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Dec 14, 2009

Homemade Potato Rocket, Rocket Launcher, Nerf Dart on Steroids?

We're not really sure what to call this one, but it's what you get when you take a mini nerf football, 3 empty pringles cans, and some paper mache. Stick it on the end of a patato canon and things start to get interesting. As many of you know, we have had a little bit of a bug lately to blow things up and/or see what and how far we can launch things into the air. Our prototype "rocket" used a tennis ball for the nose and worked really well until it eventually crumpled up from too many harsh re-entrys. To make this rocket we cut up 3 pringles cans, glued them together, then covered them with paper mache, also known as wheat paste. Google paper mache and use whatever method you'd like. We used basically a 5 to 1 mix of water to flour, then boiled it and added some white glue and a bit of sugar. Here's a link on how we made our patato cannon. We use mapp gas or a couple squirts of starting fluid for the fuel. We get better results with the mapp gas. We hold the trigger(halfway, DON'T LET IT SPARK) of a mapp gas torch in the end of the cannon making sure to gaurd with a hand or cardboard to negate any escaping gas. About a minute of gas will give a great big boom when lit! This rocket will fly 300 to 400 feet high. Our cannon is made from 2" pipe, so we reduced the diameter of the cans slightly by making a cut and then glueing it back together. We used duck tape to hold the seams until the glue dried, then covered it with 3 to 4 layers of paper mache. It will always tend to break more towards the nose upon re-entry, so we use more layers towards the front and less towards the tail to keep it light and strong.

Talk about dart envy!


  1. your kids are so involved, it is like the most fun school they could go to, rocketry science, peobably at the college level...keep it up, proud that i have a son ane daughter inlaw that want the very very best for their kids....the putz

  2. Pretty cool, I have to see this one go in the air.

  3. Very cool! Just don't point that thing at me!

  4. better than the spud gun i had at school