# Using an Explosive Baseball Bat to Knock Balls Out of the Park

## Shane Wighton, of the Stuff Made Here YouTube channel, built an explosive baseball bat to break home run records.

4 years agoSports

As with any other popular sport, quite a lot of study has gone into the physics of baseball. There are many parts of the game to examine, but one of the most interesting is how far a human can hit a baseball using regulation equipment. Mickey Mantle set the record in 1953 when he hit a 565 foot home run — though there is some debate about the accuracy of that distance. The real number was probably closer to 540 foot, and very few people can even get close to that. Shane Wighton, of the Stuff Made Here YouTube channel, wanted to get as close as possible to it, and built an explosive baseball bat to make it happen.

According to a 2017 Popular Mechanics article on the subject, Alan Nathan, professor emeritus of physics at the University of Illinois, says that the fastest a person can hit a baseball is about 120 mph. That’s the speed the ball is traveling at the moment it loses contact with the bat. In order to reach the maximum distance, the ball’s departure angle needs to be 26 degrees. Optimal conditions, including elevation and wind, are required to surpass the 500 foot mark. But that all assumes that you’re using an MLB-approved baseball bat. Wighton was under no such restrictions and took advantage of that fact.

His custom baseball bat was cut out using a professional CNC router. That allowed him to carve out a space for a special explosive piston. That piston is similar to explosive nailers, which use small gunpowder charges to drive nails into tough material like concrete. In this case, the custom-milled piston shoots out when the bat makes contact with a baseball. That dramatically increases the force imparted onto the baseball, and subsequently how far it travels. With two charges, Wighton was able to hit balls about 350 feet. In 2019, the average home run distance for major league players was 400 feet, so Wighton's footage was pretty impressive for an amateur with very little baseball experience. He says it would be possible to add a third charge, which would increase the distance even more. Be sure to subscribe to Stuff Made Here if you want to see that happen.

Writer for Hackster News. Proud husband and dog dad. Maker and serial hobbyist. Check out my YouTube channel: Serial Hobbyism