As with any air-powered device, you have to use
caution. Eye injuries are your biggest danger. Safety
goggles for you and any spectators are required.
Because these air rockets have no recovery system,
you can launch them in a fairly small area even with
wind. They will go very high but then come right
A small field would be an ideal launch site. The
rockets are light and soft, so while it’s not ideal for
them to land on cars, the chance of damage
Set the launcher on the ground and lay out the
air hose and launch button wire away from the
Slide the rocket down the launch tube until it
stops at the pressure cap. This is a tight fit and you
may need to smooth down the inside bottom of the
rocket with your fingers to get it on. You may also
bevel the top of the PVC launch tube with a file to
make it easier.
Connect the air pump to the hose and pump up
to about 75psi. If you go above 75psi, you may blow
out the side of your rocket.
Count down and then launch! With a good
launch, the rocket will go nearly out of sight and
then free-fall to the ground.
The rocket will get crumpled as it hits the
ground, but can simply be pinched back into shape
and launched again and again.
If for some reason it does not launch, follow the
pressure testing instructions in Step 5c.
CAUTION: When placing the rocket on the
launcher, make sure your head is never over the
launch tube. Wear safety goggles. Make sure everyone is clear from the area before launching, and do a
countdown once everyone is at a safe distance.
» Tilt the launch tower, then place a trash can
100yds away and see who can get the closest.
» Build a simple clinometer (
wikihow.com/Make-a-Clinometer) and have contests to see whose rocket
can get the highest.
If this MAKE project really grabs you, here’s a great
article on air rockets and some more sophisticated
setups, by two professors at Southern Illinois