For a closer look at the wildest repurposed rigs, launch the photo gallery by clicking 'View Photos' at left. And to see what happens when the power-tool racers come across a gas-powered ring of fire and a few cold beers, see the video at the bottom of the page.
It´s a rocket. Stuck through the back of a skull, sitting on an aging belt sander rigged to a pair of sawed-off skis. And it can haul butt down a track.
Scott David and his 10-year-old son, Cal, built El Diablo del Muerte (â€the Devil of Deathâ€) for last summer´s first annual Seattle Power Tool Drag Race and Derby. Inspired by earlier events in New England and the Bay Area, such races are now popping up around the world. The rules are simple: Build something that gets its drive from a handheld power tool (loosely defined). Each race pits two rigs against each other on wooden tracks, 60 feet long and one foot wide. The winner is the first to reach the end, but judges value originality as much as speed.
Besides El Diablo, the Seattle race featured a papier-mch gremlin on a mini motorcycle and a rocket-powered toaster with AOL CDs for wheels. The gutsiest was an angle grinder/Rollerblade hybrid that launched off a ramp and nearly landed in the bed of a pickup truck down the block. El Diablo won several heats, but Cal is already looking ahead. Next year, he´s thinking his entry ought to shoot ping-pong balls.
Want to Race?
Several upcoming events give you a chance. Or start your own race, and tell us about it at email@example.com.
New England: February
San Francisco: May; powertooldragraces.com
Seattle: July; hazardfactory.org
U.K.: TBD; www.robogeddon.com
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Five amazing, clean technologies that will set us free, in this month's energy-focused issue. Also: how to build a better bomb detector, the robotic toys that are raising your children, a human catapult, the world's smallest arcade, and much more.