DIY Rocket Launcher

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Make a simple water bottle rocket launcher out of PVC pipe fittings and a bike pump! This was the sixth kit in the Monthly Make It

How It Works

We are going to build a simple water bottle rocket launcher. The launcher consists of a PVC stand, a tube with a valve to connect the launcher to a bike pump, and a cork which fits inside a soda bottle. The cork is drilled out and attached to a bike tube valve and a length of vinyl tubing. This is what we’ll use to pump air into the bottle. When the pressure builds up it will force the cork out of the bottle. If there is water in the bottle the air will “push against” the water and launch the bottle into the sky like a rocket.

Launcher .png


All PVC is 1/2” diameter

5 x 5” PVC Schedule 40

Pvc long.png

2 x 2” PVC Schedule 40

Pvc short.png

1 x PVC Tee (with hole)

Pvc tee with hole.png

1 x PVC Tee (no hole)

Pvc tee no hole.jpg

3 x 45* PVC elbow

Pvc elbow.png

3 x PVC endcaps

Pvc endcap.png

1x cork, 1x bike tube valve

Cork and valve.png

2’ vinyl tubing (5/16” outer diameter)

Vinyl tube.png

Soda bottle (not pictured)

Cardboard for wings (not pictured)

Assemble The Kit

We’re going to build a simple PVC frame to hold our rocket in place.


Step 1: Assemble the frame

Attach 2 lengths of 5” PVC to opposite ends of the pre-drilled PVC Tee


Attach non-drilled Tee and 2 2” PVC lengths to the other end of one of the 5” PVC lengths


Attach 3 45 degree joints to the 2” and 5” PVC ends


Attach the remaining 3 5” PVC lengths to the 45 degree joints. Put endcaps on the ends.


Step 2: Attach the pumping mechanism

The pump consists of a cork with a hole in it, a bike valve, a vinyl tube, and a bike pump (not included). Here’s how it all comes together!

Press the bike valve into the end of the vinyl tube. It should fit snugly. Type of valve doesn’t matter; you can use either Scharder or Presta.


Slide the vinyl tube through the hole and press the other end into the cork. This connection should also be pretty tight! If you need to seal it, wrap it with electrical tape.


Congratulations, you’ve built the launcher! Time to attach the water bottle.


Step 3: Attach the water bottle

Fill your bottle with water no more than 1/3 of the way. This will provide something for the air to push against and will launch your bottle in the air! Flip the whole assembly upside down and press the lip of the bottle into the cork. It should fit snugly. Final assembly should look something like this!


Grab your bike pump and test it out! Grown-up supervision is required for launching. Make sure you have your safety goggles on before you start.


Safety first.png


This documentation describes Open Hardware and is licensed under the CERN OHL v.1.2.

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This documentation is distributed without any express or implied warranty, including of merchantability, satisfactory quality, and fitness for a particular purpose.