Building A Hammer Powered By Gunpowder

Hammers are pretty straightforward tools. If you need more impact force, just get a bigger hammer. Alternatively, you can look at enhancing performance with chemical means, and we don’t mean by using steroids. No, instead, you can try hammering with the aid of gunpowder, and [i did a thing] has done just that.

The build relies on using 6.8mm blank cartridges designed for the Ramset brand of explosive nail drivers. However, rather than buying such a tool off the shelf, [i did a thing] built one in a traditional hammer format instead. The device looks like a hammer, with a hinge on the two-piece head, which allows a blank cartridge to be placed inside. When the hammer is swung at a hard surface, the impact triggers the blank which drives the nail forward with incredible force.

[i did a thing] was able to pierce steel with the device, and sent a nail clean through a surfboard, too. It’s a very dangerous thing, so if you’re experimenting in this space, do be careful. Video after the break.

24 thoughts on “Building A Hammer Powered By Gunpowder

  1. I built a little toy cannon that shoots plastic airsoft pellets using these same RamSet blanks and it will happily hurl a 6mm plastic pellet through thin sheet steel. It makes a satisfying “bang” too =:-)

      1. It’s more of a very small siege mortar (short smooth bore, spherical cannonball) than a proper “gun” in the sense that it you need a ramrod and wadding to load the airsoft “cannonball”. Tomato/tomato I guess but it is far from a practical weapon if the force laying siege to your fort is composed of soldiers bigger than those injection molded army men.

        1. “I guess but it is far from a practical weapon if the force laying siege to your fort is composed of soldiers bigger than those injection molded army men.”

          When I was in grade school, two of my neighbors (brothers) set “green army men” up on an embankment behind their house and shot at them with their .22 rifle. It was fun to watch and they let me keep the “wounded”.

      1. They are- Ramset is the brand name for a ‘powder-actuated nailer’, and as mentioned above, they use modified .22 short blanks to drive a metal spike into… _anything_, including concrete.

    1. Yeah, definitely not .50 caliber. When I saw the title on YouTube, I passed on it. Clearly clickbait. This article hasn’t convinced me otherwise. i also doubt the claim of world’s most powerful hammer. I bet a simple sledge hammer has more force than this thing.

    2. Although truly a hack and while the guy was obviously adding humor as much as possible, the demonstration of 100% unsafe actions near the running machinery warrants being called out by the videographer or by Hackaday. No, MOST people won’t repeat those unsafe actions. But I’ve seen enough serious industrial accidents that I don’t feel like anyone should make a mockery of machine safety.

  2. These “gun powder driven” nail guns exist quite long. In WW2 they were used to seal submarines by nailing patches on the shell.

    Nowadays a driving bolt is used to push the nail. The energy resides in the bolt. So when the nail does not find resistance, it will not convert in a projectile.

    Modern nailguns fulfill safety requirements: No shot on miss.

    Here I am not talking about nailguns driving a 2″ nail into wood but obe that is driving a 4mm bolt 15mm deep into steel or concrete.

    This is a safety feature I miss on the,presented solution.

    Greetings Georg

  3. The commercial versions use a steel push rod with some blowby and a vent that opens once the end of the rod moves to the muzzle of the barrel. There’s a cross pin or the bore and rod are stepped so it can’t shoot out of the barrel. Many ways to duplicate such design elements.

    The way he lathe turned the nail heads to make a very snug fit in the hole made this hammer very dangerous.

    1. I have one of the Remington commercial ones. There’s no way I would be messing with making my own. There’s a lot of energy in those little shells, and a good amount of recoil when you’re driving 2-1/2″ pins into concrete to fasten a 2×4. Though not regulated as such, they are to all intents and purposes, a firearm, and deserve that level of respect.

  4. watching this video made me uncomfortable. Since he’s basically “crushing” the rimfire blank to get it to go off, every time he closes the hammer he’s in danger of setting it off…. I don’t think that would be likely fatal, but he could get some nasty burns and could launch that nail somewhere unintended. I just wish he’d bothered to do even a little research on how these cartridges work.

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