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View Full Version : I need to blow some stuff up



mdin
04-14-2009, 11:45 PM
Most of the bomb-related threads here are on a scale of blowing up giant cities and planets and asteroids and whatnot.

I need a small, but powerful bomb. Like those little blobs of plastic explosives you see robbers blowing safes with in the movies. More powerful than an m-80, but it doesn't need to take down a building either. I'm thinking a half stick of dynamite is enough.

I need several of these bombs.

They all need to fit into a backpack. Or 3 or 4 backpacks if need be.

I need to be able to set them off all at the EXACT same time, so a typical fuse and a match wouldn't work the situation.

Here's the catch:

They have to be able to decide they need these bombs and then build them in a single night. The only tools they have available to them are what you'd find in a typical small town + a wal-mart. So, yes they have gunpowder and gasoline and probably random low grade fireworks as well, but no military-grade explosives are available.

I'd prefer something cool and MavGyver-y instead of old Farmer Joe popping up and saying, "Gee I have all these blasting caps and crates of TNT in my barn. Let's use that!"

cbenoi1
04-15-2009, 12:37 AM
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ammonium_nitrate

Pesticides and fertilizers are heavily monitored nowadays, so it's unlikely you'd find them in large quantities in a local Wal*Mart, or without at least rising suspicion. Maybe some old farmer has stocked the stuff for years and never used it?

-cb

xaine5150
04-15-2009, 05:56 AM
You could lookup the anarchist's cookbook. Its tried and true and out there on the net for people to take a look at.

On the other hand you don't want to be too complete in your ideas or you could draw criticism for giving people ideas.

hammerklavier
04-15-2009, 08:08 AM
Most of the homemade recipes make rather large cumbersome bombs. Nitro and smokeless powder (a derivitive of nitro) make smaller bombs (such as sticks of dynamite or globs of blasting gel). The really small stuff is military or for specialized industrial use and is not going to be available.

What are you trying to blow up? A normal bomb may not be necessary.

benbradley
04-15-2009, 08:47 AM
I wrote a nice longish post where I invented some neat stuff with what's available at Wal-Mart, but had second thoughts about actually posting it here in the open (I may have already added myself to some Government lists just from googling explosives), so rather than make a post that might be an "attractive nuisance," I sent it as a PM. And I trust this really is solely for story research... :)

mdin
04-15-2009, 09:18 AM
Thank you very much.

Youtube has a ton of stuff which is really cool, because it's all real-life examples. I actually have a printed version of the Anarchist's Cookbook somewhere from years ago, but it's a bit dated I think. The whole history of how the book came to be is pretty interesting.

The people making these bombs aren't trying to hide the fact they're doing it. The entire town has been isolated and is surrounded by a threat. They're working together to fight the invaders, so I don't have to worry about limits on buying ammonium nitrate or raising concern... the biggest obstacle is building these fast and making them portable.

They need to blow up something of alien origin that has a similar consistency as bullet-proof glass.


@Xaine... It's funny you mention the drawing criticism for publishing this sort of thing... I was talking earlier with someone about the tv show Breaking Bad where the protagonist is a chemistry teacher, and he does all sorts of neat but VERY BAD things, like teaching you how to properly dispose of a body with chemicals and how to make thermite. No matter what you do, someone, somewhere is going to have a cow about it. Salman Rushdie was recently talking about something similar, that writers today are too afraid to write what they want for fear of offending someone, somewhere.

My opinion... you should never be afraid to write anything if it's appropriate to the story.

Back on the subject... what about propane tanks? Those seem to have big booms, but how would one make certain they all blow up at the same time?

Mike Martyn
04-15-2009, 06:47 PM
Make then blow up at the same time? How about having your protagonist get some garage door openers from Home Depot or wherever. Take the circuit boards from the units that start the motor to open the door and set them all to the same code.Then set one of the hand held units to that code. Attach a circuit board to each of your electrically ignited explosives and use the handheld unit for ignition. According to newspaper reports, this is how they do it in Irag/Afganistan.

And yes, for the technically minded, I know that 9 volts coming from a circuit board is not a high enough voltage to set off a blasting cap but we should leave out some of the essentials, don't you think? Why not add a smart ass twelve year old with a soldering iron to fudge those details?

benbradley
04-15-2009, 08:51 PM
Back on the subject... what about propane tanks? Those seem to have big booms, but how would one make certain they all blow up at the same time?
I saw this on a TV news report in recent years (not long after some real terrorist/whatever car explosion was in the news, I vagely recall it was an assassination attempt). The reporter hired an expert to blow one up inside a car from a junkyard. He said he "wouldn't give details" but the tank itself is quite hard to bust open with an explosive, and you generally need unobtainable-by-the-general-public high-power plastic explosives to do it.

justinai
04-15-2009, 09:02 PM
Make then blow up at the same time? How about having your protagonist get some garage door openers from Home Depot or wherever. Take the circuit boards from the units that start the motor to open the door and set them all to the same code.Then set one of the hand held units to that code. Attach a circuit board to each of your electrically ignited explosives and use the handheld unit for ignition. According to newspaper reports, this is how they do it in Irag/Afganistan.

And yes, for the technically minded, I know that 9 volts coming from a circuit board is not a high enough voltage to set off a blasting cap but we should leave out some of the essentials, don't you think? Why not add a smart ass twelve year old with a soldering iron to fudge those details?


They also detonate the roadside bombs in Iraq using cell phones. If your story is set in modern times you could have them grab an armload of disposable phones and wire them to your bombs and detonate them by sending a text message. My phone lets me send a message to up to ten recipients at a time, so you could theoretically detonate ten bombs.

ETA: I'm not sure the charge in a cell phone is actually sufficient to detonate a bomb. They've done this a couple of times on the show Burn Notice. The ring completes the circuit, as far as I understand it.

hammerklavier
04-21-2009, 06:15 AM
Can they drill holes in the stuff first, or dig under it? If so, I'd use blasting gel, someone who works with the stuff at the Department of Transportation or a mining company or a quarry could do it in a flash.

To the above: cell phones are one of the tricks used in the mid-east to detonate bombs.