This past Christmas one of the kids received this book: Soda Pop Rockets. After reading it and doing some experiments I found that the clothes hangar launcher method described in the book just did not work well, at least in the rock hard clay soil of our area. I was also able to get some used inner tubes from a local bike store (free!), but still had problems with reliable launching.
In the mean time, my eldest asked if she could have a rocket birthday party. When a young lady asks to have a rocket birthday for her 13th, how could I say no? However, we had to solve the launcher issue. Thank goodness for the Internet and helpful people like Slater Harrison who has some wonderful instructions on his web site, sciencetoymaker.org. His method of heating and bending PVC, along with the launch release described there, is nothing short of genius.
I have successfully implemented my Mark 1 launch pad based on the picture he attributes to Tracy Bahr of Wisconsin.
We are able to reliably and repeatedly launch 2 liter bottles to an impressive height.
So, now we are on to the project of building 10 of these launchers. These launchers will be the party favors the kids take home from the upcoming birthday party, or
Large Dangerous Rocket Bottles
Named, of course, after the show that was on the Science Channel, which was extremely popular at our house. I'll try to post cut lists and pictures in the coming days.
So, let the countdown begin!