How to Make a Butane Bottle Rocket (cigarette lighter & soda bottle)

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Ok, this is a cool little trick that someone showed me when I was about 14 and I amused myself with variations of it for about a

week and forgot about it…UNTIL NOW. I searched around and couldn’t find anything online about this anywhere else, so I’m pretty sure this is unique to Wicked How-To’s (and my second installment, link at bottom, with nitrous oxide is definitely unique). All you need is an empty soda bottle like what you get from a vending machine (I’m using a water bottle with a

20 fl oz. volume–adjust accordingly to whatever you use), a bic cigarette lighter (it must be a butane lighter, since butane is the fuel used). I just leak 30 seconds worth of gas in, screw on the nozzle, set it on the ‘launch pad’ (a box of crackers 😀 ), and then ignite. The ‘nozzle’ is the cap for that bottle with a hole in it–you must make a nozzle for it, the opening on the bottle itself is too big and the expanding gases from the burn won’t be able to create enough pressure inside the bottle to expel the gases through the exhaust at a sufficiently high velocity to propel the rocket forward. Here’s the video:

Now, if you want to see the ‘supercharged’ version of this, then check out: How to make a rocket engine with alcohol and nitrous oxide, where I try a couple different fuels (isopropyl alcohol aka rubbing alcohol, and Everclear which is 95% ethyl alcohol) along with a nitrous oxide ‘booster’ that I put into the bottle which causes the damned thing to shoot across the room at about 80 miles per hour with 2 feet of blue flame shooting out the back, it’s AWESOME, you have to try it (and yes, nitrous oxide is very easy to get, I’ll tell you where and how, plus it’s super cheap).

Additional Resources and Further Reading

Two books I highly recommend if you’re really interested in homemade rockets and amateur rocketry are: Handbook of Model Rocketry (this is sort of the official bible and centers around using over-the-counter engines as opposed to homemade ones) and PVC Rocket Engine: A do-it-yourself guide for building a K450 PVC plastic rocket engine. which is, obviously, about how to cook up rocket engines in your kitchen :mrgreen: , check ’em out.

7 COMMENTS

  1. So, inspite of how easy he makes it look, it is possible to burn yourself by doing this wrong. For example, if for some reason it won’t ignite, don’t take the cap off and light it from the larger opening with a regular cigarette lighter…I’m just sayin’…

  2. In short, yes. I’ve seen several videos of people doing this so I don’t think it’s fake, but you’ve got to practice and for god’s sake BE CAREFUL. I think I heard something about people putting vaseline on their hands that helps.

  3. Hey Thanks I could really use this for my Science project this year I was going to do rocket engines so I searched up (How to make a cheap rocket) and this is what came up so I read your Nitrous Oxide one but it said to check this one out first so I did and actually thought this was pretty cool so for my science fair project I think I’m going to do this. Thanks for the help, Royce 🙂

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