The MythBusters The MythBusters

MythBusters Episode 100: MacGyver Special

Premier Date: February 20, 2008

A person can blow a hole in a wall with elemental sodium and water.


The MythBusters placed sodium in a gel capsule, placed it in a bottle full of warm water, and put the bottle against a cinder block wall. However, the explosion from one gram of sodium was not powerful enough to damage the wall, and one hundred grams of sodium was also not enough. The MythBusters then used the more reactive potassium, but still failed to cause any damage. The MythBusters finally resorted to using C-4 explosive to demolish the wall.

A person can make a working two-seater ultralight plane out of makeshift materials.


Taking footage from the show, the Build Team built an ultralight plane out of bamboo, duct tape, trash bags, and a cement mixer engine. The show depicted the plane MacGyver built as not being powerful enough to achieve flight on its own, but being able to sustain powered flight after taxiing off of a cliff. With their plane complete, the Build Team added remote controls and took the plane to a quarry that had flat, level ground and a 150 foot cliff. While they demonstrated that the plane’s engine had enough power to move the plane, it wasn’t enough to sustain flight and the plane plummeted straight to the ground.

In the following scenarios, Adam and Jamie decided to test their skills. Rather than testing the plausibility of these events, they were comparing their own ingenuity to MacGyver’s.

Pick a lock using light bulb filaments.


While the show had MacGyver picking the lock in just 52 seconds, it took the MythBusters a little over 50 minutes to pick the lock.

Develop film with ordinary household chemicals like ammonia and orange juice.


Both Adam and Jamie were placed in a room that had multiple household chemicals that included the necessary ones to develop photos. While Adam did have some experience in developing photos and could remember the necessary ingredients, he could not remember the exact process and the MythBusters were unable to develop the photos within the given time limit.

Create a makeshift magnetic compass.


Adam and Jamie built a makeshift electromagnet by wrapping wire around a metal screw and connecting it to some batteries. They then used the electromagnet to magnetize a paper clip, put the paper clip in a cork, and floated the cork in a cup of water to create a compass. While it wasn’t perfect, it was good enough to direct the MythBusters to their next objective.

Create a makeshift device that can go 100 feet into the air and attract the attention of a passing helicopter.


Using typical camping gear, the MythBusters were left to create rescue signal. Tory and Grant originally intended for Adam and Jamie to build a potato cannon and left the requisite materials, but the MythBusters had different ideas. They used a tarp, PVC pipe, and a rope to create a large kite and were able to get it to fly at a height of 100 feet just as the helicopter passed by.