Like if a mining drill actually was called a "Widowmaker" (c)
August 1, 2018 12:57 PM   Subscribe

What are some types of industrial tools or equipment (preferably the kind used for mining, construction, or earth-moving) whose names come across as particularly violent or scary? It's for a story, so no brand names please. Nicknames won't work either - it needs to be a descriptive name for an actual tool that exists in real life.

Tools that core, extract, ram, drill, grind, mash etc are all in the right direction. Thanks!
posted by egeanin to Grab Bag (38 answers total) 5 users marked this as a favorite
Like a macerator?
posted by Pope Guilty at 1:01 PM on August 1, 2018 [3 favorites]

Concrete crusher

Shredder (think scrap metal)
posted by DoubleLune at 1:08 PM on August 1, 2018

There's a right-angle drill made by Milwaukee called a Hole Hog that sometimes is called a "wrist breaker".
posted by humboldt32 at 1:14 PM on August 1, 2018

Rammer (soil compactor).
(also, ripsaw, ripping saw, gang ripsaw)
posted by Iris Gambol at 1:15 PM on August 1, 2018 [2 favorites]

Chain trencher?

Impact crusher?

Demolition robot?
posted by box at 1:17 PM on August 1, 2018

There's a surgical tool called a Virchow skull breaker

I always wanted one to keep on my desk.
posted by easy, lucky, free at 1:20 PM on August 1, 2018 [5 favorites]


The name derives from a "bull-dose," which is a dose of medicine or punishment large enough to handle a bull. Bulldozer initially referred to a really large pistol, and then the general process of using brute force go to over or through an obstacle. A bulldozer metaphorically treats a construction site the same way.
posted by Joey Buttafoucault at 1:20 PM on August 1, 2018 [3 favorites]

the pothole killer
breaker boom
battering ram
pile driver
hoe ram
rock crusher
earth rammer
mine blaster
posted by the webmistress at 1:21 PM on August 1, 2018

Williams Crusher has some wild sounding stuff in its product list. Some of it might fall into the brand name territory you want to avoid, but not all of it. On a quick browse I noticed these:

Rocket Hammer Mills
Slugger Crushers
Rigid Arm Breakers
Reversible Nuggetizer Crusher
posted by paper chromatographologist at 1:22 PM on August 1, 2018 [4 favorites]

I was always scared of the flail.
posted by Melismata at 1:27 PM on August 1, 2018

The radial arm saw, or as it was know in our household, the "Arm Saw".
posted by Midnight Skulker at 1:31 PM on August 1, 2018 [3 favorites]

What about a mangle? It's used for laundry, not mining or anything.
posted by mskyle at 1:38 PM on August 1, 2018 [14 favorites]

walking dragline, stripping shovel, feller bunchers, knuckleboom loaders
source: caterpillar equipment
posted by 20 year lurk at 1:41 PM on August 1, 2018 [1 favorite]

posted by kalimac at 1:47 PM on August 1, 2018 [1 favorite]

Even better, the big Milwaukee drills are actually branded the Hole-Hawg.

Also the most popular line of power trenchers is called the Ditch Witch. They’re basiclly big chainsaws on wheels you shove into the ground. This is the smallest one they make!
posted by nicwolff at 2:12 PM on August 1, 2018 [1 favorite]


Yes, that's what I meant.
posted by humboldt32 at 2:46 PM on August 1, 2018

A simple "power take off" can really mess you up if you catch your cuff in it while riding on the back while your grandfather rumbles down the road (I was always very careful, whew)

Sawzall is a product name, reciprocating saw would be the generic term.
posted by sammyo at 2:48 PM on August 1, 2018

Hammer Drill, Rock Crusher
posted by sexyrobot at 3:03 PM on August 1, 2018

Came in to add bulldozer but saw it's already been suggested. I think it's important to also understand the racialized nature of the history of this word.
posted by eggs at 3:21 PM on August 1, 2018

Man I'm disappointed you guys missed Stump Grinder.
posted by Dmenet at 3:25 PM on August 1, 2018 [2 favorites]

Stanley sells FUBAR, the "forcible entry tool" which is designed for demolition: it's part hammer, part prybar, part 2x4-eater, and in general is made for breaking apart common housing materials. I don't know if its forcible entry qualities would be better than a Halligan Bar, but that has a boring name by comparison.

I'll take it on faith you know what FUBAR means.
posted by Sunburnt at 3:30 PM on August 1, 2018

Iron Roughneck

posted by thatwhichfalls at 3:31 PM on August 1, 2018

A breaker bar is a long non-ratcheting socket wrench.

A spike maul is like a pointy sledgehammer.

A nut driver maybe for a chuckle?
posted by trialex at 3:55 PM on August 1, 2018


Oh disregard, not industrial.
posted by loveandhappiness at 3:57 PM on August 1, 2018

Blasting equipment, like blasting caps, blasting initiators, disruptors, maybe.

Abrasive blasters, like sandblasting, sound pretty brutal too.
posted by subocoyne at 4:12 PM on August 1, 2018

If you have a nut that is so badly rusted onto a bolt that you can't remove it with a wrench, you need a nut splitter.
posted by Multicellular Exothermic at 5:04 PM on August 1, 2018 [2 favorites]

In woodworking, a mortising chisel chops holes and is very commonly called a “pig sticker”.
posted by bonobothegreat at 5:08 PM on August 1, 2018

Be careful with "bulldozer." It's more complicated than Joey Buttafoucault says. See "What in the Word?!The racist roots of ‘bulldozer’":
posted by Mo Nickels at 5:09 PM on August 1, 2018

Tree crushers. These were used to clear large swaths of land quickly--the US military used them to deforest Vietnam in an attempt to eliminate Viet Cong hiding spots, before they decided to go with the cheaper, easier option of Agent Orange.
posted by hurdy gurdy girl at 5:14 PM on August 1, 2018

So, this is kinda dumb but we were told not to call a “stop switch” a “kill switch”.

A trimmer multi-tool with a power head on one end and interchangeable tools you can attach to the shaft is called a “split boom”.

The metal pieces that attach ceiling fan blades to the motor are called “blade irons”.
posted by Huffy Puffy at 5:18 PM on August 1, 2018

T- reamer
Broom torch
posted by SaltySalticid at 5:21 PM on August 1, 2018

Stump grinder
posted by Thorzdad at 6:08 PM on August 1, 2018

The nozzles on fire hoses without a shut off valve were/are called suicide nozzles.
posted by KneeDeep at 6:11 PM on August 1, 2018

Face Drilling Jumbo

Bucket Wheel Excavators have kind of a mundane name until you know what they are.
posted by Mitheral at 10:01 PM on August 1, 2018 [2 favorites]

also, the rotary blast hole drill: "ensure your targeted penetration rates!"
posted by 20 year lurk at 10:04 PM on August 1, 2018 [1 favorite]

Ripper or ripper teeth on an excavator, grader, dozer....
posted by deadwax at 4:47 AM on August 2, 2018

Morcellators used to be used in hysterectomies to grind up the uterus before removing it from the body.
posted by txtwinkletoes at 8:01 AM on August 2, 2018

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