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With our new launcher kit, you can easily make and launch all kinds of air powered rockets and planes, that fly hundreds of feet!
With our new launcher kit, you can easily make and launch all kinds of air powered rockets and planes, that fly hundreds of feet!
236 backers pledged $31,502 to help bring this project to life.

About this project

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$31,502

236

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Host a Rocket Party!
Host a Rocket Party!
See us on Geek Mom!
See us on Geek Mom!

Hello Fellow KickStarters and Rocketeers!

"Just released in MAKE Magazine Issue #39!"

As Seen in MAKE Issue #39, Page 80
As Seen in MAKE Issue #39, Page 80

 We're Rick Schertle and Keith Violette, the founders of www.AirRocketWorks.com  We would like to introduce you to the fun, easy, low cost and educational way to learn about rockets and other things that fly.  Rick first introduced the Compressed Air Rocket launcher (CAR v1.0) to the world in MAKE magazine issue #15, where he showed how to build a compressed air rocket launcher for launching paper and tape rockets hundreds of feet.  His design utilizing a sprinkler valve and PVC construction has been duplicated countless times since the article came out.  We now have a new article about the Air Rocket Glider (ARG) and we have updated the launcher to make it even better.

Rick and Keith, presenting at the NY Maker Faire.  If you have never attended a Maker Faire, they are great fun for the entire family.  There were more than 100 Maker Faires held around the world last year.  Click on the picture to find a faire near you.
Rick and Keith, presenting at the NY Maker Faire. If you have never attended a Maker Faire, they are great fun for the entire family. There were more than 100 Maker Faires held around the world last year. Click on the picture to find a faire near you.

Rick is in his twenty-first year teaching middle school social studies and language arts in San Jose, CA where he also leads after-school Maker clubs. He’s the founder and director of the Washington Maker Workshop, a non-profit Maker space in a low-income neighborhood of San Jose.

Rick at NY Maker Faire, test launching a functional prototype KickSat on a paper rocket, CAR v1.0 in foreground.  Thanks Zac!
Rick at NY Maker Faire, test launching a functional prototype KickSat on a paper rocket, CAR v1.0 in foreground. Thanks Zac!

Rick has also exhibited his launcher at all the Bay Area Maker Faires, the Detroit Maker Faire ,and the New York Maker Faire. At each Faire, he shows hundreds if not thousands of people how easy and fun compressed air rocketry can be. He has also earned the Editor's Choice and Educators Choice Award at nearly every event.

Just some of the awards Rick has earned
Just some of the awards Rick has earned

Keith is a mechanical design engineer with 18 years of experience designing robotic prosthetic arms (LUKE Arm), medical devices, and ultra-precision air bearings in New Hampshire. He has built several CNC machines and 3D printers, as well as founded a local CNC group. Keith is also a contributing writer for MAKE Magazine, has designed the Air Rocket Glider in MAKE #39, and helped redesign the CAR 2.0.

Keith and his kids helping an excited young rocketeer at the NY Maker Faire
Keith and his kids helping an excited young rocketeer at the NY Maker Faire

When East and West Makers meet - How the ARG was developed:

One snowy Saturday morning in early 2012, Keith was out launching some compressed air rockets and a folding wing glider with his kids (both inspired by Rick's MAKE articles), when he realized it would be fun to combine them.  He created a 3D model that afternoon, 3D printed out some prototypes that evening, and was back outside for testing the next day.  Keith contacted Rick, supplied Rick a working prototype ARG, and they have been working together ever since.

First Air Rocket Glider (ARG) Prototype on left,  Ready to launch on double barrel custom machined launcher on right (not for sale)
First Air Rocket Glider (ARG) Prototype on left, Ready to launch on double barrel custom machined launcher on right (not for sale)

Keith and Rick have been refining and optimizing the design of the Air Rocket Glider (ARG) for over a year, and have plastic molding vendor already selected.

The New CAR v2.0:

The new design of the Compressed Air Rocket launcher uses all metal parts, rated to 150 PSI minimum.  There is a sturdy wooden base, that allows the unit to be folded up for easy storage and transport.  All that is required for assembly is a screwdriver and an adjustable wrench.  No need for the messy PVC adhesive, soldering, or batteries which were required for the original version 1.0.  Also, the air reservoir has been optimized, greatly reducing the volume of compressed air in each shot, without affecting performance.  This also means much less pumping!  We have already tested out our supply chain for all of the CAR v2.0 parts, and have all of the vendors on board.

Why we need you!

Here is the point where we need the help of the KickStarter community; to take this from small quantity prototypes and bring it to production.  The main expense is the cost of the plastic injection mold that the ARG components will be produced in.  Also, the cost of the pneumatic components for the CAR v2.0 drops with volume, which will allow us to provide it to you at a competitive price.

To minimize any issues with the molded plastic parts, we have had exacting prototypes made that are true to the production part dimensions.  This allows us to check the fit and finish, and ensure great performance.

Now, on to the fun stuff! The Rewards:

Reward 1 - The Sticker:

The AirRocketWorks Sticker
The AirRocketWorks Sticker

For reward #1, you will receive a sticker, and our thanks for your support.  If you like, we will add your name to our contributor list on our website, www.AirRocketWorks.com

Reward 2 - The Folding Wing Glider - FWG:

Folding Wing Glider kit, wings open.
Folding Wing Glider kit, wings open.
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 The video above shows Rick's son launching a Folding Wing Glider.

In MAKE Magazine issue #31, Rick reintroduced the world to the nearly forgotten Folding Wing Glider (FWG).

This reward contains a kit of parts and detailed instructions on how to build the Folding Wing Glider, pictured above.  It is launched using a large rubber band, with the wings folded back.  During ascent, the wind resistance against the wings holds them back against the body.  When the plane slows down at its maximum altitude, the rubber band pops the wings open.  Each wing rotates forward on the wing pivot wire, then both wings rotate down on the central wing pivot.  Then the plane glides down gently.  This is based on the ingenious design of Jim Walker, who first patented the idea in 1940.

Reward #3 - The Air Rocket Glider - ARG:

Air Rocket Glider - ARG, wings open
Air Rocket Glider - ARG, wings open
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The Air Rocket Glider will be made from a tough injection molded ABS plastic, the same kid-safe material that Legos are made from.  The body tube of the ARG is a tough non-brittle nylon material that can really take a beating.  The nose of the ARG is cast from a soft super-ball type material for safety and resilience.  The wings are made from 3/32" thick Balsa wood, which is lightweight and stiff.  If the wings become damaged, wing templates can be downloaded and printed from our website and used to cut out new wings from balsa wood sheet available from local craft stores.  NOTE: This reward level does not include the launcher.  This is being offered for the thousands of existing owners and builders of a first generation compressed air launcher.  It includes the smaller diameter launch tube required to launch the ARG.  See reward level 5 & 6 below, which include the launcher and the ARG kit.  If you would like to purchase additional ARG kits, please contact us directly.

Reward #4 - The New Compressed Air Rocket launcher - CAR v2.0:

Compressed Air Rocket launcher CAR v2.0 (pump not included)
Compressed Air Rocket launcher CAR v2.0 (pump not included)
CAR 2.0 kit of parts.  Click image to view build instructions.
CAR 2.0 kit of parts. Click image to view build instructions.
Paper Rocket Templates, rocket forming tubes
Paper Rocket Templates, rocket forming tubes
                                                   

This reward level features the latest design of the Compressed Air Rocket launcher, version 2.0 - CAR v2.0.  It's easier to build, will fold up to save space, requires less pumping, but has the same great level of performance as the old design.  It's a complete kit of all the parts required to build a heavy duty launcher made from industrial grade components that will last for years.  The only tools required to build it are a Philips screw driver and an adjustable wrench.  Detailed instructions are included, and are also available on our website.  Also included is a paper template and instructions for making and customizing paper rockets.  Simply photocopy the template, cut out the pattern, build the rocket on the supplied build tube using masking tape, and you are ready for action!  Build time for these rockets is less than 10 minutes, and even kids as young as 5 can build them with a little assistance.  Customize your creation with markers, patterned duct tape, etc.   Use your imagination!  Also, this launcher can be used to launch foam rockets as well, info on our website.  These are great for kids parties, scouting events, teaching about physics, etc.  NOTE: This reward level DOES NOT INCLUDE the Air Rocket Glider kit of parts.  If you choose to purchase a ARG kit in the future, the required launch tube is supplied in this kit.  See reward level 5 and 6 below for launchers that include the ARG kit.

Reward #5 - The New CAR v2.0 and one ARG kit:

CAR v2.0, shown with ARG ready to be launched! (pump not included)
CAR v2.0, shown with ARG ready to be launched! (pump not included)

 This reward level includes the launcher from reward level #4, and the same ARG kit from reward level #3.  To switch from launching paper rockets to launching the ARG, simply swap the launch tube on the outlet of the silver valve.  Both launch tubes are included.  If you would like to purchase additional ARG kits, please contact us directly.

Reward #6 - The New CAR v2.0 AND one ARG kit AND one FWG kit:

RULE THE SKIES! This reward level includes the CAR v2.0 launcher from reward level #4, one ARG kit from reward level #3 AND one FWG kit from reward level #2.  If you would like to purchase additional ARG or FWG kits, please contact us directly.

NOTE: The Compressed Air Rocket launcher operates at pressures up to 150 PSI, ADULT SUPERVISION IS REQUIRED.

Risks and challenges

There are risks with all KickStarter projects, but we have been doing all that we can to minimize the risks on this project.

Sticker & Thanks, Reward #1:
Not much risk here - but plenty of gratitude.

FWG Risks, Reward #2:
This is a slight improvement to a kit that Rick has been supplying for years, and is already tooled up to produce hundreds of kits per month. There is very little risk on this proven product.

ARG Risks, Reward #3:
While this is a brand new design, we have tested out several rounds of prototypes to ensure reliable operation of the parts. We have sent the designs out to several trusted injection molding vendors for quotes, and have arranged to work with one of them with a proven history on a previous project. The main risk for this reward level is a delayed shipping date, as the following tasks are serial: Order and machine the mold (4-6 weeks), Verify the quality of the first molded parts (1-2 weeks), procure the first batch of parts (3-4 weeks).

CAR v2.0 Risks, Reward #4, 5 & 6:
While this is a major improvement over the original version 1.0 CAR, we have also simplified and refined the launcher design and packaging. We already have our second prototype order in process with our pneumatic component vendor, and have tested the function and quality of every component. We have also have secured a trusted vendor we have used on previous projects to manufacture the wooden stands for the launcher. We also have an established payment process in place with both vendors to allow for quick order placement once the campaign has ended.

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FAQ

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  1. Select this reward

    Pledge $5 or more About $5

    A cool AirRocketWorks.com sticker, your name mentioned in appreciation on our website and a big THANKS for helping support our project!

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    Pledge $18 or more About $18

    One classic version of the Folding Wing Glider (FWG) that hand launches straight up from a large rubber band with the wings folded. When it reaches maximum altitude, the wings deploy, and the plane glides back to earth. A kit of parts with instructions, as seen in MAKE Magazine issue #31.

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  3. Select this reward

    Pledge $28 or more About $28

    One all new Air Rocket Glider (ARG) along with a launch tube, wing wire and adapter - FOR USE WITH YOUR EXISTING COMPRESSED AIR ROCKET LAUNCHER - (fits a 3/4 NPT sprinkler valve). Includes a kit with instructions, as seen in MAKE Magazine issue #39. The original design Compressed Air Launcher was featured in MAKE Magazine issue #15.

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  4. Select this reward

    Pledge $90 or more About $90

    One all new Compressed Air Rocket Launcher version 2.0 (CAR v2.0). Allows you to make and launch paper and tape rockets hundreds of feet with this launcher. May also be used to launch the Air Rocket Glider (ARG kit not included at this level).

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  5. Select this reward

    Pledge $100 or more About $100

    One all new Compressed Air Rocket Launcher version 2.0 (CAR v2.0) AND One Air Rocket Glider kit (ARG). Make and launch paper and tape rockets hundreds of feet with this launcher. Also launch the included Air Rocket Glider (ARG).

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  6. Select this reward

    Pledge $110 or more About $110

    One all new Compressed Air Rocket Launcher version 2.0 (CAR v2.0) AND One Air Rocket Glider kit (ARG) AND One Folding Wing Glider (FWG). Make and launch paper and tape rockets hundreds of feet with this launcher. Also launch the included Air Rocket Glider (ARG). The FWG is launched with a large rubber band, included with kit.

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Funding period

- (29 days)