Rad DIY Solar Death Ray Melts Pennies, Incinerates Wood

melting pennies

The sun is deadly enough without any help from us, but finding an entertaining new way to exploit that deadliness is still pretty fun. Expert DIYer Grant Thompson – known online as The King of Random – crafted a solar death ray out of little more than a wooden frame and a big plastic sheet from the inside of an old 50-inch TV.

The plastic is apparently the perfect Fresnel lens, allowing Thompson to focus the sun’s rays onto a tiny spot. The temperature on that tiny spot reaches 2000 degrees F – that’s hot enough to melt pennies, explode bottles, instantly ignite wood, and even turn concrete into a molten orange puddle.

It sounds almost unbelievable, but the video shows the solar ray doing all sorts of incredible tricks. When the lens is unfocused it’s completely harmless, but once you super-focus the sun’s rays the awesome power instantly jumps into action. And when it does, you’d better make sure you aren’t standing in the way.

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See more in Energy & Power or under Science. March, 2013.