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A Firecracker-Launching Slingshot: Start the New Year With a Bang 65

An anonymous reader writes "Joerg Sprave is at it again. This time, in order to bring in the New Year, he's got something with a bit more bang to it: a firecracker-launching slingshot. Being German, Joerg has built a slingshot that will accommodate the largest legal firecracker in that country. '2 grams of black powder in a tight cardboard "cigar" make a pretty loud bang! In order to make these bangs more spectacular, it is desirable to shoot them as high into the air as possible. A special slingshot crossbow has been designed, chambered for the strongest legal firecrackers. The weapon is a breech loader, and an integrated storm lighter allows the shooter to light the fuse when the weapon is all ready for the shot. The weapon launches the firecracker with tremendous force. The blunt object easily crashes through a moving card board box, and — equipped with a wooden tip — even goes in all the way into a block of ballistic gelatin.' His two videos are available on YouTube: part 1, part 2." This is the same gentleman who made a slingshot that launches machetes.

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A Firecracker-Launching Slingshot: Start the New Year With a Bang

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  • by Anonymous Coward

    The blunt object easily crashes through a moving card board box

    It was designed for killing Solid Snake?

  • by Roger Wilcox ( 776904 ) on Tuesday January 01, 2013 @06:07PM (#42445171)
    ...because this is NEWS.
    • by sudon't ( 580652 )

      ...because this is NEWS.

      Yeah, clearly. Me and my cousin were shooting cherry bombs and M-80s with a slingshot in 1973. Somehow, I doubt we were the first to think this up.

  • crossbow? (Score:4, Informative)

    by vlm ( 69642 ) on Tuesday January 01, 2013 @06:07PM (#42445177)

    Looks more crossbow with alternative non-bolt ammo. Slingshot makes me think of the classic wristrocket. Those and fireworks have gone together like peanut butter and jelly for at least a century or so. The only better use for a slingshot is probably water balloons although you've got to be careful not to rip them apart at launch. As kids we also used balls of crumpled paper both in wrist rockets and potato guns for indoor entertainment. Only occasionally broke a window with that ammo. Sometimes the potato gun would set the paper ball on fire if you used liquid propellant which is either a bonus or a problem depending on situation. So this patentable tech has at least 30 years of prior art, at least that I'm willing to admit to.

    • Looks more crossbow with alternative non-bolt ammo.

      and no bow, or string.... So, it's really not much like a crossbow at all.

      • Back in the late 60's my older brother had a small bore brass mortar cast for himself at some historical artifact kind of foundry in New England. The bore was exactly the same diameter as the inside of a tennis ball. When "Flag Day" came (does anyone else remember "flag Day?") he decided to make it "Flag Week" and offered to take down and fold the flag for our father every day. I was volunteered to help him out in the folding and taking down part.

        What no one realized was that he was going to give a "salute"

    • Not so much like a crossbow: it's a wooden copy of the rubber-powered weapons used for spearfishing. []

    • Re:crossbow? (Score:4, Interesting)

      by CrankyFool ( 680025 ) on Tuesday January 01, 2013 @07:35PM (#42445911)

      Crossbows are a form of bows -- a weapon which is based on the bending -- not stretching -- of a semi-flexible rigid material.

      This is a slingshot -- a weapon which uses an elastic strap which releases energy by stretching, and then releasing.

      • I thought a slingshot was a weapon that uses a retracted thong that is released in the direction of the intended projectile arc?

        No need for it to use an elastic strap... the *sling* is the important part, as is the *shot*.

        Of course, you're right that a crossbow is based on a bow, which has the identifying part being a bent semi-flexible rigid material.

        I'd be more tempted to call this a modified elastic-kinetic dart launcher (uses elastic strap to store and release energy, but uses a rigid launch vehicle on

  • So... (Score:4, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday January 01, 2013 @06:18PM (#42445253)

    Has France surrendered yet?

  • I was in Berlin for new years. These things are pretty loud. There were some people a few doors down tossing them out their apartment window on to the street every few seconds for several hours. Every block down the street was like this too. Crazy awesome way to celebrate the new years. It also makes the 4th of July look kinda weak. The only things you can get now in many US states are considered "kids" fireworks here.

    • by Anonymous Coward

      "These things are pretty loud... every few seconds for several hours... Crazy awesome way to celebrate the new years."

      I don't see how that is awesome. That sounds extraordinarily unpleasant.

    • by Anonymous Coward

      You should try Waimanalo on the island of O'ahu. Every family gets ~$3000 worth (yes, that's thousands) of fireworks and lights them off constantly the whole night. The next morning every street is covered in burnt red paper, spent roman candles on the hoods of cars. I've heard a lot of stories about New Years fireworks, but then I experienced it in Waimanalo. Don't bother telling me fireworks are illegal there. I know and they don't care. Here's something from 2010 -- []

    • Compared to what happened for "old and new" in Holland that is lame indeed. Amsterdam is, well, there is no word for what it is like. All I can say is that the streets are 4-8" deep in firecracker wrappers the following morning, and I don't even really remember the firecrackers: especially compared to the "big rockets" going off every second and in every direction from 11 PM to 5 AM the next morning. Even compared to China at Spring festival Amsterdam is incomparable.

  • not entirely sure why you would need a slingshot to light something that you can usually buy with a rocket attached in any firework shop. just light the rocket and away you go. and as for "easily crashes through a card board box", the UK rockets will blow a hole through a window or blow the exhaust of a car.

  • by Daetrin ( 576516 ) on Tuesday January 01, 2013 @06:46PM (#42445499)
    I think between movies and Mythbusters my expectations for explosions are entirely out of whack with "common" explosions in reality, or at least what i expect to be shown off in internet videos. Those firecracker explosions were a lot quieter than i was expecting (at least as recorded in the video) and i was hoping to see either the cardboard box or the ballistic gel actually be broken apart by the explosion, but no such luck.

    They seemed like the kind of thing that the Mythbusters would get when trying to reproduce the myth. The kind where they'd decide the myth was a failure and then go on and try to replicate the results with progressively larger amounts of explosive. Although given that they almost always end up having to scale things up i guess it makes sense that a "normal" firecracker just isn't that impressive.
    • Used to mess with m80s as a teenager in Queens, put a lit one down a thick cardboard tube, then a tennis ball, wait for a slow fuse to finally catch then..BOOM! That ball would travel a good football field. These are two or three times the size, about 1/2 a stick of dynamite maybe. Oh those wacky Germans, always vit der vays of violentz! Looks like fun.
      • Just saw the 2nd vid, I take back what I said. Those are longer then the m80s I had as a kid (m80=1/4 stick of dynamite), but not nearly as powerful, more like an m40, may-be.
        • by Ozeroc ( 1146595 )
          This is about right. I'm from the US and used to play with M80s as a kid. When I got to Germany and bought some of these I was thinking they were going to be crazy loud and destructive! Meh, I wasn't that impressed. They are loud but mostly full of clay/dirt. Sure wouldn't want one going off in my hand though!
          • Right? I wouldn't reccomend doing what I and my friends did to a kid today. Those fuses are 'usually' reliable, but you got some that burned real quick. Phht, boom! If you were too close, too bad, so sad for you. I haven't messed with them in many, many years. And every July 4th I see the news of guys who look in a mortar tube when a slow fuse finally went off, goodbye face. I guess we were lucky not to get too hurt. If you don't have the proper respect for these things, you can get badly damaged, even from
    • by dillee1 ( 741792 )

      I wonder why the explosions are exceptionally weak too. In my experience a 1-inch long firecracker can easily crack a small gardening pot, and probably blow the gel block apart completely.

      • If you watch the slo-mo shot of the explosion inside the gel block, you can see that the explosion blows out the ends of the paper tube, without rupturing the tube itself, which would take a LOT more pressure and make a LOT more noise.

        I suspect the the ends of these things are simply crimped shut, rather than sealed with a glued in plug like an M-80. Probably done to limit the power for safety reasons. They also apparently use black powder, rather than the more energetic flash powder used in M-80s. But 2 g

  • Outlawed here (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Trax3001BBS ( 2368736 ) on Tuesday January 01, 2013 @06:52PM (#42445521) Homepage Journal

    Those type of devices have been illegal in this area since the '70's at
    that time they were a "problem".

    Minus the rubber band, add a cover to the breach and you have a "Zip gun"
    and a very efficient survival weapon.

    shooting a nail with just a black cat fire cracker and a rubber band holding down the breach cover
    and "it will pin a person to the wall"* a quote from the local newspaper.

    After reading that quote my grandmother says "that must be a very large nail".

    Even firecrackers are illegal here! How I envied this hint hint nudge nugde dude when
    he mentioned them being legal for a day or two.

    • Just saw the second video

      After reading that quote my grandmother says "that must be a very large nail".

      or a bayonet.

    • Minus the rubber band, add a cover to the breach and you have a "Zip gun"
      and a very efficient survival weapon.

      Or "other people non-survival" weapon.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    Tell me again how more gun control laws will make us safer?

  • Once he embedded metal into a firework that makes it into a bomb which is highly illegal in the United States.

  • In the 70s, I was in High School. A friend and I made our own home-made dynamite from nitroglycerin we also made at home mixed with a home-made aluminum based flash powder. We also made fulminate of mercury (I can still remember the strong apple scented cloud generated in its production.) We'd stick 1 oz, loads with a blasting cap (a glass ampule filled with home-made fulminate with a piece of miners fuse), to the top of an Estes 'E' engine rocket motor with fins attached. The things would go up about 250 f

  • Blew his eye out trying to do exactly that. On the other hand, the glass eye lends itself to all sorts of party gags.

  • Old trick: Put two in a pipe, then you have a fire cracker launching fire cracker, which is a whole lot more spectacular.

Thus spake the master programmer: "When a program is being tested, it is too late to make design changes." -- Geoffrey James, "The Tao of Programming"