Yes, 'World's Largest Nerf Gun' Is An Actual World Record. This Engineer Made It
LOURDES GARCIA-NAVARRO, HOST:
Jim Halpert, office prankster extraordinaire from the TV show "The Office," would be very, very proud of our next guest. He's a mechanical engineer who works at a big Silicon Valley tech company, and he designed and built - and you may ask why - a huge Nerf gun in the hopes of one-upping his coworkers in an office Nerf gun battle. This apparently does happen at his office. Mark Rober joins us on the line from California. Thanks for being with us.
MARK ROBER: Good to be here.
GARCIA-NAVARRO: OK, you could have pulled any number of pranks on your coworkers. Explain the Nerf gun.
ROBER: (Laughter) Yeah. So basically, you know, the first day on the job you get there and you realize everybody has a Nerf gun. They had, you know, the smaller ones that shoot the darts. So part of the rite of passage of coming to the company is you have to get your own. And so you had these wars, but it soon became where, you know, someone got the biggest one. And we're all engineers, so somebody modified his to have, like, a high-strength spring loaded actuator inside so it shot really hard.
GARCIA-NAVARRO: So it was like a Nerf gun arms race.
ROBER: Yeah, exactly. It was exactly an arms race. So I think the way you win the arms race is just get the bunker buster, right? Just go completely to one extreme. So I built a six-foot Nerf gun that shoots these darts that are made of pool noodles as the shaft and then, like, a toilet plunger as the suction. It shoots them 40 miles an hour about 50 yards. So that, if...
GARCIA-NAVARRO: That sounds dangerous. I bet you nobody was going to mess with you after that, right?
ROBER: Yeah. Darts generally flew less in my direction after I kind of flexed my engineering prowess and muscles.
GARCIA-NAVARRO: In most office cultures, first of all, there's not Nerf gun wars. And secondly, how do you have the time to, like, engineer a giant Nerf gun? These are questions when the story came up that were flying around. We want to know the answer to those questions.
ROBER: Yeah, so I have, like, a YouTube channel where I kind of use my engineering background to make sort of ridiculous things. So this seemed like sort of a perfect fit, two birds with one stone type of thing. And as - funny enough, it actually became - so I've always wanted to be a Guinness world record holder. And believe it or not, before I made this there was not a category for world's largest Nerf gun, but there is now.
GARCIA-NAVARRO: That is such a surprise (laughter).
ROBER: Yes (laughter). And I am the holder, at least for the moment. Until maybe my coworker makes a six-and-a-half-foot Nerf gun, I'm the proud holder of a world record.
GARCIA-NAVARRO: Mark Rober, mechanical engineer. He designed a Nerf gun that is now in the Guinness Book of World Records for world's largest Nerf gun. Thanks for being with us.
ROBER: Thank you.
GARCIA-NAVARRO: Glad you don't work in my office. Bye.
(LAUGHTER) Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.