Rocket Launcher Wine Rack

It’s funny where ideas come from sometimes. When I was in college my parents bought a wine rack that looked a lot like this:

Except it had 8 slots and was a solid block of wood so each slot was it’s own cylindrical cell. Anyway, every time I looked at it I imagined it was a missile launcher like the ones on the back of my old GiJoe toys.


So for more than a decade (that is not an exaggeration) I had this idea in my head to make a wine rack that looked like one of these rocket launchers. I never told anyone about this idea, and when I was living in atlanta and had a full on workshop I decided it was time to make my dream a reality.


So there it is. The wood is all 1″ board that I laser cut and formed into a box. getting the angle correct was a major hassle and took a lot of trial and error. It has to be as close to flat as possible to keep the wine in the right position, but also angled enough to be believable as a rocket launcher. The base is obviously an old office chair. The switch (in center of base) is one of those toggles with a built in led and a semi-transparent safety cover that you have to lift up to switch it on. Each light is a red led, but I covered each hole with a red semi-transparent plastic cover that are typically used as signal lights on the playing surface of pinball machines. I 3D printed all the green rings that surround every slot and light. I’m particularly proud of the rivets, which are actually just furniture tacks.

Here’s the trick though. I needed a good solution for switches to turn the lights on so that the presence/absence of a bottle would switch it. Any ideas?


Yup, that’s a refrigerator switch. The bottle slides over it, holding it down and switching the light on. Pretty clever huh? I thought so, until I realized that the refrigerator light switches ON when door is OPEN meaning that those switches are “Normally Closed.” When the switch is up, the circuit is closed, push it down and the light goes off. The fix was to add an Atmega168 to read when the switch went open (bottle inserted) and turn on the light.

This thing has survived for 5 years and 2 moves, and it’s still one of my favorite projects. I had made some nosecones to put over the tops of the bottles but it made it look too aggressive, so I just leave it as is.