The MythBusters The MythBusters

MythBusters Episode 205: Painting With Explosives, Bifurcated Boat

Premier Date: June 26, 2013

A small room can be painted using explosives. (A revisit of a myth from Mind Control.)


Adam and Jamie decided to tackle this myth separately in their own ways. At a bomb range, Adam conducted small-scale tests using C-4 and detasheet. He found that a heavy metal plate helped to direct the energy of the explosion and resulted in more paint reaching the wall. Adam ended up abandoning the original premise of the myth and building a large contraption intended to simultaneously paint 6 art canvases. After loading this device with multicolored paint and detonating the explosives, each canvas was coated in a jumble of paint.

Jamie experimented with various nozzle shapes until he found one that created a large, rectangular spread of paint. At a bomb range, his tests using a scuba tank filled with paint and explosives yielded disappointing results. He decided that a spherical tank would be able to withstand a larger explosion and more optimally distribute the paint. Without any commercially-available options, Jamie designed and built his own heavy-duty spherical tank; he layered and welded a series of plasma-cut steel plates into two hemispheres that could be bolted together. Jamie placed this tank in a small room at the bomb range, with a nozzle facing each wall. The tank, weighing in at 3,500 pounds (1,600 kg), was filed with paint and dynamite. Upon the explosion, paint sprayed out to cover only a small portion of the total wall area.

A boat travelling at 25 mph (40 km/h) can be split down the middle by hitting a channel marker. (A revisit of a myth from Birds in a Truck.)


Due to fan requests, the Build Team decided to test this myth on water, opposed to the previous tests on land. They planted a wooden channel marker in a lake and created a towing system by which a pair of tow boats could pull the subject boat directly into the channel marker. When the boat hit the channel marker bow-first at 25 mph, the channel marker split in half and the boat suffered little damage, re-busting the myth.

To bifurcate a boat once and for all, they traveled to the New Mexico Institute of Mining and Technology to use their rocket sled. In lieu of propelling the boat towards the channel marker (fearing that the boat would disintegrate), they put a metal channel marker on the rocket sled and launched it toward the boat. The pole traveled toward the boat at 200 miles per hour (320 km/h) and finally split in two.