Text copyright 2001 Kevin Karplus. Images copyright 2001 Michele Hart. Design inspired by a similar launcher made by Manfred Warmuth. Permission to copy is granted for copies distributed for free, as long as this copyright notice is retained. This document can be found at http://www.soe.ucsc.edu/~karplus/abe/soda-bottle-rocket.pdf
•about 6’ (2 meters) of 1/2” PVC water pipe
•plumbing connectors for 1/2” PVC pipe:
• 1 tee (two glue connections and one female thread connection) • 1 elbow (two glue connections)
• 2 end caps (glue connections)
• 2 male-thread adapters
•1 valve stem (cut out of an old inner tube or bought at an auto parts store) •Barge cement or bathtub sealer
•PVC pipe glue
•some electrical tape
•1-liter or 2-liter plastic soda bottles for rockets
•a bicycle pump with a hose (preferably a floor pump).
1. Cut the pipe into 4 pieces, approximately 3’ (1 meter), 1’ (30cm), 1’(30cm), and 4”(10cm)— exact lengths don’t matter.
2. Drill a hole in the center of one of the end caps, large enough to put the valve stem through. Put some barge cement (or bathtub sealer) on the base of the valve stem to glue the valve stem to the end cap from the inside. 3. Use the PVC glue to glue the two 1’ pieces of PVC into the tee to form the top bar of the
launcher. Glue an end cap on each end of this
bar. Screw one of the male-thread adapters firmly into the base of the tee. 4. Glue one end of the 3’ piece into the elbow, then glue the 4” piece into the other side of the elbow, and glue the remaining male-thread adapter to the end of the 4” piece. 5. Glue the other end of long piece with the elbow into the male-thread adapter screwed into the base of the tee, making sure that the short piece of pipe sticks straight up when the tee is laying flat on the ground.
6. After the glue has all dried, wrap a
couple of turns of electrical tape around the exposed male-threads, to make a...