Build Alcohol Powered Bottle Rockets

Edited by David Collins, Doug Collins, Eng

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This guide will teach you how to build a bottle rocket launcher powered by rubbing alcohol (isopropyl alcohol).

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This project should only be completed under the supervision of a professional.

Materials

The bottle can travel a few hundred feet with a correct launch! For the rocket launcher, you will need the following supplies:

  • 3' x 1/2" PVC Pipe.
  • (x2) 1.5' x 1/2" PVC Pipe.
  • (x2) 10" x 1/2" PVC Pipe.
  • (x2) 1/2" Elbow Connectors
  • A 1/2" Tee Connector
  • Barbecue push button igniter, extra wire, hot glue, electrical tape and a 2 liter soda bottle.
  • Safety glasses & hearing protection are recommended.
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Building the Bottle Rocket Launcher

  1. 1
    Assembling the base is simple:
    You will start by taking the long (3 foot) piece, and adding a tee connector to one of the ends. After that is done, take the 10 inch long pieces and a attach them to the tee connector ends.
    Alcohol Bottle Rocket Launcher How To - David Collins 480p.mp4-canvas41 835514.jpg
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  2. 2
    Take the elbow pieces and attach them to the end of the 10" pieces by rubbing / twisting them on.
    They will be help together with friction (no cement is needed for this project). Now your launcher is built.
    Alcohol Bottle Rocket Launcher How To - David Collins 480p.mp4-canvas59 71441.jpg
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  3. 3
    6 inches down from the end of the 3 foot PVC piece, use your drill bit to make a hole for the wires we will feed through in the next step.
    Alcohol Bottle Rocket Launcher How To - David Collins 480p.mp4-canvas78 504804.jpg
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  4. 4
    We notice that the barbecue igniter is a little too short:
    this problem can be fixed by adding some stripped wire to extend the length of the wire. Strip both ends of two wires: one wire will be for the terminal end of the igniter and the other will be for completing the electric "shock" by running a wire from the side of the igniter in the small hole (if necessary, depending on the make of your igniter).
    Alcohol Bottle Rocket Launcher How To - David Collins 480p.mp4-canvas102 061232.jpg
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  5. 5
    Join the end of the sparker's wire to the new piece of wire we stripped.
    Quickly twist the wires together, and finish off the connection with some electrical tape.
    Alcohol Bottle Rocket Launcher How To - David Collins 480p.mp4-canvas116 536646.jpg
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  6. 6
    Wrap the electrical tape around the stripped section of the joined wires.
    Alcohol Bottle Rocket Launcher How To - David Collins 480p.mp4-canvas124 230763.jpg
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  7. 7
    Connect the other stripped wire into the igniter if this isn't already done so for you igniter model.
    Fasten the wire in place using electrical tape.
    Alcohol Bottle Rocket Launcher How To - David Collins 480p.mp4-canvas134 171561.jpg
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  8. 8
    Feed the wires through the small hole drilled in the 3 foot PVC tube, pulling the wire to the front of the barrel.
    Alcohol Bottle Rocket Launcher How To - David Collins 480p.mp4-canvas164 077999.jpg
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  9. 9
    With the wires fed through to the end, take a crumpled piece of paper and place it at the end of the tube making sure the wires are held in place, unable to move around.
    Alcohol Bottle Rocket Launcher How To - David Collins 480p.mp4-canvas179 257811.jpg
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  10. 10
    Give the igniter a test.
    You should be able to see the current travelling across the wire (a spark). If you can't see a spark, move the wire ends closer together, while making sure they aren't touching.
    Alcohol Bottle Rocket Launcher How To - David Collins 480p.mp4-canvas186 535547.jpg
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  11. 11
    Tape the wires inserted into the barrel in place.
    Alcohol Bottle Rocket Launcher How To - David Collins 480p.mp4-canvas200 350598.jpg
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  12. 12
    Now that the wires are in place, use hot glue to coat the interior of the tube ensuring the wires can't slide out of place.
    Alcohol Bottle Rocket Launcher How To - David Collins 480p.mp4-canvas212 828455.jpg
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  13. 13
    You now have a fully functioning rocket launching base with the igniter attached.
    Alcohol Bottle Rocket Launcher How To - David Collins 480p.mp4-canvas220 14734.jpg
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Launching the Bottle Rocket

  1. 1
    Launching the rocket:
    Pour a small amount of the isopropyl (rubbing) alcohol into the 2 liter bottle.
    Alcohol Bottle Rocket Launcher How To - David Collins 480p.mp4-canvas240 705013.jpg
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  2. 2
    Place the cap on the bottle, then spin the bottle around coating the inside of the bottle with alcohol.
    Alcohol Bottle Rocket Launcher How To - David Collins 480p.mp4-canvas258 290682.jpg
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  3. 3
    Remove the cap, and pour the excess alcohol back into the rubbing alcohol bottle.
    It's very important that there's no liquid left inside (only the vapor)!
    Alcohol Bottle Rocket Launcher How To - David Collins 480p.mp4-canvas269 978589.jpg
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  4. 4
    VERY important step:
    shake any excess liquid alcohol from the bottle out, allowing oxygen gas to get inside the 2 liter bottle. If you find that you can't ignite the bottle after the first launch it's most likely because you didn't allow new air to get inside of the bottle between launches, OR haven't coated the inside of the bottle with enough alcohol; try shaking more aggressively.
    Alcohol Bottle Rocket Launcher How To - David Collins 480p.mp4-canvas280 000499.jpg
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  5. 5
    Place the rocket over top of the guide rail and use the igniter to launch.
    Always wear safety goggles and hearing protection when launching, and keep a safe distance away from others.
    Alcohol Bottle Rocket Launcher How To - David Collins 480p.mp4-canvas296 229321.jpg
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  6. 6
    The bottle should be positioned with the neck touching the piece of tape you wrapped around the wires on the 3 foot long PVC pipe.
    Alcohol Bottle Rocket Launcher How To - David Collins 480p.mp4-canvas303 298172.jpg
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Article Info

Categories : Gaming | Arts & Crafts

Recent edits by: Doug Collins, David Collins

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