Science
Utterly Insane Sledgehammer Fireworks During Carnival

First off: Don’t try this at home. Or in your town center or you shopping mall. Or anywhere. Really, this is crazy stuff. Repeat crazy. You will never see this at a Maker Faire.

fireworks

Last weekend, I met John Ward who lives in San Miguel, Mexico. He asked me if I’d ever heard of “sledgehammer fireworks.” He and his wife recently visited San Juan de la Vega. He explained that the Carnaval celebration began with a procession through town and then a mock battle. Next they try to blow up a train. These are all the preliminaries for a group of young men breaking out the explosives and taping them to sledgehammers. They swing the sledgehammers, striking an I-beam on the ground. Boom!

Watch as Ron, one of the couple’s friends, accepts the invitation to swing a loaded sledgehammer himself. All I can say, should anyone decide to go to San Juan de la Vega, is watch out for the other guy with the sledgehammer. If they don’t care about their own safety, they surely don’t care about yours.

This has to be the craziest town celebrations ever!

John’s wife’s blog is Living in San Miguel and her “Sledgehammer Fireworks” post gives more background on this unusual festivity. John’s blog in ManyMinds.com.

6 thoughts on “Utterly Insane Sledgehammer Fireworks During Carnival

  1. Do a search on “sledgehammer fireworks” on YouTube for an absolute cacophony of exploding hammers. In one, the guy is literally lifted off his feet with the blast, hammer flying. Insane.

  2. A somewhat small scale sledgehammer firework you can do that is relatively safe (read: not safe, but safer than using shock sensitive peroxides) is mixing sulfur and potassium chlorate together. This makes a very shock sensitive mixture that a small thwap with a hammer will give you a satisfyingly loud snap and a small puff of smoke with that satisfying firework smell. You only need about 1/4 tsp of the mixture, if that, for it to ignite after being hit with a hammer.

    1. I’ll make it one step easier:

      Clip the head off a “strike anywhere” match, and wrap it in a tiny bit of aluminum foil. Then strike it with a hammer.

      POP!

      Ah, summers when I was kid…

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DALE DOUGHERTY is the leading advocate of the Maker Movement. He founded Make: Magazine 2005, which first used the term “makers” to describe people who enjoyed “hands-on” work and play. He started Maker Faire in the San Francisco Bay Area in 2006, and this event has spread to nearly 200 locations in 40 countries, with over 1.5M attendees annually. He is President of Make:Community, which produces Make: and Maker Faire.

In 2011 Dougherty was honored at the White House as a “Champion of Change” through an initiative that honors Americans who are “doing extraordinary things in their communities to out-innovate, out-educate and out-build the rest of the world.” At the 2014 White House Maker Faire he was introduced by President Obama as an American innovator making significant contributions to the fields of education and business. He believes that the Maker Movement has the potential to transform the educational experience of students and introduce them to the practice of innovation through play and tinkering.

Dougherty is the author of “Free to Make: How the Maker Movement Is Changing our Jobs, Schools and Minds” with Adriane Conrad. He is co-author of "Maker City: A Practical Guide for Reinventing American Cities" with Peter Hirshberg and Marcia Kadanoff.

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