Introduction: How to Make a Rocket for Your Compressed Air/Potato Cannon!
This instructable will show you how to make a rocket-like projectile for a 1 1/2" compressed air or potato canon.
It will be made with spring-loaded party poppers made under the brand name "Let's Party!" which can be found at Party City or similar party store.
If made correctly and used at the right pressure (In my cannon about 80-90 psi) it can make a hole in 5 layers of corrugated cardboard from about 25-30 ft, but it will get stuck in the cardboard, not passing fully through it.
DISCLAIMER: This rocket can be very dangerous. I am not liable for any injury or damage caused by this rocket. Always use eye protection when working with dangerous projects like this. Never shoot this at people, pets, or property that you don't want damaged.
An instructable for the cannon I use to fire this will be posted in the future.
Step 1: Supplies/Tools
For this project you will need:
-Spring-loaded Party Poppers- one per rocket. The maker of these poppers also sells a longer version of the ones I pictured. I have not tried using those, but will in the near future.
-Airsoft bb's-for weight; I used .20's, but feel free to experiment with different types of bbs and weights.
-Air cannon with 1 1/2" barrel needed to fire this. (Not pictured) Instructable coming soon!
Step 2: Taking Apart the Party Popper
Fire the party popper. Use it for whatever- parties, graduations, your dog, annoying neighbors... (just kidding on the last 2 ;) )
Take off the wrapper. Now, hold it with the muzzle-side down, with the twisty party upwards.
Push the twisty thing up until one side of it pops off a little bit, then go around it and pop the other sides off. It won't come off yet.
Finally, just pull it off and spill its guts on your table. Keep everything but the spring. Save it, you can use it for many other mods and projects on this site. Refer to the pictures for help taking it apart.
Step 3: Preparing the Nose Cone
In this step, you will prepare and add weights to the desired nose cone.
Select which one of the two pieces in the first picture you want for your nose cone.
The one on the left for an overall longer rocket body, the one on the right for a shorter one.
For a longer rocket, take the piece on the left, cover the small hole in the "top" with duct tape. Then, fill it with airsoft bb's almost to the top. Cut off the shaft of the piece on the right and place it, open side out, and duct tape the two pieces together.
For a shorter rocket, cut the shaft of the piece on the right and fill the main part with bb's. Duct tape over the top.
Again, you can refer to the pictures for clarification.
Step 4: Adding Nose Cone to Body
Take the nose cone you made, and duct tape it to the body of the popper.
Step 5: Add Fins
To make the fins, rip strips of duct tape about 4"-5" wide and fold it lengthwise, but only about 1 1/2".
Put three on the body, each at an angle (same angle for all three) so the rocket will spin and have more accuracy. In theory.
If you want, cut the tops of the fins at an angle to reduce drag. Again, in theory.
You can experiment with putting anywhere from 2 to 4 fins (I don't know if more than 4 will fit or give any advantage.)
Step 6: Finished!
You're finished building your rocket!
You can experiment with putting different objects like coins and easter egg halves on the top of your rocket. Some other things you can play around with is how much weight you put in and how many fins you put on. Above are the rockets I have made.
To fire, find out which direction the fins will cause the rocket to spin. Fold all the fins opposite that direction so they will produce as little drag as possible when spinning. Pump air into your cannon. Put the rocket into the barrel while spinning it in the direction it will spin because of the fins. Push down the barrel with a dowel rod or similar ram rod. Fire!
Be safe, have fun, and don't get in trouble.
Thanks for reading and be sure to post pictures of the rocket, cannon, and results if you complete this project!