I was cleaning out some things getting ready for the move up North when I came across the SpudMatic 4000. Being that I'm going to move relatively soon I thought to myself Better bring this back to Ben, he built it. So off I went to Ben's.
Ben is a long time friend of many years. I've known the guy since 7th grade. Years ago he built what is called the SpudMatic 4000. I should've snapped a shot of it. Hopefully I'll get one soon. The '4000 is two pieces of PVC pipe painted camouflage. One end is tub-like with a small opening for the ignition (a Coleman lantern lighter, twist-style that gives spark). It's about six to eight inches long and maybe six inches around. The "barrel" is a much longer piece, almost five feet long. The tub has a removable screw-on piece where the contact cleaner spray goes.
Here's how it works:
(Disclaimer: DON'T DO THIS)
Take a potato. Smash it over the long end of the barrel so the potato going inside form fits to the barrel itself. Push it down with a "lever", such as a shovel handle. Unscrew the tub. Spray in contact cleaner (the stuff they spray on oil based paintings which is extremely flammable). Quickly close the tub. Twist the lighter and BOOOOOM - flying spud, estimated to be traveling somewhere between 40 to 60mph. Maximum range is about 300 yards.
When fired, it sounds exactly like a shotgun. The best produce to use is potatoes or turnips.
No, we never fired it at anyone. Were a spud to hit someone at that velocity it would hurt them real bad. Enough for hospitalization. We knew even back then never to aim it at anyone. Besides which, it would be almost impossible to hit a target anyway considering the thing had the worst aim in the world.
So anyway, I returned the SpudMatic to Ben. We spoke for a long time about everything. He's still doing his thing with Dodge A-100 "Vanpickups". He owned nine of them at one point. I think he's down to five now.
I told him all about the move and everything. He wished me luck, which I appreciated. He also said I have to get him a copy of the one and only episode (to date) of Frosted TV which aired on public access television years ago. One of these days I'll put that video up for download.
When I get up North I'm hoping to do more episodes of Frosted TV. It's really good stuff. At least I think so.