If you have read any of my previous articles or viewed the many videos I have published, it's quite clear that I appreciate a good rocket or fiery projectile. The following video will certainly not lessen that reputation.
The following video demonstrates and explains a classic physics experiment called a vacuum cannon. Typically these cannons are made on a much smaller scale to fire ping pong balls, but I wanted to keep things interesting with this 4" diameter monster.
In a previous article, I showed how to make a powerful airsoft BB machine gun with a portable air supply using about $50 worth of PVC and air fittings. For this project, I have simplified the design to make a machine gun out of only 4 parts totaling about $15 that runs directly off of an air compressor.
Learning to make giant bubbles for this video has been the most fun I've had with a project in a long time. It's addicting to try to get them to grow bigger and bigger than the ones before. Since filming this video, my skill has improved tremendously and the bubbles you're about to see, though spectacularly big, are dwarfed by what I've made since. Everyone loves to watch. This is definitely one project that will draw a crowd!
The following video is the result of months of viewer requests to create a single-shot airsoft rifle. The design I decided to film the video around ended up being quite durable, and very capable of being loaded with single pellets, or multiple pellets to operate as a shotgun.
Airsoft doesn't get any better than a cloud chamber BB machine gun, aka Cloud BBMG. This design has an incredible rate of fire. If you've got a full charge of compressed air, it can easily fire more than 50 rounds per second at a 350 ft/s muzzle velocity. Since this is a legit airsoft build, it should be handled safely with the same care as any other airsoft firearm, and you should be wearing the same protective gear—protective mask, safety glasses, etc. My video details the build of this bea...
Hydrogen gas has been a front runner in the alternative fuel debate for decades now. It is plentiful, inexpensive, and the only byproduct of its combustion is water vapor. In the following video, I demonstrate how hydrogen can be produced in large quantities using very inexpensive and common chemicals. Materials:
A large number of the greatest musicians to ever shape the history of sound first learned to play on cheap, dirty, and often times even homemade instruments. There is a very unique atmosphere that comes about when creating music with something made by your own hands—out of what was no more than garbage at the start. There is a sense of accomplishment that inspires the maker, and gives motivation to learn the limits of their creation. Those who have the desire to build an instrument are often ...
Once you've reached an age where sparklers are no longer fun, it's time to upgrade to science and steel wool. It may be basic chemistry, but as you'll see in the video, simplicity can amaze more than complexity, as well as create some really impressive fireworks that are perfect for the Fourth of July.
Sodium (chemical symbol Na) is an interesting element. It reacts in contact with both oxygen and water, and several sodium salts are used to produce a yellow color in fireworks.
In the following video, I demonstrate how to create a device capable of charging the body of anyone who wears it with static electricity, allowing a powerful shock to be discharged into anything that is touched. This grants the wearer the ability to do some pretty amazing things, some of which are shown in the first segment of the video.
The video featured in this article demonstrates the function and design of a powerful form of air cannon that operates using a purpose made valve that opens very rapidly. This allows for a massive amount of pressurized air to be released at once to throw a projectile many hundreds of yards. The design of the cannon also allows the barrel and the air chamber to occupy the same space, and so it is very compact and manageable which makes for an enjoyable shooting experience.
Does your low-budget film need an explosion, a fireball explosion? This video tutorial shows how to build a simple cremora (fireball) and safely use it. There are many filming techniques, you'll have to figure them out on your own though.
I love this project. It involves fire, projectiles, electricity, and is easy to put together from commonly available parts. This mini cannon fires airsoft pellets, is fueled by alcohol, and is made almost entirely from parts found in a standard BBQ lighter. The total cost is under $5. About half of the BBQ lighters out there have a divide in the gas reservoir which makes them not work for this project. In case you have trouble finding a suitable lighter, the exact one I use in this video is a...
This week, I've been working on a project that sort of takes a spin off an old-style potato gun. Using PVC pipe and the rapid combustion of hairspray, we can launch a rocket hundreds of feet into the sky. As usual for my projects, I tried to use only materials and parts that are commonly available. I even give two different forms of ignition, in case one method ends up being hard to come by. The following video will explain the project further: The launcher can be reloaded and fired repeatedl...
A Prince Rupert's Drop is a very interesting demonstration in physics that shows both the strength that a well-organized crystal structure can provide, as well as how violently such a structure can be blown to pieces by stress if the crystal pattern is disrupted.
In this tutorial, you'll learn how to make some Fourth of July fireworks using marshmallows. If sparklers are unavailable or illegal in your area, marshmallows make for a great alternative (and make a great snack while you're working).
Last week, I introduced a project that demonstrated how a BB machine gun could be made out of a soda bottle using only a handful of readily available parts. If you missed it, you can check out that project here before reading on.
A Lampare, or aerial fireball shell, is a really cool pyrotechnics device that basically allow you to use a cartridge to launch a fireball into the air. This video will show you how to make a 3" Lampare out of black powder fuel and a Napthalene / charcoal mix. Dry fuel is safer and lasts longer than liquid fuel, so study up!
In this tutorial, we learn how to set a spring loaded snare trap. First, find a sapling with a larger tree next to it, then bend the sapling down and wire on a stick to this. This stick will have a small nub on it that will hook onto a stick that you will prop up on the back of the tree. When the rabbit comes along, it will follow the trail and walk through the wire. The feet will go into the wire and it will tighten up, releasing the spring to ensure the rabbit stays trapped. This is a simpl...
Fluorescein is a commonly used fluorescent dye that is quite hard to come by in a concentrated form. Fortunately, it's used in relatively large quantities in highlighter markers and can be extracted by a fairly simple process. Fluorescein makes spectacular explosions of color as it dissolves into water and can be used for many different purposes that are addressed in the video below.
In the following video, I demonstrate how to build a simple device to increase the inertia of the wearers fist, allowing the easy destruction of concrete blocks.
Quite often I work on projects that require a lot of waiting around for glue or solvents to dry. It was in such a time that I came up with this little crossbow. I saw that some of the top search engine requests were how to make paper weaponry, and yet there were few results worth viewing. I then sat down and got to work. This crossbow uses tension on bent tubes of printer paper to throw a pencil or pen a very respectable distance, upwards of 50 feet. Paper tubes when bent in such a way would ...
I love quick and simple projects that can be made from everyday items. With that thought in mind, I decided it would be fun to make a tiny catapult trap. This tutorial video was soon to follow: You Will Need
To make an Airsoft grenade, you will need to following: PVC pipe, PVT, a pin, a bolt, a PVC coupling, glue, torch, wire, spring, washer, pressure switch, cloth, bungee cord, 1 inch PVC, and a nut.
Build a tree string noose trap Materials needed: five feet of rope, knife, various size sticks and a sapling tree.
In The Return of the Jedi, Luke and his Ewok allies have to get creative to defeat their more-heavily-armored Storm Trooper opponents. Using a hanging log trap just like is one of the ways that they choose to do it. Even if your prey is just an apple, this trap creates some very fun smashing action. Grass Roots DIY brings us instructions on how to create this awesome trap in the woods of Endor... or your backyard, whichever is closer. All you need is a lot of rope, two logs, and something tha...
Learn to make sodium metal with this great video tutorial. Be sure to use latex gloves in the process, as the chemicals can be hazardous. This should not be performed by an inexperienced chemist.
For a number of years, I have had a vortex cannon on the top of my list of projects to attempt. Creating a sturdy cone for the barrel has always been a hurdle in the design, one I finally found a solution for in this video.
The following video demonstrates how a simple and inexpensive forge can be made using little more than a soup can and plaster.
The following video will demonstrate a simple process by which hard-boiled eggs can be scrambled prior to cooking, creating a deliciously blended center once finished.
It's a real challenge to create exploding targets that can be set off by low velocity projectiles, yet remain safe to handle without risk of ignition during construction.
I'm about to make the Paper Crossbow and I'm wondering if I'd be able to use Jute Twine ?
The exploding ashtray prank was once fairly commonplace long before the Internet was born. Using flash cotton to create a startling explosion, this prank is certainly effective at getting a reaction. Flash cotton is a staple of many magic acts; used for its ability to create a brilliant flash of fire without causing a burn to the skin.
At a very early age, I would go on summer camping trips. I remember every night being handed a pack of sparklers that were my own, to swing around wildly, which gave me many valuable life lessons on cause and effect.
In my recent article, How to Make a Mini Cannon with a Lighter, I demonstrated how to make a powerful combustion cannon out of parts salvaged from a standard BBQ lighter. The mini cannon was originally made to fire airsoft pellets, but I felt it was time to revive the project with something new.
This is my personal website. Alternate descriptions of my projects are often posted there, along with multiple articles unique to the site.
This is a simple demonstration of how fine dust particles suspended in the air can rapidly burn due to high exposure to oxygen. The same corn flour is only able to burn slowly when in a pile because there is not enough air between the particles for an explosive combustion.
Some really incredible design and craftsmanship went into this machine.
In this tutorial, we learn how to build bar shells and other explosives. First, you will need to pack up the explosives into a container tightly. Then, you will need to wrap it up inside of string tightly and tie it shut tightly. Apply a piece of thick paper over the explosive and then tie it shut again. Once you are finished, you can place all of these inside of a large tub and carry out to use as explosives. Make sure to do this carefully and don't light these when you are close to them, or...