What were you doing when you were 15 years old? Maybe getting your driver’s permit? Or finding the guts to ask out that crush of yours? Or thinking about a way to build a giant ping pong-ball machine gun that would allow you to rain down an unmitigated barrage of thwoomp thwoomp thwoomping ping pong balls on everybody around you?! No wait, that was Adam Savage. Really, it could’ve only been Adam Savage, right?
Savage, the former MythBuster turned founder of Tested, completed for his latest one-day build something he said has been on his mind since he was a teenager. Not just a ping pong-ball gun — like the one he and Jamie Hyneman built on MythBusters that could shoot ping pong balls at a whopping 1100mph —but a ping pong-ball machine gun. Or what is in reality a moderately modified 20-volt cordless leaf blower that can instantly give a person a wicked case of skydive-face.
The video demonstrates how to assemble the entire ping pong-ball machine gun, although the highlight of the video is without a doubt watching the evolution of the ball loader (the PP clip, if you will), which starts at around 15:00. It quickly becomes apparent that some type of cap is needed, but finally figuring out exactly what type of configuration is required results in a eureka moment that makes Savage act like he’s 15 again. Also, it’s a great demonstration of one those savory scientific breakthrough moments when something finally works.
Savage points out at the end of the clip that the project isn’t done, but if you want to see it in its final form, you’ll have to check out the live tour he’s co-hosting with Vsauce’s Michael Stevens, dubbed Brain Candy. Warning: It’s unclear whether people sitting in the front rows will be getting a face full of ping pong balls. (Would you even notice anyway?)
What do you think about this ping pong-ball machine gun? Do you want to know what it feels like to fire this beast, or do you have your eye on Jörg Sprave’s fully automatic version that uses slingshots? Fire off your thoughts in the comments below!