How to Make a Nerf Style Artillery Launcher




About: I like turning boring things into awesome things! Usually on video.

This is a fun project that involves quite a few great techniques for working with PVC that can be of use in making many other PVC creations. The end result is a kid friendly rocket launcher design that is durable enough to last for many years. These rockets would go great in a Nerf battle or even Airsoft or Paintball if they were given a camo paint job. They can launch quite far, upwards of 100 feet.

The piston created in this project is a particularly useful design for many other projects. It's air tight in 2" PVC pipe and requires no special tools or modifications of off the shelve parts. It's pretty rare to see a design that works so well with so little customization. It would go great in my High Volume Vacuum Pump Design that I came up with last year.


    • 16" x 2" PVC Pipe
    • 12" x 3/4" PVC Pipe
    • 24" x 1 1/4" PVC Pipe
    • 2" x 1 1/4" PVC Pipe
    • 2" Coupling
    • 2" x 3/4" Reducer
    • 2" Threaded Female Adapter
    • 2" x 1 1/2" Threaded Reducer
    • 1 1/4" End Cap (x2)
    • 1 1/4" Coupling
    • 1 5/8" x 2" O Ring
    • 1" L Bracket
    • Self Tapping Screws
    • Cooking Oil
    • Foam Pool Noodles (Brands with the narrowest core will fly furthest)
    • Craft Foam Sheets
    • Sand Paper
    • Hot Glue
    • PVC Primer & Cement

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      14 Discussions


      2 years ago

      Awesome. I made it, and it shot one of the rockets about 40 ft


      5 years ago on Introduction

      Great video. Very Clear and intuitive.

      I believe you left out a 2" threaded male adapter from your parts list and the step to glue a short piece of 2" pipe inside this adapter so that the fit at the adapters is not so sloppy. The OD of 1-1/4' sch 40 pipe is 1.66 which is necessary for the o ring, but makes for a sloppy fit inside the 2" adapter which must have a ID of 2.375" to accept 2" pvc pipe. Adding that short piece will solve the problem. Please let me know if I missed something.

      Thanks for a Great project!

      PS the parts add up - to make two launchers and 12 rockets mine cost over $35

      1 reply

      I did forget to add a part to the list, thank you. Not a 2" threaded male adapter, but a 2" x 1 1/2" Threaded Reducer. That threads into the 2" female reducer and is just the right size for a close fit over the 1 1/4" pipe.


      5 years ago

      Totes awesome


      5 years ago

      You could sand the tip of the missile and hot glue a couple of marbles in it to dramatically increase the range and accuracy. Neat launcher and excellent vid!


      5 years ago

      That's a sweet piston. Do short darts with heavy tips work or not?

      There's been an issue on Instructibles with viewing embedded videos from mobile. Supposedly the issue should be fixed in an update soon but until then you can view the video from a desktop.