How to Build a Rocket from Scratch

Knowing how to build a rocket from scratch and launching it can be very exciting and yet surprisingly simple.

Building a Rocket

Below are some simple steps to get you started building a rocket.

Rocket Equipment

When building a rocket from scratch you will need some computer paper, a 35mm film canister, clear sellotape, scissors, paper towels, water and Alka-Seltzer tablets (an aspirin tablet containing bicarbonate and citric acid that react when dissolved in water to create carbon dioxide gas).

Making Your Rocket

How to Build a Rocket from Scratch

How to Build a Rocket from Scratch

In order to build your rocket, take a piece of paper, fold length-ways and cut in half. You will only need one half for the rocket. Now fold the paper in half width ways and then the lower half into half again. This should leave you with a half and two quarters folded into the paper. Now cut along all of the folds, reserving the larger piece for the body of the rocket, a quarter for the nose and the other quarter for the fins. Fold one of the quarters in half and then diagonally, this will leave four triangles to be cut out. Take the other quarter and draw a circle, marking the centre and two lines at right angles from one another. Cut the circle out and the quarter you have marked.

In order to build your rocket you will need to roll the large piece of paper around the film canister into a tube shape, making sure that you can easily get to the canisters lid. Shape the semi-circle into a cone shape and attach to the top of the rocket and the fins to the bottom.

Setting Your Rocket Off

After building your rocket and admiring your handy work for a moment or two, you can now set it off. Turn the rocket upside down, filling the film canister three quarters full with water. Next you will need to quickly drop an Alka-Seltzer tablet into the canister closing the lid tightly and stand the rocket upright before waiting for the spectacular launch.

Alternatives to Building a Rocket

Alternatively you could build a rocket from scratch using a two litre water bottle, a cork and a bicycle or basketball pump. First, clean the bottle and remove the label and any remaining glue. Fill the bottle one third full with water and push the cork into the neck of the bottle; this must be tight but not impossible to remove. Carefully push the pumps needle valve through the cork until you can see the tip through the inside of the bottle; this may be very difficult to do and may even require a drill. Cut a small hole in the bottom side of a plastic cup which will act as the rocket base. Push the air pipe through the hole in the cup and attach the needle valve to the cork, placing the bottle into the cup with the cork-end facing the floor. Next, pump air into the bottle but be aware that the rocket will launch at surprising speed and will shoot out a great deal of water so stand back.

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