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July 3, 2003 7:53 PM   Subscribe

You too can build thunderous and exciting matchstick rockets!
posted by crunchland (18 comments total)

mmmm, amateur rocketry.

For more hazardous fun, remember the following equation:

Fb + Fc = Pdhv

where Fb is a full, unopened beer can, Fc is a campfire, and Pdhv is a deadly high velocity projectile. Did I mention that this was hazardous?
posted by arto at 8:28 PM on July 3, 2003

it may be hazardous arto, but is it thunderous and exciting?
posted by cohappy at 8:37 PM on July 3, 2003

My younger brother was showing us "Polish fireworks" one Independence day (it's OK, we're Polish). That's when you take a book of paper matches, tear one off, and in one motion light it and fling it at an unsuspecting spectator.

Instead of flying, however, the match stuck to his finger, and we laughed as he hopped around screaming from the pain in his burning digit.

Ah, those were the days.
posted by mr_crash_davis at 8:39 PM on July 3, 2003

hmm, now that site brings back memories. I remember doing that way back when I was in elementary school. It was actually kinda amazing how far the things would go. I also vaguely recall getting in a lot of trouble from my parents catching me doing it.
posted by piper28 at 9:00 PM on July 3, 2003

This reminds me of the "bolt bombs" we use to make as kids out of a couple of bolts, a nut and the scraped-off heads of matches. Ah, fun times (except when they exploded during assembly, which happened way too often).
posted by dg at 9:33 PM on July 3, 2003

Dammit, I wish I knew about this in elementary school. Or high school. Heck, even college. Nice.
posted by furiousthought at 10:12 PM on July 3, 2003

Ever since I first saw this page, I've wanted to build a sparkler bomb.

There are kids setting off firecrackers in the alley behind my apartment even as I write this. God bless America!
posted by mr_roboto at 11:09 PM on July 3, 2003

Just to make sure no one thinks I'm too intelligent, my two favorite childhood homemade bombs:

lots of matchheads in a testers paintbottle with a matchhead fuse made with that paper tape threaded through the metal cap.

draino and aluminium foil in a glass bottle. Mix those quick, cap it and run. This was much easier when all softdrinks were sold in glass bottles.
posted by stavrogin at 11:41 PM on July 3, 2003

Hmm, bad flashbacks from dg's post. In grade school we used to put bodiless match-heads into a copper tube with one end sealed. We'd hammer down on the sucker and really jam in a lot of packs of matches. Then we'd cap the other end and have a crude bomb. We'd insert a wick, light it and run.

Good times were had by all. Until...

We were stupid, we knew that if you struck a paper match-head with a hammer it would ignite. We never made the connection that compressing these things was potentially dangerous. One of my friends had it blow up in his hand. He kept all his fingers but the last time I talked to him he still had problems with the hand in the cold.
posted by substrate at 12:27 AM on July 4, 2003

You can also make a simple bomb by filling a two-liter coke bottle with hot water about a quarter- to third-full or so and then dumping in a goodly amount of dry ice. Close the cap, walk briskly away. The bottle distends nicely before it goes boom. Don't do it in Utah, though, where like everything else fun except going to church and sitting quietly, it's a felony.

I'm told that it also works to simply pour some liquid nitrogen into the same sort of bottle, close the cap, and walk away. Personally, if I had liquid nitrogen handy, I'd make Nerd Ice Cream.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 1:13 AM on July 4, 2003

Ammonia + Iodine (non-tinctured) from the drug store, then filter it through some high-quality filtering paper my dad brought home from work (he was a lab tech).

Scrape off the sticky residue that remains (ammonium tri-iode, and paint it on a surface such as a lightswitch, floor, etc.

*BAM* on contact. Fun for the whole family trying to give mom a heart attack.
posted by Ryvar at 5:09 AM on July 4, 2003

This thread is going straight to the Department of Homeland Security.
posted by corpse at 7:16 AM on July 4, 2003

When I was smaller than I am now, one of my friends somehow got ahold of a large quantity of powdered magnesium. We put it into plastic baggies, rolled them up tight with masking tape so they resembled sticks of dynamite, and set them off. They produced a huge flash along with a perfect miniature mushroom cloud just like an atom bomb. We thought this was the coolest thing ever.

Nowadays the whole episode makes me shudder.
posted by MrBaliHai at 8:33 AM on July 4, 2003

it may be hazardous arto, but is it thunderous and exciting?

depends on how many beers you didn't put in the fire.
posted by quonsar at 9:01 AM on July 4, 2003

Ammonia+Iodine = dangerous explosive. It's touch-sensitive, to the point that an air draft can set it off.

Only dangerous when dry, though. Powerful enough that small amounts can do damage. Use with caution.

That said, it can be great fun when flies land on it, or ants walk across it, or painted on the foot of a chair, or...

Just *don't* let it dry out before you put it where you want it.
posted by five fresh fish at 9:15 AM on July 4, 2003

For the chemically adventurous I'd recommend looking over at Skylighter. They're a shop that specializes in pyrotechnic chemicals and books. I'd also recommend checking if there is a local chapter of Pyrotechnic's Guild International. These people are real hobbyists and some of them make shells equal in size to what you'd see in a large national display. They also teach and stress safety and learning.
posted by substrate at 9:45 AM on July 4, 2003

it may be hazardous arto, but is it thunderous and exciting?

depends on how many beers you didn't put in the fire

I now appoint quonsar artoland's official Minister of One-liners.
posted by arto at 8:53 PM on July 4, 2003

Ammonia + Iodine (non-tinctured) from the drug store, then filter it through some high-quality filtering paper my dad brought home from work (he was a lab tech).

Ah, another high school memory for me. Never actually tried it, but back in high school one guy went around signing yearbooks with these directions.
posted by piper28 at 11:31 AM on July 5, 2003

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