Explosive Nutcracker

Last year for Christmas one of my friends gave me a decommissioned or unloaded grenade as a gift.  Since getting a chance to play with it, the triggering system has fascinated me.  The system is very simple.  The pin holds on the lever (or spoon) which holds back a spring loaded striker.  When the pin is pulled and the spoon released the striker swings around to the priming charge which activates the grenade’s fuse.  I have been very impressed with the amount of force supplied by this striking motion and for my upcycling project have decided to re-purpose this force for the greater good of cracking nuts.

Infographic of grenade operation

Traditional nut crackers, although often beautifully crafted decorative pieces, are seldom used for or even capable of cracking nuts.  Once I had decided to use my similarly decorative grenade to create a nutcracker I quickly began investigating whether this could even be done effectively.  This involved buying some common nuts which require a cracker and putting the unmodified grenade to the test.

Traditional holiday nutcracker
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Pecan ready for cracking

Initial testing did not show what I had hoped for.  I expected the high force created by the striker spring to simply smash the test pecans into a bunch of pieces.  What actually happened turned out to be better.  Rather than sending pieces flying the small nub intended to strike the primer punched a small hole in the shell of the nut and in most cases caused a crack to form along the length of the shell.  This is fairly ideal performance as the small crack is enough to allow the nut to be opened by hand with reasonable force.

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Pecan with small hole and crack
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Bottom side of striker showing the protrusion responsible for the holes

Moving forward I plan to modify the top of the grenade to be able to hold the pecan in place without assistance.  Once the nutcracking system is functioning properly I plan to paint the grenade and add some minor aesthetic touches to the top in the style of traditional nutcrackers.

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My grenade. To be painted



[1] http://www.inetres.com/gp/military/infantry/grenade/hand.html

[2] http://www.germanclocksandgifts.com/nutcrackers

Grenade, Nutcracker, Upcycle
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6 Comments. Leave new

  • Brandon Boiko
    February 3, 2016 9:21 pm

    Great idea finding a different function for the grenade. I have to say I did get a bit uneasy when you mentioned it used to be a grenade. Great project nonetheless would never have thought of it!

  • David Holliman
    February 3, 2016 12:33 pm

    This idea worked well. I like that you took it one step further by dressing the grenade up like Santa.

  • Ryan Yankowsky
    February 3, 2016 12:33 pm

    Great use of military surplus, love the paint, may take a bit of practice to get working for a big bag of nuts but like the ideas and feel of the product.

  • This is such a cool idea! It is a great humor piece and I think it is super unique and a cool twist on an item that you wouldn’t think would ever be used for cracking nuts. Your aesthetic is so awesome and the concept is just so ironic and great. I think this is a great design with a good story behind it. Congrats!

  • Chip Bollendonk
    January 31, 2016 1:59 pm

    I’m glad that testing has gone well so far. I think it will be interesting to see how you plan to secure the nut during cracking – will it accommodate other nut types? How easy is it to crack open once the nut has a hole in it?

    As we talked about in class, I think it would be really neat to decorate it somehow like a traditional nutcracker. I wonder if you could mount it on little legs, like the nutcracker image you included here. Might be a cool way to offset the terrifying aspect of it being a grenade.

  • I love the idea. You may want to distinguish it as a nutcracker in some other way so people don’t open your kitchen drawer and see just a grenade. Can it crack other things besides pecans?

    It might be cool to incorporate some kind of other aesthetic, like food or Christmas, something contradictory to the military aesthetic a grenade already obviously has.


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