Friday, December 27, 2013

GALLIUM - AT LAST!

Many viewers,   after seeing my mercury videos have asked to see some things done with gallium.  

Gallium,  to many people is similar to mercury.    It is a silver metal that has a low melting point.   It is a solid below 85 deg. F,   but if you put it in your hand,   your body heat will
melt it.   It doesn't have the toxicity of mercury so it is a safer to handle,   even for kids.

I will be getting a small sample of gallium from www.galliumsource.com

Stay tuned!

Friday, December 20, 2013

Boiling Mercury

Many people have asked to see me heat up mercury by either using  a torch,  or  dropping a red hot ball bearing in it.   The problem is the mercury fumes/vapors that would be unleashed if I did this.   I've been thinking about a safe and responsible way of doing this without releasing any gas.   Using a fume-hood would not solve the problem since fume-hoods just exhaust the fumes outdoors.  

One thing I am going  do some experiments with is a "visible retort".    A retort is like a still that is used to heat the mercury up,  evaporate it and then condense it back into a purer form.    These are used to separate gold from mercury since gold has a much higher boiling point than mercury and are also used to purify the mercury.

I am going to do some experiments using glass test tube vials and see if they will handle the heat required to evaporate the mercury.    If that test passes,   I will try it with a small amount of mercury.   It will be a very small-scale demonstration.  

Each demonstration I do is thought out quite well.   I have to make sure I do not expose myself to the mercury and have to be able to contain the mercury in case of a spill.   I normally do not show the precautions I take or the clean-up/decontamination I go through afterwards since that is boring.   Since I don't show the precautions,   people who have not seen my videos before have a natural reaction to assume I am being careless.   Everyone who knows how I do these often get a chuckle at the outrage some people express.    

Thursday, October 17, 2013

OCTOBER 2013

This month  (Oct. 25, 26, 27)  is Big Sandy Machine Gun Shoot in Arizona.   It doesn't look like I am going to make it this time.   Where I work at,   we have to schedule our vacations nearly a year in advance.   I had to guess when the shoot was going to be when I picked my vacations in Nov. 2012 and I was a week off.   

 I just bought  two more Casio high speed cameras.    A friend of mine on Youtube decided to sell off some of his cameras and was nice enough to give me the first crack at buying them from him.   I all ready have two Casio EXF1's  but one of them is starting to give me some errors when I boot it up.   I think the lens objective servos or sensors may just be dirty and the camera does still work,   but the camera may just get worse as time goes by.   I could send it off for repair,   but  it would probably cost more to repair the thing than to just buy another used EXF1.    

I only wanted my friend's  EXF1  but he offered to sell me that and his FH25 too.   The FH25
is decent camera,   and I would say it is a step below the EXF1.   However,   it actually has a better sensor and shoots still photos at a higher resolution.   I've been wanting to try out one of the FH25's for a long time just out of curiousity.  

Monday, September 9, 2013

September

It is STILL hot here.    Today it was over 100 deg. F.     We filmed for a couple of hours and then got burned out with the heat.   

We filmed another few of the experimental shotgun darts.     I still have a bunch of them so I have been trying to do those on my weekends off,   and also film a few other video shotgun ideas.  

I do plan on a new mercury video soon.   I am going to do a copper and zinc amalgam video.   Mercury amalgamates with most nonferrous metals.    An amalgam of copper and mercury is called  "Vienna Metal Cement"  and was the  "JB Weld"  of the late 1800's and early 1900's.   
It was even used as a cheaper filling for teeth.   

Sunday, July 21, 2013

Hot in California

This time of year it can be miserably HOT  in central California,  with temperatures easily hitting 100 degrees and  sometimes as high as 110.    That really makes spending time outdoors filming things difficult.   

When we go out filming shooting videos,   we normally spend at least 5 hours doing it,  and  I try to get as much footage as possible as to try to take care of the many ideas I have and the numerous suggestions people give me.   It's often difficult to match up schedules with friends,  so if we can get together once every three or four months,   we are lucky.   

Some of the ideas I have been putting off are shooting both ice and pykrete shotgun slugs.  Pykrete is a mixture of sawdust and water and when frozen,   is a very tough material.   I'm sure those will work very similarly to the frozen vienna sausages we shot about 6 months ago.  

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I just hit 90,000 subscribers on Youtube.   That blows me away.  I'm sure I would have many more but   I really am not one to beg or ask people to subscribe.   Since I post a lot of unrelated video topics,  some will expect me to post the stuff they like and will complain when I post stuff they are not interested in.   It seems the more subscribers one gets,   the more whiney people and jerks you get.   Some people just have no class or manners and will flat out say they don't like this or that,  as if they are entitled to be entertained by me.   It isn't constructive criticism- it's just plain old rudeness.   You expect that with viewers who just stumble on your videos,  not from your subscribers. 

  One little trick not very many people know about is if you block someone,  then unblock them,   it unsubscribes them from your channel.  

  

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

3D Printed Shotgun Video

ArtisanTony,  another Youtube channel who has been tinkering around with a 3D printer recently thought it would be a good idea to print out some 12 gauge shotgun slugs for me to shoot.    He wanted a simple project so he could practice with the design software and the printer and knew I liked to shoot unusual shotgun rounds.

He printed out the 2 slugs and one unusual trident-like round.   He also printed out some "bucky balls"  which are small buckshot like rounds.    We may give those a try too down the road.

The rounds were not terribly successful,  in my opinion.   I would say the Silly Putty and Vienna Sausages we shot were actually more effective rounds!    However,   with all the news of the 3d printed guns that are in the news,   the timing of the 3d bullet video was irresistable to popular news,  as 3d bullets is the natural next-step in the evolution of the 3d  gun.

U.S. News,   Daily Mail,  and  Wired.com contacted me and quickly posted stories on their websites.   Many other smaller news outlets have posted their own stories,  which seem to be their own "versions" of the stories,  obviously derived from the other news stories. 

I do have a lot of respect for those news outlets that actually contacted me before they posted their stories.    

Since I am actually a daily visitor on the British website,  Daily Mail,   it was exciting to finally see one of my videos on there.  

 

Sunday, April 7, 2013

Mercury Amalgamation

Mercury does some strange things.   One of the oddest things it does is alloy with other metals- usually non-ferrous metals like gold, copper,  aluminum, silver,  etc.   The strange part of it is it does this at room temperature.  

I bought what I thought was gold leaf at a crafts store.   I had never bought it before and it came in an envelope and the information on the package was really poor.  I had no idea how much I was actually buying.   Maybe a few square inches for the $10 I paid for it?   Who knows.    

I opened up the package and inside were 18 individual sheets of the leaf-  each measuring around 4x4".    The leaf is on sheets of parchment-like paper and the metal is very thin.  It's practically  all  "surface area".   

Upon further examination of the package I discovered it was not gold at all,   but  some sort of copper/zinc  composition.   

Fortunately,   copper AND zinc can be amalgamated with mercury too.   So the project isn't  a complete loss.  

Though it just isn't as cool as using gold. 

Monday, March 25, 2013

Latest Stuff

It has been a few months since I made a mercury-related video so  I asked Matt from Jackismycopilot channel for any ideas he might have.    He just got a new Gopro Hero3 and his idea was to pour a bunch of mercury on the camera,  sort of giving the perspective of what it would be like if someone poured it on your face.   

We had to shoot it three times because for some reason the Gopro would fault-out and stop recording.    At first we thought it was due to the mercury being poured on it,   like it may have created some magnetic field or maybe the heavy liquid was just activating a button.  
We think the fault was due to the camera being pointed straight up and the sun was flaking it out.   Who knows- to hell with instructions!    After we moved the setup under a tree to block the sun,   we finally got the camera to record the scene.  

The mercury videos usually don't have much of a point.   I get a lot of comments from people asking why I did it,  etc.   They'd probably ask what's the point of the Harlem Shake or Keyboard Cat  or other videos too.   6 of my top ten videos are mercury videos.   So MY point is that I have a lot of subscribers that discovered my channel from past mercury videos and I do need to consider them and keep them happy.  Since I have a mixed audience,  some of my subs often scratch their heads when I post some stuff.  

I intended to just give the Gopro/Mercury video-footage all to Matt so he could post his idea on his channel but he wanted me to post it on mine.   
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We also shot some footage of the mercury in the martini glass.    I have used the martini glass for a number of other videos and it works well to show off the mercury.   The long stem brings it up to the camera,  and the glass if very clear and lets you see the mercury and allows light to pass through.   We wanted to focus on the density of the mercury and show various things floating in it like a .50 cal bullet,   a large socket,   a golf ball,  etc.   Because mercury is almost 14 times denser than water,  it plays with your mind when you see a lead bullet bobbing around like a cork.     

Sunday, January 27, 2013

Stuff I am working on...

I'm currently putting together a few ideas for the shotgun videos.   Several people have suggested wooden slugs.  I purchased some 5/8" (15mm)  wooden dowel and am fabricating a handful of wooden darts.  These are 2½" long.   Any longer and they would be hard to load into the pump shotgun.

In order to try to stabilize them so they fly straight,   I put folding fins on them and weighted the noses with lead shot.  They are huge but weigh less than half an ounce.  

Another load I put together are Nerf darts.   I have doubts they will work.   In order to strengthen them,  I reinforced them and put some lead shot inside to balance them,  similar to the wood darts.   

Finally,   I am revisiting hot glue slugs.  I am using Federal birdshot loads this time and these have a 2 piece wadding.   The glue/leadshot slug will adhere to the shot cup but there will be no trailing wadding which should eliminate the weird "wagging" issue.   I am putting lengths of thread to trail behind them to see if that will stabilize them.   It's more of a gimmick but it may prove interesting.   
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Ammo situation.
I went to our local Walmart today to see what the ammo shelf looked like and it was even worse than it was a few weeks ago.   Another shopper said it looked like Old Mother Hubbard's Cupboard.   I was hoping to get 100 rounds of 12ga  but they had none.    They did have a lot of 20ga shells though.