The How Zone

Water Rockets

All Shapes and Sizes

Of course there are many, many ways to turn a soda bottle into a water rocket. For starters there are all of those great shapes and sizes to choose from. Twelve ounce, sixteen ounce, one liter, two liter and so on. Of course as the bottle gets larger it takes more air to reach the same amount of pressure. You'll quickly discover this when you pump air into your first two liter rocket.

This design uses a two liter bottle for extended altitude, a one liter top to help with aerodynamics, and a detachable nose cone which provides weight as well as a parachute enclosure. I figured that it would reach apogee at a hundred feet or so, begin to tumble, the weighted nose would fall off, parachute cleverly deploy, followed by a nice gentle glide to earth.

Instead it took off in a glorious rush of water, reached forty or fifty feet altitude, and the parachute deployed early. A microsecond of abrupt air brakes, the parachute material forcibly ripped from the strings, and the rocket tumbled back to earth. We'll talk about recovery, or lack thereof, later on.

Nor are you limited to using plastic bottles. There's quite a few folks who have created some amazing looking rockets out of the plastic fluorescent light tubes (or FTC: fluorescent tube cover). Considering that these tubes run from three foot up to eight foot in length you can imagine how those rockets must look in flight.

Besides the one-liter rocket sleeve showcased on the previous page, I've created a few one-liter and two-liter rockets. Here's a one-liter kit.

Maybe it's my background in C++ programming or maybe some childhood lego thing, but I tend to make all of my rockets modular. This particular rocket is my first wireless camera rocket and consists of:

Which leads us right into the next fun water rocket topic: wireless rocket cam!

 «Modular Rocket Plans  Page 8 of 12 Wireless Water Rocket Camera, part I»