Attack Of The Eighty-Foot String Shooter

String shooters are exciting because they adhere to the laws of physics in that peculiar way that makes us ask, “How?” and “Why?” After a bit of poking and prodding, maybe some light rope burn, we probably have a few ideas on how we’d make our own. [Nick Belsten] and [Joey Rain] saw some desktop models and thought, “Let’s make that puppy eighty feet long!” Video also embedded after the break.

Instead of hobby motors, flashlight batteries, and toy car wheels, they choose a washing machine motor and bike tires, then plug into an extension cord. The three-minute video isn’t a how-to build because once you start welding this kind of hardware together, you are already flying by the seat of your pants. You will see a front yard with people delighting in the absurdity of launching rope continuously over the treetops. There’s plenty of room for observing a wave traveling along the cord or polishing your fingernails in a hurry.

We want to make string shooters for the office and add our personal flavor, like lights or colored string so they’re safe to touch. If you have a unique twist on any physics experiments, drop us a line, but for insurance reasons, we’ll add that you should not make a chainsaw without a guide bar, aka, the forbidden chain-saber.

24 thoughts on “Attack Of The Eighty-Foot String Shooter

    1. Try “Everything Metric” if you’re using Chrome. FF has something similar too.

      Imperial outperforms metric on English language websites for click through and I doubt that’s changing soon. There’s not much chance they’re going to give up revenue to save some people the effort of dividing by ≈3.3 to get meters.

      I know converting measurements isn’t an amusing pastime, but it’s more fulfilling than asking HaD to do it for you and being ignored because they have to pay the bills.

    2. Oh, I though the imperial system was officially rejected on December 16, 1773 at Boston, by the harbour. Dunno why people just can’t leave it behind, like all the other colonies :)

    3. It isn’t Imperial. The US System of Weights and Measures is different. The elite thinking eggheads in France could have saved a lot of trouble by defining the meter to be a yard and therefore making a good standard yard. But no, they had a better idea! First you walk from the equator to the North Pole…. then to make it easy to remember you use Greek prefixes for measure smaller than 1 and Latin for greater than 1, because who doesn’t know those?

      Then to put the final nail in the coffin of those systems with all those rational numbers, make the names have many syllables that sound the same and be done with those pesky singly syllable easily recognized names.

      Oh, I forgot. Choose sizes that don’t fit human usage well like to drink or hold, etc. It coulda been great.

        1. Defined by a French metric system. They are all metric systems. Yes, they are all based on the standard kilogram and meter. It could have been a standard yard and a mass that makes it work out.

          My point is why standardize on a such an oddball length. (We know why, they were rejecting pre-revolution culture and everything associated with it, which is not the best reason to change fundamentals.) And I find the range of rational numbers you get when using 12 divisions instead of 10 to be useful.

  1. Now the rope is thick enough to embed some of those copper wire smd LED Christmas lights.
    Then you could have “tracer rounds” along the length of the rope. I wonder if it might be possible to do this with a sheet of fabric and a pair of roller drums and extend it into the second dimension. If the drums were conductive and the fabric had conductive fibers woven into it, guess you’d need to put grooves in the drums or rubber over the fabric to protect the LEDs.
    Or better yet, two rope shooters, but shooting a thin baided steel cable, then you pass high voltage through them, from a Tesla coil, using it to strike a mid air arc between them, like a gigantic Jacobs ladder.

    1. If it were three lengths of el wire or leds, then you could eliminate only the portion traveling in a straight line up in the air and the return path would remain off. With leds it might be feasible to wire alternating strings and have the lights chase along the length of the illuminated section. I wonder if flashing smd leds are available as per their through whole cousins.

  2. The Action Lab jus did a really interesting video last week about string shooters.. He did an experiment with a vacuum chamber which shows that there are some aerodynamic affects that com into play. I don’t know I I agree with everything said in the video but the vacuum chamber video is really interesting.

    When I made my string shooters I spent a lot of time finding the best string to use for the string shooters I made. Through the process of trying different strings I found that a lower density (fluffier) string worked better with my setup. That kind of clued me into the fact that there are some aero effects going. The Action Lab’s really highlights the aero effect.

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