Introduction: Simplest Bottle Rocket Ever

Picture of Simplest Bottle Rocket Ever

This is my first instructable so i hope you like it. I have been making these rockets for about 4 years and nothing else compares to amount of fun you can have for it being so easy. I will show you how to make the basic rocket and from there you can experiment with it, i have put these on boats and cars with surprising results.

Step 1: Gather Your Materials

Picture of Gather Your Materials

All you will need for this instructable is
-1 soda bottle(with cap)
-a used toilet paper roll
-a knife
-safety goggles(not shown)
-rubbing alcohol
-grill lighter(not shown)

Step 2: Rocket Nozzle

Picture of Rocket Nozzle

What you will need to do is CAREFULLY round out a hole in the center of the soda bottle cap(you could use a drill for this).You want your hole to be about 1/4in or so.This is one of the things you might want to play around with after you have finished, the size of the hole will effect the performance of your rocket.

Step 3: Launching Platform

Picture of Launching Platform

For this step you will need to take your toilet paper roll and cut out a hole about 3/4in sq. The hole should be about 1/3 of the way from the top of the roll.

Step 4: Fueling and Launching

Picture of Fueling and Launching

Now that you rocket is complete its time to fuel it up and launch it off. To fuel your rocket you need to pour just enough rubbing alcohol into your soda bottle so that it covers all the sides but you do not want a pool of alcohol in the bottom, now screw on the cap and set the bottle upside down like in the picture and your ready for liftoff. When your ready to launch, put on your safety goggles, hold the grill lighter up to the hole and let a little gas flow in before lighting the lighter then light the lighter and WOOOSSSSSHHHH!!!! we have liftoff. Now that you have a working rocket you can add fins a nosecone or whatever you please, you can vary the size of the nozzle and the amount of fuel, the max height i have gotten with one of these rockets is a little over 20ft. I hope you enjoyed my first instructables, please leave comments and vote for me in the Launch It challenge. -Sorry about the video quality and please be very careful wile i have never been hurt of had any accidents with these, it's always possible.

-you can use a 2ltr bottle with the same cap and launching procedure but you will defiantly want to do this outside for they are alot more powerful, i have had 2ltr bottles go up to 40+ feet
-for ignition you can use a piezo igniter from a grill and add a length of wire to it and set the wire just inside the cap


rileyhyne (author)2016-06-25

can you use metho for this experiment

Logan302 (author)2016-06-13

is this method quite powerful or not

Claraghroad202 (author)2016-04-07

can i use white spirit or aerosol or parafin ?

pyrobossVII (author)2014-05-27

uhh yea it hit a rock and flew ontologies of a building.

pyrobossVII (author)2014-05-25


Nightkilla (author)2013-11-13

I have made a 3D printable nozzle that would work quite well for this:

Tmbo17932 (author)2008-06-18

Dont ya think this is a bit dangerous?

LiamOSM (author)Tmbo179322013-08-30

That's the point!

lr10cent (author)2012-11-23

Strongly suggest you wear heavy gloves when you do this, or else use a reasonably long stick for lighting. I know the lighter you are using is probably one of those long ones, but I still think it's a good idea. The exhaust from something like this can raise a huge blister, at least. (And I know this from experience, though what I was doing was a bit less clever than what you are doing. That was back in the '60s!) Plus you should have goggles on. If the nozzle clogs somehow, I suspect you could get a pretty substantial pressure in that bottle and it might burst. You wouldn't want to get even a little bit of flying plastic in your eye.

Long ago, I did something like this with a plastic milk bottle and propane. Since I didn't use a nozzle, it didn't go very far at all. However, I'm not sure they're strong enough that they wouldn't burst if you used a nozzle. So if you try it, figure out how to light it from a ways back. Certain bottles will make spectacular whistling noises if you do this kind of thing, which is how I got the blister I mentioned before.

You might find the mix easier to get consistent if you use an eyedropper to measure the alcohol you're putting in.

Regular water rockets can go much higher than this, though they're a bit more work. They're also a bit hazardous, or at least they can be, which is perhaps less obvious because of the lack of fire.

raja681 (author)2010-06-04

u could use an awl for this but it wouldnt be big enough

dino kid (author)2010-05-20

dinosuars rock

knektek (author)2010-04-26

Use HHO, its practically free!

the mechanical engineer (author)2008-02-08

could you use othor fuel like gas or lighter fluid???

Gasoline is highly explosive (the vapors are). This rocket is fueled by vapors, and so you would NOT want to use Gasoline.

beehard44 (author)Goodhart2010-03-03

i made a small hole about 4mm in diameter near the top of rocket, bottom of bottle, covered with a piece of weak electrical tape, will pop off if there is excess pressure!

Goodhart (author)beehard442010-03-03

Well, as they showed on Mythbusters, and as I have had experience with it, gasoline is much more dangerous than many other "fuels".

So be careful if you use it.

blacksabbath7322 (author)2008-08-24

The alcohol is supposed to come out of the hole in the cap?

no the alcohol is supposed to stay in. when you shake the bottle most of the fuel will turn to vapours

kub345 (author)2008-07-05

that awesome

MR.EX (author)2007-10-14

yer i make mine without toilet paper and light it with a match and the fuel used was metho and it went GREAT

Kendallkip (author)2007-09-08

lol, the u is white

5Volt (author)2007-09-06

Nice trick ! Too bad it came out right after my vacation...It would have been a great trick to play with kids and friends in the countryside. I'll keep it in mind. Molto interessante. +

metallica_fan (author)2007-09-05

i just tried this 3 times with sprayable sunscreen. the first time i had no clue what i was doing and it was too close to my 2nd time was the best, went about 20+ ft high. the 3rd time, i left a puddle in the bottle and it dripped down onto the launcher and the whole thing just went up in flames... haha so definitely dont make puddles. but otherwise good instrcutable

oinkoinkzoopals (author)2007-09-05

i did this before but i used colon instead of alchahol im gunna use alchahol next time

briskability (author)2007-09-04

Ok, what you want to do is pour the rubbing alcohol in the bottle shake it up and pour excess back into the bottle, it just needs to coat the inside but not be pouring out, sorry i wasn't clear about that, hope this helps.

oh ok, so theres no actual puddles of it, its just the excess of what you poured out. sounds good! thanks!!

briskability (author)2007-09-04

No the gas would not come out if you follow the instructions "just enough rubbing alcohol into your soda bottle so that it covers all the sides" . And it is fairly safe to use indoors, you just want a high enough ceiling that it can reach it potential height, and after it fires it draws in fresh cool air due to the pressure differences so it will not melt the plastic and ruin any furnishings or carpet. Thanks for the replies.

but what do you mean to fill all the sides?
do i fill the cap or bottle? i really want to make this, so if you can clear this up ill make it =]

metallica_fan (author)2007-09-04

Wouldn't the gas come out when you put it upside down...since there IS a hole in the cap...

Kiteman (author)2007-09-04

Nice little rocket, but I wouldn't fly it in a room with soft furnishings (the bottle can melt, which isn't good when it lands on the sofa). I like the ignition method, using a small gas explosion to light the alcohol. Sort of a rocketeer's version of a matchlock musket.

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