Rebecca loves documenting various DIY projects and sharing them with others online.
DIY Firework Launcher Plans
Whether it's the 4th of July, New Year's Eve, or some other occasion that calls for an explosive celebration, there's something supremely satisfying about launching your own fireworks. For many DIY pyrotechnicians, mortars are the go-to choice for an impressive firework launch.
This DIY guide will walk you through the process of building your own 50-shot mortar tube rack so that you can easily rig up a large and impressive display for your friends and family. This is an easy project that can be completed in a single day, provided you have gathered all of the necessary supplies.
Important Safety Considerations
Fireworks are extremely dangerous, so before we get into the building process, it's important that we cover some critical safety information.
Build at Your Own Risk
This article is for informational purposes only. When dealing with incendiary devices, there is always a significant risk of injury. It's important to consult with a professional before attempting to launch any sort of firework. Always use care and supervision when lighting any kind of explosive, and never allow children near fireworks or fuses. Always make sure fireworks have burned out completely before touching them or cleaning up.
Check Your Local Laws
The legality of mortars and other fireworks varies from country to country, state to state, county to county, and municipality to municipality. Always check your local laws before purchasing or using fireworks. Even if fireworks are legal to use in your area, it is important to consult your local fire department about weather, environmental factors, and other considerations before planning any sort of display.
Always Keep Safety Items On-Hand
Make sure that you have the following items at the ready and know how and when to use them before working with fireworks:
- Fire extinguisher
- First aid kit
- Access to a hose or other water source
- A plan for emergency injuries
- 1, 2, and 3-inch screws
- Power drill
- Liquid Nails brand heavy-duty construction adhesive
- 50 12 inch x 1.91 ID Polypipe PE4710 tubes—these must be Polypipe—PVC can shatter and produce dangerous shrapnel
- 50 wooden tube plugs (1.91 ID)
- Fuses (optional)
- 3 2x3x8 framing studs (cut to a total of 5 2-foot long 2x3 studs and 10 1-foot-long 2x3 studs)
- 20 1x4s at 27 inches long each
- 2 1x4s at 20 inches long each
- 2 1x4s at 25 inches long each
Step 1: Gather Your Supplies
The first thing you must do is get all of your supplies together. I recommend your local plumbing store for the tubes and Home Depot for everything else. Home Depot will cut all of your supplies to the appropriate sizes—all you have to do is ask! Plan on spending somewhere around $120.00 USD for everything you'll need.
Step 2: Build Your Racks
- Attach a 1-foot-long piece of 2x3 framing stud to each end of a 2-foot-long 2x3 framing stud using 3-inch screws (as seen in the first photo in the gallery above).
- Next, take four 27-inch-long 1x4s and screw them to the sides of what you just built. Screw one across the bottom of each side and one across the top of each side using 2-inch screws (as seen in the second photo in the gallery above). See the video below for additional guidance.
- You now have a 10-shot mortar rack. Repeat steps 1 and 2 to build additional racks. Each rack holds 10 tubes, so we built 5 racks to create a 50-shot rack.
Step 3: Prepare Your Plugs
- Take a tube and line the inside of one end with small beads of Liquid Nails adhesive (as seen in the second photo in the gallery above).
- Hammer a wooden plug into the glued end of the tube as seen in the third photo in the gallery above.
- Repeat steps 1 and 2 for each tube.
- Once the plugs are in, secure them further with one 1-inch screw on each side. Do this for each tube.
- Place your tubes into your racks. 10 tubes should fit perfectly into each rack (as seen in the fourth photo in the gallery above).
Step 4: Fan or Angle Your Racks
- Set your racks next to each other standing straight up.
- Place scrap 1x4 pieces between the tops of each of the racks to make your spacing.
- Attach the 20-inch length of 1x4 to the bottom of each side, starting in the center. Secure it by screwing a single screw into each rack on both sides of the entire project (as seen in the second photo in the gallery above).
- Next, attach a 25-inch length of 1x4 to the top of each side. Secure it by screwing a single screw into each rack on both sides of the project (as seen in the second photo in the gallery above).
- Remove the spacers. You now have a fanned or angled mortar tube launcher.
You're All Done!
When your rack is finished, it should be nice and durable. We blasted 50 shots right off the rip with no problems. Seriously, this thing will take a beating and give you years of enjoyment. Fuse it with different burning fuses and create your own magical display! Happy Fourth of July!
6-Tube Mortar Launcher Test Run
The Anatomy of a Mortar Firework
This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.
© 2013 Rebecca
Rebecca (author) from USA on October 31, 2019:
Sadly we didn't make those or know how. We get the mortar rounds from Phantom fireworks. Hope that helps. Find a local firework dealer. :)
Ted 9 on October 20, 2019:
John- DR 11 tubes are used for 1.75" consumer reloadable mortar ball shells and cylinder shells.
They are available from your local consumer fieroweks retailer.
If you are shooting them 50 at a time you may like to find a wholesaler.
John POPZ Grace on October 18, 2019:
Just curious about what you put in the tubes and how, and where to get the stuff? Not trying to sound stupid, just covering all the bases! Thanks "you rock" great job!
Liz Elias from Oakley, CA on August 27, 2017:
Interesting, but where we live, ALL fireworks are illegal, even the "safe and sane" variety.
We aren't even supposed to use sparklers. The only fireworks we get to see are the professionally set ones sponsored by cities or festivals.
(Naturally, there are a good number of folks who don't think the law should apply to them, and we see fireworks popping off around us anyway.)