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Check Out This Backyard Solar “Death Ray”

Submitted by on March 10, 2013 – 1:23 pm2 Comments
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NPR reports on a guy who built a potentially dangerous weapon at his home, using only a discarded TV and some spare lumber… and the power of science!

Grant Thompson shares his love of science-inspired weekend projects and life hacks at the YouTube channel King of Random. Last December, he posted a video of himself playing with a homemade Death Ray, which he calls by the slight more demure name, “The Solar Scorcher.” Using what looks like (and basically is) a four-foot-tall magnifying glass mounted on a hinged wooden frame, Thompson melts coins, ignites wood on contact, and boils water instantly.

Despite warning his viewers of the safety risks, Thompson doesn’t seem afraid to nudge a bottle closer to the 2000°F beam of light with his bare hand.

In another video, Thompson shows viewers how to get the large magnifying panel, which is a Fresnel lens from an old big screen TV that he got for free. The hardest part seemed to be loading and unloading the behemoth appliance.

Thompson’s nonchalant attitude adds a lot of appeal to the semi-scientific videos. His happy but matter-of-fact narration contrasts with the explosions and fire onscreen.

Thompson’s other videos include “Light A Fire With Your Pee,” “DIY Acrylic Fire Piston,” and “Make A Spot Welder For Cheap.” (Really? Aren’t there some things you shouldn’t skimp on?!”

What do you think? Would you want this thing at your home?

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