Bi-Carb Powered Rocket

by tastybento Jun 11, 2010
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This rocket was great, although it took my son and I 20 runs to really get the hang of it. We did it for his science project and were able to vary the vinegar 2ml, 4ml up to 10ml while keeping the baking soda fixed at about 1/8tsp (~1/2 base), and found a very linear relationship between horizontal distance and amount of vinegar. We would release the rocket by pushing up with the backs of our thumbs at wait height (3feet), at about 45 degrees. The farthest horizontal distance was 180 feet!
Do not stuff base with baking soda. Gently fill, do not tap it down.
Make sure base is completely dry before putting in baking soda. The baking soda should pour out smoothly of the base.
Getting a feel for how tight to put the rocket on the base takes time.
Shake rocket a few times and give about 10 seconds for everything to react.
Wear goggles, you will get a face full of vinegar.

I got mine to fly 3 - 5 feet. I had difficulty getting an air tight seal to the base, but it did fly and the kids and I had fun.

True success! Today, powered by pure bicarb ($1.99) and 5% strength pickling vinegar ($0.99) it flew as high as the house - about 30 foot! Unfortunately, the wind blew it onto the roof and it's now in the gutter. :'( This design works though!

I just had take off! It went about a foot, not super high, but it flew! It turned out that getting a good seal around the base was more important. I did get some leakage from the rocket and I'll fill those holes now I know where they are, but it flew, I really can't believe it! See updated instructions. Next time I'll use pure bicarb. Also, I think I might make the rocket more bulbous to get more fuel in it, and sealing with acetone to build up more pressure.

I use a little bit of acetone to make ABS models air/water tight. Just put a few drops in the rocket and roll it around the acetone will melt the ABS fusing it together.

Screw bi-carb.....gun powder all the way!

have you tried painting it?

Use superglue to plug up holes that you find. Try upping the shells in skeinforge. Especially base layers and sparse layers. You could try lowering your line thickness temporarily to get bad build quality but an airtight object.

FDM is very very hard to make smooth. Try to add a cork instead of the plug in the base. That would make it water tight. Also look into this to smooth out the whole rocket.


If you go down this path you might need to design metal fixtures for both parts to make then exact.

Very cool design! ;)

Mark F

Yes, it'll definitely work if you can get the pressure up! I was given a toy that is vinegar and bicarb powered and it pops gloriously. I did think about the diet coke and Mentos thing too, but I'm going to try the original recipe first and see. Glasses on! 8-)

No offense, but do you really think baking soda and vinegar have the oomph to fire this thing? Try expanding the base to hold a mento or two, and fill the rocket with diet coke. Wait, you'd need the mentos in the rocket,and the coke in a huge, bottle sized base. I want to try this!