CoLab Tinkering: Compressed air launchers and chemical rockets.
Among many CoLab tinkering adventures this summer, we had a huge amount of fun thanks to Make: Magazine and Rick Schertle's Compressed Air Rocket Article:
My students built their own launchers and designed and built their own launch circuit boxes which worked both for activating the solenoid valve of the compressed air launcher and igniting fuses for chemical rockets.
The emphasis in all of our compressed air explorations was on open- ended experimentation. We did not use any templates or even necessarily the need of a "rocket" design. Consequently, a huge variety of things were made to be launched, many fantastically fun failures were achieved, as well as spectacular successes. Of most importance was the element of surprise and possibilities that an open- ended provocation allowed. Rather than challenging everyone to build only rockets, they were challenged with seeing what our wide variety of materials could do to use compressed air.
That said, the rockets in particular, large and small, fat and thin, streamlined and sleek or crazy and asymmetrical, were all super cool, as rockets inherently are.
For the complete collection of CoLab Tinkering camps and workshops, see: