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Build a Rechargeable Rocket Launcher That Shoots Over 300 Feet

My vision was to create a compressed-air rocket launcher that is totally self-sufficient, and awesome looking. Unlike traditional compressed air launchers, this design can launch rockets over 300 feet without laboring over a bicycle pump, or restricting your location to an outlet for a plug-in air compressor. It also had to look awesome.

I had to learn, and was challenged by, the soldering and painting techniques. I’ve soldered maybe twice in my life, and it’s always been super sloppy. This time I wanted to make it look perfect since I had to photograph it. I also struggle with color and painting techniques. I think I spent just as much time deciding on colors and painting as I did building. You can see more about my process here.

Right now I wouldn’t change a thing. I’m really happy with how it turned out.

This project definitely takes some well-established ideas from other compressed-air launchers, however the design and inclusion of a battery-powered air compressor are unique.

If someone else were to make it, I might reconsider when and how the pieces are painted. Otherwise, I think the steps are pretty streamlined.

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Lance Akiyama

Lance Akiyama combines tinkering and education into a single aspiration: to create a better world by inspiring the next generation of innovators with exciting hands-on projects. He has created project-based learning tutorials on Instructables.com, started an after-school engineering service, and is currently employed as a STEM-based curriculum developer for Galileo Learning. Lance spends his free time designing elaborate plans for advanced contraptions, keeping journals in cryptic backwards writing, and attempting to fly by strapping paper wings to his arms and leaping from rooftops. He lives in the San Francisco Bay area.

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