Step 3: But I want to Build a REAL Rocket!

Back to Newton again, and an important point: at no point does Newton mention size. He doesn't say 'throw loads of stuff out the back of a big thing to go forwards', he just says 'throw stuff out the back to go forwards'. It doesn't have to be tonnes of liquid hydrogen and oxygen, a matchstick will do. This really is rocket science on the cheap.

Just a Match?

Yes, just a match. The head of a match is a mix of chemicals that act as fuel and oxidiser, allowing the whole thing to burn rapidly and generate a lot of gas. If you can contain this gas and let it our through a small hole, you will get a jet of gas that is fast enough to launch your rocket, as long as you keep the rocket light.

Time to Build Yet Another Rocket

This is important: if you are going to make a rocket, you must be aware of the dangers. You are playing with fire, here, in every sense of the phrase. You will have very hot objects whizzing around the room. This presents a fire risk. If you are not a responsible adult, you must have one present when you attempt matchstick rocketry. You have been warned.

It is strongly advised that you have some form of fire-control to hand. Suitable methods are containers of sand or water, wet cloths or a properly-designed fire blanket or extinguisher. Remember not to use water-based extinguishers near electrical appliances.

Building a rocket isn't as hard as it sounds, but we will need some specialist items:

> Some matches

> Some aluminium kitchen foil

> Two paperclips (one will be a tool to build your rockets, the other becomes the launch-pad).

> You may also need a piece of Blu Tac, modelling clay or sticky-tape to hold your launch-pad down.

> A fire-proof surface to launch from (baking trays are ideal, but ask before you use them).

> Safety goggles are also a very good idea, as matchstick rockets can fly off in unpredictable directions - even in curves or spirals.

Start by straightening out one of the paperclips. With a pair of strong scissors or cheap wire-cutters, snip the head off the match.

Cut a square of kitchen foil, about four or five centimetres square (the exact dimensions you eventually settle on will depend a lot on skill and personal preference.

Look at your foil, and mentally divide it into quarters. Lay the match-head in the centre of the top-left quarter.

Now lay your straightened clip on the foil, one end touching the match-head, the other end passing down the middle of the bottom-left quarter of the foil and sticking out past the edge of the foil. When you remove the clip later, it will leave behind a channel or tube for the gases to travel along.

Carefully fold the left-hand edge of the foil over towards the right, creasing along the line of the paperclip and match-head. Make sure you keep the end of the paperclip touching the match-head, otherwise the gases will not be able to escape.

Fold the foil again, lifting the left-hand edge and creasing along the original edge of the foil. Fold again and again until you run out of foil. You should now have a long rectangle of folded foil, with the lump of the match-head about one quarter of the way along from one end, and the paperclip poking out from the other end.

Gently twist the foil along the length of the paperclip, forming a tube, and on the other side of the match-head, forming a point. Make sure that the pointed end (which will be the front of the rocket) is twisted tightly enough to seal the gases in, and make sure that the foil wrapped around the paperclip (which is now the rocket's nozzle) is a slightly snug fit (it should slide easily on and off the clip). Your rocket is now finished.

Launching Matchstick Rockets

Matchstick rockets are very light, and completely at the mercy of the slightest breeze, so they are definitely an indoor missile. Just be very careful about the flammability of the suroundings. Sofas and matchstick rockets mix a little too well!

Every launch needs a launchpad. Ours is made from the second paperclip. Look at the clip. Did you notice that it is made of four straight sections, joined by curves? Open up the clip slightly so that three of the straight sections form a triangle. Lay the triangle flat on the fire-proof tray, and bend the fourth section up so that it points upwards into the air at about 45�??�?�°. Use the optional equipment to hold the clip to the tray.

Slip the rocket off the straightened paperclip and onto the launchpad paperclip.

Put your goggles on and tie any loose hair back.

Take a second match, light it, and hold the flame under the lump of the rocket that holds the match head. After a few seconds, the heat of the lit match will ignite the match head. The flame and hot gases will (hopefully) rush out of the rocket nozzle, propelling the rocket into the air.

This is the dodgy time, though. Your rocket could shoot metres across the room, fizzle on the pad, or shoot off sideways in a random flight. If you do not use enough foil, the motor (the match head) could burn out through the side. Too much foil, and it will be too heavy to go far.

Recovering the Matchstick Rockets

Let's be honest; many of your matchstick rockets won't need much effort to recover. You will need to be careful, though, as they will be hot. If you need to pick them up quickly, use tweezers, tongs or a clothes peg. If you don't want to squash them, leave them to cool for a couple of minutes. You must watch every flight carefully, as parts of the match-head can fly off in a different direction to the rest of the rocket.

Improving the Matchstick Rocket

There is always room for improvement in matchstick rocketry. Practice is the best way to improve your rockets, but you may also wish to experiment with the actual design;

Change the way you twist the rocket nozzle; leaving the last part flat to act as a tail can improve the flight.

Change the dimensions of the rocket - does it fly best with a longer or shorter nozzle? What about the amount of foil in front of the match-head, or the amount of foil in the whole rocket?

Try altering the fuel supply - can you make a rocket using two match-heads, or with the fuel alone (chipped carefully off the match)? Do different kinds of match make better rocket fuel?

What do they call Boy Scout of America across the pond or is it just Boy Scouts or just Scouts
Here, in the birth-place of Scouting, we just call it "Scouting" (since girls are allowed to join as well).
here in the dirty usa girls arent allowed to play with the boys at all. they formed thier own gruop starting with brownies ofall the food gruops to go with!!
<p>BSA actualy started a group called Venture scouting the is CO-ed </p><p><a href="http://www.scouting.org/scoutsource/Venturing.aspx" rel="nofollow">http://www.scouting.org/scoutsource/Venturing.aspx</a></p><p>link provided in case you have or know girls that are interested.</p>
We have those as well: <br> <br>Rainbows &gt; Brownies &gt; Guides
A bit advanced one is trying with a KNO3 fertiliser(or stump clearer) and mixing it with table sugar. The ratio is 35:65. But Beware! a small problem is enough to burn a paddy field.
Hey Kiteman, I'm having a bit of a problem with the match stick rocket, and was wondering if you could help? I've tried it twice now, and both times I've ended up with semi-flaming (technically it was the match head that was flaming) foil. I'm wondering if this means I need to use more foil, or is it something else? <br> <br>Thanks for your time. <br>-ElvenChild
My first thought is to recommend more foil.<br><br>Make sure the rocket is capable of actually launching, and isn't too tight on the match intended to stay behind.
My only match rocket experience is using a meter long lab glass tube fire sealed at one end<br> held secure at an appropriate up angle to allow a stick match to slide head down and ignite&nbsp;<br> at the molten glass end.<br> <br> The expanding gas makes an excellent simply&nbsp; re-loadable mortar able to easily launch sticks<br> as far as10 meters away.<br> <br> A
A matchstick mortar...? <br> <br>Ohhh...
Ahh Burt Rutan. He is my role model. <br>(Along with Mr. Steve; )
Baking Soda and Vinegar is a lot more fun and costs less:<br> <br> <a href="http://www.instructables.com/id/Film-Container-CO2-Rocket./" rel="nofollow">http://www.instructables.com/id/Film-Container-CO2-Rocket./</a>
This is a lot less messy, though, and (when you've got a class of thirty 11 year-olds doing this) it makes the risk-assessment paperwork easier to have water splashing instead of acidic vinegar. <br> <br>Oh, and isn't it about time you posted another project? <strong><sub>;-)</sub></strong>
you should put the football adapter in the other way then it in the end of a soda bottle and shake it up it would directionalize the spew of expanding soda and cause it too fly higher thank a bike pump
oh hai i is potassium nitrate? kno3 sugar rockets... the best kind cheap, easy quick and plenty of thrust... if you makem properly. blackpowder is also cool, just started playing with some, is fun!
Yes, potassium nitrate is KNO<sub>3</sub> , also known as <em>saltpetre</em> or <em>salt peter</em>.<br/><br/>Apparently it can be found as &quot;stump remover&quot;.<br/>
or you can boil down pee to make it...
&nbsp;I'm sure that's phosphorus - and it takes gallons of pee, high temperatures and a lot of time to make tiny amounts.<br /> <br /> Saltpetre is made by regularly pouring large amounts of urine on a pile of cow dung and straw as it rots down for a few weeks.<br /> <br /> Don't ask me how they discovered either of those things. (Actually, I know the first one - it was an alchemist who thought that because of its colour, urine must contain gold.)<br />
The second one is because saltpetre is highly soluble in water and, as such, tends to collect around the upper edges of undisturbed manure piles as the water evaporates out of them.
or you can get it from the internet. inoxia chemical supplies do a reasonable deal.
I guess we need an Instructable on this . . . . . . Okay, first I&nbsp;need to drink about 10 pints of <strong>Old Knackers Heavy Bitter</strong> . . . . . . then . . . . . ??<br /> <br /> (and don't forget the pictures of every stage&nbsp; :LOL: )<br />
Potassium nitrate can also be extracted from many natural sources, such as nitrate bearing earth.
if u mix KNO3 with sugar and then burn it u get a buttload of smoke
pee aside, KNO3 CAN be found as stump remover, in america at least, idk about the rest of the globe.
I've got an idea<br> Using some ultra-tech hi-cost toilet paper, you could separate the AS from the water... until it's flipped. Then, they would come in contact, and... BOOM! An instant, easy to carry AS rocket! Just take care not to flip it as an accident.
Yes, that works well.
Also, sorry for the horrible drawing, it was done on MS Paint with a mousepad.
Whoa sweet Kiteman! Are you from the U.K? People from their are always cool =P<br>
I am.<br><br>Cool? I try.
Haha. I think you are one of the best people on Instructables right now! I love this website so much. Me and my friend were making Altoids Tin boats all day yesterday!
I hope you took plenty of photos to write up a step-by-step Instructable?
Actually, we used this one that's already posted, then did a little tweaking and improv.<br><br>http://www.instructables.com/id/Rubber-Band-Powered-Altoids-Boat/<br><br>Sorry can't make links for some reason...my computer can but I forgot how. =) Copy and paste it?<br>
Had it been MY article, this step would have been the very first one...maybe more general in order to not share EVERYTHING you were doing!
I see your point, but piling on the nanny stuff up-front tends to put people off, and it's generally assumed that readers will go through *all* the steps before actually following them.<br><br>
A mortar is actually closer kin to a cannon...modern mortars use a twelve-gauge shotgun shell minus the shot to power a fin-stabilized projectile. The mortar shell looks like a rocket due to its shape and its fins.
this is all $#!% teehee hee ^_* <br>
I hope that's a wink on the end...
someone really neads to make a instructable on water roket launchers for BIG rockets.i cant find a one thats compatible w/ the one in the instructable cynobite made!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! HELP!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! please?
Got a link?
cooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooollllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllll! 6 stars! (i dont care if theres no such thing)
Hi That is interesting, Instead of a rubber bung and a football pump valve, when I did this I used to use a Woods bicycle tyre valve and the actual cap of the bottle. I drilled a hole the same diameter of the Woods valve and then wrapped a small amount of paper masking tape around it and inserted it into the cap. Same method as you but when the pressure was too much it forced the valve out of the cap. To stop tumbling we used to get a 50 foot length of plastic coated clothes line and then duct taped a copper tube to the rocket and fed the clothes line through it. It was a tad safer and was guided
Copper tubing? Dangerous! Read the Instructable again, metal is illegal. Have Fun!! - but be careful!
I believe he meant the copper tube was attached to the outside of the bottle, the clothesline passed through it, and then tie the clothesline off at both ends.&nbsp; The bottle then rides along the clothesline.&nbsp; A good solution for school teachers with administration that is sensitive to rockets or other things that go up in the air as in our school system where the kids have to use tennis balls to play baseball - &quot;so no one gets hurt.&quot;<br />
That is correct SJU87, it is taped to the outside of the bottle as a guide<br />
I feel really good about myself now, after months of deliberation (or just not having the right stuff) I finally made it. It's amazing how high it can send it, but it's sort of annoying because you have to shove the cork in impossibly hard, other wise it comes out too easy. Anyway, thanks for introducing me to H2O rockets!
You're welcome!<br/><br/>If the cork thing is a problem, there are projects around for launchers that restrain the rocket until you want to launch is, like <a rel="nofollow" href="http://www.instructables.com/id/water-rocket-launcher/">this one</a>.<br/>
Yes, after finding out how much fun launching rockets 20 metres into the air was I thought I'd research how to make it go double, or triple, that. I've got a new launcher planned that shall retain the bottle until pressure is right. I'll deffinitely need a new pump though, I'm borrowing my step dad's which is a foot pump & 10 years old, the pressure guage does not work well plus it actually leaks air/water back out when under pressure. A heap of hot glue sort of worked, but now it squirts out doubly far but at least not as much. By the way, what's with the new blurred images everyone's putting up?
(I don't know <em>what</em> you mean)<br/>
Display picture, you've changed it now.
You're behind the times, my friend.

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