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

Author(s): William Gurstelle

Things to Make & Do

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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"If you want to make a potato souffle, 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" ‘A handbook for bored, thirty-something children (like myself) on how to make potato cannons, tennis ball mortars, catapults and the like from the comfort of their garden shed. Twelve projects from the ridiculously easy to the fairly time consuming, packed into 169 pages of juvenile play hem. Good instructions, clear pictures and photos, and all done with the emphasis on safety. There is also a fair amount of explanation concerning the actual physics behind the projects and a look at historical figures such as Newton and Archimedes.’ - Amazon Customer Review

Named to Wired Magazine’s Smart List, William Gurstelle is a bestselling author, DIY expert, and professional speaker. The author of Backyard Ballistics, Absinthe and Flamethrowers, and seven other books, he is recognised for his particular talent for making science and technology accessible, intriguing, and – most of all – fun to all readers and audiences. Having sold more nearly half a million books, he is one of the world’s most widely read authors on science and technology. The co-producer of the Emmy nominated PBS television show Make: Television, William also has a recurring on-air role in the series. In addition, he is a letterhead-listed contributing editor for Popular Mechanics and Make Magazine and is a frequent contributor to Wired.

General Fields

  • : 9781613740644
  • : Chicago Review Press, Incorporated
  • : Chicago Review Press, Incorporated
  • : September 2012
  • : 255mm X 180mm X 22mm
  • : books

Special Fields

  • : William Gurstelle
  • : Paperback
  • : English
  • : 531.5507
  • : 240
  • : PD
  • : 65 b/w photos & 35 illus