In an effort to see who, exactly is into the show, and how to get more of them to watch it the Science Channel is tweaking the scheduling no Stuck with Hackett last week, a double dose this week. The first episode has me making a dirt boat- a land sailer- apparently, “Dirt Boat” is the preferred term, at least, that is what I was told by Dennis, the king of all Dirt Boaters, a super knowledgeable, charming, hard-working guy who consulted on this episode. It could be that no one calls then “Dirt Boats” except for him, and now, to his delight at a very well-played practical joke and the horror of the land sailing community, the whole non-dirt-boating world.
The final result, while cool, kind of pales in comparison to the setting and a couple of the intermediate builds. The setting was an airplane junkyard- not the big ones you have seen in movies etc (I have seen one of those too- out in the Mojave Desert, miles and miles of parked airplanes stretching to the horizon, like the toy collection of a god with OCD or some kind of convoluted metaphor about the decline of American power) but still pretty vast, seeing how it is full of AIRPLANES, which are not small things. The junkyard was only ordered-ish, with some parts (hydraulic cylinders, airplane bathrooms) well ordered, and other piles of casually stacked airplanes.
I was excited and happy in the railroad junkyard where we filmed EP1. Railroad obtainium is pretty neat, but is gross, oversized garbage compared to airplane junk. Airplane parts are some of the best-looking, most finely engineered stuff in the world. The parts and the whole need to be reliable, strong, able to withstand horrific conditions that nothing on the ground will ever experience, unless it is in the moment of a catastrophic accident, and then, after all that, the thing needs to FLY. Think about that. See your car, your bike, hell, even your fancy pocket computer? Imagine that the well-honed piece of machinery you are holding or looking at can do all that it does, but in the -59 degree cold and 500 mile an hour windchill, with no oxygen, and STILL FLY. Even the rattiest, most tore-up airplane parts are more finely engineered than anything you will ever run into in everyday life. As a font of obtainium it was heaven.
One great thing about doing this show is that I get to build stuff from my List (you know- the grand, sprawling, always growing, never ended list of cool shit you want to build or learn or do). On this episode I make a waste oil furnace, a really clever, simple way of turning waste oil (like, from oil changes) into useful heat. In this case, I use it to fire a foundry and melt metal to cast a part. Additionally, there are some interesting bits about mechanical advantage and pulleys, and a bit about fluid dynamics. Hope the science made it into the edit. I also got to move heavy shit by myself and rail against the seedy world of modern aviation, a reference that I think only Julia will get.
9/22 at 10PM e/p
Hackett finds himself at an aviation junkyard stocked with old planes. Unfortunately, he hates air travel: the noise, the service, the fatal crashing. Fortunately, the junkyard hangs on the edge of a dry lakebed, the perfect place for another, more Hackett-friendly mode of transportation: a dirt boat that will sail the land at dangerously high speed, using wheels instead of water.