Find all your DIY electronics in the MakerShed. 3D Printing, Kits, Arduino, Raspberry Pi, Books & more!

2 liter with SRBs
This easy build uses two important scientific principles, buoyancy and stored kinetic energy, to float and drive a simple boat. The parts are all readily available around most homes, and the boat can be assembled in minutes, though a bit more time with waterproof markers can add some style to the outcome. Consider experimenting with additional components like fins for stabilization, to improve the performance.

Steps

Step #1: Attach the Sticks

PrevNext
Two Liter Soda Bottle BoatTwo Liter Soda Bottle BoatTwo Liter Soda Bottle BoatTwo Liter Soda Bottle Boat

Using the tape, attach the sticks or dowels on opposite sides of the soda bottle (empty, but with cap secured) so that they overlap the bottle by about 1/3 its length, and then extend 6" - 8" from the bottom.

Step #2: Make the Paddle

PrevNext
Two Liter Soda Bottle BoatTwo Liter Soda Bottle BoatTwo Liter Soda Bottle BoatTwo Liter Soda Bottle Boat
  • You will cut the paddles out of the plastic lids, based on dimensions you measure with the ruler. Measure the space between the sticks. Subtract 1" from this measurement. This will be the width (W) of your paddle pieces.
  • Add 1” to measurement of the spacing between the sticks and that will be the length (L) of your paddle pieces.
  • Cut two paddles out of your plastic lids, using the width (W) and length (L) measurements you calculated.
  • On each paddle, cut a slit from the mid-point on one length-measured side to the middle (two sides have the (L) dimension; cut from the L/2 point on the edge to the center point of the paddle piece).
  • Slide the slits of your paddle pieces together so that the middles of the pieces meet, and the two form a single + shape. Use tape to secure and strengthen the paddle.

Step #3: Mount the Paddle

PrevNext
Two Liter Soda Bottle BoatTwo Liter Soda Bottle BoatTwo Liter Soda Bottle Boat
  • Slip two rubber bands over the sticks to the midpoint between the bottom of the sticks and the bottom of the soda bottle.
  • Mount the paddle by putting it between the loops of the rubber bands so that each side of a rubber band is on an opposite side of the axis of the paddle.

Step #4: Mount the Outriggers and Launch

PrevNext
Two Liter Soda Bottle BoatTwo Liter Soda Bottle BoatTwo Liter Soda Bottle Boat
  • For stability, tape a ½ liter water bottle to the outside of each wood stick, on either side of the paddles. These will act as outriggers, and maxize the paddles' effectiveness.
  • Wind the paddle counter-clockwise, turning the paddle over the top of its rotation to the right of the "top" of your boat.
  • Set your boat into a pool or other body of water, and let it go!

Comments

  1. kell says:

    cool this whole program is really cool I love it

  2. johnathan says:

    I love this site its tighttttt

  3. johnathan says:

    uhhh cool site its titer than tite

  4. Sarabeth says:

    As an educator- I would love it if you could make the instructions for these projects easily printable so I can create files and do this with students

    1. If you click the little grey oval “ALL” button near the Project Steps heading, you’ll get all the steps on one page, which makes printing easier. You still don’t get all the pictures zoomed in big, but it’s pretty good.

  5. I would like a video visual to go along with this. It’s the plastic paddle part that I will likely get stuck on not being able to figure the correct sizing.

  6. qt says:

    we love todays project and it worked perfectly.

  7. This was great! Paddle was tricky, but with a bit of tweaking, works pretty well now. We tried different types of plastic. Made a big difference. Having fun!

  8. Did this project at the local pool and it is was great. The kids loved being able to take their build right into the water to use it. Big hit! We found the strength of the dowels used really made a difference.

  9. Slender says:

    I did another boat out of an altoids tin box

  10. addy says:

    me and my friend are doing a project for school and we are going to try this but it would help a lot if there was a video

  11. Rilesss says:

    REALLY HOPE THIS WERKS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! BTW…. addy and I are gonna try diss.. :P better werk or else…lol

In the Maker Shed