We've shown you previously that with the right parts, you can supposedly build your own fusion reactor. Now, if you think that kind of thing is only easy to pull off on paper and that nobody could actually build a working device, think again. Two kids from Michigan actually did, although one was more successful than the other.
Guess which one?
The guy on the left, Thiago Olson, built a fusion reactor in his basement starting at age 15 and actually achieved a fusion reaction by age 17. He scoured for parts on eBay, read books on physics and posted questions on a fusion forum whenever he couldn't figure it out on his own, leading us to wonder just who the hell populates a message board with the secrets of nuclear science.
The other guy is David Hahn, who created a breeder nuclear reactor in his mother's shed as a 17-year-old Eagle Scout. Sadly, we can't show you a picture of it, since the EPA buried his shed and all of his experiments in a low-level radioactive waste site in Utah, presumably creating a team of superhuman mutants in the process.
Hahn never got enough nuclear material to reach critical mass and start a reaction, although he did succeed in irradiating his entire neighborhood. Other failures left him burned, turned his hair green and knocked him the hell out, but he continued on with the kind of pluck only cartoon coyotes possess.
This is bound to work eventually.
Although he was apparently a poor student (he had horrible scores in school and wrote the word "Caushon" on his work shed), he did manage to cobble together enough parts and nuclear material to build the base of his breeder reactor. In the end, Hahn was the subject of a book about how he nearly killed his neighborhood, which admittedly is pretty awesome until you compare him with the much more successful Olson, who managed to get a planet named after him.
3A Cruise Missile
New Zealand is home to Bruce Simpson, also known as the guy who built his own cruise missile.
The fully completed missile has little streamers on it.
While the idea alone sounds like supervillainy is afoot, it turns out that Simpson simply wanted to see if it could be done, and he posted all of his progress on a website for the whole world to read and copy. His specs call for less than $5,000 worth of parts (the missile is made of fiberglass, stainless steel, and polystyrene sheets), and the project can be completed by anyone who has access to regular shop tools. The electronics feature a video system, a radio transmitter, GPS and flight-control system, and the finished product can carry a 22-pound warhead.
For hunting turkey.
The U.S. and New Zealand governments seem to think that in this age of G3 Internet and crazy fundamentalists, maybe, just maybe, we might want to hold off on the whole "let's tell people how to build something that can't used for anything other than blowing shit up." Simpson says it's just a way to test jet engines. The authorities' repeated attempts to squash his projects have not prevented him from acquiring inexpensive parts from around the world, which he happily points out on his site can pass right through New Zealand customs without an issue, and he treats the government's objections with baffled indignation.
Also, he wrote a book about his "brave" attempt to create inexpensive weapons that anyone can build at home, proudly boasting that "Since childhood I've survived near-electrocution, exploding rocket motors, imploding jet engines and homemade mortar fire." We would like to point out that none of this would be necessary were he not trying to build devastating sophisticated weaponry in his goddamn garage.
This does not count as a home improvement project.