‘Tis the season for treats like candy canes, figgy puddings, and bowls overflowing with nuts ready to be cracked open. As far as Shane Wighton is concerned, that last option deserved a completely over-engineered snacking tool, which led to the creation of an utterly terrifying custom nutcracker powered by an explosive piston.
In just a few years, Wighton has deservedly made a name for himself amongst makers showcasing their skills on YouTube with creations that include a ball-tracking basketball hoop that made it impossible to miss, a robotic auto-aiming pool stick, a self-targeting bow, and one of our favorites, a baseball bat powered by an explosive piston that guarantees home runs. Taking what he learned from that last project—a deep respect for the power of explosives—Wighton realized that most nutcrackers were actually decorative pieces and not that useful for cracking open nuts with tough shells, and in dire need of an upgrade.
Like his baseball bat, Wighton used the same explosive blank shells that are used in construction to drive nails into concrete to power his nutcracker. Up to four can be used simultaneously to drive a two-inch steel piston upwards at speeds of up to 200 miles per hour and with 80,000 pounds of force. As with most of Wighton’s projects, the engineering behind his nutcracker, including the extensive safety features he designed to prevent an accidental firing and to stop the stoic soldier from simply exploding in the process, are the most interesting parts of his latest video. That and the many many times he had to redesign certain components to get the amount of crushing power he was after.
Not only is the upgraded nutcracker capable of crushing nuts—or, more specifically, turning nuts and their shells into a fine powder—it’s also capable of destroying the metal nuts you’d thread onto a screw, and just about anything that’s small enough to fit into the nutcracker’s mouth. That includes fingers, which is why if you’re hoping to truly have a happy holiday this year, you will absolutely not try to build something like this yourself. Save yourself some time, money, and hearing, and just buy your nuts already shelled.