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3 Simple Designs For Building Your Own Rocketships at Home

 It’s always important to tell your children and grandchildren to look beyond the bare minimum and to reach for the stars! Imbibing an interest in the stars, the sky, and the universe hanging above us at a young way can go a long way in showing a child how to dream. A wonderful way to encourage your kids to get lost in the magical world of science is with DIY home experiments, using simple, easily purchasable, or common household items. For those who wish to experiment with jet-propelled awesomeness, these homemade rocket recipes might be the perfect fit (with adult supervision, of course). Using basic materials like matches, aluminum foil, or baking soda, these 3 easy rocket ships will have you and your family reaching for infinity and beyond! 

1. Baking Soda and Vinegar Rockets 

Baking soda has extremely versatile uses in both the laboratory and the kitchen. Using these two simple ingredients and a few other items likely to be lying around your house, you can make yourself a flame-free rocket that shoots up to a height of 20 to 40 feet! 

This rocket is extremely easy to make. The first thing you need is an empty plastic bottle (6 ounces to 16 ounces). Using duct tape or another strong tape, place three pencils in a triangular formation on the sides of the bottle to form the “fins” of the rocket and tape them firmly onto the plastic. Ensure the pencils are firmly secured and pointing straight up, on three sides of the bottle. These will also help your bottle rocket to stand at the time of launching. 

Using a funnel, fill half of your newly finned plastic bottle with vinegar. The next step is making a baking soda packet. You can do this in two simple steps. Put one tablespoon of baking soda in the center of a napkin or paper towel. Then fold and twist the sides of the napkin, ensuring that the baking soda is firmly packed within the small napkin ball and that the baking soda packet is small enough to fit through the mouth of the bottle. If there is any break or tear in the paper towel, a new packet will have to be made. 

Next is to head to the great outdoors to the spot where you’ll be launching your rocket. In one swift move, you will have to place the baking soda packet into the bottle and quickly place a properly-sized bottle cork in the mouth, sealing the bottle. Give the bottle a small shake, place it on the ground with the mouth of the bottle at the bottom, then take a step back and watch your rocket soar! 

2.Water Bottle Rocket

Here’s another rocket that will astound you with its high flying trajectory. You wouldn’t believe that 5 simple items, one of which is just water, would be all you need to get yourself an aerospace adventure. The materials needed for this simple rocket are likely to be found around the house, or if not, they are cheap and easily purchasable at any local hardware or essentials store. 

What you will need for this rocket is: an empty plastic bottle (1-2 liters), an ordinary small nozzle, some thick thread or non-sharp wire, a hot glue gun, and a small to medium pump, depending on availability. The first thing that has to be done is to prepare the lid of the bottle rocket.    

First a small hole has to be cut through the top of the lid, just large enough to fit the nozzle through. Secure the nozzle with the screws that come with it and super glue. The next thing that needs to be done is to wrap the thread around the sides of the lid. Make two lines around the top and bottom of the side of the lid and wrap the thread around the lid, securing it into place with the glue, leaving a good length of thread loose and hanging off of the lid. 

Once the nozzle and thread are firmly set into position on the lid, and the glue has dried completely, fill the bottle a little bit more than halfway with water. Close the bottle with the lid, ensuring it is airtight, but that the lid is not closed too tightly. Using the pump through the nozzle, and holding the bottle at an angle with the top facing downward, fill the bottle with a little more air until it is full. You will feel the tautness of the bottle in your hands as it expands. 

The excess thread hanging off the lid should be enough to be held. Ensure the bottle is a sufficient distance away from your face and that your grip on the bottle is loose enough to release when launching. To launch the bottle, simply pull the thread with just enough force to remove the lid, and watch as the built-up pressure sends your rocket flying sky high!     

 

3.Matchbox Rocket 

Our final rocket may look small but it packs quite a wallop. These tiny little projectiles may not look like much, but they’ll shoot across a good 30-40 feet distance and leave a trail of smoke behind it, making you feel like you’re in NASA headquarters on launch day. Only a few materials need be purchased for this rocket, as most are likely to be found in the house. 

To start with you need a box of matches, some aluminum foil, wooden or bamboo skewers, and a small candle (also known as a tea light candle). Because these are so easy to make, you can make many at once. The first thing you need to do is cut the match head off of the match and keep it aside. That will be the top of your rocket. After this, take a bamboo skewer, cut the sharp ends off and make a mark on the skewer at a point approximately two thirds the length of the stick. The remaining one third at the bottom has been marked to be used for the body of the rocket. 

The next thing you will need to do is cut out a sheet for the body of the rocket from aluminum foil. The base is to have five edges, one side beginning in a rectangle, with the top of the rectangle then extending downward at an angle. Follow the template given in the video for ease. Based on the size of the smaller side of your base, you will also need to cut out a small square from aluminum foil (smaller than the base size in question). Take the small square, fold it end-to-end on both sides, then pinch it at the base and push your fingers together so the final folded piece looks like an x-wing. Snip off just the tip of this piece, and you’ll have your rocket fins ready. 

Next, place the bamboo stick on the base foil, so the bottom of the base aligns with the marking close to the bottom of the stick, and place the match head on the base foil on top of the bamboo stick, leaving little space above it. Two-thirds of the bamboo stick will be untouched by the foil. Roll the foil carefully over the partial bamboo stick and the match head ensuring they remain in place. Once securely and neatly rolled into place, crease the head of your rocket right above where the match head stands. Use a pair of pliers to crimp it from different angles to ensure that the top is properly sealed. Slide your aluminum fins on the stick as well, near the bottom of the rocket, and adjust them until they stick firmly in place. 

Finally, to enjoy this rocket, you just need to make a hole in the matchbox that your bamboo stick can be wedged in, with the rocket pointing upward at an angle, which you can decide per your preference. Position the candle in the matchbox, just underneath the tip of the rocket. When the foil gets heated, within a few seconds, the match head will get auto-ignited and shoot off in a blaze of smoke and speed. Just ensure your fingers (and other important/flammable items) are nowhere near the rocket or its trajectory as these rockets can get hot enough to leave burns and scorch marks!  

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