Baby Gender Reveal Water Rocket - Help with Ideas

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Baby Gender Reveal Water Rocket - Help with Ideas

Post by SK77X »

Hi Everyone,

First time poster, and completely new to water rockets, so pardon my ignorance, inaccurate terminology, or poor understanding of rocketry.

So, my wife and I are expecting, so I wanted to do something a bit different to the traditional ways of revealing the gender of the baby. Are some deep thought I somehow landed on the idea of a rocket of some sort for the reveal. Since I had no experience with this, and didn't want to chance any issues for the reveal, I looked for rocket kits on Amazon. I ended up going with the 4M Water Rocket kit. I watched a few YouTube videos, seemed simple & dependable enough, so I bought that.

So next up is deciding how to incorporate the gender reveal (i.e. finding a way to show a blue or pink color). Here's the options I thought about:
  • - Parachute: I had seen a few videos of water rockets with parachutes attached, so I thought I could maybe spray paint one of those red parachutes, so that when it deploys my family members would see either a pink or blue parachute. This seemed like a sensible and safe option, and one that would be fairly easy to pull off. The only thing this idea lacked was a sense of flair. (I know, as if shooting a rocket isn't enough, I still wanted a bit more panache) :undecided:
    • - Confetti: So the parachute was simple, but a tad boring, so I thought, what about if I packed some colored confetti with the parachute, so that once it deployed you'd see a shower of confetti to reveal the gender. That sounded like a great idea, so I bought some confetti to test out, but in the back of my mind I had a feeling this might not work well. I was right. Upon testing it, the problem with the confetti is that when you're looking straight up to a bright sky on a sunny day, the sunlight washes away the color of the confetti, and the wind blows it away so you don't end up with that 'shower of confetti' finale you had played out in your head. :ugh:
    • - Colored Powder: Now this idea seemed like a cool one! Put a small cup of colored powder on the top of the 2L bottle, cover it up with the bottle nose cone, and once it reaches apogee the nose cone naturally slides off, the rocket rotates at it begins to fall and the powder comes streaming out in dramatic fashion. Heck yeah, great idea!! ...... Nope. I spent a good amount of time testing the powder idea, but it never quite worked perfectly. Some times the nose cone wouldn't slide off because the air pressure would keep it sucked onto the small cup holding the powder. Other times the nose cone would fall away but the majority of the powder stayed stuck in the cup until the bottle impacted the ground and then the powder was visible. I tried it without the nose cone, and that did allow some powder to stream out during ascent (good enough), but without the nose cone there was so much drag the rocket didn't get to that awesome altitude afforded by the bottle nose cone.
Here's where I need your collective help. What I'd love to happen is either:
a) powder streams from the rocket as it climbs, so it looks like pink or blue smoke from the rocket,... or
b) the powder is fully dispersed at apogee to create a dramatic scene.

The challenges are:
a) I would love to somehow keep the impressive altitude that comes with using a bottle nose cone.
b) I would like to have a good amount of powder (e.g. at least 1 cup's worth) so that the reveal is visually dramatic

Attached are 3 photos.
    One is the rocket with a cup placed on top to show what basic form I had created to hold the powder. As I stated, the only way this cup idea worked was without the nose cone, but that compromised rocket altitude.
      The second photo is the rocket, with cup and nose cone. This form still achieves great height, but the powder doesn't disperse much (or at all some times).
        The third image is a 'new' idea I've been thinking through. It involves drilling holes in the cup that will hold the powder. I've already tested how well the cup holds the powder with these holes, and the majority of the powder remains in the cup (i.e. the powder doesn't keep trickling out since it isn't liquid). My thinking here is, as the rocket launches, the pressure of the air will help push the powder out these holes/vents, thereby creating the stream of powder as the rocket climbs. The downside to this concept is of course without the nose cone there's plenty of drag.

        I've come up with another idea, one that in theory will allow the nose cone to be used, and still provide the streaming powder. This idea involves sticking two or three toilet paper rolls (or other slender plastic bottle) to the side of the 2L bottle (as boosters). Seal the bottom of the rolls, and put holes in the rolls (similar to the cup). This way the head of the rocket still has the bottle nose cone for aero efficiency, and the holed toilet paper rolls filled with powder still allow for the powder to stream out.

        I haven't been able to test this drilled holes concept though, so as of right now I have no clue if the air pressure will even push the powder out of these holes.

        So.... after that novel, I was hoping to see if anyone had any ideas for making this work at all, or better, or any sort of tips/suggestions based on experience. Anything that might help make this work would be greatly appreciated as I'd love to put on a fantastic show to reveal our baby's gender!! In the end though, whether it works perfectly doesn't really matter, but while I still have a couple of weeks left until the reveal, I'm going to keep trying to make this things go as high as possible, and stream out as much powder as possible.

        Thanks for your time and any help!!

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        U.S. Water Rockets1
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        Re: Baby Gender Reveal Water Rocket - Help with Ideas

        Post by U.S. Water Rockets1 »

        There are a couple of options you might want to try which might be more effective or produce the effect you are looking for.

        One option is to use an active deploy system instead of a passive one. This would let you use a nosecone for better performance, and will decrease the odds of a deploy failure. If you're planning on dispersing colored powder with the parachute, then you will really want an active parachute deploy system so you can pick the best time to deploy the parachute, which is when the rocket is moving down at a good clip after apogee. You would fill the parachute with your powder before packing it, so the falling rocket will have a lot of speed/energy. This will "pop" the parachute and really make a nice cloud of powder.

        For an active parachute system, you should look at a simple system called a "Tomy Timer". (Sometimes misspelled "Tommy Timer") this is a mechanical timer you would use to release the parachute. There are a lot of good articles on the internet about this design, so you can look at various incarnations and pick the one that fits your materials and skills.

        Another option you have is to use the powder in place of the water in your water rocket. People have been using flour in compressed air rockets for as long as water rockets have been around. This will likely produce a very big cloud of powder and it will still send the rocket up quite high. This is a bit more simplistic than the parachute system, but it would be something worth looking at to see if it works for you.

        Maybe a system that has both of these ideas incorporated would be the most spectacular, and has the benefit of doubling the chance that people will notice the color of the powder or the parachute.

        Good luck, and of course, Congratulations to you and your wife!!!
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