OK. This one is not so much cool tech as wanton and irresponsible fun. It is dangerous, but those of you who like gigantic fireballs in your movies would like this.
I was having a discussion with someone about survivalism in the era when zombies would take over or some such. As I was explaining the feasibility of homemade black powder rifle, an enthusiatic country boy overheard me and asked "Were you describing a zip gun to him?"
Since I've never heard of a zip gun, I asked for a description. "Basically, it's a steel pipe with screwed at the end with a steel plug. Drill a little hole. Pour in blackpowder charge, wad, and some shots, rocks, or what have you. Touch a fire to set it off." Yep. That's what I was describing all right.
"Same principle of a potato gun, except potato gun is made of PVC pipe instead of steel, and you use the fluid from butane lighter."
Then he gets all excited, and was recalling the time he and his buddies made an explosive stick, complete with fuse. "We wrapped a charge of the powder with toilet paper as some kind of fuse, and stuck it to the pipe. It was about two feet long. We thought it would burn in about 20 seconds or so. Nope. it burned real quick. The guy's hand only moved this much." He indicated a little over an inch. "Then it exploded and he arm got amputated to a couple of inches away from the elbow. Now he does everything with a hook attached to his arm."
Pretty dangerous stuff, alright. I'm ashamed to say that I was laughing hysterically at his description, and so was my buddy.
Then he went on to describe lighting a cannon. "One guy" he said, "was in a hurry, and leaned over the torch hole, and when he lit it, BOOM! Right into his face. All hair is gone from his face. No eyebrows, eyelashes, moustache. Nothing!"
He actually had a few more stories to tell, but I was having a hard time remembering. His funny expression of the poor guy is all I can remember.
Anyway, don't try this at home. You know, if you ever lost all facial hair due to blackpowder, then you just might be a redneck.