The fine folks over at Baltimore Node are gearing up to launch paper rockets at the Mid-Atlantic Mini Maker Faire. I can’t wait! If you want to get a head start on the action, check out our how-to guide from the pages of MAKE Volume 15.


    PVC + pressurized air scares me.

    “PVC piping buried 3 feet underground at a Yakima manufacturing plant exploded, opening up a crater approximately 4 feet deep by 3 feet across. “

    • Matt Mets

      Yeah, you have to be careful when pressurizing PVC. This is what we said in the article:


      At normal temperatures, standard Schedule 40 PVC has a working pressure of around 150psi, but heat, sunlight, solvents, scratches, and time make the material lose strength, and even at the 75psi used for this project, it will eventually fail. When it fails, it will break into fragments that can be thrown with great force by the compressed air. For added safety, wear safety goggles and wrap PVC elements in several layers of duct tape (not shown) to minimize any possible shrapnel. For a bomb-proof model, you could also build the entire system out of galvanized steel pipe at a greater expense.

      • Nate

        The sentence/paragraph immediately following the one wesc posted:

        “Only one type of plastic pipe has been approved for use with compressed air. That pipe, Acrylonitrile-Butadiene-Styrene (ABS), is marked on the pipe as approved for compressed air supply.”

        A little more expensive than PVC, but cheaper than galvanized steel (not to mention lighter than steel)


          We are wrapping it all in duct or gorilla tape tonight and I’ll be building a wireless launch system to everyone can stand far back.

          Thanks for the heads up about the ABS pipe, I was planning some other compressed air projects.