Things That Go


Spudmarine

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20 Minutes

TO COMPLETE

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WHAT WILL YOU MAKE?

A potato, a dowel rod, and some chemistry make this fun self-diving toy.
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WHAT WILL YOU NEED?

STEP 1

Cut the potato

Start by cutting your potato into a piece approximately 2 1/2 inches long by 3/4 of an inch tall and 3/4 of an inch wide.

STEP 2

Punch holes

Use the brass tube to punch out 3 holes in your potato. Start with the center hole and then cut the other two evenly spaced from it.

STEP 3

Cut the dowel

Cut about 2 inches of the dowel rod off and then place the cut piece into the center hole of the potato. You don’t want to push this the whole way through, only about halfway into the potato.

STEP 4

Check the buoyancy

Place your new nautical creation into a large jar of water and see how it sinks. We want it to sink very slowly.

If it goes down too fast, shave away more of your potato.

If it goes down too slow, trim away some of your dowel rod.

STEP 5

Prepare to dive

Carefully open the center hole a little with your knife — you just want to slightly angle the edge.

Pack the center hole with baking powder and then place it back into the jar.

STEP 6

Watch your spudmarine dive

As the baking powder reacts with the water, it will create bubbles of CO2 gas (the same thing you breathe out). These bubbles will cause the spudmarine to float back to the surface until the dowel rod makes it tip and spill out the bubbles. It will then sink again and go back and forth until the baking soda is depleted.

WHAT'S NEXT?

Try a wooden submarine by finding the proper ballast with screws. Can you find a way to make a larger spudmarine out of a whole potato?

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Please Note

Your safety is your own responsibility, including proper use of equipment and safety gear, and determining whether you have adequate skill and experience. Power tools, electricity, and other resources used for these projects are dangerous, unless used properly and with adequate precautions, including safety gear and adult supervision. Some illustrative photos do not depict safety precautions or equipment, in order to show the project steps more clearly. Use of the instructions and suggestions found in Maker Camp is at your own risk. Maker Media, Inc., disclaims all responsibility for any resulting damage, injury, or expense.

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