Water Rocket With Easy Launching Pad (simple!)




Do you believe it? A water rocket launch pad with no PVC needed. In this Instructable, I will show you how to build a simple water rocket and launch pad that is very effective. Water rockets like these launch naturally rather than manually. Please try this simple project. This rocket usually launches around 30psi, allowing it to launch 100+ feet

Step 1: Gather Materials

For Rocket:
-Plastic soda bottle (1 liter size is perfect)
-Thin Plastic (like from a gallon of water jug)
-Hot glue gun
-Glue for the glue gun (Duh)
-Plastic cup
-Electrical tape
-utility knife
-permanent marker

For Launch system:
-Bottle Cork
-Electrical Tape
-Air pump with inflation needle
-Smallest drill bit you can find
-Old can (like a 28 oz. can)

Some materials are shown in the following picture:

Step 2: Fins!

Cut out a section of your plastic (using utility knife) and draw your desired fin shape in the piece of plastic. Cut this fin out, and use it to trace two more fins. When done tracing, cut out remaining two fins. Next, fold the edges of the fins over about 1/2cm where they will be in contact with the rocket. This provides a bigger surface area when glueing the fins. Discard the remaining plastic.

Use the images below for help:

Step 3: Nose Cone and Fins

Glue the fins on to the bottle vertical with the bottle. (in other words, the normal way) Use the glue gun for this. Squeeze the glue on to the flap of each fin and attach to the bottle. Repeat this step for all fins. Finally, reinforce the fins with more glue to create a watertight seal to the bottle.

Next, it's time to make your nose cone. Take a plastic cup, and cut down one side of the cup until you reach the bottom of the cup, then cut the entire bottom of cup out. Then, curl the cup to form a cone shape and glue. Finally, glue to the end of the bottle and tape to ensure that the cone is attached. Use pictures for help.

Step 4: Finishing and Launch System

Now that you finished your rocket, do what you want with it. Spray paint it, add a recovery system, whatever you desire.

Now for the launch system
Drill with TINY drill bit
Electrical tape
Big 28oz can
Air pump with inflation needle

Take your cork, and drill a LITTLE hole through the center. (where the inflation needle will be)
Next, tape around the circumfrence of the cork. Do this until it will fit very tight in the nozzle of the bottle.

To launch:
1) Fill the rocket 1/3-1/2 way with water
2)Stuff the cork in the neck of the bottle util pratically impossible to push any farther into the bottle.
3)Put the inflating needle through the cork (make sure the needle is already attached to the pump before doing this
4) Hold the hose alongside the rocket and place into can. Arrange the rocket so it is facing straight up or in the direction you want to launch. It should look like the pic below.
5) Start pumping and you should notice bubbles in the rocket. Make sure everyone is not near the launsh zone of the rocket. If you are pumping, stay as far as possibe from the rocket as you can (be ready to get splashed!) Once around 10 psi, you may hear a leaking noise. This is normal. The rocket should launch around 35psi (THE ROCKET WILL LAUNCH BY ITSELF). If it launches before 30psi, you need to put more tape around your cork. Replace cork every 20 launches, and every inflation needle every 50 uses or until it breaks. If your rocket is at 70psi, let the air leak out and try again.

Have fun and remember that I am not responsibe for your actions in this project. Be safe and ALWAYS do this outside.



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    21 Discussions


    3 years ago

    Excellent instructions, worked the first time. A fun way to teach air pressure and aerodynamics.

    I didn't have a drill bit small enough, but I was able to make the hole with a thin nail and a hammer.


    3 years ago on Step 2

    reallllllyyyyyy helpful... thank you!!


    4 years ago on Introduction

    you could just attach a bike pump to a bottle and blow then BOOM


    10 years ago on Introduction

    I have a hose sprayer, and the end is tapered just so that a bottle can fit on the end when pushed tight. then you turn on the water, pressure builds, and PSHHTTT!

    1 reply

    I did that and they seem to be the simplest ones to make because most people will probably have the parts lying around


    8 years ago on Step 4

    Tec. Note: a 2Liter soda bottle is usualy safe to 100psi but precuations should be taken to protect yourself and others from a bottle rupture. The person launching the rocket should be at least 15ft from rocket and spectators and others should be keept back at least 25ft. from rocket. Two more safety considerations: include a check valuve to prevent water from back feeding into the pump if there is a pause in the presurizing process and don't forget some kind of presure relief valuve in the event of a need for a launch abort.

    4 replies

    Reply 8 years ago on Introduction

    Im thinking of making a backpack-type of air pressure tank for powering pneumatic cannons

    i was thinking of using soda bottles... do you have any suggestions on the safety??


    Reply 8 years ago on Introduction

    Soda bottles would work but rember they are generaly only good to 100psi. There are kits avaible to convert empty freon tanks to refillable air tanks. They will safely hold more air under greater pressure. Down side they will be bulker and heavier. How much pressure do you want for your pneumatic cannons? How many firing do you want to make before you change or refill your air tanks? The answers you come up with and the compromises you can live with will help determin what you use for a backpack air suply for your pneumatic cannons. Good luck and be safe.


    Reply 8 years ago on Introduction

    I don't have as much experience as you imagine. I do take the time to observe other people's experiments when they post them on line. If you have the time to do a You Tube search you can find videos of other people's experiments some that went bad and some where they were looking to see just how much pressure a given type of container would hold without bursting. Look for a group that goes by the name of Air Comand they have a video of a 2 liter bottle they burst under controled conditions. It will make you think twice before you over pressurize a container. Do you research and be safe.


    11 years ago on Introduction

    I think I did something very similar to this... oh yeah! It was in science class at the beginning of the year. Bottle rockets. Very fun. My friend made his go so high, it was incredible! Nice job!

    1 reply

    11 years ago on Introduction

    Tip on bottle rockets: MAKE GOOD FINS. They really do matter. My best experience was with 4 basswood fins cleanly attached with packaging tape. I've seen people with good recovery systems, but many of them didn't do much with the fins and they paid for it by not getting much height.

    1 reply

    Reply 11 years ago on Introduction

    Right, the fins help guide and distribute the air over the rocket making the rocket go straighter and higher. A good material to use(But is not always easy to find) are those plastic signs in peoples yards around election time. They usually say, "Re-elect..." or somthing right on them. Thanks for the comment.