What are these mechanical components?
October 15, 2012 5:44 PM   Subscribe

I'm participating in an Alternate Reality Game and two hidden packages have been located that contain the following components: Package one: http://i.imgur.com/1jH4a.jpg http://i.imgur.com/MldGC.jpg Package two: http://imgur.com/a/br1Fr#9 Both were found on opposite sides of the planet and have the same silica pouch. What the heck are the metal components? None of them are ferromagnetic, despite the included magnets in the one package.
posted by cellphone to Grab Bag (12 answers total) 7 users marked this as a favorite
They look like bits to a gun barrel to me. Is the fluted piece drilled out? Rifled? If so, how big is the hole?
posted by bensherman at 5:58 PM on October 15, 2012

if so, it'd be no bigger than a .22, given the quarter there for reference. And the paintbrush down the barrel says smaller than a 22 to me.

In part looks like some type of core-er/core-sampler, spring loaded, but that's just a WAG.
posted by k5.user at 6:01 PM on October 15, 2012

this page has the number of the desiccant being military graded, so it could possibly be something related to a weapon. or the internal parts of a weird, military issue pen.
posted by koroshiya at 6:07 PM on October 15, 2012

A spy pen gun? or here are some others.

I say this as someone with no knowledge of these sorts of guns other than what I found out looking for pictures for a short story they just looked a bit like some of them I'd seen.
posted by wwax at 6:09 PM on October 15, 2012

Is it some kind of magnetic cannon?
posted by thylacinthine at 6:24 PM on October 15, 2012

Response by poster: I feel like it's something specific that exists...definitely don't think a firearm. At least I hope not. So far the core/soil sampler is the closest bet but I'm not finding any results for soil samplers that are mechanized with a spring on Google. There are supposed to be more packages with components but two of the package locations have not had a package.
posted by cellphone at 7:59 PM on October 15, 2012

It looks vaguely like one of those spring-loaded car window smashers, the kind really really paranoid people keep specifically for the unlikely emergency of finding themselves trapped in a car underwater. The threaded end would have either a cap, or a hammer-head screwed on acting as a cap, or some sort of multitool-like attachment. Or alternately, if it had several telescoping sections, I've seen pocket-batons that look similarly.

I can't find a better picture of the mechanism, but you can see the overall tool here, here, and here. In that last one, in particular, you can see how the little notch and slidey-bit works to lock or release the bolt.
posted by pla at 8:13 PM on October 15, 2012

I went googling around and found several things that have telescoping handles with springs - umbrellas, laser pointers, magnetic pickup tools, and telescoping gauges.
posted by CathyG at 9:46 PM on October 15, 2012

The tool pla is describing is an automatic center punch; Wikipedia has an exploded view. I only know this because of the comments in this Car Talk article I just read yesterday.
posted by TedW at 5:54 AM on October 16, 2012

could it be a penetrometer? It is a tool to test the density of soil
posted by 2manyusernames at 6:49 AM on October 16, 2012

The second of your three photos makes the metal shaft look like it might have an internal component that turns, perhaps with a blade? It's really reminding me of a tool we had in my molecular biology lab, which we used to micro-puree tissues for various assays -- imagine one of those immersion blenders, but super-high-tech and able to crack open cells (at least in frozen samples). Obviously, this metal part would have to screw into a serious motor-containing upper portion; it's been long enough that I can't remember how the lab part of that looked.

Dunno, but another speculative penny.
posted by acm at 7:16 AM on October 16, 2012

Response by poster: Here's another couple of pieces that were recovered: http://imgur.com/a/xYf52#5
posted by cellphone at 6:44 PM on October 17, 2012

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