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How stupid are you?

Sceadwian

Banned
Because some of you guys have really interesting stories I thought I'd share one of my "WTF was I thinking" stories and see if anyone else had some good idiot moments to share.

When I was about 15 sometime around the fourth of July I picked up a whole bunch of boxes of sparklers and little poppers which are white paper pouches with a little bit of contact explosive in them that bang when you throw them at the ground (or people) harmless fun diversions for my once pyro involved self =)

The sparklers went really well, ground up a dozen boxes (a whole gross) into a fine powder and put it in a paper pouch lightning it, made one hell of a flash and a boatload of heat.

The first box of paper poppers I opened up and separated the granules out of went really well, was about the size of a quarter when I re-wrapped it in a tissue paper and tossed it out the window. GREAT bang got the neighboors attention. Being the incredibly inteligent person I am of course I had to go bigger so I got the other half dozen boxes I bought alltogether and sat down on the end of my bed to take them apart and pour the contents of each little pouch into a bowl.

It was a pretty laborous project you have to untwist the end and pour the stuff out carefully and there were close to 200 of them. Now for reasons I don't remember the heater in the house was a little fritzy and happend to come on. I was so intent in unwrapping the little suckers I didn't notice untill I started to realize my face was getting quiet hot, I looked up at the heater vent (which I was sitting RIGHT in front of) looked back down at the bowl and a little ligthbulb went off in my head at right about the same time the entire contents of the bowl exploded in my face.

Luckily I blinked. I was stone cold deaf for about an hour, the ringing in my ears didn't go away for over two weeks and my face was red for a couple days from being peppered with the explosion, luckily the stuff doesn't pack much punch but it's loud as hell.

Anyone else got some good ones?
 

MrAl

Well-Known Member
Most Helpful Member
Hi,

Ha ha, well yeah i got one, sort of. Not as dangerous as yours was though,
but funny...

When i was around 10 i took a couple weeks to build this really nice wooden
model house, nice roof, nice trim around the windows, etc.

I was fooling around one day with a friend holding a huge sledge hammer over
the house like i was going to squash it flat with the hammer. It was funny,
until the hammer slipped out of my hands and actually smashed the heck out
of that poor little house that took weeks to construct. What a b%%%% that
was!
 

Sceadwian

Banned
That really bites, I never had the patience for it but I have great respect for modelers =)

Not me directly but I have a true idiot based horror story that's similar to that. I'll keep it short cause it's a bad memory.

About 12 years ago I was on a camping trip with some friends. They brought a giant water balloon slingshot made from medical tubing and duct tape, takes three people to launch it, shoots them over a quarter of a mile (not exaggerating) they were horsing around in the field with it and ended up jokingly aiming it at a friend that was there, the two guys bracing the ends instinctively held on and the guy holding it in a half brained way accidentally went through with the pull back and launch of the thing.

She spent two days in the hospital her skull was fractured in three places, thank god she was wearing glasses or she'd have lost the eye it hit. She has a cataract in that eye now from the trauma. I had to testify in court over the whole deal. It really was an accident but on the horribly stupid accident side of things and the medical bills were steep.
 

gabeNC

Member
In the late seventies my family was living in a logging camp in Northern Colorado, think I was around 9 at the time. My dad used empty plastic gallon milk jugs for fuel mixture on his chainsaw, throughout the week they would wear out and he would discard them on the trash pile.

I remember being bored one day, found one of the old empty jugs and took it out to the burn pit. I would make little contests with myself to pass the time and wondered if I could drop a match straight down into the jug. I lit the match, eyeballed the upright container between my feet, aimed and dropped it in. I will never forget the whooshing sound nor the resulting fireball that shot straight up out of the container and I was thrown back. I remember lying on my back looking straight up into the sky as my focus returned, picked myself up off the ground and looked around quickly to see if anyone noticed. I did a quick check of my clothes and thought I escaped any obvious signs my indiscretion.

Eventually I walked home and into the door trying to be all inconspicuous. My mom stifled a cry of surprise when she saw me, I had burned off my eyebrows, the front of my hair and had soot on my face. I learned an important lesson that day about residual fuel vapor.
 

Sceadwian

Banned
lol, I have neighbors that are a little... odd.. then again so am I but anyywayys. He does that on purpose to amuse his kids only he uses alcohol (quiet a bit safer than gas) a simple cap full dumped in and shake the milk jug and drop the match in, nice bright blue flame and a hell of a whistling noise. Tends to melt the top of milk jugs though 2 liters work really well.

Ahhh the fun to be had with fuel/air mixtures.
 
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Speakerguy

Active Member
Our high school chemistry prof used a big 5 gallon water bottle for a similar fuel/air mixture. Problem was, he had to do the demonstration two class periods back to back. It didn't work too well the second time, so he gave it a little shot of O2 to flush out the combustion products from the previous class.

There is a different color ceiling tile over the main demonstration table in that classroom to this very day. It was apparently VERY dramatic.

Funny thing is, he's a great teacher. One of the best I had in high school. I have no idea what he was thinking that day though :)
 
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Sceadwian

Banned
Oh yeah, fuel/air mixtures are touchy enough, if he pumped straight or even elevated levels of O2 into it lucky it didn't explode. Everyone has 'blonde moments' the only problem being when you're playing with dangerous stuff those moments have a few extra side effects =) There are a lot of rituals and redundant failsafes associated with explosives simply because of that.
 

SPDCHK

Member
When I was a kid my dad bought me a cassette recorder that operated on both mains and batteries. I always carried the thing around with me, taping songs on the radio etc. I never used the AC power adaptor on the unit. One day, the batteries ran flat. Now, I thought because it had an AC power port, it’s the same as batteries. So, I stripped a piece of cabtyre and fixed the live and neutral to the battery points Pos and Neg. I then plugged it into the wall socket and switched on the switch


BANG!!.

Now, luckily for South African domestic electricity laws, all electrical circuits are protected with both an Earth Leakage and Mini Circuit breaker rated at 16A for a series of plugs.

The resulting flash blackened the whole wall, tripped all the power in the house. The best part was that I decided to do this little experiment in my parent’s bedroom. Needles to say, I had to please and explain why the house smelt like burnt electronics and why the whole wall, that once was as white as milk now look like charcoal?
 

Mike_2545

Super Moderator
I was into model rocketry when I was about 13. Flew a bunch of rockets and one day decided to take one apart, I put the contents in a metal can and tried to light it with a match on the front porch, the fireball that ensued took off my eyebrows and singed my hair. Stupid thing to do...
 

Speakerguy

Active Member
if he pumped straight or even elevated levels of O2 into it lucky it didn't explode
Oh it did, it's just that the majority of it went up into the ceiling. No students were injured though.
 

Sceadwian

Banned
Every time I go to a crafts store I end up going past an isle that has model rocket motors and resist the urge to buy any. The temptation is high though =) I just think... What can I do with that =)

I never played with anything other than flammables though, aside from the popper incident. Looked that stuff up afterward, I'm guessing it was nitrogen triiodide, maybe stabilized with ash. Only reason I never made Ni3 myself was because of the popper incident and video's like this of it's raw form. There others that it could have been though.

Contact Explosive Video
 
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Mike_2545

Super Moderator
Model rockets are safe, as long as you don't take the motors apart. Fun and legal to fly.
 

Speakerguy

Active Member
I made NI3 in 9th grade. A large amount. Inside a fume hood. It took forever to dry (we made it over the lunch hour, and came back after school to try it). It was still wet and wouldn't detonate. We put fresh paper towels under it but at this point we were giving up on it as just another bogus recipe found in the big book of mischief (circa 1994).

So we decided it was bust, and raised the fume hood glass and took off our goggles and were about to throw it away when I decided to give it just one more tap with a 12" ruler.

The 12" wooden ruler very quickly turned into three pieces of splintered wood, and I got to sit with my eyes in the eye wash for 15 minutes. That *sucks*. Purple-yellow iodine stains surrounded the fume hood for a 3' radius. The inside of the fume hood was a mess. The blast was incredible.

We weren't allowed to play with things in that class after that. That stuff is UNSTABLE and POWERFUL.
 
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Sceadwian

Banned
Mike, I'm thinking alternate uses for them. Like a JATO type stages on an RC plane or car. Instant turbo button. Or high speed high mass gyro's.

I have respect for the technical and physical work put into model rocketry. However.. We've been to the moon, we have craft leaving this solar system. It's almost old hat as far as how high you can go. Make it light make it aerodynamic cool. It's like speed races on the ground, it's just an ego fight.
 
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Mike_2545

Super Moderator
Mike, I'm thinking alternate uses for them. Like a JATO type stages on an RC plane or car. Instant turbo button. Or high speed high mass gyro's.

I have respect for the technical and physical work put into model rocketry. However.. We've been to the moon, we have craft leaving this solar system. It's almost old hat as far as how high you can go. Make it light make it aerodynamic cool. It's like speed races on the ground, it's just an ego fight.
They would work well for that application, but for a kid, model rockets are pretty cool.
 

dknguyen

Well-Known Member
Most Helpful Member
My friends couldn't afford model rockets. SO they built a pipe bomb. THat could have gone badly.
 

Sceadwian

Banned
That always goes badly, the difference between a rocket and a bomb is a cap on one end.
 

dknguyen

Well-Known Member
Most Helpful Member
Yeah, it wasn't too well built so the cap popped off and turned it into an uncontrolled rocket after blowing up a piece of tree stump.
 
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Speakerguy

Active Member
We had lots of fun with dry ice bombs in high school. They were pretty harmless so long as you made them out of plastic two liter bottles.
 

bryan1

Well-Known Member
Years ago sheesh when I was about 8 off memory my mates dad was a chemist who was into the black powder guns etc. Anyway we decided to make a cannon and I pinched some 1/2" dia ball bearings from my dad's workshop and a length of pipe. Being young kids we took the greatest care (NOT) loaded the cannon lit the fuse and BANG the ball bearing flew off into the distance. The first one went so well we ended up firing about 10 of them and that night on the news there was a report of someone throwing ball bearings thru car windscreens at the local tennis club.

That tennis club was near 1 kilometer away from where we shot the cannon so for young kids we thought it was pretty cool especially when we didnt get caught.

Cheers Bryan
 

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