Introduction: PVC Rocket Launcher

Picture of PVC Rocket Launcher

A few points:

1) This is a rocket launcher without a rocket I will leave it up to the end user to design your own munitions.

2) This device will be considered by many law enforcement agency's as a weapon DO NOT AIM AT ANY THING (other than open sky) I AM NOT LIABLE FOR ANY INJURIES CAUSED BY THE USE OR MISUSE OF THIS DEVICE.

3) I know the title says "PVC" but in the photos the plastic I am using is ABS plastic pipe from the Home Depot.

4) This device is designed to ignite Estes model rocket engines.

5) The launcher costs around 40-50 dollars without the cost of the electronics,wire,etc.

6)I apologize for not taking pictures as this is my first instructable and I had already built this before finding this site.

Step 1: Gather All Materials

Picture of Gather All Materials

1.)-4" flange
2.)-4"-2" hookup
1.)-2" end cap
1.)-4" coupler
2.)- 2' sections of 4" ABS pipe
1.)- roll of electrical tape
1.)- X-acto knife or wire strippers
1.)- 9v battery
1.)- Radio Shack toggle switch with safety cover
1.)- Drill w/ bits
1.)- 7' Speaker wire, I used model the rocket launcher's igniter wire
1.)- hacksaw
1.)- 9v battery snap

Step 2: Where to Drill

Picture of Where to Drill

Drill a hole large enough for the toggle switch on the concave side of one of the hookups and on the convex side drill a hole for the wires to pass through (see badly drawn diagram)connect the wires to the relevant areas(I twisted the wires through the holes in the toggle switch to make the connections).

Step 3: Assembly

Picture of Assembly

After wiring up the electronics in the hookup assemble the piping after cutting one of the 2' pipes in half so that the order of the fittings is (from back to front) flange,2' pipe,shoulder rest hookup,1' pipe, electronics hookup w/ 2" cap on bottom, 1' pipe, coupler.

Step 4: Finish

All you have to do is run the wires to the back of the main tube and connect them to the rocket.

You could use ABS cement to fuse the pieces together but i didn't and it works fine.


Masher007 (author)2014-04-28

This is not spam, but a warning. PVC will fail suddenly after a while. This was band member that hurt badly by a T-Shirt launcher explosion.

See the pictures and never use PVC to hold air, Please.

wolfgang64 (author)2012-11-01

Nice! but I think you might want to think about a blast sheid

evanwehrer (author)2008-10-10

I have an idea. I could make this, but instead of launching rockets, it could launch nerf footballs with a paintball CO2 tank as a power source, and you could cut the male end of a remote line off to hook it to a pipe.

evanwehrer (author)evanwehrer2008-10-10


Hey, you may have seen it by now, but there is an "ible" to make an m72-law co2 powered launcher on this site. Just type in co2 m72-law in the search. too lazy to look up the author :)

That sounds awesome but I can't find it anywhere
Care to look up the author

Hey there! Ok, his name is MrTinkererin, and the project can be found in the graphical search under airsoft m72 law. I apologize, my info was incorrect as it is powered by propane in the shell instead of co2. Propanes volume exspanision is greater than that of other comparable pressurized gasses that's why it's used. But he explains that all in his instructable. Happy building!

Thanks I appreciate it.

wotot2 (author)evanwehrer2008-10-23

what are you using to draw that, is it a cad?

red-king (author)wotot22009-01-23

looks like CAD lite to me...

codycnnn04 (author)2011-07-04

Could you use mortar rounds from fireworks?

Jaycub (author)codycnnn042011-07-19

Did you try it?

codycnnn04 (author)Jaycub2011-12-15

No but i see what your saying, but a little idea with the thought of mortar rounds. Have you ever thought of creating a "Noob Tube". Just a thought.

Jaycub (author)codycnnn042011-07-19

Have you seen what a mortar does if you light it on the ground? It hardly moves before exploding. It needs to be in a close fitting tube to launch. If you did this it would probably stay in the tube and explode by your head, or if you are lucky it might roll out of the tube and blow up at your feet.

Thenightmuffin (author)2009-09-12

Is the coupler supposed to seal the gun because I can see straight through my gun

When you are firing a self propelled rocket you want to just have a tube with a handle and ignition because if you cap the end, you will absorb the force of the firing, not have it dissipate out the end.

While that is good for a real launcher, this is designed to fire hobby grade estes model rocket motors. Even the largest E-11 engine is not enough to put any noticable force on you if you were to cap this. Also if you have ever launched a model rocket motor you would know it has a wide area of extremely hot exhaust gasses and sparks, and i would recommend having as much protection as possible from this. I would also advise you add a face shield such as on WWII era tank buster launchers. Or you could just wear goggles and a face mask.

You are not understanding me, what I meant by "force" was the possible melting/fragmentation of the pipe from the sparks, perhaps I should have worded my statement differently.

OK, i see what you mean now. There is absolutely no chance of the pipe exploding, but i would not doubt the rockets ability to melt it if it didn't exit quickly enough.

I've melted some of the lighter-grade ABS when a rocket did not exit the pipe at all.

:) i see. These motors have a bad habbit of reaching temps capable of destroying anything.. ANYTHING... behind them if held in place. I ignited a rocket on a concrete surface and the rocket did not travel up the launch rod and got stuck at the bottom. The concrete actually cracked and exploded outwards because of the heat.

Matrix-technician (author)2011-04-04

A great way to make this capable of firing an assembled rocket is to add a sabot around the middle of the assembled rocket to hold it level in the launcher tube. Styrofoam should work great, you would just have to cut to fit the rockets body tube. Also make sure the sabot is in 2 half peices, this way it separates and falls off of the rocket when it exits the launcher.

Daddio_UK (author)2010-08-16

No presure? ever seen a model rocket with a fractured 'charge'? they go off like a bomb!. Be carefull you don't load one like that in, you'll lose 1/2 your face. There is no way to tell if it's fractured, they are rare, only ever had 1 like it, the blast was pretty incredible.

Yes, those are actually quite fun to see explode in mid air. >:) I love a bit extra fire and boom boom when i launch my rockets.

mginder (author)2008-03-20

DO NOT use ABS plastic, it is microscopically porous and will explode after so many uses. use schedule 40 pressure rated PVC only.

PyroManiac96 (author)mginder2008-07-29

why not abs? it doesnt need to withstand pressure or anything

Rwctt (author)PyroManiac962008-08-17

Pyro is right NO Pressure NO explosion

PyroManiac96 (author)Rwctt2008-08-18

:) i like being right in the eyes of others xD

ilpug (author)PyroManiac962010-06-22

there is completely no pressure. it doesent even need to be glued together.

mginder (author)ilpug2010-06-25

it is not pressure you need to worry about. abs plastic is full of tons of little air bubbles, while making it light weight, it has a low melting point. if you use sch. 40 pipe, it is solid and will not melt after continuous rocket fire.

PyroManiac96 (author)mginder2010-07-08

I don't think the pipe would be subjected to sufficient heat to burn/melt it to the point where it would effect it structurally- I mean, it might singe it, and it might even heat it to the point where it vaporizes certain chemicals in the ABS that aren't good for you, but it certainly wouldn't be to the point where ABS would be a bad choice for making the launcher.

ilpug (author)2010-06-22

i built something just as good as this for five bucks, but i suppose if you did not have the parts it might be twenty bucks. i might post an ible. Author, do you object?

Pbyrd (author)2008-03-28

Great instructable, awesome rocket launcher, but I have a stupid question: what is the difference between ABS and PVC pipe?

chuck norris (author)Pbyrd2008-06-24

Any one is open to correct me if I am wrong, but I believe ABS pipe is not as brittle as PVC pipe. This is a potentially vital factor because ABS pipe will merely rupture when too much pressure is exposed to it. On the other hand, PVC has a tendency to explode into multiple, and possibly high-speed, shards when over-pressurized. The difference could be either a great day of many successful launches, or waking up in a hospital bed only to have the doctor tell you that the shrapnel couldn't be removed because it was not visible on an X-ray. I hope that you find this information helpful.

ilpug (author)chuck norris2010-06-22

"ABS pipe will merely rupture" merely is not the word. it may not turn into shards of shrapnel, but it can break up into peices, and the strength and sound ouf the explosion yould easily kill you. Btw, are you really chuck norris?

ottimatik (author)Pbyrd2008-06-30

the size and the type of water it can be used with. hot or cold

bombs go boom (author)Pbyrd2008-06-02

hay didn't u reply on another instructable i red

Pbyrd (author)bombs go boom2008-06-02

What are you talking about?

ilpug (author)2010-06-22

some of these pipe fittings are hard to find. i made something similar to this out of 4" drain pipe. works the same, but has more of a bozooka appearance. it wouls be cool to make one of these based on the halo rocket launcher. you dont need to glue it together so you can break it down. is there a good type of rocket to shoot from this?

crazy4airsoft (author)2008-04-14

Hey Rwctt is there anyway you could make an autimatic rocket launcher or mortar for airsoft (like this one but auto) if you could that would be so great! I love the one you made now!!!

rufus4938 (author)crazy4airsoft2009-12-16

hey , im new to the site and i was wondering if u wuld like me to put up an automatic version of the rocket launcher?

pyrocord (author)rufus49382010-05-16


photis22 (author)2008-08-08

love it, but could the same thing be done with pvc, is there anything wrong with that?

Rwctt (author)photis222008-08-17

Nothing wrong with PVC i Just couldn't find it in a 4 inch diameter and ABS is already black

An Villain (author)Rwctt2010-05-04

Black is cool.

wheelscolin (author)2010-03-29

check my build out on how to make  a rocket for a rocket launcher

wheelscolin (author)wheelscolin2010-03-29

wheelscolin (author)2010-03-23

hey can you send me a list of where to get the supplies mabye send me more detailed instructions

knuckel (author)2010-01-15

 check out my rocket launcher!, i love your idea and based many factors of it on mine, your instructabule was vary useful!! thx

Thenightmuffin (author)2009-09-13

What do you suggest I use for ammo

About This Instructable




More by Rwctt:PVC Rocket Launcher
Add instructable to: