Introduction: Rubber Band Rocket Launch Pad

After the DIY Paper Rocket With Launcher, and the super How to Make a Simplified Water Rocket, here there is another indoor rocket, to enjoy and show kids how physics is both easy and fun!

Rounded, flat sticks, rubber bands and hot glue is all you need to create a real rocket launcher.

For the rocket itself you have my other instructable here Cardboard Rocket

Please beware: the steps and final result could harm if handled not appropriate. Create and handle with care, and enjoy!

Step 1: Prepare the Base

  1. Prepare 4 equal ice cream sticks and glue them at the end as shown in the pictures.
  2. Cut then two rounded sticks the same length the ice cream sticks have.
  3. Glue the two rounded pieces to the upper ice cream sticks as shown in the pictures.

Step 2: Make the Tripod

To redirect and balance the rocket launcher line we need a tripod, let's make it:

  1. Cut the rounded part of four ice cream sticks at one end.
  2. Cut at 1/4th half of the ice cream sticks, the thickness of the sticks as shown in the pictures.
  3. Then you can glue them two by two so you create two inverted V's as in the picture.
  4. While they are still hot put the flat part we cuted in step 1 to the base by the rounded sticks and glue them.
  5. Glue also another ice cream stick at the bottom of the V's between them so they become stable as in the picture.
  6. Cut another rounded stick 4 mm smaller than the ice cream sticks.

Step 3: The Balance Stoppers

To orientate the launcher we will create a balance system with stoppers so it remains in place:

  1. Presents an ice cream stick to the smaller part of the V and mark the top part as in the pictures.
  2. Then cut them twice, once for flattern it, a second to make it horizontal.
  3. Make it twice, one for each side of the launch pad.
  4. Measure and cut two pieces of ice cream sticks to keep in place the rounded stick as in the pictures.

Step 4: The Launch Pad Direction Rails

To keep in place the rocket and make it fly straight we need two rails in parallel:

  1. get two long rounded sticks and glue them to two pieces of ice cream sticks as shown in the picture. Let a space between the two rounded sticks a bit wider than the rocket holder (see the rocket instructions).
  2. Glue a piece of small rounded stick to one of the ends, it will keep the rubber band in place.
  3. Add also an ice cream stick at the middle of the bottom of the base as shown in the picture. It will stop the rail holder of the launcher.
  4. Glue the rail to the top rounded stick that balances freely. You need to keep the rail in a way that in touches at the bottom the ice cream stick at the bottom.

Step 5: The Trigger System

The trigger system is the critical part of the whole rocket launcher: keeps the rocket in position until you launch it.

  1. Start placing the rocket at the rail at the bottom end.
  2. Glue two parts of ice cream sticks at the back, and secure them with another one as shown in the pictures.
  3. Then glue two halves at each side of the rocket glued at the back made before (see the pictures).
  4. Glue a half of ice cream stick at the same end of the rail perpendicular to it, also a piece of ice cream stick.
  5. Another half of ice cream stick will be the trigger, make one diagonal cut at one end, the shortest side goes to the front.
  6. place the trigger at its place so it stops the rocket from going but allows it to go when you turn the trigger. You need to find a point that does not turn, mark it at the centre of the of the ice cream stick, mark the spot that is at the same place with bottom part that is fixed to the launcher. A thin rounded stick will keep them together with a final top part that will have another hole. See pictures for more details.
  7. At the free end of the trigger remove a part to keep in place the rubber band.
  8. Pass a rubber band from the trigger to the rolling stick that holds the rail and back to the trigger as shown in the pictures.

Step 6: Improvements: Stronger Launcher

Even when the rocket launcher is ready (or precisely because of it) I found some improvements to make it stronger as the rubber bands can deform it.

  1. Measure from the rear part of the rail to the rail support two ice cream sticks.
  2. Make two V's as shown in the picture, glue them as they will keep in place the rear part.

For the rocket itself you have my other instructable here Cardboard Rocket.

Step 7: Improvements: Better Trigger

After some tests I found the original lateral trigger not very useful for my children which are the main users, so I though it will be better to have a lower trigger.

This lower trigger is safer and makes easy to load and launch the rocket:

  1. Place a half ice cream stick at the bottom part of the rail and make it a diagonal cut, the peak will be to the back as it will stop the rocket from moving, until you trigger it ;-).
  2. Glue two small bits of ice cream sticks at the front and back of the previous stick, as shown in the picture. They will keep in place the trigger.
  3. Support the previous two bits with another two more in diagonal as shown in the pictures. Add enough glue for it.
  4. Mark the trigger at the bottom where it touches the bottom of the rail, then glue two bits of ice cream stick.
  5. Measure a cut two small bits of ice cream stick that will keep the trigger in place, so it can balance to left of right. See the pictures for more details.
  6. Glue a bit the free end of the trigger all around so it gets stronger, then create a hole trough it so it can hold a thin rounded stick.
  7. Make the same with two halves of ice cream sticks.
  8. Cut a piece of ice cream stick that keeps the two halves created in the previous step as shown in the pictures. It will be the lever of the trigger.
  9. Mount the lever with the trigger with a thing rounded stick. You can keep now the trigger with a rubber band as shown in the pictures. It should be strong but not too much or the trigger will not work.
  10. Now use a piece of ice cream stick to stop the lever holding it at the back of the launcher, as shown in the picture. Mark the two sides of the stick. This piece is the blocker.
  11. Keep in place the blocker with two pieces of ice cream stick glued at each side of the lever, also at the rear part of the launcher, as shown in the pictures.
  12. Glue a final piece of ice cream stick at the rear part of the lever, at 90 degrees so you can place your finger comfortably.

With this new trigger and the cardboard rocket, you can load the rocket easily and it will remain in place until you action the trigger.

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Bio: I'm an Electronic Engineer and I have build some small robots and microcontroller based systems. I started with 14 years old controlling an arm ... More »
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