How to Build a Bottle Rocket

A bottle rocket is a project that you can do on your own. The basic principles concerned with building a homemade rocket is also applied in building the rockets that are sent into outer space.

Materials and Tools Needed

  • liter Soda bottle
  • Balsawood sheets
  • Manila folder
  • Rubber cement
  • 2×4 piece of wood
  • Copper tubing
  • Junction box for electrical knockout
  • #4 test tube stopper
  • 1/8” thick steel
  • Hose clamp
  • String
  • Air pump
  • 2 long nails
  • Paint thinner
  • Sandpaper
  • Scissors
  • Wood screws

Building the Water Rocket

  1. Empty the bottle. Remove the label of the bottle (if there is any) and use paint thinner to get rid of the glue on the label.
  2. Cut four fins out of the balsawood. Make the woodgrain parallel to the fin’s edge for added stability.
  3. Use sandpaper to make your fins look smoother and function more dynamically.
  4. Mount the fins with rubber cement.
  5. Cut a nose cone from the folder and secure it at the top of the rocket with rubber cement.

Making the Launch Pad

Now that your rocket is finished, it is time to make the launch pad. Here’s how:

  1. Cut two 6” blocks from your 2×4 wooden piece.
  2. Cut another piece, this time, about 1 ½ ft. long, 6” wide and ½” thick.
  3. Screw the small pieces of wood to the ends of the large piece so that you have a table-shaped launcher.
  4. Get the junction box and screw it in the middle of the wooden table.
  5. Drill a hole through the junction box and the wooden table so that a test tube stopper can be placed through it.
  6. Cut some copper tubing and push it inside the test tube stopper. Using a hose clamp, secure the tube to the air pump.
  7. Bend some steel to make a small u-shaped pin which will be used to release the rocket during launching.
  8. Slide the pin inside the holes drilled in the junction box. Then tie a string to the u-shaped pin.
  9. Drill through both sides of the launch pad and push long nails on each hole to secure it to the ground.

Preparing for Take Off

  1. Put about 2-3 cups of water into the bottle.
  2. Position the bottle on the launch pad and slide the u-shaped pin directly above the notches of the bottle’s neck.
  3. Turn the air pump on (between 45-75 psi) to pressurize the rocket.
  4. When you’re done, yank the string connected to the pin and your rocket is ready for take off.