How to Make an Air Rocket Launcher

air rocket launcher10, 9, 8, 7, 6, 5, 4, 3, 2, 1…BLASTOFF! 

I was shocked at how high a simple paper rocket would go when propelled by a stomp on a soft drink bottle that is attached to PVC pipe!  As we were trying it out, the neighborhood kids (and a few adults) came over for their turn to launch a rocket.

Our pack is hosting a community “Rocket Academy” event as our round-up.  We’ll have several rocket activities that kids can do, and this will be one of them.

Building an air rocket launcher would make a great den activity.  Have all the supplies ready, and the boys can assemble it.  Discuss with them how the launcher works.  And make sure you leave time for them to launch a few rockets!  🙂


This fun air rocket launcher is easy and inexpensive to make.  Here’s what you need:

(It’s easy to buy online through my Home Depot affiliate links & pick up in your local store!)

To make the rocket launcher, follow these steps:

  1. Cut one 4′ piece and two 2′ pieces of 1/2″ PVC pipe.
  2. Cut two 1′ pieces of 3/4″ PVC pipe.
  3. Line up the opening of the soft drink bottle and one end of the 4′ piece of PVC pipe and tape together with the duct tape.  Fold the end of the tape back over onto itself so that it will be easier to remove.
  4. Taper one end of a 2′ PVC pipe by using a file or scraping on the sidewalk.  If you use the sidewalk, pull the pipe toward you while rotating it will make a smoother taper.
  5. Attach the adapter to the smaller end of the 90 degree conduit elbow.
  6. Insert the other end of the 4′ PVC pipe into one opening of the 90 degree conduit elbow.
  7. Insert the untapered end of the 2′ PVC pipe into the opposite end of the 90 degree conduit elbow.
  8. Insert one of the 1′ pieces of 3/4″ PVC pipe into one of the 45 degree conduit elbows.  Insert the second piece of PVC pipe into the second elbow.
  9. Place the PVC “cross” over the 2′ PVC pipe.
  10. Attach one of the 45 degree conduit elbows onto the side of the PVC “cross” and repeat on the other side.

And now you have your air rocket launcher!  Find out how to make the rockets here.

Yours in Scouting,

P.S. If this activity was fun for your Cub Scouts, sign up below for more cool ideas!

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7 thoughts on “How to Make an Air Rocket Launcher

  1. Ryan Hauck

    I know you’re still working on instructions for how to make the rockets, but just as general information, how *long* does it take for a scout to create them? I’m interested in using this for a round-up activity, but our time will be limited.

    1. Sherry Post author

      If you have some of the parts pre-cut (like the fins), the boys can probably complete them in about 10 or 15 minutes. We’re going to have some Boy Scout from our local troop to help when we make them, so I think that will speed up the process too.

  2. Pingback: How to Make Air Rockets | Cub Scout Ideas

  3. howarthe

    Awesome! I was hoping to be able to do this indoors. It is always raining here in Oregon, during the school year, but the ceiling in our meeting place isn’t that high. Maybe the kids won’t be able to stomp quite so hard. Maybe I’ll use a one-liter bottle instead. Maybe I set it at an angle? Hmm… What do you think?

  4. Pingback: Rocket Academy: Cub Scout Recruiting Event | Cub Scout Ideas

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