Overview

exploded view of an air rocket launcher built from PVC tubing
Illustration: Carl Wiens
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Age Range: 7 and up

This rocket is propelled by the sudden release of pressurized air, so all the parts need to come together with tight seals to hold the pressure in until you’re ready to launch. PVC plumbing pipe won’t leak as long as you use the right kind of pipe cement and make sure to clean all the connections before gluing them.

A simple string-controlled trigger unlocks the pipe from the end of the bottle, releasing the pressure and sending the bottle into the sky.
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    Tools List

    • hacksaw
      hacksaw
    • drill
      drill/driver fitted with a ½-inch bit
    • adjustable pliers
      pliers
    • utility scissors
      scissors

    Shopping List

    1. 10-foot length of ½-inch PVC pipe
    2. ½-inch PVC tee
    3. two ½-inch PVC end caps
    4. 2-inch-long scrap of 1½-inch PVC pipe
    5. PVC pipe cleaner
    6. PVC pipe cement
    7. replacement valve for a tubeless tire
    8. plastic cable ties, aka zip ties
    9. birthday candle
    10. duct tape
    11. clamp for 1½-inch hose
    12. two 2-liter soda bottles
    13. string (regular twine or cotton string is fine)