Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Dad50 #19 Water Rocket

A great Memorial Day Weekend was had at Dad U's house.
One highlight was the construction and test firing of our first homemade backyard water powered rocket. Credit must go to my oldest rocket scientist (pictured) for providing key materials (bottle and cork),  instructions (a "boys" book),  and strategic pestering skills on a public holiday. Google "water powered rocket" if you want to go in at the high end of the technology. We went for simple, and had cleared the launchpad for the first time within half an hour.

  • Materials: 2x water bottles, foam sheet, duct tape, wine cork, bike tube valve, bike pump.
  • A plastic PET drink bottle (intact, spout down) makes up the fuel chamber. Cut another bottle, and cram onto the top to make a vaguely rocket cylinder shape. Duct tape together. Cut foam into fin shapes and duct tape on. Make a foam cone and duct tape on the top.
  • Make sure cork fits bottle very tightly (the tighter the better = more pressure = more fun). You can wrap electricians tape around the cork to tighten further. We had overlapping rubber from the valve that also worked to make a tight fit. 
  • Drill hole in cork, cram/screw the valve through.

  • Fill the bottle ~1/3 full of water (actually, because water is heavy, less can actually be better)
  • Cram in the cork, with the valve head outside.
  • Attach pump, place rocket on sophisticated launch pad
  • Start pumping!

Launch Montage (click for full image):

For a quick project, I think we got a 9/10 for effort (low) vs fun (high).

Apparently, just like other hobbies, building and launching water rockets can get pretty addictive:

Dad U
-what a blast

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