Paper Rockets for Under Five Dollars
This video shows how you can make a paper rocket and a paper rocket launcher for less than five dollars worth of materials. These rockets are capable of traveling over 100 yards and because of this eye protection should be used.
1. Wrap a sheet of cardstock around a ½” pvc pipe. Make sure the cardstock tube can slide freely along the pipe and tape it in place. But sure not to wrap it too tight or the rocket won’t launch when the time comes.
2. Seal up one end of the card stock tube with several pieces of tape. Make sure this area is sealed well because the pressure from the rocket launch is place almost entirely on this tape seal.
3. Roll up another piece of cardstock into a cone shape and tape it in place. This will be the nosecone of your rocket. Place the cone on the sealed end to the rocket body and the cut the nose cone to the right size to fit on the front of the rocket body. Then tape this nose cone in place on top of the sealed end to the rocket body.
Note: It is important that the rocket body is sealed with tape before attaching the nose cone because it will only be able to hold a fraction of the pressure if the nose cone if the only thing sealing the end of the paper rocket.
4. Design and cut out three to four tail fins from card stock paper. Keep in mind that the larger the tail fin the more drag (air resistance) will be created. Now line them up at the base of the rocket and tape them to the body so that they stand perpendicular to the surface of the rocket body.
Note: If all of the tail fins are slightly angled in the same direction the rocket will spin adding stability but be careful because too much spin will create excessive drag (air resistance) slowing the rocket.
Building the Rocket Launcher
1. Start by building the base to your launcher. This can be made of many different materials but I chose to make my base with three one foot sections of ½” PVC pipe. Tape these three pipes together into a triangle shape.
2. Insert a one foot section of ½” PVC pipe into the opening of a two liter bottle. It will be a nearly perfect fit as long as it is the standard ½” opening. Use electrical tape to make sure that the PVC pipe is attached to the bottle and stays in place when the rocket is launched.
3. Attach two ½” 90 degree PVC threaded elbows to create an adjustable launch angle. Use electrical tape to secure them to the other end of the pipe connected to the 2-liter bottle.
4. Attach a one foot section of ½” PVC pipe to the other end of the ½” PVC elbows and use electrical tape to secure it in place. This is where you will place your rocket for launching.
5. Tape the entire launcher apparatus to the base we made in step one. Tape it just behind the PVC elbows for maximum stability. The base will help your rocket stay pointed in the same direction during launch.
Now you are ready to launch your rocket by sliding your rocket on the end of your PVC pipe and then stomping on the 2-liter bottle.
Note: Everyone in the area should have on eye protection because the rockets can fly with a surprising amount of force and could easily blind someone.
Need supplies for this experiment?
See this list of materials on Amazon.