Air rockets are a blast! There is no moment more exciting than the split second an Air Rocket launches. (10..9..8..) This is a toy loved by younger and older alike. There is a great scope for learning about rocket science, air pressure and technological problem solving. Once you have made a launcher, building and testing rockets is quick and rewarding. Click on link to go to the pdf version Instructions make Air Rockets.pdf
Air Rocket Instructions
Difficulty to make: 8+ years old
• Launcher tube plastic tube 20 mm x 1.5 meters
• Stand wood or tube 0.5 meters, 1m rubber inner- tube strip or tape for lashing.
• Adapter smaller tube 15mm x 100mm, fizzy drink
bottle top and lid, electrical tape
• Air Reservoir 2 litre fizzy drink bottle
• Body Tube Glossy magazine pages x 3 or flexible plastic sheet, sticky tape
• Nose cone card or thick foam
• Fins Ice cream container or similar plastic
scissors, craft knife, hot air gun or other heat source,
drill/bits, hot glue gun
1 Bend plastic tube at 90 degrees 0.5m from the end, with heat gun or other heat source.
2 Cut a hole into the fizzy drink bottle top lid, equal to the diameter of the adapter tube.
3 In the middle of the 100mm adapter tube, wind electrical tape so it makes a tight fit into the launch tube. Put half of the the adapter tube into the launch tube and tape over both tubes with electrical tape so it is air tight.
4 Put fizzy drink bottle lid over adapter tube with the thread of the bottle lid, facing away from the launch tube.
5 Using rubber strip, lash the wood (or other material) to the launch pipe, just behind the 90 degree elbow bend. Lash tightly enough so that launcher tube can be pivoted to a 45 degree angle from the ground and remain stable
6 Screw the 2 litre bottle onto the lid on the adapter.
7 test the air tightness of the launcher by blowing
into the top of the launch tube. Listen for any
leaks and block them up with electrical tape.
To launch air rocket, aim launcher at a wide open
space, jump on the middle of the bottle. Try not to
jump on the adapter or the base of the bottle.
1 Roll 3 sheets of glossy magazine lengthwise around the launch tube (or tube of equal diameter). Tape the length of the magazine tube with sticky tape.
2 with the magazine top raised above the launch tube, by a distance equal to the diameter of the tube, fold one side across, blocking the end of the tube. Then fold the other side of the magazine across and
then the remaining corners. Use sticky tape to make the top of the rocket air tight.
3 Cut plastic ice cream container (or similar plastic) into 3 equal right angled triangles
4 Cut 4 tabs into the long side of each triangle.
5 Join the tabs on the fins onto the bottom
of the rocket with sticky tape.
6 Make a cone with card, cut to the width of rocket, tape to the top of the rocket. Or, the nose cone can be sculptured from foam and attached to the top of the rocket with hot glue. A foam nose cone will help absorb the impact on landing.
• Be careful when wrapping magazine pages that they are not too tight. They should be able to slide easily along the launch tube. The bottom of the body tube should be loose and covered by sticky tape on the inside and outside to stop the body tube scrunching when put on the launcher.
• The rockets' body tube can also be made from thin flexible plastic sheet for greater durability.
• Fins can be many shapes and sizes. For distance flight, the ideal is to keep the drag force to the minimum. Make Fins which are just big enough to keep the rockets flight stable.
• Fins need to be put carefully in line with the length of the body tube to decrease air resistance (drag). All fins can be angled slightly or fin tips bent, to make the rocket spin in flight. They should be towards the bottom of the rocket.
• Experiment with length and weight of the body tube. The longer the rocket is, the longer it is receiving the force of the air as it is pushed off the launch tube. A very light rocket will have less momentum and will be easily moved around by air currents
• The bend in launch tube must not close off the airway too much. Instead of bending the launch tube you can buy a 90 degree elbow from a hardware store.
• Launch tube can be put through a hole drilled through the wood/tube stand.
• Hand held launchers can be made using a flexible tube such as a bike inner-tube.
• Flexible glue can be used to make the adapter more durable.