WOW Science – Frame Bombs

Frame Bombs, also known as Stick Bombs are lots of fun! Requiring only a few craft sticks to build, these fast-flying frisbees whizz through the air, exploding (safely) in a shower of sticks when they hit something. Best of all, they are endlessly recyclable. Once your Frame Bomb explodes, just pick up the pieces and make it again … Awesome!

Building Your Frame Bombs

To build your Frame Bomb/s you will need the following supplies

  • Craft Sticks (at least four)

That’s it. No glue or tape required! We recommend using coloured sticks if you can find them, just because they look cooler when the Frame Bombs explode, but any craft sticks will work.

Building your Frame Bombs is simple, just take your sticks, weave them together according to the instructions below and tension will hold them tight. Be sure to pay attention to where and how each of the sticks overlap. We’ve used a different colour for each stick to make the instructions easier to follow, but you can use any coloured sticks that you want.

 We’ve included four of our favourite designs to get you started, but feel free to create your own designs as well.

Design 1 – Quick and Easy

This is the simplest style of Frame Bomb, and only takes four sticks to build!

So what’s Going On?

You may be wondering just what is it that makes your Frame Bombs explode with such spectacular effect? The answer to that question is TENSION.

The craft sticks that make up your Frame Bomb are a bit like springs. When woven together, the sticks are slightly bent, pushing against each other as they try to straighten out. This means that the Frame Bomb is filled with POTENTIAL ENERGY. When the Frame Bomb hits a solid surface, the sticks slip off one another allowing the tension to be released in the form of KINETIC ENERGY, throwing the sticks apart in a (very small) glorious explosion!

Once you’ve got making the quick and easy design down, try out some of the more advanced designs below.

Design 2 – Five Stick Arrowhead

Made with five sticks, this design holds together and flies well.

Design 3 – X Marks The Spot

Also made with five sticks, this design is sometimes called the Butterfly.

Design 4 – Window Weave

Made from 6 sticks, this is the largest of our four designs. This Frame bomb can be carefully flexed to form a diamond as well as a square.

Detonating Your Frame Bombs

To make your Frame Bomb “explode” simply throw or drop it against a hard surface. It will erupt into a shower of craft sticks. Don’t forget to gather them up when your done so you can build your bombs again!

So there you go. Not only are frame bombs fun to play with, they are also a great experimental tool for exploring physics and energy transformation to boot!

To see another tool that was used to explore physics and energy, be sure to visit MOTAT’s newest exhibition Love/Science where you can check out components of a real Particle Accelerator.  Go to https://www.motat.nz/exhibitions/love-science to learn more.