Picture of Water Rocket 2-Stage Mechanism

This mechanism was developed to provide automatic staging of multi-stage water rockets. This mechanism will release a sustainer with a standard 9mm Gardena nozzle when the booster stops producing thrust.

The following tutorial describes how to build the staging mechanism. It should be used more as a guide rather than an exact step-by-step procedure as it is likely you will not have access to the identical parts used here. Feel free to substitute components as you see fit.

NOTE: Read the tutorial carefully including the notes at the end as there are important bits of information that you will need.

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Step 1:

Picture of
This stager is designed to work with a standard 9mm Gardena nozzle. If you don't have one already, you will need to make the nozzle first. Here's how: Making a Gardena nozzle.

Step 2:

Picture of
Here are the materials you will need.

- 5mm Clear vinyl tubing (or similar) :
- 1 x Gardena quick connector
- 3 x springs from 3 other Gardena quick connectors
- 2 x plastic pen tips
- 2 x pins
- 1 x bottle cap
- length of wire
- length of T8 FTC tubing (70mm & 35mm) (or similar size tube)
Example: ( )
- Electrical tape
- Epoxy glue

- Drill and 5mm drill bit (drill bit needs to match tubing OD)
- Sandpaper
- Scissors
- Craft knife
- Pliers

Make sure that the Gardena quick connector you are using will not slide into the FTC. There is a flange on the quick connector just behind the thread. The flange diameter should be bigger than the FTC diameter. Some cheaper brand quick connectors are slightly narrower and could potentially slip inside the FTC.

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MatthewH67 days ago

Nice job on the instructable, but I find all of the information somewhat confusing what with all the product names and such. Could you simplify the information into english please?

stumlad3 months ago

You could substitute the mechanism used in those non-pressurized spray bottles as an alternative (and easier) for the non-return valve.

sbgfsdb9 months ago

a mi tambien

sbgfsdb sbgfsdb9 months ago

tu eres un noob

sbgfsdb9 months ago

a mi tambien

can this separation device function more than 2 stages?

(since it is gravity powered....)

I believe so , but am not fully positive.

Nice rocket but what is T8 FTC because i searched for it everywhere. Is there a alternative for T8 FTC. If there is plz respond.
air.command (author)  THErocketies2 years ago
Look for fluorescent tube covers at lighting stores. It's a polycarbonate tube used for protecting fluro lights.

Here is an example:
about how much would it cost to make on of these rockets?
air.command (author)  U.S.CouchPotato2 years ago
about $20 dollars if you don't include the electronic parachute ejection. There are many cheaper ways of deploying a parachute.
also i would like to know if you can reuse this mechanism or if you have to make a new one after every launch
air.command (author)  U.S.CouchPotato2 years ago
You can re-use it as many time as you like, unless the rocket gets stuck in a tree where you can't get to it. :)
Nice work. For water rockets and related toys: see Google patents: there are a few hundred of them. Multistage water rockets: 2804823 Multiple unit projectile Jablansky 1957 2829491 Two stage liquid fuel rocket Teague 1958 2927398 Multiple stage rocket Kaye 1960 3049832 Two stage rocket Joffe 1962 3091052 Multiple stage projectile Ryan 1963 3292302 Multi stage model rocket Estes 1966 3550313 Multistage reaction toy Pippin 1970 3943656 Two stage rocket with pressure responsive means for frictionally engaging second stage Green 1976; others: 2003/0071077 10_254_987 Fluid slug launcher Panzarella 2003 2006/0225716 10_908_976 Rocket launcher toy Lapointe 2006 2007/0012305 11_160_954 Toy Water Rocket Launcher Williams 2007 279539 Air projectile Chamberlain 1883 616410 Toy boat Crawley 1898 650633 Toy cannon Cooper 1900 672889 Toy Conant 1901 990228 Toy gun Cohrs 1911 1033094 Target air gun Fuda 1912 1079200 Toy Wilde 1913 1229129 Springgun Peacock 1917 1248507 Pop gun Leveber 1917 1394551 Arial toy projectile Hitt 1921 1588040 Pump Moore 1924 1612794 Toy Bender 1927 1639602 Toy parachute Gay 1927 2017778 Toy airplane projector gun Vido 1935 2345243 Aquatic figure and apparatus Eakin 1944 2375607 Toy rocket projecting gun Wulfert 1945 2398391 Toy airplane Orkin 1945 2409653 Toy rocket gun Amdur 1946 2426610 Rocket launching gun Hopkins 1947 2449147 Toy Samuels 1948 2449187 Projecting apparatus Walters 1948 2478224 Toy projectile Armstrong 1949 2484320 Toy projectile Stevens 1949 2521135 Toy rocket Stark 1945 2559458 Toy parachute and projector therefor Orr 1951 2563969 Toy spring rocket launchers Skinner 1951 2568475 Toy para rocket Vaughan 1951 2583463 Toy compressed air pistol Boulet 1952 2587687 Toy gun Beyers 1952 2588184 Toy socket bomb Walsh 1952 2589977 Water gun Stelzer 1952 2594627 Jet propelled device Endicott 1952 2621441 Whistling toy aerial projectile Worden 1952 2624281 Projectile McNally 1953 2630654 Parachute toy Poen 1953 2642289 Toy rocket Gersmehl 1953 2675642 Toy rocket Coleman 1954 2700337 Liquid propellent rocket Cummings 1955 2714269 Ornamental beaded necklace Charles 1955 2718093 Parachute toy Payne 1955 2718094 Explosive rocket toy McInnes 1955 2725868 Air gun Foster 1955 2732657 Jet driven aerial toy Krautkraemer 1956 2733699 Rocket toy Krinsky 1956 2742734 Guided misslie toy Maras 1956 2748529 Toy rocket and parachute Swan 1956 2751711 Toy projectile and means to propel same Greenwood 1956 2759297 Partitioned toy rocked Lewis 1956 2787192 Semi automatic repeating rocket launcher Stam 1957 2792669 Balloon Jackson 1957 2793590 Practice projectile Brandt 1957 2820321 Toy airplane Kuhn 1958 2826001 Self propelled model submarine Presnell 1958 2841084 Toy rocket Carlisle 1958 2867153 Launching control device Hirsch 1959 2879624 Toy jet missile Benson 1959 2918751 reaction propulsion toy Johnson 1959 2924041 Balloon Jackson 1960 2934041 Booster mechanism Ayers 1960 2957272 Action toy savings bank Berzack 1960 2959889 Toy embodying whistle operated by gravitational outflow of water while the toy is in the air Gausewitz 1960 2991782 Toy Ayala 1961 2993297 Toy rocket Bednar 1961 3002314 Rocket toy Brottman 1960 3014308 Rocket and launcher therefor Parris 1961 3025633 Rocket launcher Kaye 1962 3025635 Rocket toy balloon Walters 1962 3040522 Rocekt engine control system Williamson 1962 3046694 Jet propelled toy arrangement Holderer 1962 3046966 Toy air compressor rocket launcher Butler 1962 3121292 Rocket toys Butler 1964 3125955 Toy rocket motor Estes 1964 3174501 Valve and valve mounting De See 1965 3188768 Toy projectile which converts to space platform during flight 1965 Boswell 3218755 Toy missile with delayed opening device Quercetti 1965 3230707 Steam generator 1965 Rothmayer 3301246 Compressed air rocket propelling Wolfe 1967 3303643 Method and structure for supplying and confying fluid in a reaction chamber Beardsley 1967 3406480 Toy vehicle Joffe 1968 3436074 Fluid driven elevating amusement device Knox 1969 3490235 Passively regulated water electrolysis rocket engine Grant 1970 3510980 Propelled toy arrangement and method Pippin 1970 3635162 Practice bomb Lohkamp 1972 3740896 Jet powered vehicle Glass 1973 3740896 Jet powered vehicle Glass 1973 3785083 Teaction toy arrangement and method Pippin 1974 3937191 Rocket launcher including remotely releasable pin latch Green 1976 3962818 Reaction toy arrangement and method Pippin 1976 3965611 Directionally stable reaction fluid propelled carrier missile with fluid sealed movable retention and release wall Pippin 1976 4038776 Rocket toy Filipeli 1977 4076006 Toy rocket with pneumatic launcher Breslow 1978 4223472 Toy projectile launching device Fekete 1980 4295290 Toy projectile Boswell 1981 4345729 Thrust units Barter 1982 4411249 Toy glider with pneumatic launcher Fogarty 1983 4664631 Surrogate weapon for weapons effects signatures Pederson 1987 5188557 Toy rocket apparatus Brown 1993 5381778 Pressurized toy rocket with rapid action release mechanism D'Andrade 1995 5399251 System for generating hydrogen and oxygen Nakamats 1995 5415153 Pressurized air water rocket and launcher Johnson 1995 5433646 Water gun launching water grenade Tarng 1996 5538453 Air pressure toy rocket launcher Johnson 1996 5819717 Launcher for a toy projectile Johnson 1998 5839940 Pressurized gas water rocket and launcher therefor Ensmenger 1998 6093076 Water propelled toy torpedo Street 2000 6321737 Toy rocket launcher Johnson 2001 6347623 Toy projectile launching assembly Kownacki 2002 6398613 Pump powered toy with an on board pump Rehkemper 2002 6532948 Toy rocket set Grichen 2003 6820840 Hydrogen powered toy rocket utilizing hydrogen from the electrolysis of water Lund 2004 6945495 Hydrogen powered toy rocket utilizing hydrogen from the electrolysis of water Lund 2005 6957526 Pressure actuated toy rocket sysem Lin 2005 7252079 Safe air pressure launched toy rocket system and method of entertaining Walker 2007 Des 254918 Toy airplane Harranek 1980.
that comment is huge did it take like an hour to write that
yea wtf what is all that
Ferret421, it is a list of 120 or so patents related to water rockets, I downloaded from the Google site. To find them: 1 start up Google Patents. 2 select the option advanced patent search. 3 type in the number of the first mentioned patent, in this case 2829491 in the field Patent number. 4 The patent Two stage liquid fuel rocket by mr Teague in the year 1958 (and others) will appear. Start reading. It's amazing what you can find on this site. Have a nice day, Frans van Dijk
What you posted is spam. Removed.
Thanks for the info but we probably didn't need you to post all of those here. :P It just takes up space.

It was.
no it was probably copy and paste
23wy3 years ago
Really? Don't make one words posts, its annoying.
chowchow953 years ago
how many metres will this rocket go?
air.command (author)  chowchow953 years ago
Very much depends on what pressure you use. This particular one shown here should go to around the 350 foot mark at max pressure.
Please let me know how to produce pressure above 100psi, so that I can launch my rocket as I have already made it.
Please reply me as early as possible

Taraandeep Singh
You'll need a launching mechanism. I simply used a zip-tie launching mechanism mounted on a 1/2" pvc pipe and embedded a tire valve on the other end with a lot of epoxy. It took me about 3 hours to make once I had a design that included stabilizing the whole rig. If you have a multi stage rocket, you defiantly want a full bore nozzle for your booster, which the zip-tie method allows for. Otherwise a garden hose quick release valve system would be a lot easier to make.

From there you just attach a bike pump and with a little elbow grease, you've got yourself 100+psi.
Thanks for the reply.
my water rocket just take off from its launching pad and falls down. According to me the water should fall on the ground perpendicularly(according to newton's third law) to raise the rocket at the height. If I am right then please let me know how to do the same. But if I am not correct then please guide me what to do and how to do?

Please reply as early as possible
Are you using 1/3 water, 2/3 air in your rocket?
Are you using fins?
If you don't have enough pressure in your rocket your rocket won't go very high and would flop like you described. If you had pictures of your rocket and launcher it would be easier to analyze your problem.
Please let me know which part have you used to throw the releasing water out perpendicular to the ground (part used at the mouth of the sustainer bottle).
Please let me know how to generate 110psi pressure.

Also please let me know what amendment has to be made in the booster for correct adjustment of the pressure valve.

Please let me know all this as early as possible as I have already made rest of it.
air.command (author)  singhtarandeep154 years ago
Hi there,

Pretty much any bicycle pump can get you over 110psi. How much pressure were you after?

I am not sure what you mean in your second question. Could you please elaborate a little more?
kelseymh4 years ago
This is an outstanding Instructable! The level of detail, and photos, are really impressive. The very idea of a multistage water rockets is just a bit mind-boggling. I noticed that you sort of integrated the quick-release valve build into this one. Did you consider writing it up separately and just making a cross-link?
(removed by author or community request)
air.command (author)  singhtarandeep154 years ago
Hi There, I'm not sure I understand specifically what you are asking. If you want to know how it launches, that's described in the links above.

Is it just a model? No, we have now flown it quite a few times. Here are some of the more recent flights using this stager with a more powerful booster:
I want to know if there is any alternative for Garden quick connector as I am not able to get this from the market..
air.command (author)  singhtarandeep154 years ago
Unfortunately this particular design does depend on it. There are other staging mechanisms based on different principles. Try searching for the "crushing sleeve" mechanism. Alternatively you can buy the quick connectors on line for a couple of dollars.
Please let me know how to produce pressure above 100psi, so that I can launch my rocket as I have already made it.
Please reply me as early as possible at my email
You should post this as a top-level comment, so the author of the Instructable notices it.
Going on how simple this one is, if you saw the mk2 then you would know how much work air.command has put into this. It's so complex!
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