A Wrist-Mounted Flamethrower? Sure, Why Not?

There are three types of booths at Maker Faire. The first is the strange corporate booth, like Pepsi ‘revolutionizing fluid intake’ or some such nonsense. That one had the longest line of any booth, in case you’re wondering. The second type of booth is the people you would expect to be there – Atmel, TI, and Makerbot all came out in full force.

The third type of booth were a little hard to find. They’re the ‘show and tell’ spirit of Maker Faire, and [Stephen Hawes] was one of the best. Why? Wrist-mounted flamethrower, that’s why.

The flamethrower is fueled with a propane bottle originally meant for a camping stove, with a microcontroller and pot setup taking care of the height of the flame. Buttons underneath [Stephen]’s thumb takes care of the propane flow and tazer-based ignitor. The wrist measurement sensor can rescale to adjust the height of the flame to how far the wearer can move their wrist.

All in all, a great project for the Faire, although we did feel a little sorry for the NYC fire marshal that was assigned to [Stephen] for the entire faire. As an aside, we’re applauding [Stephen] for not referencing whatever comic book character has fire shooting out of his hand.

26 thoughts on “A Wrist-Mounted Flamethrower? Sure, Why Not?

    1. So? Most people don’t have a completely original idea in their entire lives. Regardless, this guy has taken an idea (which may not be completely novel), has implemented it, and has probably learned a lot in the process. Good for him!

  1. It’s not a flame thrower.

    It’s a torch. Please stop abusing the term for leet street cred, kthx. When you can incinerate something 30 feet away by spraying it with highly flammable liquid, then you’ve got a flamethrower. These toys are nothing more then improperly regulated wrist mounted torches.

  2. I shared the performance “stage” with Steve. He was a great kid, enthusiastic, and creative. Willing to take up a bunch of new skills as needed to build something. For example, he wanted to weld up some bits on his gauntlet, and didn’t let a lack of equipment or training get in the way. He built a welder out of microwave transformers, and taught himself to stick weld. (he was amazed to learn about auto darkening helmets, and 7024 “slobber” rod)

    We got different fire marshals each day, and all were great. When they realized that Steve gave the fire the respect it required were quite happy to let him do his own thing. (one returned after a stroll, to announce he just bought himself a 3D printer)

    Sundays marshal was actually a licensed pyro tech, and spent a lot of his days rigging cars, etc to explode (with movie required fireball) for the NYC TV industry. Needless to say he had some great stories. We saw a bunch of clips of what happens when you skillfully mix a car, propane, black powder, and some gasoline. He mentioned rigging manhole covers to blow, and once when one was used to flip a car, getting a bit too enthusiastic a result, the air cylinder was larger than needed, and the car landed some 50 feet away, rather than just on its roof.

    He spent N years on the set of “Rescue Me”, and told of walking up to Dennis Leary between takes, and discovering him taking a cigarette break, while leaning against a 100lb propane tank. He asked “Mr Leary what is wrong with this picture?”. The actor took a slow look around, realized the “pillar” he was leaning on wasn’t benign, and ran off. Apparently for the rest (years) of filming, Leary was embarrassed to talk to him, and would send PA’s over to get permission to light up.

    As is typical of a solo exhibitor, I didn’t get to wander, but I had a great time anyway. (a spot next to the food trucks was a real win). A lot of people I know (some only as email messages traded) stopped by and said hello. I managed to add 80 more trials to “Decisions Decisions…” flips, and tails is now ahead by one flip.

    One of the features of Friday, is a mixer for the exhibitors. It features beer, huge pans of paella, an appearance by the “Treats Truck”, and lots of schmoozing with fellow makers. Unfortunately for me, I did a test run of my machine, and the scissors jack (which loads the springs that power the beast) a relic from some small Japanese sedan I used to own, decided to strip out its lead screw. So instead of food and banter, I got Friday evening traffic on the BQE, Horror Freight, and some quality time with an angle grinder and hacksaw. (I had welded in the jack, so the springs couldn’t shift it, and gain their freedom). Since the site closed down at 9, about half happened in the hotel parking lot.

    The new jack has twice the rating of the old one (intended for leveling trailers) so I suspect I won’t be changing it soon. As is typical of my prop building, I design for a 20 minute active life, and give preference to “found” objects when available.

    Anyhow, the loud noise of an 18″ diameter “coin” getting flipped, attracted the live stream crew. Here is the footage they got of me, and then Steve. We both got “Editors Choice” ribbons. to adorn our machines. Here is the footage http://youtu.be/UJ0YoXuUGxY?t=3h32m

    (lets see if it will embed)

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