--Note: This article was originally published in Best of AFN III. It contains some "questionable" manufacturing methods and is reposted here for amusement purposes only. Follow these instructions at your own risk--
After perfecting blender comets, [Blender Comets, Best of AFN II & Best of AFN VII] the next step must be blender rockets. Having vowed to report this technology after it is perfected, I now realize if I wait for perfection we will all be gray Greenmen before this is published, so here it is. With the aid of my trusty garage sale blender I whip up 3 pound rockets at 50g each.
Rather than spend 50g for a case, I roll my own from cereal boxes. After flattening the box and trimming off the top and bottom, I cut it in half along two creases. Thus I get 2 similar sheets of cardboard, sufficient for one case.
I dismember about 10 boxes in this fashion and anoint their inkless side with wheat paste. I roll them tightly around a 1 dowel rod, first one sheet then the other. The grain is parallel to the dowel, with the pasted side in, pretty side out. Thus I create rockets adorned with Snap, Crackle and Pop; rockets fortified with vitamins and potassium, and so on. The premium cereal, of course, is "KABOOM".
The paste acts as a lubricant, allowing the case and dowel to be slid apart. It also lubricates my hands, so a dry rag is handy to help my pasty paw grip the rod.
I now mix some non-shrinking plaster and water to a playdough-like consistency, and force it into the damp case. The optional wooden base is whittled from scraps. I press forcibly to bulge ever so slightly but not to rupture the case. Quickly, before the plaster hardens, I form the nozzle with a 5/16" rod or twist drill.
ROCKET COMP FORMULA
An efficiency minded pyro rebuked me for my wasteful surplus of fuel in this mixture. Lest I suffer reiterative verbal castigation, let me clarify that specific thrust is not the objective. The extra charcoal makes a nice tail. Furthermore, charcoal briquettes are the best deal around, because each bag contains several square feet of real estate in the form of clay, which adds a pretty dross to the tail.
|Potassium nitrate||600 grams|
|Charcoal Briquettes||300 grams|
|(sliced and diced to 4 mesh)|
HERE'S THE SECRET
Now I am prepared to commit chemistry. I heat the potassium nitrate and water until dissolved (near boiling). Into the blender it goes, then I start the motor and add the charcoal and sulfur.
Since we're in the kitchen, it would naturally occur to such masters of modern technology to pop the potassium nitrate/water in the microwave. A pyro friend writes that this is effective, but should not be attempted on a paper plate. Once soaked with nitrate, the paper gleefully acts as fuel. If you enjoy the hearty aroma of simmering nitrate soup, wait till you get a snootfull of that. Move over galloping gourmet... enter exploding glutton.
Skylighter Note: DO NOT microwave compositions. Just don't.
After blending the gunpowder daiquiri for 5-10 minutes, I frequently take a sample outside and ignite it. I find it to be ignitable even when wet, and I wonder what sort of fire would result from a whole kilo burning in a blender. Would it boil off the water, then explode? Probably not, but the thought inspires me to re-evaluate MY safety precautions: Fill the water bucket, clear out the flammables, put on the face shield, and above all-keep the women out of the kitchen.
Yet another pyro friend did not keep the Mrs. away when making his first batch of blender boom. When she learned that he was verily not preparing her a chocolate milk shake, she verily did explode.
I ladle the hot glop into all ten cases to within 2" of the top. That annoying drip-drip-drip of propellant oozing out the nozzle can be cured by first loading some cool propellant in the bottom. Tapping the rocket on the table helps eliminate air bubbles. I scrape excess propellant off the inside wall where the top plug is to seat and force dampened plaster in with a 7/8" dowel rod. Then I push a pointed 4" rod through the nozzle. This pushes the propellant tightly against the inner wall and leaves a centerbore, or combustion chamber. The dowel is withdrawn after the propellant cools.
No ramming is necessary in this process, which allows weaker homemade cases to be used. While my cases are too thin to withstand ramming, I have had only one out of a hundred rupture when fired.
While Mr. Pyro Friend was blowing up his wife's microwave, I was devising new ways to load the propellant. The soup in the blender is runny enough, so why not suck it into the case with the vacuum cleaner? Diabolical! In a matter of seconds the blender was empty, the rocket was a mess, and the vacuum cleaner was full of ooeygooey gunpowder goop. Try explaining that one to the Mrs... "Honey, why does the vacuum smell like eggs?"... "KER-BOOM!"
After the rockets have dried a couple weeks I attach sticks of wood lath cut twice lengthwise. The result is a cheap rocket that produces a pretty tail when it works and a pretty comet or gerb when it fails. As I never announce which result is intended before firing, most spectators construe the surprise effect as a success.