Paper Missile and Launcher




About: Professional work in various electrical and mechanical fields, obscure sense of humour and typically willing to help... Currently under contract designing environmental monitoring equipment.

I call this an I.C.B.M. An Inter Cubicle Ballistic Missile.

Catapults, Trebuchets and crossbows... oh why? A missile will always make them cry...

Seriously there is always a need for greater firepower.

In the time it takes them to have a cigarette You can have a fully functional cubicle missile system.

Step 1: Materials

Raid the supply closet...

You will need 2 sheets of card stock.
A little bit of masking tape
As much copy paper as you can carry...

You only need one launcher but possibly a thousand missiles....

Step 2: The Launcher

Without launch capability, any missile you build is garbage...

So we will begin there.

Brace yourself... this is a long step.

Begin by taking a standard piece of card stock and fold it at 2 inch intervals as shown. Flip it over and repeat.

Mark and cut 2 equal sections at the outer edges, perpendicular to the folds. Flip these over and space them at 1 inch away from the center piece Align the folds so that they are opposite in direction.

Use masking tape to reattach the edge sections to the main.

Refold the sections as shown to create an open sided box with a bellows configuration.

Along the bellows open side, tape the sections down to create a bellows wedge.

Using the wedge as a guide fold another section of card stock to create an outer cover. Roughly cut to size.

Select a piece of office paper and make a small tube that is 8.5 inches long using a pen. Roll tightly and tape the tube closed.

Cut 4 equal slits 1 inch long, in one tube end and fold about half of the tube diameter sections of the cut outward leaving some sections to form the tube.

Cut an equal size hole in the card stock cover about one inch from the folded edge in the center.

Insert the tube through the hole and tape the folded sections to the outside. Fold the remainder sections over on the inside then tape these to  the inside. Make sure to leave the tube unobstructed.

Tape the cover to the bellows then trim. re-tape all seams to create an air tight air chamber that has the tube as the only air inlet and outlet.

Step 3: The Missile

The missile is made from a sheet of copy paper that is cut in half lengthwise.

This is then rolled into a tight tube that is slightly larger than the launcher tube.

When you are happy with the tube tape it shut with scotch tape.

Using a length of tape create fins for the flight stabilization. I chose to fold and make 3 fins for this missile. Trim the excess tape for appearance.

Cut a strip of copy paper that is 1 inch wide and roll it tight to fit inside of the top of the missile tube.

Insert it into the end and let it uncoil. Place a piece of masking tape over this end  then wrap it tight with another piece of tape. You need to create a heavy closed end.

I chose to use blunted tip missiles since Nina from Corporate Account Payable might not like a pointy object in her eye...

Step 4: Aim and Launch

The Missile needs to be slightly loose on the launch tube.

If it is too tight it will not launch.

If it is too loose it will have no distance.

A proper Missile on my rig will go in excess of 30 feet indoors.

Slide the missile onto the launch tube.

Aim by tilting the launch tube with one hand and holding it in the desired direction during the launch procedure..

Launch by firmly but not forcibly smacking down on the bellows. I found the the fleshy part of the fist works best.

Play safe and have fun.

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    13 Discussions


    3 years ago

    you can't shoot forward only can shoot up


    3 years ago



    7 years ago on Introduction

    I really want to make this! But,I can't understand the pictures! Could you please post video instructions?

    2 replies

    Nice instructable, but some parts were kinda confusing. Mine turned out LOOKING great. Unfortunately, it didn't work as good as it looks. The missiles I made wouldn't launch. Any tips on making a "perfect" missile?

    1 reply

    |Try making the missile tighter fitting to the launch tube. I had the same problem initially.

    Let me know how you make out
    Sorry for the extreme delay in responding


    7 years ago on Introduction

    Since the launch tube moves with the bellows though doesn't it throw off aim? 0_o

    1 reply

    Reply 7 years ago on Introduction

    It does. if you do not hold it. I only have 2 hands.

    Typically you aim and hold the base of the launch tube with one hand then smack the bellows with the other.

    This project looks very interesting to me. I am very likely to try to make quite a few.

    As for paper "missiles" in general, I have found that paper missiles can be mounted on paper airplanes easiest when rectangular with pyramidal tips at their fronts. (I am also experimenting with these cones at the back for drag reduction).

    A116-1 with M16-1s.JPGA116-1 with M16-1s 2.JPG

    7 years ago on Introduction

    i like this but i would not give up my onager, trebuchet or ballista for it.

    PS. i have actually made them in 1:3, 1:6 and 1:1 scale models respectively.