How To: Make a Hairspray-Fueled PVC Rocket Cannon

Make a Hairspray-Fueled PVC Rocket Cannon

This week, I've been working on a project that sort of takes a spin off an old-style potato gun. Using PVC pipe and the rapid combustion of hairspray, we can launch a rocket hundreds of feet into the sky. As usual for my projects, I tried to use only materials and parts that are commonly available. I even give two different forms of ignition, in case one method ends up being hard to come by. The following video will explain the project further:

The launcher can be reloaded and fired repeatedly at a rather fast pace. Faster still if more than one rocket is made. The foam pad that the rockets are cut from is large enough to make four 3" diameter rockets. This project can be scaled down or up to make small or very large backyard projectiles. When building larger rockets, a soda bottle will no longer fit as the nose cone, but a large ball can be glued to the top instead.

Parts & Tools:

  • 18" x 3" Pressure Rated PVC Pipe
  • 3" Pressure Rated PVC End Cap
  • Piezoelectric BBQ Igniter (or Flint & Steel Lantern Striker, available at hardware or sporting goods stores)
  • 2 Self-Tapping Screws (if using a BBQ Ignitor)
  • Foam Sleeping Pad
  • 2-Liter Soda Bottle
  • Duct or Packaging Tape
  • Hot Glue
  • Drill & Bits
  • PVC Primer & Cement 

Have fun!

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3 Comments

Very cool. Much more effective than the old water-pressure bottle rockets I've made.

Now to make a shoulder mounter one.

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