Massive Water Rocket Is Impressive But Accessible

Water rockets are one of those projects that never get old, and bumping the size just adds to the challenge. In the video after the break, [ARRO Rockets] takes us through the launch of Gamma IV, his most ambitious water rocket project yet. Crafted with spliced soda bottles and standard household materials, this rocket is a testament to what one can achieve with simple components and a bit of ingenuity.

The rocket’s release mechanism demonstrates this — employing nothing more than a quick connect hose connection and a basic pulley system. The parachute recovery system is also a nice combo of modern electronics and simplicity. It uses a microcontroller with accelerometer to detect the apogee, and release the parachute to be ejected by another piece of soda bottle acting as a spring. It also records or the flight data on an SD card.

[ARRO Rockets] had some trouble with friction on the launch rail, which was partially solved with liberal application of silicone spray. The root cause might be the rail button flexing on launch, or just the change of the pressurized bottles.

We are especially impressed by how accessible this project is, a reminder that high-flying achievements don’t necessarily require deep pockets or hard-to-source parts. The entire setup is not only cost-effective but also opens up numerous possibilities for further experimentation and refinement, like adding a second stage or a precision release mechanism.

12 thoughts on “Massive Water Rocket Is Impressive But Accessible

  1. Just a small clarification, they aren’t doing apogee detection. The altimeter is simply logging and the recovery deployment is just on a timer set via the dip switches. It’s a nice simple system, but hard to optimise the deployment delay.

    1. I read ‘accelerometer’ not ‘altimeter’ and would assume they are just waiting for it to detect freefall ie xG=yG=zG=0 (which is when the boost phase ends, so before apogee I guess – I’m literally not a rocket scientist! )

  2. Nice build; I’m waiting for it to warm up a bit more here to get my son into water rockets. He really liked you latest video and it made him excited for spring to roll around.

  3. I don’t know how others think about this, but I find 10 repetitions of the first second of the flight annoying. So I skipped from 00:24 to around 10 minutes, and found the same video style there and I gave up.

    It remembers me of those silly series and movies where a car was able to explode 5 times in a row. I never liked that either.

    1. He’s Australian, based in the ACT, you can see Telstra tower on top of Black Mountain in the background of one of the shots. Which brings me to a frustration of him using ‘soda’ bottles. We don’t call in ‘soda’ in Australia.

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