Are you a student looking for a simple school project, a parent looking for a kid-friendly (and educational!) activity for your children, or just a rocket enthusiast? Why not try building this easy, cheap, and surprising high-flying "stomp-powered" rocket! The best part about this project is, while it can easily be done alone, it's even more fun with a friend or in a small group; the more, the merrier!
1. A PVC cutter or hacksaw
2. Ruler or tape measure
4. About 8 feet of 1/2 inch PVC pipe (cut in to one 4 foot piece and two 2 foot pieces)
5. About 2 feet of 3/4 inch PVC pipe (cut in to two 1 foot pieces)
6. Two 3/4 inch PVC 45 degree conduit elbow
7. One 3/4 inch PVC "cross"
8. One 1/2 inch PVC 90 degree conduit elbow
9. Empty 2-liter bottle
10. Duct tape
11. Old magazine
12. Cardboard (thin- I used an old cereal box)
13. Plastic wrap
14. This fin pattern
Add a Teacher Note to share how you incorporated it into your lesson.
Step 1: Step One
After cutting all of your PVC pipe to size, you’ll need to taper one end of each of your 2 foot pieces. This way, they’ll stand flat on the ground when at an angle. You can taper your pipes by cutting the end at an angle, filing them, or simply dragging them along the sidewalk.
Step 2: Step Two
Insert one end of your 4 foot pipe into your empty bottle. Duct tape together.
Step 3: Step Three
Insert the other end of the 4 foot pipe into your 90 degree elbow. To make it more secure, you can use duct tape (like I did) for a less permanent structure, or PVC glue for a stronger, more permanent launcher.
Step 4: Step Four
Insert one of your 1 foot pipes OVER the 90 degree elbow. Hopefully, the larger pipe will easily slide over the smaller connector; if not, enough duct tape fixes anything! This launcher does not need to be extremely structurally sound, as long as it can stand and air passes all the way through.
Step 5: Step Five
Insert the un-tapered ends of the 2 foot pipes into your 45 degree elbows. (If the elbow is held so that the pipe points towards the ground, the taper should be parallel to the ground.)
Step 6: Step Six
Insert your “cross” connector over the top of the 1 foot pipe (the one currently connected to the 4 foot pipe and soda bottle).
Step 7: Step Seven
Attach one of the 45 degree conduit elbows onto the side of the PVC “cross” and repeat on the other side.
Step 8: Step Eight
Insert your last 1 foot pipe into the top of the cross. Phew, you’re done with the hard stuff!
Step 9: Step Nine
Grab your magazine, carefully take out the staples, and tear off two pages.
Step 10: Step Ten
Stack the pages on top of each other, and wrap them somewhat loosely around the 3/4 inch pipe on top of your launcher. Duct tape together, and gently slide your rocket’s body off the pipe.
Step 11: Step Eleven
Print out the fin pattern if you haven’t already, and cut out two of the fins.
Step 12: Step Twelve
Tape each of the patterns to a piece of cardboard, and cut them out. Cut on the small, vertical, solid lines, but not the dotted line above them. Fold the “tabs” formed by these small lines in alternate directions.
Step 13: Step Thirteen
Tape the fins to the rocket body using these tabs.
Step 14: Step Fourteen
Use some duct tape to close the top of your rocket. Then, tear off a piece of plastic wrap about six inches long, ball it up, and tape it to the top of the rocket.
Now, you're finally ready for takeoff! Slide your newly completed rocket back onto your launcher, walk back to your bottle, and STOMP! You did it!
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Make It Fly Challenge