Things that make you go 'boom'.

Today on Otters Oddities, I'm going to stray from the norm. I usually tell you about something odd or strange.

Today, I'm going to tell you about something forbidden. Something that, if you were to search for it on the internet, you'd have black suited men showing up to 'request' that you accompany them.

Today, I'm going to tell you how to build.....a nuclear bomb.

More precisely, I'm going to tell you how to build your very own replica of 'Little Boy', the atomic bomb the United States dropped on Hiroshima on August 6th, 1945.


***Disclaimer*** You will notice that I am omitting several key pieces of information. I'm not going to get my ass in trouble for telling people how to blow up a city. The information provided is the bare bones basics of how an atom bomb works. It goes with out saying, but, DO NOT TRY TO BUILD ONE OF THESE! If you do, you will get in a lot of trouble, and will probably spend quite a few years in a federal penitentiary. I am providing this information solely for entertainment purposes. And also because, you have to admit, it's an odd subject, therefore, a viable subject for an oddities post.

***Special note for the government*** I am in no way trying to encourage people to build one of these devices. The information I'm providing is freely available in libraries and on the internet. And the information provided would not enable anyone to build the device. So gentle when you come to take me away.....

The basic principal behind an atom bomb is fairly simple. All you really need to do is get a small supply of uranium or plutonium, and set them up with an explosive device to impact against each other in a controlled manner. If you do it right, you end up with a big boom. If you do it wrong, you end up with a conventional explosion that spreads little chunks of radioactive materiel all over the place. (a dirty bomb).

See, that wasn't too hard, was it?

While a dirty bomb would be bad, the real killing power of an atomic bomb, (or nuclear warhead, for that matter), lies not in the explosive force of the weapon. It is in the minute particles of vaporized radioactive material that get's spread over hundreds of square miles. Most of the casualties come from the radiation. Studies at the time estimate between 90,000 and 160,000 people died within four months of the bombing of Hiroshima, with half of them dying in the explosion, the rest from the effects of burns and radiation.


To get the maximum effect from the explosion, Little Boy was detonated while in the air. The air burst method allows for better distribution of the radioactive material. The reason for that is, a ground burst will be contained by buildings and the geography. Whereas an air burst will rain destruction down over everything.

So, if you ever want to build your own Little Boy, get your uranium and split it in half. Place one half in the base of a steel tube and cement it in place. Cram the other half into the other end of the tube and shove it down a foot or so. Then put a cement plug in that end as well.

Take your conventional explosive and put it on the top cement plug. Put your timer in the explosive and run like hell. And make sure you get very far away, because it gonna go boom!


Now, that is the basics of how a device like Little Boy worked. The atomic reaction happens because the two blobs of uranium were smashed together with incredible force.

This method is not used in modern nuclear warheads. Today, they'll use explosives to crush a symmetrical ball of fissionable material. The process of doing that is a lot harder than making an atomic device.

Like I said earlier, I left out a lot of things you would need to do if you were to actually build a device. So, don't even try. And, don't go searching on Google for complete instructions.


Knowing the basics of how an atomic device works is educational. Trying to construct one is criminal. Very criminal. So criminal that I have serious doubts about posting this oddities. So please, take this post as entirely educational.

Now, with luck, I'll be out in 6-10 years to continue my posts. Please send me a lot of soap-on-a-rope.