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Backyard Ballistics: Build Potato Cannons, Paper Match Rockets, Cincinnati Fire Kites, Tennis Ball Mortars, and More Dynamite Devices

( 14 )

Overview

This bestselling DIY handbook now features new and expanded projects, enabling ordinary folks to construct 16 awesome ballistic devices in their garage or basement workshops using inexpensive household or hardware store materials and this step-by-step guide. Clear instructions, diagrams, and photographs show how to build projects ranging from the simple match-powered rocket to the more complex tabletop catapult and the offbeat Cincinnati fire kite. The classic potato cannon has a new evil twin—the piezo-electric ...

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Backyard Ballistics: Build Potato Cannons, Paper Match Rockets, Cincinnati Fire Kites, Tennis Ball Mortars, and More Dynamite Devices

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Overview

This bestselling DIY handbook now features new and expanded projects, enabling ordinary folks to construct 16 awesome ballistic devices in their garage or basement workshops using inexpensive household or hardware store materials and this step-by-step guide. Clear instructions, diagrams, and photographs show how to build projects ranging from the simple match-powered rocket to the more complex tabletop catapult and the offbeat Cincinnati fire kite. The classic potato cannon has a new evil twin—the piezo-electric spud gun and the electromagnetic pipe gun has joined the company of such favorites as the tennis ball mortar. With a strong emphasis on safety, the book also gives tips on troubleshooting, explains the physics behind the projects, and profiles scientists and extraordinary experimenters such as Alfred Nobel, Robert Goddard, and Isaac Newton. This book will be indispensable for the legions of backyard toy-rocket launchers and fireworks fanatics who wish every day was the fourth of July.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
“Fun and potentially dangerous, this is sure to be a hit at most public libraries. Recommended. Bring your own safety goggles."  —Library Journal

“A great primer for the would-be engineer, and a wonderful chance for bonding among like-minded parents and children . . . Great fun!”  —Courier-Journal

"How is it possible not to love a book with chapter titles like 'Back Porch Rocketry' and 'Greek Fire and the Catapult?' I devoured this prodigious account of all things explosive."  —Homer Hickam, author of Rocket Boys

"Would-be rocketeers, take note: Engineer William Gurstelle has written a book for you."  —Chicago Tribune

"If you want to make a potato soufflé, pick up a book by Julia Child. If you want to decorate your holiday cards with hand-cut potato stamps, look to a Martha Stewart manual. If, however, you'd like to launch a potato in a blazing fireball of combusting hairspray from a PVC pipe, your best source is Backyard Ballistics, by William Gurstelle."  —Time Out New York

"Your inner boy will get a bang out of these 13 devices to build and shoot in your own back yard, some of them noisy enough to legally perk up a 4th of July."  —Dallas Morning News

Library Journal
From potato guns to flaming balloons, this DIY book has unique appeal. Gurstelle (The Practical Pyromaniac; The Art of the Catapult) offers an update to his 2001 publication, adding new devices and resource information. Interspersed between projects are sections on history and scientific principles, adding depth to the mayhem. Cautions for safety are strongly stated and frequently. These are definitely not for unsupervised youth. The projects range from utterly simplistic to complicated construction, accompanied by clear instructions. VERDICT Fun and potentially dangerous, this is sure to be a hit at most public libraries. Recommended. Bring your own safety goggles.
Constable
Offers a safe, cheap, and legal, labor-intensive and intellectually challenging to the 'oops I blew off my fingers' debacle.
Arlington Heights Daily Herald
Journal of Chemical Education
Fun and thrilling.
Chicago Tribune
Would-be rocketeers, take note: Engineer William Gurstelle has written a book for you.
Plain Dealer
To inspire kids to spend more time exploring science.
St. Paul Pioneer Press
13 projects engineered to be safe yet exciting and able to be built with household and hardware-store supplies.
The Daily Oklahoman
"...shows the safe way to amaze and annoy your neighbors with amateur science projects."
Time Out New York
If you'd like to launch a potato in a blazing fireball of combusting hairspray from a PVC pipe, this is your best source.
DallasNews.com
Your inner boy will get a bang out of these 13 devices to build and shoot in your own backyard, some of them noisy enough to legally perk up a 4th of July.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781613740644
  • Publisher: Chicago Review Press, Incorporated
  • Publication date: 9/1/2012
  • Edition description: Second Edition, Second edition
  • Edition number: 2
  • Pages: 240
  • Sales rank: 59,344
  • Product dimensions: 7.10 (w) x 9.80 (h) x 0.62 (d)

Meet the Author

William Gurstelle is the author of Absinthe & Flamethrowers; The Art of the Catapult; Building Bots; The Practical Pyromaniac; Notes from the Technology Underground; and Whoosh, Boom, Splat. He is a professional engineer who has been researching and building model catapults and ballistic devices for more than 30 years and is a contributing editor at Popular Mechanics and Make magazine and writes frequently for Wired, The Rake, and several other national magazines. He lives in Minneapolis, Minnesota.

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Table of Contents

Acknowledgments xi

Preface to the Second Edition xiii

Introduction xvii

Time Line xxii

1 Keeping Safety in Mind 1

2 The Potato Cannon 9

The Classic Potato Cannon

The Spud - Zooka

3 Back Porch Rocketry 31

The Paper Match Rocket

The Hydro Pump Rocket

The Pneumatic Missile

4 The Cincinnati Fire Kite 59

5 Greek Fire and the Catapult 71

6 The Tennis Ball Mortar 87

7 The Sublimator 99

8 The Flinger 109

9 Pnewton's Petard 123

10 The Powder Keg 139

11 The Dry Cleaner Bag Balloon 147

12 The Carbide Cannon 157

13 The Electromagnetic Pipe Gun 173

14 The Ballistic Pendulum 183

Ideas for Further Study 193

Advice on Procuring Materials 201

Index 205

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4
( 14 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(7)

4 Star

(4)

3 Star

(0)

2 Star

(0)

1 Star

(3)

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Sort by: Showing all of 14 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted February 14, 2005

    awesome

    It was the best stinkin book ever i learned lots of kewl stuff

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted January 13, 2005

    Kaboom, goodbye neighbor

    A great book, legal, yet a great way to discover the long-lost ideas to blowing up your neighbor's house-cat, and they work, i can still remember the time I shot off the potatoe cannon, followed by a pitiful yelp of my next door neighbor's Rottwiler...I LOVE Blowing things UP!!!! This is a great way to annoy or destroy your little sister's dreamworld

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted December 2, 2003

    KABOOM!!

    Yup, kaboom seems to be the only word able to describe the immense power that this book holds inbetween its two covers. If you enjoy the scientific background this book has to offer, or you just simply get a kick out of making potatos fly at mach 10, then I really feel that this book is for you. Mashed potatos anybody?

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted December 8, 2001

    Backyard Ballistics

    I really liked this book. It has a lot of cool projects in it. I just made an awesome potato cannon. This book is great for anyone interested in SCIENCE.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted November 25, 2001

    Fun Science

    Every day can be the 4th of July with this book in your personal library. Gurstelle provides good instructionns on how to build a variety of devices. He also researched the history behind them and related ballistics. There are plenty of warnings and reminders about safety procedures, too.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted May 11, 2012

    COOL

    Biz*-*+'-'+"-"+!-!=`¿`

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted May 2, 2012

    For the guy five spaces down

    Really? Not very nice.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted March 6, 2012

    Good Book

    i thought this was a really good book but it was a little hard to follow

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  • Posted February 23, 2009

    Good

    Good but lacking in speceific details

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 26, 2009

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted October 24, 2008

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted December 8, 2009

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted March 31, 2009

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted November 3, 2009

    No text was provided for this review.

Sort by: Showing all of 14 Customer Reviews

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