Ask the Inventor of This Year's Greatest Summer Fun Invention Anything

Last week we told you about the Kickstarter campaign to fund a genius gadget that lets you fill 100 water balloons in one minute. It's perhaps the greatest summer fun time invention since, I dunno, the Super Soaker. We caught up with it's creator Josh Malone to find out more.

Starting at 11:30 AM EST, Josh Malone will be hanging out in the discussion below this post to answer any questions! Fire away!

Since launching last week, the Bunch O Balloons Kickstarter campaign has raised more than $500,000. A packet comes with 100 balloons which are connected to a top nozzle by a series of tubes. Connect the whole Medusa-like apparatus to a garden hose, turn on the water, and watch as all the balloons magically fill up.

The idea is so amazingly simple that it's hard to believe nobody came up with it before. I asked Malone for more details about the design story behind Bunch O Balloons, and what challenges he ran into along the way.

Gizmodo: There are a lot of nice design touches—Can you tell us a little more about the design process?

There are just some things that are so complicated and slow, that intuitively you just know there has to be a better way. Filling water balloons has been at the top of my list for a long time. We tried different tools and learned that with the right technique fingers are the best. I built a PVC filling station with foot valves so both hands were free for handling balloons. We got pretty good and a team of 3 of us could fill 1000 balloons in about an hour. I wasn't satisfied though, I wanted to make a machine were you poured in balloons, pushed a button, and they came out filled and tied.

I tried putting a small rubber o-ring around the balloon to seal it, and after trying several different sizes and durometers I found one that worked. That started looking like a dead end because putting the o-ring on was way harder than tying. Then I tried inserting a tube into the balloon then installing the o-ring. I shoved the other end of the tube into a hole in a garden hose cap and managed to fill the balloon and pull it off the tube already sealed. That tube looked really lonely, so I thought why not add more.

Gizmodo: How did you settle on 100 balloons as the perfect number?

I was able to fit precisely 37 tubes into the garden hose cap, and that is the number we have stuck with. 3 stems with 37 tubes comes out to 111 balloons in a pack, but a few can fall off or break prematurely so we advertise 100 balloons.

Gizmodo: What do you and your kids do with 100 balloons? That's a lot!

We use water balloons for a variety of activities, battles being the most common. We play baseball with them, you wouldn't believe how much fan that can be (just a pitcher and a batter). We also have launching competitions with the 3-man slingshot launchers. I've posted some instructables on making your own launchers .

As for sales and distribution we are getting a ton of inquiries, but are focusing right now on filling our Kickstarter rewards. In parallel we are scaling up our manufacturing so we can supply to the mass market. We have our hands full!

If you have any more questions, drop 'um in the comments below!