A Reddit user by the name of WallaceMK stunned the internet with a stunt that is both illuminating and confusing. What is this project you might ask? Wallace decided that it would be prudent to dedicate time and money to creating a giant sphere made entirely out of matches.
The experiment called the “42,000 Match Sphere” was posted to both Reddit and YouTube which almost immediately became viral. The YouTube video alone has gathered well over 5 million views! According to Wallace, the project took nearly a year to complete. According to a source through BoredPanda, Wallace had this to say about the project’s conception, “I was playing around with matches one day and thought about how the heads of matches are slightly larger than the bodies. It got me wondering what would happen if I started gluing them together and never stopped. I imagined a sphere would form so I set out to find out.”
The project ended up costing Wallace far more than he had anticipated with the end cost being around $500. According to Wallace, he used a digital imaging software called Rhino to approximate how many matches he would need to fill an entire sphere. He describes his process, saying, “Early on I realized that aligning matches so that the heads were all sitting in the same direction helped me glue them up much much faster. I could grab about 7 matches at a time and hot glue them to the globe.”
Wallace approximated that it would take roughly 62,000 matches to complete his sphere, however, by the time he had completed the project he only used around 42,000. His approximation was off by around 20,000 matches which is a fairly significant margin of error, however, slight imperfections in the matches and variations in size and shape threw off the calculation. The final sphere ended up looking more lopsided than anything, but this didn’t deter Wallace from finishing.
The process itself became tedious according to Wallace, as he said that “it started to look less like a sphere and more like a child’s approximation of a sphere. I had to let go of the idea of perfection when I saw that I hadn’t been able to maintain perfect growth just by eyeballing the placing of the matches. I guess I could have templated the curvature and really tried to nail it but I was so far past the point of caring that I just wanted to get it done.” Despite what Wallace’s opinions are of his own sphere, it’s hard to argue the impressive look it has when the project is finally complete.
As the final sphere began to take shape Wallace remarked that “Turns out all green matches are not exactly the same colour and I have no idea why they shifted the way they did. The potential energy here was very palpable. All in all this thing took approximately ten months to create chipping away at it during evenings and weekends. Totally worth it.” When you look at the final form of the sphere, you can tell what Wallace is talking about. The match head colours are slightly different, perhaps due to a variation in dyes used by the manufacturer. The shape itself is a little oblong-like, but all in all, it looks like an interesting project worth destroying.
Speaking of destroying, Wallace’s 10 months of hard work go up in flames in a matter of seconds. It takes approximately 40 seconds for all 42,000 matches to light up. The ball itself continues to flame for a few moments before smoking itself out. The longer you watch the video, the more it takes on the illusion of a vast asteroid burning up in the world’s atmosphere. It’s an impressive fireball that looks like it would have been a great deal of fun to witness. The video features several different angles from which to appreciate the ball of matches going up in flames. All in all, the experiment ended up being a success for Wallace, who could argue the $500 cost of paying for these matches will inevitably pay for itself as he gets over 5 million views on YouTube. The video itself can be seen at the bottom of this article.
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