What would you do after completing an undergraduate degree at BYU, earning a Master’s in mechanical engineering at USC, and subsequently working at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory for nine years? If you’re engineer Mark Rober, you fashion a snowball-shooting leaf blower machine gun, of course. Unveiled via a video published to his official YouTube channel, Rober’s innovative winter weapon fires a staggering 13 snowballs in roughly half a second, effectively making him the envy of snowy neighborhoods the world over.
Rober, a San Francisco, California native, not only published an in-depth video walkthrough on the invention’s production but also shared the snowball machine gun’s blueprints online for anyone to have a crack at constructing. According to the content of the video, the decision to fashion an automatic snowball-firing weapon came in response to Rober consistently playing the role of snowball target for his nieces and nephews. More importantly, the YouTube video’s information section says the winter artillery rifle is “a must have in any self-respecting uncle’s arsenal.”
“We recently took a family vacation to the snow and, right away, I noticed two things. Number one, making and throwing snowballs with your hands is really inefficient,” states Rober in the video. “And number two, as an uncle, you’re always getting unfairly ganged up on. So in an attempt to address both of these issues, I decided to create a snowball machine gun.”
Using nothing more than a cordless leaf blower, some corrugated pipe, a few metal pipe clamps, and, of course, some duct tape, Rober’s genius idea became a reality. To make the contraption even better, he then added a sort of snowball magazine to one of the corrugated pipe’s openings (i.e., another pipe with an opening wide enough to hold several snowballs) and included a wooden plunger to give the leaf blower its machine gun-style feature. Rober even manufactured several backup magazines which allow him to essentially reload his leaf blower with roughly 15 more snowballs in a matter of seconds.
With the snowball machine gun completely constructed, Rober simply loads the magazine with snowballs, pulls the leaf blower’s trigger, and manually slides the wooden plunger to push each snowball into the blower’s vent. The leaf blower’s trigger completely controls how hard each snowball flies out of the invention, with a full press achieving a faster fire rate while slightly letting go of it allows him to fire a softer batch of ammunition. He’s even able to switch between a semiautomatic barrage of snowballs or firing just one at a time by how hard he pushes the wooden plunger.
Considering just how easy this was for Rober to manufacture, it’s likely swaths of people will take advantage of the posted plans and start constructing their own snowball machine guns. Because if there’s anything that was lacking in regards to the pastime of snowball fights, it was obviously rocket science.