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Putt Putt Boat

Page history last edited by PBworks 13 years ago

To create my version of the putt putt boat you need the following supplies:

  • soda can
  • turkey pan
  • two straws
  • epoxy
  • silicon
  • candle


  1. Cut the soda can into one flat piece of aluminum.
  2. Measure out 2"x6" and cut it out of the aluminum.
  3. Fold the aluminum in half the long way, and tape it shut after sanding the edges.
  4. Fold the edges in, so that the aluminum forms a pocket.
  5. Epoxy the edges down, and so that no air escapes the sides or corners.
  6. Insert two straws into the opening of the pocket, then silicon the around it, so that the boiler is entirely air tight.
  7. To test this, put the boiler under water and softly blow into the straw. There should be no bubbles coming from the boiler. If there is, take note of where they are coming from, and use silicon to cover the holes.
  8. When your boiler is air tight, it is time to make the hull.
  9. Put your turkey pan into the wooden mold, and press it with the hydraulic press.
  10. Cut a hole in your hull large enough for two straws.
  11. Insert the straws into the hole and epoxy around the edges making the boat are tight.
  12. Create a candle holder out of left over turkey pan, by wrapping the turkey pan around the candle.
  13. Prime the boat by inserting water into the straws.
  14. Light the candle and watch the boat putt.


The putt putt boat sucks water in through the straws and into the boiler. The boiler is heated and the water turns to steam. As the water turns to steam, pressure builds inside the boiler. Eventually steam is pushed back through the straws and propels the boat forward. The steam being pushed out is an action, and the boat being pushed forward, is the equal and opposite reaction. The putt putt boat works based on Newton's Third Law.


After the steam is pushed out, more water is sucked back into the boiler. As water is sucked in, the boat moves backwards a little. When the boat sucks in water, it takes the closest possible water to the straw. When it pushes out the steam, it pushes it out in a more direct path. The boat appears to rock back and forth when it is going, due to the path of the water being pushed in and out. The sound comes from the steam bubbles popping when the reach the air. I found that the sound is louder if the boiler has a bend in it. A boiler that has a bend in it will move back and forth and the metal bending will make the noise.


The boat started out as a carboard hull, and a rectangular boiler with two straws. I have made two hulls that have been pressed out of turkey pan. One is very shallow and long.



The other is deeper and shorter. 


This custom candle holder is alot better than the one in the patten.


I found that a longer shallower hull will float better, and since it doesnt have as much mass, it will be propelled faster. I have also made different variations of boilers. I made a boiler that got skinnier as it got closer to the edge. Because of its complicated design it was very hard to epoxy so I ended up scrapping that design. I cut the end of it and made one that was a square and had four straws coming out. I have not been able to test it yet due to a leak in the silicon. I just started working on this boiler last class. Its larger, so will hopefully produce more speed, making the boat go faster.


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