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compressed air rocket illo small Gauging Performance Between Compressed Air Rocket Mods

Rick Schertle’s Compressed Air Rocket project from MAKE Volume 15 has been hugely popular since its publication in August 2008. (There’s even a kit!)

Magazine reader Robert is planning to build ten different mods of the Compressed Air Rocket (suggested by the Cub Scouts in his troop) and test them at an upcoming Cub Scout picnic, and he’s looking for ideas on how to gauge performance between the different versions.

I took the new launcher to our Cub Scout den meeting and it quickly turned in to an opportunity to get most of the kids an engineering requirement for one of the badges everyone is working on. The kids all sat around throwing out ideas to improve performance and or durability. I was really surprised by some of the things they came up with. So, I agreed to build their 10 favorite mods in time to test them at the Scout picnic on the 23rd. So far the only idea I’ve come up with to gauge performance between rockets is to time the interval between launch and impact. I was wondering if you might have any other ideas?
Thanks in advance,  Robert.
P.S. I refused to make the most popular idea no matter how many times they asked. The idea was to place a very large nail in the nose and you would be amazed at how many “practical” reasons a group of 10 year old’s can come up with! I grew up in the age of “Lawn darts”, they banned those things for a reason!!

If you have any ideas, please share them here!

Laura Cochrane

I’m an editor at MAKE and CRAFT. I like hiking, biking, and etymology.


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