Many of us have fond memories of setting up dominoes, prepping them with potential energy for a burst when gravity took over and they all fell. Dominoes could push marbles or climb stairs, and the designs they can make as they fall are artwork. For fans of the more destructive aspect of seeing entropy in wild fervor, Stick Storm from Goliath Games kicks kinetic energy toys to new explosive heights.
The story of Stick Storm goes back to the late 1970s, when young Tim Fort was killing time at track meets by weaving together tongue depressors to make “stick bombs.” The sticks were kept taut like a spring, and throwing them would make them pop, flinging sticks harmlessly in every direction. Thirty-odd years and an astrophysics degree later, Fort had a sudden breakthrough in his old hobby: a continuous weave meaning a rolling, viewable explosion. In 2010, he set the Guinness World Record for setting off a weave made of 3,864 sticks at the Science Museum of Minnesota. Stick Storm was born.
Using a uniquely shaped “starter tool” that looks like three fingers off a handle, kids and adults alike are able to begin the weaving pattern that sets up kinetic energy inside the sticks. Each stick sits underneath and on top of two other sticks, creating a strong structure as long as the ends are in place. Learning the weave may take a few tries, but once it clicks, it becomes like second nature. Weaving the sticks is therapeutic, much like setting up dominoes and knitting, and teaches patience as the payoff will be great.
Because the sticks are woven rather than staunchly perched, they have a margin of flexibility that makes for a new level of fun. The weave may be gently folded over, changing directions and even making loops. The Cobra Strike set includes several types of connectors that allow for all kinds of stunts. Players may build a bridge to raise up the weave, allowing it to cross under itself in a cool swoop. With a special sticky-backed wall stud, the weave may be hung up to go vertical, exploding up the wall when it is released. Since the weave will explode around the stud, being in the middle of it won’t stop the awesome. Another set of connectors incorporates a balloon, which will take off from the weave when its piece is released.
Videos on the Stick Storm website show the explosive tricks that sticks can do. Since the “explosion” will leave sticks scattered, there is some cleanup, but they are light and clearly visible for easy pickup, and the popping of the kinetic energy shouldn’t be enough to damage anything indoors or out.
The Stick Storm Cobra Strike set comes with 200 sticks, which makes a weave over 20 feet long. Stick-enthusiasts can go even further by adding tongue depressors of their own after incorporating the tools from the set that allow the sticks to take on whole new dimensions. All of the tools are there, but the necessary component that makes Stick Storm great is the builder’s own imagination.
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