And you still have time to sign up for a free PDF Jam Pack including full build instructions for two projects and a steep discount on either of my DIY books. Check it out!
Although store-bought water rockets were once an almost universal part of childhood (at least in suburban middle America, where I grew up), DIY water rockets are almost unheard of in the United States, despite being common in the United Kingdom. The key to the DIY water rocket is the ubiquitous plastic soda bottle. (Often called PET bottles in the UK, these are basically made of polyester, just like your favorite pantsuit.) A soda bottle can easily withstand 150 pounds of pressure per square inch—significantly more than a car or bike tire, and more than enough to launch it into flight.
The following design dispenses with many of the concerns regarding valves, firing mechanisms, pressurization, and so on, because the unit is impossible to over-pressurize, thus eliminating the risk of a rocket explosion. It’s quick and easy (no more than 5 minutes to construct), practically free, fun to make and launch with your kids (while teaching them some basic principles of physics), and, depending on the quality of your bike pump, can arc a bottle 30 feet at speeds safe enough to shoot at your pals, or send a rocket soaring a hundred feet skyward.…
Here’s what it all looks in time-lapse:
I’ve been talking with CraftFoxes—a very cool new crafting/DIY community—and we’ve added my FedEx Diamond Kite to their database of free projects. Click on over and login (it’s free!) to learn how to make one of the several kites included in SNIP, BURN, SOLDER, SHRED.
And, just to keep all the links in one handy place, here’s my discussion of kites and their construction from last October.
Learn to make, tune, throw, and catch two different cardboard boomerangs in this FREE SAMPLE from Snip, Burn, Solder, Shred:
PROJECT 18: Cardboard Boomerangs
Generations of American children wrongly grow to believe that building and throwing boomerangs is very difficult. This flies in the face of reason: Using less-than-ideal materials, human beings have been building, throwing, and catching returning boomerangs for more than 11,600 years. . . . They are, in fact, among humanity’s longest-standing ways of showing off. . . .
Boomerangs are absurdly easy to make; the real trick is in tuning and throwing them (all of which I cover in detail in this free sample). With the aid of the Print-n-Snip Templates (link below; includes two new tri-blade designs!) this is a great all-ages project: I’ve had a blast running boomerang workshops with teens and adults at sci-fi conventions, middle-aged family guys drinking beer, and dozens of elementary schoolers on the verge of Snow Day Insanity.
Wanna sew a sinister lovey for your kid or significant other? New to sewing and looking for a project to get your started? Get a taste of Snip, Burn, Solder, Shred with this sample project:
PROJECT 3: The Sock Squid
Mysterious, charming, and delicious, squid have fascinated and terrified humanity ever since Pliny the Elder reported a giant squid attack on seaside Spanish fish-brining tanks, with several dogs and fisherman bludgeoned in the melee (recounted in his Naturalis Historia, circa 77 CE). Hence, the squid is a natural subject for adorable handicrafts. . . .
- Download Project 3: “The Sock Squid” (which can be easily upgraded to the Sock Cthulhu seen below)