Introduction: Oxy-acet Bucket Bomb -- Mythbusters Gone Complete Wrong -- But Still Awesome

Picture of Oxy-acet Bucket Bomb -- Mythbusters Gone Complete Wrong -- But Still Awesome

After watching mythbusters' "towering inferno" methane bubble feat. I wanted to recreate this project. however I lacked methane so I turned to the next best thing -- after noticing that there were two full tanks on the oxy-acet torch at my folks place. this bucket bomb sent the neighbors into panic a quarter mile away (just like they used to when I was in high school and had lots of free time on the farm). The first question out of my uncle's mouth after he came running from a quarter mile away was "where did you get the dynamite from"

Step 1: Materials

5 gallon bucket
2 gallons water (any amount will work, just so the the bucket is about half full
Dish soap
oxygen/acetylene gas & torch head

Step 2: Method

filling the bucket about half full of water, add about 6-8 oz of dish-soap (can use more or less... I havent tried this enough times to get the perfect ratio). Next set the torch head into the soap/water mix, open the valves, and watch bubbles start to form. its best to not open the valves all the way, it blows bigger bubbles, and the bigger bubbles pop easier -- resulting in lost flammable gas.

I only filled the bucket with bubbles about 3" from the brim.. there could have only been 10 or 12" of bubbles, but it was more than enough

Step 3: Ignition

Picture of Ignition

Ok, so weve got the bucket, half full of water, 1/3 full of acetylene and oxygen filled bubbles, and no lid on the bucket... this next step is the tricky part...

maybe I should have suggested no smoking in the last 2 steps... acetylene is a very flammable gas, when surrounded by oxygen, it makes for one heck of a KABLAM so no smoking would be a great idea...

my ignition system was very primitive. I ripped off a piece of cardboard lit it with a lighter, and tossed it over the top of the open bucket. I was standing about 4 feet away when I tossed it, and when it went off, (Im not sure if it was instinct or force but) I found myself on the ground.

I would like to point out a few things...

first off, depending on what kind of bucket you use might have some bearing on if the hospital can see via X-ray if you have foreign matter in your person. I have been told PVC and plastics dont register with a lot of lower-grade Xray machines... something to think about... Metal obviously shows up, but its not always a good idea for metal shrapnel
to go flying through your neighborhood

Secondly.. you may want a really really remote area to do this in, like I said, the neighbors came running

thirdly... I had no idea that the blast was going to be so furious... I was thinking it was going to be a small little fire-ball, and instead it wound up blowing my bucket to shreds... also the bucket was placed above ground and left a pretty good sized crater... DO NOT DO THIS IN YOUR GARAGE!!!

Finally Wear helmets, goggles, Kevlar, or anything you can get your hands on... I was deaf in one ear all day, and could barely hear out of the other... it was an extremely fun experiment but like I said, even if you gotta use a rubber, wear protection..


Pirate WeldingI (author)2014-12-28

There was one fella that said he loved to pop balloons with his cigarette. Well, the secretary had a birthday and she put the cake in the shop with the "balloons". To say the least, he wasn't interested in popping any more balloons. No eye lashes, singed eye brows and hair. Damned thing was, he played deaf for over a month until someone popped a balloon behind him.

the super noodle (author)2006-09-28


So? Ive done and suceeded at least eight times with their builds. But yes, the NG patches for the defribilator dont seem like something I plan on doing for a while. But yes, they do it so we dont have to.

i was watching that episode 10 mins ago .. I think i might try and make a defibrelator like grants with a flyback transformer And two spatulas WITHOUT the serrated edges lol

He didn't do what was on the show. That was the problem. Actually we did it in my high school chemistry class (the right way). It was awesome.

its just another reason to do it!! :-D


hindsight being 20/20... I do seem to remember them saying something about that...

i totaly do!!!!

icanryme2002 (author)2006-12-14

u could try farting into a jug or using farts from cows they are methane.

ryborg5000 (author)icanryme20022009-07-15

i call not it on doing that :)

nonickname (author)2009-04-02

Fool...if you don't understand acetylene and oxygen then don't screw with them. Acetylene burns many times faster than methane, and 5x more aggressively in pure oxygen. It's unstable, forms explosive compounds with a load of metals, is so prone to spontaneously combusting that it has to be stored dissolved in acetone. Add it to the fact that it's the third hottest burning gas, an asphyxiant , and it will explode if compressed to above 20 psi not dissolved. DONT SCREW WITH IT, DON'T FOLLOW THIS FOOLS EXAPLE

Thelonelysandwitch (author)2008-09-06

try shooting at a small oxy acet torch bottle with tracer rounds. The gas is so flammable when the bullet pierces it, BANG. Metal shrapnel flies everywhere like a pineapple (hand grenade). I've tried it and it is extremely dangerous.

mgd722 (author)2008-06-08

The other thing you can do is fill a balloon up with the gas, then throw something that is on fire at it. Obviously, the bigger the balloon, the better the explosion. And sometimes, if you don't have balloons, you can use latex gloves. They inflate really big, the only problem is tying them off. Happy demolition.

lukeyj15 (author)mgd7222008-08-28

You could use flaming arrows

2mucho (author)2008-06-17

in an ice freezer fill a garbage bag with acetylene- no air,gas becomes unstable. It is also lighter than air-continue to fill up about almost full. Tie a knot ot twist tie tight. Take it outside -IN THE HOT SUN and release it quickly. UP AND UP IT WILL GO and as the sun hits it 100 or so feet up KAAABBBLOOOOM,the loudest one you've ever heard-cop cars will come rushing within minutes but evidence is gone.Take care to hide the bottle. p.s. wear ear protectors while filling just in case.

Rainbow_Rider (author)2008-05-26

Take a look at the old miner's head lamps. They used Calcium Carbide and water to produce the gas for the flame to provide light. You will not have to worry about lugging a torch along with you.

themasterpyro (author)2007-11-09

think one of those flak vests we used in the korean war would do?

ferroucious (author)2007-04-22

It probably went boom instead a tower of flame is because it sounds like acetylene mixed with oxygen in the torch reacts much faster because it is at an optimum mixture for combustion. But with stock methane which should be only methane needs to react with oxygen in the air which is mixed in with a bunch of other atmospheric gases such as N2(78%) and a bunch of other crud with oxygen being at only 20% so the methane in Mythbusters takes longer to react.

_soapy_ (author)ferroucious2007-06-27

No, it went boom because the fuel and the oxidiser were intimately mixed. Hydrogen burns with a squeaky pop, but mix it with any air and it goes bang. Methane, propane, etc. all do the same. If you want a burn, you need a flame front. If you want a bang, you want a shockwave ignition or a very rapid burn through the entire material. The difference between a rocket engine and a banger is that the engine burns from one end, whilst the banger burns all over, at the same time. To get your towering inferno, bubble just the acetylene through the water.

0.775volts (author)2006-10-02

yeah, we did this with a garbage bag and a model rocket on my uncles farm once when I was a kid. It shook the ground (we were 150 feet away in a bunker we'd dug with his bobcat. My grandpa had a flashback to WWII, he said it felt like being shelled.

this was an idea originally spawned back in high school where we took mason jars and collected pure acetylene under water and used snap pops(the little tissue paper wrapped pops that we used to get at church picnics, they'd pop whenever they made solid contact) we threw em off grain bins, and we couldnt get em to explode... we couldnt figure out why, now after a couple semesters of chemistry and a lifetime of loving things that go boom, I think we figured out what the problem was, next time Im back at the farm, we're gonna give it a whirl

no oxygen mixed in with the acetlyene.

Jack Daniels (author)2006-09-27

ok first off you should have known it was a bomb...oxygen would have given the wooof you were looking for but acetaline is a very powerfull gas. we used to make marble lounchers in shop class. all you need is a pipe with one end crimped and some acetaline and of course a marble. set the pipe up (use a vice or somthing) and put the marble in then just turn on the acet for about 30 seconds (depending on size of pipe) set the tourch back op to flame right and stand at arms lenth then light. this will sound like a cannon going off (Please don't try this it could kill youand anyone around you)

yeah, it had been a while since chem class... O2 is a beautiful thing. I think If I would have just used the Acetylene without oxygen it would have had the fireball look I was going for.. this is my first post on instructables, and had never seen this site before today... this is awesome, its a great forum for ideas and exchange...

No methane on a farm? Got ammonia? Smells different but has interesting similarities. Don't try this at home... (There's a field a quarter mile away, right?)

rotor (author)2006-09-27

This would be a good place for this link about the perils of the deadly combination of acetylene and being an idiot:

maxwell (author)rotor2006-09-27

exactly like this one:
only one ballon though.

Jack Daniels (author)rotor2006-09-27

yay for darwin!

said the man who made marble launchers in shop class

a cannon is one thing they are no different than a potato launcher. but filling balloons with the stuff is way dangerous

Crash2108 (author)2006-09-27

You hardly had a 'towering' inferno. You fail.

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