Simple Water Rocket Launcher

This is a simple water rocket launcher that you can have your scouts build. It is easy to operate, safe and lots of fun. This launcher is based on a design found on Stan Pope's web site (see sources below for URL of the web site).

Cub Scout Launcher

Part Letter Quantity and Size Description
A qty one, 18" long ½ PVC pipe
B qty one ½ PVC elbow
C qty one, 4' long ½ PVC pipe
D qty two ½ PVC T-connectors
E qty two, each 6" long ½ PVC pipe
F qty one, 6" long ½ PVC pipe
G qty two ½ PVC end caps
H qty one, with 9/16" hole ½ PVC end cap (flat style)
I qty one, 8" CPVC ½ CPVC pipe
J qty one Tubeless Tire Valve
K qty one ½" or thicker board 12"x12"
L qty one, 6" long ½ PVC
M qty two Pipe Straps

Materials List

Tools Needed

Assembly Notes


  1. Take one of the ½" PVC end caps and drill a ½" hole in the end. Put some glue (PL Premium or Household Goop) around the hole inside the cap. Insert the tire valve through the hole from the inside of the cap and pull through until rubber locking ridge (located toward bottom of valve) snaps through the hole. You have now assembled part H & J. This activity is best done ahead of time. I don't recommend that the Scouts drill the hole unless you have a good vise to hold the end cap while drilling.

  1. Now cut out parts A, C, both E, F, and L from the ½ PVC pipe. Using the file and/or razor knife, clean the cut edges so any extra material is removed.

  1. Glue the H&J assembly onto one end of part A. Then glue part B to the other end of part A.

  1. Now glue the other end of part B to part C.

  1. Holding the tire valve pipe assembly so it is pointing straight up(perpendicular to the ground), glue the first part D (that holds the launch rod) so the top of T-Connector is pointing up (perpendicular to the ground).

  1. Next glue each part G to one end of each of the two part E's as show in the diagram. Glue the part E's to the second part D t-connector. Into the top of part D, attach part L. This is the anti-tip assembly.

  1. Take the anti-tip assembly and glue into the first part D (holding the launch rod) so that the anti-tip assembly is parallel to the ground and the launch rod/tire value are point straight up, perpendicular to the ground. (It is more important for the launch rod to be pointing straight up in case the tire valve wasn't glued quite parallel to the launch rod).

  1. Cut out part I from the ½" CPVC pipe. Using the file and/or razor knife, clean the cut edges so any extra material is removed.

  1. Use the file to slightly round the bottom edges on one end of part I (the ½" CPVC). Next use the file to slightly widen the opening on one of part F. Now insert the rounded end of the CPVC into the widen opening of F. Using a hammer, whack F tightly over I (or I tightly into F) as far as possible. The fit will be so tight you won't need to glue it into place. If desired you may, but you will still have to whack it into place, so work fast before the glue sets.

  1. Now glue part F into the top of the first part D t-connector.

  1. Lay the launcher onto your board. Use the pipe straps to fasten the launcher to the board. Put a strap over part L and part C. Additional straps, if available, could also go over one of the part E's, and part C near where the pipe leaves the board.

  1. Take the Duct tape and wrap it in a band around the bottom of the CPVC launch tube. Form it so that it is narrow at the top and thick at the bottom of the band. You want to be able to slide a pop bottle over the launch rod, and have it fit tightly over the duct tape. The duct tape will provide a friction fit, to hold the bottle into place until the pressure forces it free. You will have to periodically replace the duct tape as it wears out.

PVC Glue Instructions.

To successfully glue PVC & CPVC follow these simple rules.

Using the Launcher


Credits/More Information

The basic design of this launcher was found on the Internet in some scouting web pages created by Stan Pope. Please visit his site to see the original design and other scouting information. The web page is: