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Teeny tiny rocket engine

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"Adam you never cease to make me feel like my brain is about to fall out my ears lol you're never just like reading a book" 

A text I received after telling Sammi what I did today. This is what I did today. 

I am unsure why I did this or what purpose, if any it could serve. It does propel itself in a direction, though it more or less explodes forward it does do it's job, it went straight across, hit the counter, leaving a small mark and then back in to the depths of the kitchen. It may have surprised my housemate a little, probably should have told him why he was lighting my match... 




First issue, propellant? I reckon Swan matches, they're pretty bad because they light slower than most. Seems like it's about the right mix of burny but not explodey... 

Wait what will I use as the body? More to the point where did this idea even come from if the propellant was the first question? This is some kind of bizarre causation loop in my head. 

Anyway I realized an earring back might work, the end of the casing is about the size I'd expect for the nozzle. (I did no science here, I just decided this) I didn't figure out the capping of the other end until later. 

Anyway... 

Oh stop. This is dangerous, grinding up matches is a logically foolish activity that may lead to burns, break up small amounts at a time to stop it from being a little surprise instead of a burnt hand. Lighting this thing might go badly. Cover your eyes and in general constructing it may be a danger - take care. 
 
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Step 1: Tools and Materials

You'll need: 

Tools: 

 - Pliers
 - A knife
 - A Card
 - A hard surface

Materials
 - Matches (Keep the box handy too) 
 - An earring back, clutch back that is, see photos. 
jonrb2 years ago
I used to make small exploding thingies with match powder.
Instead of scraping the dangerous bit off the woody bit, I had an electric pencil sharpener which I wired to a button (Instead of the internal 'pencil detector'). It's a much faster way of stripping the explosive bit off the match, and once you get the knack for it, you have minimal amounts of wood in it.

That said, if anybody tries this and gets burned/injured/killed (Unlikely, as I processed about ~25 boxes of matches with this method.

Good instructable.
interesting tip
killerjackalope (author)  jonrb2 years ago
Cheers, good idea there...

I know it's unlikely, it's more just well there's always that one person that manages to blow up the house with a paperclip...
Mugsy7301 year ago
Nice work. Anything that goes bang is cool in my book.
Anything that goes bang and flies across the room when your mate is least expecting it is hilariously cool :)
I feel sorry for your friend.
It's the norm in the house, we're all kind of mad...
Why is a raven like a writing desk mad?more?less?
Wasagi2 years ago
Hahaha, reading this was fantastic. Stream of consciousness combined with fire, good work all around.
killerjackalope (author)  Wasagi2 years ago
Thanks, writing falls out of my brain and spills on to the Internet...
dconnolley2 years ago
did none of you make match stick rockets as kids? with aluminium foil and a paperclip as the launch pad?

alternative fuels include: model rocket engines, Black Powder, fast burning fuse (comercial grade is difficult for folks to get a hold of but let me assure you an awful lot of fun)
since what your after is a fast burn and not an explosion it helps to compact the dry fuels. enjoy an wear cool safety specs.
Marker10242 years ago
pliers work really well. just squeeze the tip of your matches and the powder will crumble of in nice clean chunks :).
love your rocket science,"the right mix of burny,but not explodey.." . you definitely want the right balance between those two. too much explodey and they will call you stumpy.
killerjackalope (author)  handyhippie652 years ago
Indeed that's why I sciences this so hard...
*scienced
medionlvr2 years ago
Forget scraping the match head off the stick. up end a bunch of them in enough water to cover. after a day or so all the fuel will come off the stick and you can squeeze it out in a cloth to get a putty. form it any way you want and let it dry. we would use it as an engine propellent by filling a tube with the match putty being sure to add a small tube in the middle, I.E. 3,8" tube with a pen refill. what you end up with is a hollow, packed "sulfur" tube after removing the pen cartridge. the purpose of the pen tube is to allow more surface area to burn. this make a shorter burn but a more forceful drive. it worked for the solid booster rockets on the space shuttle. that's where we got the idea.
killerjackalope (author)  medionlvr2 years ago
I thought about doing a hollow up the middle but since I didn't know if it'd work at all I just decided to keep it simple.

I hear acetone can also be used as a solvent for quicker drying.

Thanks for the interesting comment on this - wasn't even sure match powder was worth advancing upon.
If you will pardon the pun.... It's a blast.
killerjackalope (author)  medionlvr2 years ago
Hehe, I'll have to do a bit of experimenting, come up with something cool to do...
tinker2342 years ago
i was looking at making a hand held rocket lancher a elctronic bbg lighter would do to light this or just a barbucaue lighter
killerjackalope (author)  tinker2342 years ago
Sure any lighter could light this but don't know if it'd be any use for that project
Kryptonite2 years ago
So, basically an awesome match stick rocket.
Awesome.
killerjackalope (author)  Kryptonite2 years ago
Yep, pretty much, cheers cap'n
killerjackalope (author)  Kryptonite2 years ago
Yep, pretty much, cheers cap'n
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