Who Am I?
My name is Rob, and I’m a pyro enthusiast.
I’m that kid who was always getting into his dads tools, playing with fire, and usually causing a little mayhem. If you’re anything like me, you love to tinker and are always searching to build the next cool thing. Growing up, I was the “lego kid”.
I have a fascination with building and trying new things that push my engineering skills to new heights and have a particular fondness with fire, fireworks and firearms!
At 15 I learned how to make a 10 foot fire bomb out of a Mickey’s bottle and some gasoline, we called it a “Mickey Bomb”.
At 16 I made a classic “potato gun” that my friends and I would take out to the desert for some target practice with our can of starter fluid and bag of potatoes.
At 17 I learned how to make a bottle rocket using the powder from a piccolo pete with a plastic bag and a gatorade bottle to make a huge “boom” loud enough to set off car alarms.
And when I was 18 years old in 2007 I created my very first homemade flamethrower out of an old squirt gun filled with gasoline and a blow torch strapped to it. To my surprise, it worked amazingly! I was launching massive flames into the night sky as my friends all watched. Unfortunately the fun didn’t last long. Within about an hour my homemade flamethrower started to break. The rubber seals failed and gasoline was leaking out of the gun, all over my hands and the ground. I knew I needed to figure out how to make a flamethrower that would last and could be used over and over again. So I did. I spent the next several weekends in my garage, designing, building and testing my first flamethrower.
The result was beyond what I could have imagined! I created an incredibly powerful flamethrower, inspired by military design that could launch flames as far as 45 feet in the air and I used it over and over again for years. I took it camping and dirt bike riding in the desert, quickly becoming recognized as “the flamethrower guy”. I uploaded a video of my flamethrower in action to YouTube and over the next couple years, I had tons requests from friends, strangers, and the tens of thousands of YouTube viewers to show them how I built my flamethrower which eventually led me to writing the first edition of my “How To Make A Flamethrower” ebook.
However the journey from my early pyro years to developing the flamethrower community you see today was not a quick one. I experienced challenges, illness, and opportunity that taught me the importance of having a greater mission behind the projects I pursued.
Original flamethrower, 2007
Battle With Cancer
Just a few months after building my first flamethrower, my life changed in a way I never expected.
I was living a life just like any young adult who just started college would have enjoyed. I was living at home, worked a great job, had all my friends around me enjoying days and nights together partying, going on camping trips, throwing pool parties and anything else we could enjoy!
However in January of 2008, a pain and tenderness that had been lingering and surfacing at various intervals for several months in one of my testicles finally led me to visit the doctor who would prescribe a series of tests to monitor this symptom over the next 30 days. I sat in the doctor’s office about 30 days later waiting to hear the results of these tests and what they might reveal. The doctor walked into the room where my father and I sat waiting, he shook our hands, sat down and opened his folder.
“Rob”, he said to me, “there is a tumor growing on one of your testicles, we don’t know if it’s cancerous or benign but the only way to find out and not risk spreading the tumor is by operating and removing your entire testicle which we’ll do a biopsy on to determine the nature of the tumor.”
What??? I thought to my self, how could that be the only way? And what if it isn’t cancer? Either way I’ll be left with only one testicle, that doesn’t sound like a very good deal to me. But I knew that cancer ran in my family and it wasn’t worth the risk to leave this unknown. I went forward with the surgery just a couple weeks later, eagerly anticipating the results.
Days later the doctor called us, “You need to come into the office so we can discuss your biopsy results.”
My father and I visited my doctor prepared for the big reveal.
“You have cancer,” the doctor told us.
The words were like knives being jabbed into the pit of my stomach. How could this happen to me? I’m barely 19 years old, active, healthy (so I thought), it’s not fair!
Road To Recovery
“So what now doctor?” I asked.
He referred me to a specialist in cancer treatment where I began my regiment of chemotherapy which was to last 9 weeks. I wasn’t spared any of the side effects. I became very sick, vomiting at times, lost my energy, all the hair on all my body…it was very difficult, and I hated it. But as treatment went on, I realized that I needed stay positive. They say that with illness, your mental attitude is half the battle to become well. I decided that I wouldn’t let my current situation become my identity and I was determined to somehow use my experience as a way to benefit others. I kept my head up and was thankful that I was fortunate enough to be receiving the treatment that would allow my body to heal.
The opportunity for me to make a positive impact as a result of my illness presented itself midway through my chemotherapy treatment. A family friend of ours who was a event organizer for the American Cancer Society which heads the 24-hour Relay For Life fundraiser events invited me to share my story on stage as the closing keynote speaker for the event in front of hundreds of people. I was 19 at the time and I graciously accepted the offer and gave my first speech just weeks after I had finished my chemotherapy treatment.
Before I stepped on that stage I was incredibly nervous, my stomach was full of butterflies but I stepped forward and shared my message with the on looking audience. About 5 minutes later I was finished, still shaking the nerves and adrenalin but I felt amazing! It was amazing to share my story and inspire others to look positively on a grim situation. My view is that through a loss, such as health, there are things to gain and lessons to learn and that is my message that I want to share with the world.
Giving Back Through St. Jude
I’m thankful that I get to continue my life cancer free!
I realize how fortunate I was to have access to the doctors and treatment that saved my life. The cost of health insurance and medical care is on the rise in US and it’s important to me to support organizations that help others receive the life saving medical treatment that they or their families may not be able to financially afford.
When it was all said and done, the cost of my treatment was staggering. I only received 1 surgery and 9 weeks of chemotherapy, which in world of cancer treatment, is a relatively small amount of treatment. I’ve known others to have multiple surgeries and chemotherapy or radiation therapy treatment that lasted for years. My treatment still cost over $100,000. Thankfully I had adequate health insurance which covered the large majority of that cost. I can only imagine how such an expense would be financially devastating to most families who may not have health insurance or enough health insurance coverage.
I’ve chosen to partner with St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital because of the no-cost life-saving cancer treatment they provide for children with families who cannot afford the care their cancer diagnosed children need to heal.
Families never receive a bill from St. Jude for treatment, travel, housing or food. St. Jude believes all a family should worry about is helping their child live. Since St. Jude opened in 1962, the childhood cancer survival rate has increased from 20% to 80% thanks to the help of St. Jude’s cancer treatment research.
St. Jude freely shares the breakthroughs it makes, and every child saved at St. Jude means doctors and scientists worldwide can use that knowledge to save thousands more children. St. Jude has treated children from all 50 US states and from around the world.
A portion of every sale at Flamethrowerplans.com is donated to building a cancer free world.
Each donation, big or small, makes a difference in battling the deadly spread of cancer. Enjoy your flamethrower even more knowing that your pyro hobby is helping make a difference in the lives of families affected by cancer around the world.
Thank you for taking the time read my story and for your support.
Keep Calm and Flame On!
Learn Everything You Need To Make Your Own Flamethrower
- Launch up to a 45 foot flame!
- 60 second continuous burn!
- Buy everything you need online with my tools and parts shopping list (included in ebook)!
- Mobile flamethrowing with backpack mounted flamethrower!
- Safe to use and LEGAL!
- Build yours for about $450, significantly less than nearly $1,200 for the XM42 and $1,600 for the X15 flamethrower for sale!