back to article Timeout everyone. Y'all know that Musk's $500 'flamethrower' is literally a Boring blowtorch?

You've got to hand it to Elon Musk – the guy could sell pork pies at a rabbinical convention. Over the weekend, his Boring Company started flogging thousands of "flamethrowers," netting the Tesla and SpaceX billionaire a cool $4.5m in sales as the internet went bananas for the gimmick. The thought of Musk wielding an actual …

  1. Throatwarbler Mangrove Silver badge
    Flame

    "The Boring Company's toy is unlikely to be used for much except kicking off house fires at parties, losing rental deposits to flame damage, and causing minor burns."

    Excellent, just what I've been looking for. Finally, a practical advertorial!

    (Flame icon trumps Joke Alert icon.)

  2. ma1010 Silver badge
    Joke

    Great toy for drunken parties!

    What could possibly go wrong?

    1. FozzyBear Silver badge
      Flame

      Re: Great toy for drunken parties!

      Huh whadya say!, Anyway Give me that and hold my beer. Show you a great trick.

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      .

      Whoops, sorry about that. should be able to sandpaper those burn marks right out.

      1. macjules Silver badge

        Re: Great toy for drunken parties!

        This sounds awfully like 4,500 Darwin Awards just waiting to be handed out.

        1. LaeMing
          Go

          Re: Great toy for drunken parties!

          Well, Musk is always trying to improve the overall human condition. He was going to get to the overpopulation and baseline-intelligence issues eventually!

    2. Big John Silver badge

      Re: Great toy for drunken parties!

      Well, it's possible that everyone will want to toast the guest of honour...

    3. Muscleguy Silver badge

      Re: Great toy for drunken parties!

      Scorched kitchen top when you try and torch ALL your creme brulees at once?

      Personally I've found a really hot grill does a top job in that scenario, but YMV.

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Very disappointed..

    I was hoping for an upgrade to my "Spaceballs - The Flamethrower", which is only good for lighting cigars these days!

    But fact they are legal is shocking - I wonder if they'd be doing the world a favour, if they legalised ownership of short-range or hand-launched nukes (I think there is a hidden conspiracy in Fallout - There was no attack, they did it to themselves).

    1. Ian 69

      Re: Very disappointed..

      I see your Schwartz is as big as mine!

    2. Voland's right hand Silver badge

      Re: Very disappointed..

      But fact they are legal is shocking

      The "Boring" flamethrower is boring. We used to make ones ourselves in high school. The sole difference was that we did not do it with gas. We used cans of cheap deodorant which were using chloromethane. 2-3m flame and extra bonus of nasty hydrochloric acid in the fumes.

      Nothing and nobody can stop you assembling such a fake flamethrower today (you will have to use gas cartridges for a camping stove though as most cheap cosmetics use inert gas nowdays). A couple of hours in the workshop after cannibalizing a Campingaz stove will do it (costs 17 £).

      Now, why a real proper flamethrower is not a restricted weapon in the land of the "free" is really in the realm of crazy.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Very disappointed..

        Ah deodorant cans (thanks James Bond for that one).

        However they can and do explode. We know we did it.

        We used to tape down the ends to light our bonfires, which thanks to living next to a huge steel mill, meant they could easily reach 30 ft high.

        Occasionally they would explode, which of course just added to the fun. Ahh happy days before common sense became normal, the days of cheaper shoulder mounted mini rockets...

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Very disappointed..

          I remember wrapping a can in magnesium (with a suitable length used as a fuse) purloined from the science labs at school. Spectacular fireworks.

      2. boltar Silver badge

        Re: Very disappointed..

        "We used to make ones ourselves in high school. The sole difference was that we did not do it with gas"

        Cheap flamethrower #2: Light bunsen burner, turn horizontal. Done.

        When you're 12 its good enough!

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Very disappointed..

          "Cheap flamethrower #2: Light bunsen burner, turn horizontal. Done."

          ... why bother with the bunsen burner ... turn on gas tap and ignite. Manu years ago I seem to recall a Chemistry teacher who would do this ... mainly as a demonstration on why we were not to try the same! Of course, that was in the good old "pre-safety specs" days when chemistry principles could be demonstrated bu lobbing sodium (or even potassium) into beakers of water and the liquid properties of mercury were demonstrated by pouring it onto a lab desk.

        2. Humpty McNumpty

          Or simpler yet

          We didn't generally bother with the bunsen burner, just lit the gas straight from the tap

      3. Ledswinger Silver badge

        Re: Very disappointed..

        Now, why a real proper flamethrower is not a restricted weapon in the land of the "free" is really in the realm of crazy.

        Is it? Before Elon's daft idea, I don't recall any long history of domestic disasters caused by inappropriately wielded industrial grade flame throwers.

        I'm sure there HAS been the odd accident, but its hardly an everyday concern. Even if you wanted to ban all things that might cause injury if misused by the civilian population, flamethrowers would probably come in at number 7,894 down the list, which would be topped by cars, guns, gravity, water, chainsaws, quadbikes, trampolines, and such like. Unstable TVs and heavy furniture kill around 250 people a year in the US (according to US government stats), which I daresay is (or perhaps was) well above the misused flamethrower casualty numbers.

        However, even though they haven't (generally) been prohibited, Musk really ought to be held to account for creating the market for domestic entertainment flamethrowers. The feeble minded could previously have made their own, or bought a purpose-specific flame gun, but they didn't, not having the initiative or brains. But those same feeble minded will see this video, and think "wow, gotta have one of them" and we will see injuries and probably fatalities. What the fuck was the tit thinking? Presumably something like "These will be controversial and feed my insatiable need for self publicity - and if a few peasants get burned alive, that's just an acceptable level of collateral damage against my greater good".

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Very disappointed..

          I'd certainly like to know how contractors wood cure felt roofing without a flamethrower. They're legal for the same reading nail guns are legal for domestic purchase.

          1. no-one in particular

            Re: Very disappointed..

            > I'd certainly like to know how contractors wood cure felt roofing without a flamethrower

            With a blowtorch, a more elegant tool, less random than a flamethrower.

      4. Chemical Bob Bronze badge
        Happy

        Re: Very disappointed..

        "Now, why a real proper flamethrower is not a restricted weapon in the land of the "free" is really in the realm of crazy."

        Nope, makes perfect sense. A real, proper flamethrower is still a short range weapon so no problem.

        1. jake Silver badge

          Re: Very disappointed..

          More to the point, in most cases a civilian using a flamethrower is self cancelling. I'm all for chlorinating the gene pool. Hopefully this won't get any laws protecting rednecks from themselves passed.

  4. Sgt_Oddball Silver badge

    they missed s trick.

    I'm sure you could use it for removing spiders too. Just remember to stop at some point.

    1. harmjschoonhoven

      Re: they missed s trick.

      Sgt_Oddball how dare you say that. I loooove spiders, but I do not live in Australia.

      1. Dave 126 Silver badge

        Re: they missed s trick.

        And if you lived in many parts of Australia, a flame thrower - or even a carelessly discarded dog end - is a very bad idea.

  5. Sorry that handle is already taken. Silver badge
    WTF?

    Hmm

    This "Elon Musk" is beginning to confuse me.

    1. oiseau
      Facepalm

      Re: Hmm

      Hello:

      Confuse?

      Nah !!!

      Beside having the lead in the rocket and electric cars business, the man's clearly a marketing genius.

      Look how he made a cool $4.5M in sales (in a jiffy) from 500 dimwitts and really stupid government regulations.

      Cheers.

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Flame Throwers vs Heavy Rockets

    Maybe Musk got the idea from those earlier rockets that blew up?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Flame Throwers vs Heavy Rockets

      Are you suggesting that Elon, peace be upon him, doesn't have perfect prescience? Shame on you.

  7. idiotsavant

    The X15 is available in "ISIS Hunter Orange" apparently. The reviews are fun too.

    1. MyffyW Silver badge

      Call me old fashioned but the only X15 I'm interested in is made from Inconel and capable of taking me to the edge of space.

  8. Tom 64
    Pint

    Popcorn time!

    Just kicking back here, waiting for the inevitable law suit.

    1. Fruit and Nutcase Silver badge

      Re: Popcorn time!

      California Burning

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Popcorn time!

        Flamethrowers don't start fires. People start fires.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Joke

          Re: Popcorn time!

          I thought it was rappers?

          1. Rameses Niblick the Third Kerplunk Kerplunk Whoops Where's My Thribble? Silver badge

            Re: Popcorn time!

            Popcorn? I bet you could make loads of that with an Elon® Musk© Boring Company® brand Flamethrower™!

        2. soulrideruk Bronze badge

          Re: Popcorn time!

          "Flamethrowers don't start fires. People start fires."

          We didn't start the fire. It was always burning, since the world's been turning..

          We didn't start the fire. No we didn't light it but we're trying to fight it.

        3. This post has been deleted by its author

      2. Eddy Ito Silver badge

        Re: Popcorn time!

        And before you can say "nanny state" there was legislative outrage in Cali. Get your weed burners now kids before Miguel makes them illegal. Creme brulee is soon to be endangered in the nanny state.

  9. harmjschoonhoven
    Thumb Up

    Ah, flamethrowers

    I go for the real stuff: V1 on ice.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Ah, flamethrowers

      Surprisingly slow. The V1 in the air (with less friction) was fast enough to outrun a prop-driven fighter in level flight - ‎640 km/h (400 mph). The flames out of the back of that sledge were looking like a very inefficient burn. IIRC a V1's flame had a more streamlined shape. Like comparing a bunsen burner on "idle" to one fed plenty of air.

    2. John Brown (no body) Silver badge
      Flame

      Re: Ah, flamethrowers

      Hah, try garden shed engineering instead, courtesy of Scrapheap Challenge

  10. Mark 85 Silver badge

    Rats. Too late for this to be a Christmas present to myself. Maybe for my birthday.

  11. Fruit and Nutcase Silver badge
    Flame

    Triffids

    Any coincidence that on the day this was launched, the BBC were broadcasting the first episode of Simon Clark's "The Night of the Triffids", the sequel to John Wyndham's "The Day of the Triffids"

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b07htd4f

  12. Fruit and Nutcase Silver badge
    Flame

    Flame grilled Mars Bar

    Musk helps you work rest and play with fire

  13. Kevin McMurtrie Silver badge
    IT Angle

    Boring is funding infrastructure building hardware using the excess money of wealthy adults who want a collector's item. Why would you call time-out on that, El Reg?

  14. Kharkov
    Coat

    Here’s to honesty!

    Elon came out & said it, Not essential, overpriced & the only redeeming feature is the cool sticker.

    And people bought it.

    If I promise envelopes full of nothing in exchange for $5,000 and people ask for & get it, and then complain afterwards, the fault isn’t on me. Neither is Elon to blame.

    1. Gene Cash Silver badge

      Re: Here’s to honesty!

      Musk is nothing if not honest... except for his deadlines, which I think he honestly believes, right up to the point they go whooshing by.

      Of course I can't throw rocks, I've paid $230 to be only a couple miles from Falcon Heavy when it goes boom launches.

      1. My Alter Ego

        Re: Here’s to honesty!

        "Of course I can't throw rocks, I've paid $230 to be only a couple miles from Falcon Heavy when it goes boom launches."

        Lucky bastard. I'd love to watch a launch (of any kind), but especially one with a 1st stage landing but the cost of getting a flight transatlantic to Florida, only to find it's a scrub makes a little expensive.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Here’s to honesty!

      Many years ago a BBC TV programme (That's Life?) once tried to give away £5 notes in the street - possibly at a discounted price. There were very few takers - if any.

    3. Nila

      Re: Here’s to honesty!

      Elon actually has said he may try to sell the dirt that boring machine digs out. That might not work as well.

      1. nkuk

        Re: Here’s to honesty!

        He is planning to make bricks out of the excavated material.

    4. rh587

      Re: Here’s to honesty!

      Indeed. Why not. Cards Against Humanity managed to sell thousands of boxes of cow manure, and convinced people to give them money to dig a hole in the ground for no other purpose than to fill it back in.

      At $20/hat, Boring generated $1m in revenue from the hats, and if they sell all the flamethrowers, will generate $10m. It's a tidy little business which presumably helps fund the Boring Company's birthing pains.

  15. JeffyPoooh Silver badge
    Pint

    Wasps and Hornets

    Burning them out with flames does make for some entertaining YouTube videos.

    Popcorn at the ready. Roll Tape.

  16. jake Silver badge

    That's not a flame weeder ...

    ... THIS is a flame weeder.

    Sorry, Musk. Mine's bigger.

  17. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I can't believe people bought them for the zombie apocalypse, I mean come on people, everyone knows it's a shot to the head. This is just going to leave you with really dangerous walking balls of fire. I see legal action a distinct possibility should society collapse.

    1. Nila

      Hey, I have a got a bridge for sale, a real bargain...

      Do not take things at face value, that's so... Boring.

    2. Jay 2

      Indeed. I recall that the excellent Zombie Survival Guide did stress quite highly that fire does not initially kill/stop/slow the undead and in the meantime they will probably set fire to everything they come into contact with...

    3. Dinsdale247

      And the fact that the flame only shoots a few feet means the zombie has to get really close to you before you can flame it. Come on Elon, didn't you test this thing first? Sheesh.

  18. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Meh...

    I'll take a wicked laser (plus laser sabre) over one of these any day.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jGOlEeXANm8

  19. GruntyMcPugh Silver badge

    OK, that's it, my weed burner,... I mean FLAME THROWER needs more stickers. Once I get it back from whichever in-law I lent it to last,...

  20. DougS Silver badge

    This will be the only thing the Boring Company ever does

    There's certainly no chance of him ever creating his cross country high speed tunnels. With this stupid "flamethrower" he's selling now, I'm starting to think he's just seeing how ridiculous he can be before the public calls him out on it!

  21. Loyal Commenter Silver badge

    As those who've read World War Z will know...

    "Works against hordes of the undead or your money back"

    If there's one thing worse than fighting a horde of zombies, it's fighting a horde of zombies which are also on fire.

  22. a well wisher

    Probably a little something he picked up in South Africa, I recall stories of flame throwers being installed under cars for dissuading carjackers in Joberg

    Seems I do recall right ...

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Blaster_(flamethrower)

  23. GX5000

    Nothing more than a Hepped up Blowtorch.

    The Cost of producing this would be under $150.00 but if you need the Elon Bling....

  24. Phukov Andigh Bronze badge

    Feb 6?

    crap I may be on the road all day! gonna need to know when to pull over to watch the livestream.

    as for hype, I didn't even realize this was a "thing" other than one mention a couple of days ago that I took for a hoax.

    Oh well.

  25. Sizzer_Runner

    I made one...here's demo video of my trying not to burn down my living room...

    That is so crazy! Between the hats and these, that's $11 million in sales in less than a month! If they continue this, they could be a $150M company and not do anything...except marketing. :P

    So, I made one for $40. Here's demo video of my trying not to burn down my living room and parts list to make one. https://youtu.be/9O6exS7EGME

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