10 Extraordinarily Mad Do It Yourselfers
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10 Extraordinarily Mad Do It Yourselfers

August 10, 2019


Don’t try this at home. While this may seem to be a standard disclaimer,
it is perhaps especially applicable to the field of aviation, nuclear reactors and other
high risk ventures. Around the world, certain unusually intrepid,
some might say crazy birds have taken it upon themselves to take ingenuity and recklessness
to brave new heights. In this account, we explore some of the most
bizarre, and sometimes blatantly illegal or otherwise ill-fated attempts to reach the
clouds from a lawnchair, set up a home nuclear station, and other grand slams in the face
sensibility… or “do not try this at home.” 10. Lawnchair Larry Being a couch potato may not get much done,
but sitting back in a lawnchair while doing anything but actually relaxing may just get
you some serious, if ill-advised media attention. That is, if your lawnchair is jury-rigged
with balloons and thus equipped to launch skyward. American truck driver Larry Walters achieved
such notoriety for drifting into the airspace of the Los Angeles International Airport and
reaching altitudes of 15,000 feet in 1982. And what was Mr. Larry Walters piloting? A lawnchair, fitted with a quantity of 45
weather balloons, to create a very primitive and very scary homemade airship. The results were fearsome. The balloons rose far faster than Larry imagined,
but he waited until he had reached a great height before he started shooting the balloons
at a graduated rate with the pellet gun he brought “onboard.” Dangerously, some of his balloons struck power
lines on the way down, causing a power outage for 20 minutes. Most ironic was his answer upon arrest, considering
that the stunt was done in a chair, explaining that “a man cannot just sit around.” Soon released but fined, Lawnchair Larry (as
he became known for his little escapade) was lucky to have made it down with little more
than being a little chilled from the altitude, and quite scared. 9. The Nuclear Boy Scout While countless kids try model rocketry, archery
or rock collecting as hobbies, David Charles Hahn’s occupation as a teenager was a little
more… reactive. His atomic aspirations led him to spend massive
quantities of time cooped up in a shed next to masses of radioactive nuclear materials
as he worked towards the grand goal of building a reactor in his yard. Does idiot come to mind? Well, we cannot be sure if his mental difficulties
later in life were the cause of his poor judgement, or the result of the radiation poisoning. We will never know, since he refused medical
evaluation for some reason. Becoming known as the “Nuclear Boy Scout,”
Hahn amassed nuclear waste, clock parts, ore and other sources of radioactive material
and began building what amounted to a small nuclear reactor in the backyard shed of his
family home. Posing as a university professor, Hahn contacted
nuclear organizations including the Nuclear Radiation Commission to get juicy tidbits
on how to best set off nuclear reactions. Following his arrest, the property, including
the shed where the experiments were conducted had to be cleaned up as a Superfund site,
with radiation levels from the young man’s many experiments conducted without proper
safety measures far exceeding safe levels. 8. The Flat Earth Rocketeer Steampunk might be a newer concept, but when
real life steampunkery gone far, far too far marries flat-earth fanaticism, the results
can be a little explosive as they head skyward. The monumentally bogus theory that the Earth
is flat still hangs on the far-out fringe despite being unequivocally disproved and
easily disprovable by conventional means, such as seeing a mountain fall below the horizon
when viewed across a wide strait of water. However, one “Mad” Mike Hughes of California
spent years building a real rocket propelled by steam, into which he vertically blasted
himself into the atmosphere over the desert in the man-carrying craft. The purpose of his extensive rocket building
ventures is not exactly rocket science, and instead can be attributed to a single goal. Hughes’ rocket works center on the “see
for yourself” model of determining facts rather than looking to the obvious. Despite coming close to death, Hughes deployed
parachutes from the rocket and survived, albeit having a rough landing that inflicted some
injuries. His conclusion? The rocket with the words “Research” and
“Flat Earth” painted on the side did not provide conclusive results. The solution, according to the backyard rocket
scientist? More, bigger rockets for a bigger, higher
view of the Earth. Gee, if only there were some sort of space
agency that could get on that endeavor. 7. Richard Handl What is the best thing to do if one finds
oneself unemployed? Well, for starters let us consider a few plausible
choices. You could, A) find a new job; B) become self-employed; or C) just throw caution
to the wind and try to build a bloody nuclear reactor in your apartment. Let’s just say that C) might be the choice
to select if you are looking for an expedient trip to a mental health facility in recognition
of the obvious sanity and the inherent logic and safety of your idea, or maybe just the
nearest hospital for the resulting radiation poisoning. The choice is not as far out as it seems. One Richard Handl of Sweden decided to fight
bordom and become more of a scholar, while certainly being no gentleman, by trying to
build a building a nuclear fission reactor in his apartment building to try and split
the atom. Once confronted by law enforcement, Handl
admitted he was “crazy” to attempt the radioactive experiments, but was also sure
to mention that he “had it under control” after buying radioactive material from Germany
and over the internet. Those materials included uranium, americum
and radium. And how was Handl caught? He checked in with the Swedish Radiation Safety
Authority to see if his activities were permitted. Ah… not really. 6. Cal Giordano Some ventures may be subpar, but Cal Giordano
of Alaska took things sub-surface with a quirky homemade submarine. And not only is the rather ramshackle machine
that this enterprising do-it-yourselfer built designed to function as a submarine, but it
is also fitted to be an icebreaker in winter with blade mountings intended to slice through
icy obstacles. The prospect of collision with ice while partially
submerged might evoke concern, but Giordano intended for the machine to be able to handle
whatever the cold waters of Alaska near Juneau could throw at it. Given that the Alaska-based aqua-maverick
fitted the semi-sub together out of a variety of parts, including part of a buoy, nothing
less than a propane tank for part of the body, and an outboard boat motor, the machine was
rather strange looking and less streamlined than what one might term professionally built
submarines. Known as a semi-sub, the machine has planes
that angle like tiny wings to force the front of the vessel 8 feet below the surface, while
the tail mounted motor remains in operation at the surface with its required access to
air. The buoy cockpit sticks out prominently as
a rounded form, while an electrically operated snorkel provides air circulation into the
cockpit. Not only does the machine function in an aquatic
setting — the presence of small wheels allows the craft to be moved on land, minus the requirement
to use a trailer. 5. Man-Carrying Drone Lawnchair Larry would be impressed! Instead of balloons, the much greater but
analogous challenge of setting up drones to lift a human is represented in one strange
project. The aptly named “Swarm” consists of a
multitude of drones wired and held together, under which a seemingly rickety seating and
control area is rigged together. The home cooked vision of a drone enthusiast
not content to watch drones from the ground, the contraption depends on its legion of tiny
propellers to lift a man off the ground. Capable of flying for 10 minutes on a single
charge, the Manned Aerial Vehicle Multirotor Super Drone (as the vehicle is technically
described by its creator) weighs 326 pounds, but easily lifts off thanks to the massive
quantity of admittedly tiny propellers working in unison. The machine’s propellers are wired to be
counter-rotating, stabilizing the craft against the unwieldy forces of torque. Landing skids made of pipes that run below
the aircraft in a manner highly reminiscent of a helicopter’s landing gear are central
to the design, while a seat in the middle of it all holds the pilot. An inverted, hard, bucket-like component acts
as a helmet and apparently shields the pilot should a prop fail. 4. Fritz Unger’s Skyflash What is the most terrifying way to fly? Possibly, Fritz Unger’s way. The pioneering aviator has been working on
tests to make operational an innovative but somewhat rudimentary jetpack device that blasts
the pilot thousands of feet into the air with the help of a wing, constructed from plywood
in the prototype stages and equipped with a handheld control console that directs computers. The machine would have greater maneuverability
and far more power than a hang glider, effectively turning the combination of machine and pilot
into a miniature conventional aircraft in function. In fact, the system might be termed as a “wearable
micro-aircraft” rather than simply being a wingsuit. You know, kind of like Falcon from the Avengers
movies (and yes, obviously, the comics). The entire flying unit weighs around 50 pounds
at the prototype stage, but the machine, in the testing stage following a 2007 project
start, is intended to go up to 25,000 feet into the air. And with so much power close at hand, one
might be concerned about the strength of the structure or the risk of being burned by nearby
hot fuel. Eerily, heat-proof boots form part of the
apparatus to allow the pilot to dip the boots into the exhaust to “vector control.” Ah… no thanks. 3. Daniel Boria Lawnchair Larry was not the only person to
get airborne in a lawn chair. A Canadian did it as well, but instead of
just doing it for the pleasure of flight, Daniel Boria conceived the stunt as a way
to draw attention to his cleaning product supply business. Calgary, Alberta is a fairly open city, located
in a part of Canada where prairies form a dominant component of the natural landscape. Such a location, with its sometimes notably
windy environment, was where Boria decided to head for the skies as a bid to get attention. Fortunately he did not have to be cleaned
up off the ground in his makeshift craft that included a “$20 dollar lawn chair” plus
100 colorful but enormous rubber helium balloons. However, what Boria failed to achieve in gaining
as far as business attention is concerned, he certainly garnered from local law enforcement
that was none too happy about the possibility of assorted homebuilt high-flyer parts falling
from the clouds. After landing, he was charged with mischief
causing danger to life. The reason for the charge? Not his own life, but the concern that the
lawn chair could take someone out when the balloons eventually fail following his parachute
assisted in-flight abandonment of the craft. 2. Home Helicopter Helicopters might seem to be the most challenging
and even nearly impossible machine to engineer and send airborne from home, but in fact a
surprising number of classically constructed but tiny and rather crudely gained helicopters
have gained traction. Felix Kambwiri, a resident of the town of
Gobede in the African nation of Malawi, close to the country’s capital, Lilongwe, is an
enterprising man who has been working diligently to design and build a tiny one person helicopter
with a combination of fiberglass, rotors, a seat and pre-owned engine adapted for the
job. A tailor and radio repairman with work experience
in welding, Kambwiri became interested in constructing a helicopter after starting to
work in welding. His childhood memories of seeing the nation’s
president fly in a helicopter sparked his efforts. Regular police visits take place as the machine
is, at least at this stage, not supposed to be flown. The engine in the tiny red, blue and white
helicopter, that has gradually been taking shape over the hours of careful but sometimes
improvised construction work, is just 125 cc; but then again, the single seater helicopter
is tiny. So tiny, in fact, that the machine can be
started up, rotor blades and all, ominously screaming inside the garage where it is being
constructed. 1. Marvin John Heemeyer Most people might get SWAT encounter notoriety
on their rap sheet from barricading themselves in a building or a car in the course of some
illegal activity. But for 52-year-old Marvin John Heemeyer of
Gransby, Colorado, building a tank was his decision borne of grievance and madness. Angry at city planning and ordinance decisions
that impacted his business goals in a way unfavorable to him, the do-it-yourselfer turned
to what some might call a domestic terrorist’s approach. And pre-construction confirms premeditation
of the June 4, 2004 attack. On his property, he meticulously constructed
a veritable army tank from a modified bulldozer, fitted with steel armor-plating reinforced
with sandwiched concrete. The total thickness was one foot. Cameras and firearms were added to the terrifying
contraption, which proceeded to bulldoze and blast its way through the town, destroying
13 buildings and causing millions in damage. Propane tanks were fired upon but failed to detonate.

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  1. I'm first. My mates dad built a submarine in his back yard for a bet with a another bloke , it was in BHP back in the 1970s it was in Whyalla South Australia , his dad took him and his brother and I think the youngest brother as well , down to the spencer gulf where whyalla sits next to and took them underwater and the thing actually worked , his dad was a typical industrious clever german but a little crazy , it was in his back yard for years.

  2. "Hello, I'm Simon Whistler…and I'm Johnny Knoxville…Welcome to The Top 10 Extraordinary DIY Jackasses!!" [Cue to Jackass's Theme Song] 😎

  3. You left out a lot of info on Marvin John Heemeyer, it wasn't a slight disagreement, the town's government made him loose his long standing business, because they wanted to use the land for a project THEY wanted. The changed zoning laws among other thing, and made sure he had no recourse. Rather than take lives in return, he took their property in kind. He then killed himself.While not a recommended, it was not an act of a terrorist, claiming innocent victims.

  4. Yeah for Calgary at 08:40 – glad we made the TopTenz – not crazy about the way we made the list – that guy was not too smart about this. After his conviction, he said he would do it again…. he may make your list again….

  5. Tank man wasn’t insane. He was pushed to his limits by connected private citizens and uncaring local government. That’s exactly who he was aiming his anger at

  6. Funny every ocean and horizon is perfectly level and planar no matter how high the observer raises this is impossible if we lived on a spheroid

  7. And it's the Darwin Awards once again! I remember the first time I came upon the first story. I was driving and heard it on the radio. I had to make an emergency stop because the tears of laughter were blinding me. I had to buy Wendy Northcutt's book and it was bliss.
    And to think these nutcases roam the earth and could be next door's neighbour! The guy wakes up and says:"Hey! I'd love a nuclear facility in my bathroom. Why not?"

  8. The earth can't be flat because it is a hollow sphere. The entrance is down in Antartica somewhere. Someday I will fly my drone throne down there to prove it!

  9. Hahaha my dude Simon is one of the coolest white guys out there, his a historian, scholar and a dreamer…but if you ever wanna piss him off-talk about believing in the flat Earth theory lmao, if we were friends that's something id use for a laugh every now and then. Love this channel so much

  10. Weeaaak other should be able to invent anything if they could the time and effort toward such endeavors. Like this YouTube channel for example.

  11. Is it me or does Simon seem somewhat miffed in this video. Almost like he had a an argument or went through bad traffic just before filming this one.

  12. The "Bulldozer Tank," guy who everyone deemed as a Terrorist…Was the one who "Suffered from a Terrorist Attack First!" The Whole Damn Town were he lived~"Ganged Up on Him" to "Destroy His Life on Purpose!"
    PS. Look up this Sad Story, and I'll bet you, you'll feel "Sorry for him…Not' the towns people!"

  13. Killdozer man is what he is more commonly known as and it was by no means a small disagreement. He took no life except his own. A reasonable man pushed to do unreasonable things.

  14. Why is the Larry Walters story so misconstrued throughout the internet. Some say he dropped his gun, or almost hit a plane, or did it alone with no help, or in this case cause a power outage because of the balloons. None of this is true. The power company shut off the power before he landed so the lines weren't live. Yes the power was out for some short period but not on accident. Whats sad is he later became a tour guide for the red woods forest and then went out on a hike alone and committed suicide in the forest.

  15. There’s a character in an episode of CSI:NY who is basically #8 with his own DIY reactor in his shed. (It was the episode with Maroon 5 at the beginning)

  16. The nuclear stuff smells of bunkum! You`ll need a critical mass (large) of purified uranium and a neutron source also. Those things cannot be bought on the Internet, alas.

  17. WATCH WITH CAPTIONS ON, at 2:19 there was some stuff extra stuff that wasn't being spoken that was funny to read 🙂 you'll need to quickly pause it as it moves really fast to read it all, enjoy.

  18. All of these pale with the one and only original lawnchair man. Also worlds first astronaut and rocketman.
    A chinese nobleman a thousand years ago, he was convinced it was possible to reach the moon via rocket. We know he was right, it was just his method that was lacking, namely tying several hundred heavy fireworks rockets to his wickerwork lawnchair.
    He was reported to have achieved liftoff and a considerable height, eventually disappearing. His servants assumed he reached the moon as the chair or the body were never found.
    More likely scenario is that they didnt search enough. Or that he forgot to remove the final phase of the fireworks, which probably means there was nothing left to find.

  19. If you lived in Colorado and was familiar with how petty the state government can be you might praise your Number one pick instead of glossing over his motive.

  20. uhm why is the guy with the semi sub on the list but the real life guys arent? they have build a submarine from a washing machine and two bathtubs and it didnt even require a snorkel and could realy dive.

  21. For #1, if you want to watch a more detailed hilarious video on it, look up "qxir"'s channel. Apparently while he was building the tank, several people visited his shop without wondering what the hell he was doing . And the governor even considered having a military Apache helicopter shoot a hellfire missile at the bulldozer tank at one point. Crazy story

  22. Let's not forget that one time when billionaire industrialist Anthony Edward Stark built a suit of armor and power source out of spare parts in a cave

  23. flat earthers believe NASA is the grand mastermind of the global conspiracy to make everyone believe the globe is actually flat for reasons

  24. Trying to reason with flat earthers is like trying to reason with religious nuts or Trumpanzees. You're dealing with people who aren't playing with a full deck.

  25. Though not mad, the well-known Michio Kaku built a DIY working antimatter accelerator mostly out of junkyard stuff…as his high school science project!

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