Saturday, July 24, 2010

Compressed Air Rocket

After the initial excitement was over from the stomp rocket, I wanted something that reached greater heights, I called my brother who in turn showed me a few issues of MAKE magazine with a description on how to build a compressed air rocket launcher using a bike pump.

The directions seemed pretty strait forward so I headed over to Home Depot to pick up the required parts. This turned out to be a little bit of a problem as they didn't have the exact pieces I needed, but after talking to one of the knowledgeable staff members they showed me how I can create the required pieces with other PVC parts.  Next I had to run over to Radio shack to get the battery, wire, and switch.  I am sure that I probably could have gotten everything from Home Depot but I wanted to try and stay close to the parts list.

Makezine article

PARTS:  (I dont want to copy strait from the article since its the steps I took, and the parts I used)

PVC Pipes (alot)
RC Battery
Speaker Wire
Manual Inline Sprinkler
Push button trigger

The basic building of the compressed air rocket only took about 30 minutes probably.  It was a real simple task, and was glad on initial test that it provided a nice whoosh sound on ignition.

Next up was building the rockets, I used the same design that I used for the stomp rockets but tried to make them a little stronger, I wrapped them in duct tape and used cardboard from a cereal box for the wings.  I also had a standby coke bottle for initial testing of the launcher.  The coke bottle launched about tree height which I thought was great.  I think placed the cardboard rocket on the launcher, pumped it up to about 50 PSI (initial testing), and had one of my daughter push the trigger and we watched it go.

The rocket fly about the height of the house.  Next up was the cardboard rocket at 85 psi, daughter on trigger, and lift off.  This rocket fly so high we could not see it.  I wish there was a way to put an altimeter on these things to see the heights it reaches.

Here is the rocket on its base ready for launch.

In future designs I would like to try the following things:

1.  LED for night time flying (MAKE Magazine)
2.  Parachute
3.  Video Camera
4.  Speed/Altimeter

If anyone has any idea's or modifications to make it run smoother let me know in comments.