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March 11, 2011 7:20 AM   Subscribe

Do you know of an authoritative website that gives instructions for how to build a self destructing tape recorder?
posted by crazylegs to Computers & Internet (3 answers total) 8 users marked this as a favorite
I think the tradition way of creating those self destructing tapes was to use something flammable at the end of the tape reel, so when it tried to play that section, it would ignite. Not sure how that might be done though.
posted by yeoz at 1:09 PM on March 11, 2011

Get some old fashioned strike-anywhere matches. Cut a couple of matchstick heads off. Glue them on the 'downstream' side of the read head so they contact the tape.

Splice some really fine grit sandpaper (cut a strip the width of the tape) at the 'end' of a cassette.

Stuff nitrocellulose (gun cotton) anywhere you can near the tape head and in the recorder's cavity.

Turn on - tape recorder plays back the tape until the end of the tape when the sandpaper scratches against the matchstick heads, igniting them. This ignition triggers the secondary rapid burning (you probably won't get an explosion; the nitrocellulose isn't confined enough) of the nitrocellulose creating an effect similar to the "this message will self destruct" as seen on Mission Impossible.
posted by porpoise at 1:51 PM on March 11, 2011

Self destructing tape recorders are a fantasy only used in movies and TV shows. They weren't automatically triggered in 5 seconds they were triggered by a prop person (or possibly a pyrotechnitian) pushing a button to trigger a smoke bomb that was planted inside the player. (A smoke bomb was usually used because it's non destructive and if the shot goes wrong they can do it again without buying another tape player.)

If you want to make your own @porpoise's idea seems pretty sound for a very basic DIY. What level of skill do you have at making/breaking things?
posted by Ookseer at 4:47 PM on March 11, 2011

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