.
Tools Required:
  • Metal lathe
  • Drill
  • Hacksaw or bandsaw
  • Welder (for the tripod pieces)
  • screwdriver
  • wrench
  • 1/4" pipe tap
  • Air compressor or Tire pump
  • (optional) Pressure gauge 
  • (optional) 2 port Value 
Soda Pop Bottle Parts and Tools Needed:
  • 1 - 1 Liter Soda Pop Bottle
  • 1 More 1Liter Soda Pop Bottle OR a 20 Ounce bottle OR whatever you like for the top half of the bottle
  • Duct Tape
  • Scissors or Xacto Knife
  • Sturdy plastic or cardboard for fins
  • Counterweight - the top needs some extra weight, you can experiment with things such as modeling clay, sand, golfball
  • (optional) Parachute with strings and weight to deploy (for example a golf ball)

About This Instructable


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