Family Fun: Soda Pop Bottle Launcher
When you have boys, you need to keep them busy or they get into trouble. My 15 year old son loves to build things. This summer he decided to make a soda pop bottle launcher with his brother. All I had to do was purchase the items at Home Depot, and he was able to figure out the rest on his own.
I love that this craft is super cheap and doesn't take very long to make. The kids were playing with it in the yard for hours with their friends. We even had a few dad's come over after work and ask what we were doing. This craft is for all ages and will provide hours of fun together. I am cracking up that some of the kids were eating yogurt while they were launching the rocket.
This project is a part of the Summer Survival Series for Mom’s of Boys on The Joys of Boys. I have teamed up with several bloggers from June to the middle of August to help make your summer loads of fun and help you to break up your routine with fun activities, science experiments, crafts, fun food ideas and more.
Soda Pop Bottle Launcher
- 8 foot x 1/2" PVC Pipe
- 2 foot x 1/2" PVC Pipe
- 2 inch x 1 1/2" Diameter PVC Pipe
- 1 PVC 1/2" Tee
- 2 PVC End Caps
- 1 Tre Stem (you can find this at an automotive part store)
- 8 - 5" All Purpose Zip Ties or Cable Ties (these are used to hold the bottle onto the PVC pipe)
- Adjustable Hose Clamp (size is important - get hose clamp with a range from 11 mm to 23 mm) The hose clamp must be a little bigger than the pipe because that is what holds on the Zip Ties to the pipe.
- 2 inch long x 1 1/2" diameter PVC Pipe
- 2 pieces of 8 foot x 1/4" Nylon Rope
- 1 Can of Water Resistant Blue Pipe Glue
- PVC Pipe Cutter
- Black Duct Tape
- Bike Pump
- Empty 2 Liter Soda Pop Bottle
- Cut an 18" piece off of your 8 foot x 1/2" PVC pipe with the PVC pipe cutter.
- Glue the 18' piece to the 1/2" Tee with water resistant blue glue.
- Take your remaining piece of PVC Pipe and glue it into the other end of the Tee to make one long launcher piece.
- Glue the 3 inch PVC pipe to the remaining opening of your Tee. See collage for example.
- Glue the cap onto the end of your long PVC Pipe. Make sure the cap is on the end where your Tee is.
- Drill a 1/2" (13mm) hole from the middle of the inside of the 2nd pipe end cap. It's a good idea to hold the end cap with a pair of pliers and back it up with scrap wood to the drill bit does not ruin the table when it comes through.
- Pull the tire valve stem through the hole in the end cap, from inside the cap to outside.
- Grab the stem with pliers, but do not grab on the threads. Pull hard and wiggle the stem through until the groove in the stem gets seated on the pipe. You will know when you have it seated because it will be impossible to back the stem back out anymore.
- Slather some glue on the inside walls of the end cap. Make sure you do not apply so much that it blocks the opening to the valve.
- Glue the cap with tire stem onto the 3" pipe that is glued to the Tee.
- Duct Tape the 2 foot PVC Pipe to your long PVC Pipe, 18" down from the top. We taped it in 3 different places. This 2 foot PVC pipe gives your longer pipe support. Make sure you are taping the support pipe on the end that doesn't have the PVC Tee on it. See main image for example.
- Cut a 5 inch piece of duct tape.
- Place the Zip Ties on the Duct Tape so the head of the Zip Ties are facing down. Place them side by side until all 8 Zip Ties are on one side of the tape. The heads of the Zip Ties must be even on top for it to work. Use a ruler if you need to in order to make sure the heads are all aligned. Fold the rest of the tape over so the sticky sides are touching. This will secure the Zip Ties into place.
- Wrap the Duct Tape with Ties around the top of the PVC pipe (opposite end of the valve) so the head of the Zip Ties are facing in about 10 1/2" inches from the top. The Zip Ties should be on the same side as your support PVC Pipe.
- Take the adjustable hose clamp and secure the Duct Taped Zip Ties to the PVC pipe. See example. Tighten the clamp so the Ties don't move.
- Drill a 1/4" (7mm or so) hole near the end of the 2" x 1 1/2" PVC Pipe.
- Thread the end of the rope through the hole and tie it somehow to the outside of the pipe.
- Put Duct Tape as needed inside the 2" PVC Pipe on one side. This help make it a snug fit. This is the pull trigger. See example.
- Place the trigger on the top of the launcher over the Zip Ties so it is touching the clamp. The rope should be pocking out the bottom of the trigger.
Launching Your Rocket
- To launch the rocket, fill your soda pop bottle 1/3 of the way full with water.
- Push the 2 liter bottle onto the long pipe. It helps to twist the bottle a little as you push it on.
- The Zip Ties go over the neck of the soda bottle. The trigger pipe will rest on the hose clamp until you are ready to lock it into place. Lock the bottle on by pushing the trigger pipe over the heads of the ties. The Trigger keeps the bottle from coming off you launcher when you pump air into it.
- Pump air into your 2 liter pop bottle. We put 40 to 50 lbs of air into the bottle with the bike pump.
- When you are ready to launch, make sure your launcher is pointed straight up and not directly at someone.
- Pull the strings of the trigger and it pulls the trigger back and releases the Zip Ties from the bottle. The 2 liter bottle takes off in the air and the water from the bottle gets everyone under it wet.
Prepare to have lots of fun with this one! It is addicting.
Click on this link, to see An InLinkz Link-up to the rest of this series.
What types of things do your boys like to build?
Jill Greenlaw has a banking background. She gave that up 19 years ago when she got married and started having kids. She loved being a stay-at-home mom while raising her four beautiful children. She now works for the Mom It Forward team as a Sales Manager. She loves her job. Her interests include camping, motorcycling, boating, photography, reading, cooking, and traveling. Put her in flip flops anywhere warm and she is happy. Connect with Mom It Forward on Twitter, FB, and G+.