Paper Rockets for Under Five Dollars (Physics)


Bearded Science Guy, here, and today I’m going to show you how, with five dollars and a little bit of elbow grease, you can be building rockets capable of launching an entire football field. To start with, wrap a shoot of cardstock around a 1/2 inch PVC pipe make sure that the cardstock slides freely along the PVC pipe, or else the rocket won’t launch when it comes time. Then, take a piece of electrical tape and tape the cardstock in place After a few more pieces of tape, you have now completed the body of your rocket. The next steps is to seal up the front end of your rocket. Now, be careful! Most of the pressure of the rocket launch will be placed on this front end, so make sure you tape it shut really well. After you’ve completed sealing up the end of your rocket the next step is to choose a nose cone. There are a lot of different types of nose cones you could choose, but for this demonstration we’re going to use a pointed nose cone. Take a piece of cardstock and roll it into a cone. Now using electrical tape, tape the cone in place so it doesn’t slide around. The nose cone is way too big for our rocket so you what you need to do is figure out where you need to cut it at. Take the body of your rocket and slide it into the nose cone and feel where the rocket meets the edge of the nose cone. This is where you need to cut it. Once you have the nose cone cut to size, you can trim up the edges so there’s a nice fit between the body of your rocket and the nose cone. Then, tape the nose cone in place. Once your nose cone has been taped in place, now you’re ready for your tail fins. Start by designing your tail fins on a blank piece of paper. Here, I’ve decided to use three triangle tail fins. But you can use a different number of tail fins or decide on a different shape for your tail fins all together. Once you have the tail fins cut out, now you’re ready to attach them to the body of your rocket. Here, we’ll be using electrical tape to do this but you can use any number of adhesives to get the job done. Tape both sides of the tail fin to the rocket body if you want it to stand straight out, perpendicular to the rocket body. Once you’ve attached all the tail fins, you’re rocket’s ready to fly! Now, we just need to build a launcher. And for this launch, we’re going to use a two-liter bottle, one half inch PVC pipe and electrical tape To start building your launcher First you need a base I’ve chosen to use three one half in PVC pipes, taped together, but you could very easily use a two-by-four or some other sturdy base to keep the rocket launcher steady. Once you have your base constructed, take the two liter bottle and insert a section of one half inch PVC pipe. It should be a very snug fit. However, it is still a good idea to use electrical tape so that this connection doesn’t come loose during launching. Now connect a threaded 90 degree turn elbow using the same method with electrical tape The reason we’re using threaded elbows is so that you can adjust the angle at which you’re launching the rockets. Now connect the second elbow and your final piece of one half inch PVC pipe The final step in the process is taping the launcher to the base we made in step one. Once the tape is secured, you’re rocket launcher is ready to fire! These rockets have the ability to travel almost 100 yards so it’s a good idea to use eye protection and be outside when you’re testing your rocket launcher. Load your rocket on the end of the one half inch PVC pipe and then stomp on the two liter bottle and watch it fly! Thanks for watching Bearded Science Guy. Click here to subscribe for more science videos. Teachers, click here for lesson plans and other classroom resources.

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