A Word About Safety
• Launch the rocket outdoors at least 100 feet from any surroundings.
• Make sure that everyone is aware when the rocket is being launched.
• Do not compress the rocket more than instructed.
• Ensure that the rocket is launched at a vertical angle to avoid an unintended flight path.
• Attach a parachute to the rocket to ensure that it comes back down safely.
Step 1: Materials Required for the Launcher (1x Each Unless Otherwise Specified)
¼-3/8 inch brass adaptor
3/8 brass valve
3/8ths – ½ inch galvanized adaptor
½ inch slip to inside thread PVC coupling
½ inch slip to outside thread PVC coupling
½ inch PVC “T”
½ Inch PVC elbow
½ inch PVC plug
½ inside thread to ¾ slip coupling
½ inch PVC valve
1 ½ inch PVC coupling
½ inch PVC coupling
½ inch PVC pipe -5-foot length
Hacksaw (fine tooth blade)
Step 2: Step 1: Cut 5-foot Length of PVC
• 1 24-inch length
• 2 3-inch lengths
• 2 10-inch length
Remove plastic burr after all cuts to improve seals
Step 3: Step 2: Glue T-junction to End of 24-inch Length of PVC.
Using glue cap, apply glue to the outside of the 24” segment, and then quickly insert it into the T-Junction
(Follow this procedure for all “glue-in” joints)
Step 4: Step 3: Glue 10-inch Lengths to T-junction
Step 5: Step 5: Cap End One End of T-junction
Step 6: Step 6: Build Air Compressor Connection
Now screw 3/8” nipple into adapter on end of assembly, and attack the 3/8” brass valve.
From here, screw in the 3/8" to 1/4" adapter to the end of the brass valve. Attach the 1/4" air compressor fitting to this.
Note: you must apply the 3 layers of Teflon tape to ALL screw in connections for them to be of sufficient strength.
Step 7: Step 14: Add Elbow
Step 8: Step 8: Add Valve to Launcher
Step 9: Step 9: Add Adapters
Now, screw on the 3/4" screw-in to glue-in adapter to the top.
Step 10: Step 9: Locking Mechanism
Using hose clap, clamp on a ring of zipties around vertical pipe such that latching mechanisms are pointed inward just above top adapter. The ziptie latching mechanisms should form a ridge that will hold the bottle down when the 1 ½” coupling is slid up to cover their lengths.
The Launcher is now complete, see following steps for rocket.
Step 11: Materials Required for Rocket (1x of Each Unless Otherwise Noted)
Roll of Strapping Tape
At least 1x #17 O-Ring
3x 2-Liter Bottles (brand doesn’t matter)
1x Tube of PL Polyurethane construction adhesive
At least 2 sheets of Cardstock
At least 1 square foot of Cardboard
Garbage Bag (for parachute)
String (to attach parachute)
Step 12: Step 1: Bottle Selection
Remove plastic cap ring and insert O-Ring into place just below threads on top of bottle. Set bottle aside, and try not to damage it in any way.
Step 13: Step 2: Creating Fin Ring
It is helpful to use a doorjamb to make clean marks. By bracing the bottle against the doorjamb, you can rotate the bottle without it moving. By holding a sharpie steady, you can make a perfect circle around the bottle, giving you a straight line to cut.
Mark lines for fins at 90° intervals around the outside of the excised ring. It is also helpful to use a doorjamb for this, as you can brace the bottle vertically and use the jamb as a guide to draw straight lines.
Step 14: Step 3: Attach Ring to Engine Bottle
Cement ring in place using PL Cement. Apply line of cement to inside joint and smooth with finger. It is Critical that you do not substitute any other form of cement for the PL Cement - other cements will degrade the plastic of the bottle.
Step 15: Step 4: Fin Creation
Tape the edges of the fins that will not be attached to the rocket. This will improve airflow and protect them if you chose to paint your rocket. The side that will be glued to the rocket is left un-taped to make it attach better.
Step 16: Step 5: Fin Attachment
It is important to note that the bottle opening will be the exhaust for the rocket and will be pointed down during launch. Brace the fins as necessary to allow the cement to set up. The cement will take up to 24 hours to set up. It is important that you do not handle the rocket during this time.
Step 17: Step 6: Nose Assembly
Select a third bottle, and using knife split the bottle in half along it’s lateral axis.
Attach top half of bottle to the top of the motor section, and seal in place with strapping tape.
Fashion a nosecone out of cardstock, large enough to enclose a garbage bag.
Using some form of string, attach a garbage bag to the top of the rocket. Pack this garbage bag under the nosecone.
Rocket Complete - This is what ours looks like when finished.
Step 18: Launching the Rocket
Caution: You will be working with an air compressor and you will be pressurizing the rocket while launching. While failure should not occur, good common sense and precautions should be taken to ensure that you will not be hurt in the event of a failure somewhere in the system.
For Launch, you will need an air compressor capable of generating at least 60 psi, and a large open area in which to launch the rocket.
Step 1: ensure all valves are closed on the launcher
Step 2: Fill bottle approximately 1/3 full of water
Step 3: Place rocket on launcher such that the tips of the zip-ties are above the lip on the mouth of the bottle. O-Ring should seat on top of launcher.
Step 4: Slide PVC coupling up, compressing the zip-ties together and locking the rocket in place.
Step 5: Turn on the air compressor and open the brass valve
Step 6: Slowly open the PVC valve, until the water is suspended in the bottle and not flowing out.
Step 7: Pull the PVC coupling down, and the rocket will launch.
Video of Launch