Picture of Prodigious Paper Rockets!
This instructable is for the Gorilla Glue Cardboard Contest and just plain fun. Paper rockets have come a long way from the straw rocket and these rockets can fly 300 to 600 feet depending on design and how much air pressure has been placed in the launcher.

This instructable primarily addresses the construction of the paper rocket. The launchers that you see in the video were constructed out of PVC pipe and were modified from original instructions that are attached. I was able to build two launchers for $100 and had enough stuff left over to start a third.

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Step 1: Supplies

Picture of Supplies
The supply list is very short for building paper rockets.

1. 8.5 x 11 Card Stock.
2. A short length of 3/4 inch PVC pipe. (about 18 inches works well)
3. A pair of scissors.
4. Elmer's Glue All (white glue)
5. You may want to use high gloss enamel spray paint after the construction is complete.

Step 2: Making the rocket body...

Picture of Making the rocket body...
Use the 3/4 inch PVC pipe as a form to create your rocket body. (Or the size of your launch tube if you modify the launcher construction.)

1. You have a few choices on rocket length.
a. Turn the card stock on its side (landscape) and roll it onto the PVC pipe. (pictured)
b. Turn the card stock straight up and down (portrait) and roll it onto the PVC pipe.
c. Longer rockets can be made by creatively joining tubes.

2. You want to keep the card stock as straight as you can on the PVC pipe and use a rolling pin
action to tighten the card stock onto the PVC pipe. You want some tension, but not too tight.

3. Once you are satisfied with the card stock tube, back off the roll about 1.5 inches.

4. Evenly spread a layer of white glue (Elmer's) along this section and roll it back into shape. Do not use too much glue because it will just squeeze out when you roll the tube again.

5. Set it aside to dry. When dry, it should slip off the PVC pipe with just a little tension.
zizou3615 years ago
damn i should have thot of this, i did this in my shop class
jdman (author) 5 years ago
You bet these fly with rocket engines and you don't have to do much reinforcement. The biggest modification is the nose cone and the elimination of the plugs. Make the nose cone the same way but attach a sleeve where it joins the rocket body. The sleeve can go on the outside or the inside (best) of the rocket body and should be about 3/4 inch long. The fit should be pretty tight. You may want to think about a parachute system because most of the rocket engines have a delayed deployment charge. Here are some ideas for making the powered rocket. 1. Rocket engine size - 1/2A6-2 - This is a small engine (but you don't need much). It is 3/4 inches in diameter and requires only a few turns of masking or duct tape to secure it to the inside of the business end of the rocket. 2. These rockets are very light and the business end of the rocket with an engine is going to be very heavy. This will make the rocket want to flip the tail up because of the thrust of the engine after leaving the launch pad. Three things will help. Make larger fins, make the rocket longer, and/or extend the length of the rod guiding the rocket during launch. (You do not want to launch a powered rocket without this safety feature.) 3. A good parachute material is the grocery bag from Krogers. It wrinkles but does not bunch up and unfolds quickly. I use nylon thread from a fabric shop for the lines. 4. Remember always, a powered rocket is a different animal than the air pressure one in this instructable. Think safety and launch wisely.
Javin0075 years ago
Who knew it would be so simple? Have you tried strengthening these and adding rocket engines to them?
___5 years ago
at 1:44 look at the kid on the right stnding up