11 of the Most Unbelievable Things Built in People's Backyards

Here are some great examples of backyard engineering in the flesh.
Christopher McFadden
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What do you do in your spare time? Read a book? Play some games? How about building your very own working submersible or nuclear reactor?

This might sound crazy, but that is exactly what some of these amazing backyard engineers got up to during their downtime.


What are some great examples of backyard engineering?

So, without further ado, here are some great examples of backyard engineering. This list is far from exhaustive and is in no particular order.

1. This teenager actually made a nuclear reactor in his mom's backyard

Back in the 1990s, a 17-year-old teenager actually managed to build a "working" nuclear reactor. Using components he managed to scavenge or buy with money earned from a paper round and other side gigs, David Charles Hahn put his love for science to the test.

He was fascinated with science from an early age, and he decided to have a go at a homemade reactor. Using old batteries, clocks, lanterns, duct tape, and some uranium from Czechoslovakia, he actually succeeded.

Unfortunately for the neighbors, his homemade reactor made the local area pretty radioactive, and authorities were forced to come in a clean up the mess. The story was widely reported in 1998, and David would later die at the age of 39 from alcohol poisoning. 

2. This jet-engined snowmobile is sweet

These amazing backyard engineers actually managed to develop a rocket-powered snowmobile. Called the "Jetmotorisert snøscooter", this really is an amazing DIY engineering feat.

3. This chap actually built a tiny rollercoaster in his backyard

An engineering lecturer recruited his students to help him build a working mini-rollercoaster in his backyard. While not the most exciting of rollercoasters in the world, this really is an interesting backyard engineering project.

4. Check out this backyard engineered cargo bike

This amazing piece of backyard engineering comes all the way from Merimbula, Australia. By combining various bits of old bikes, and other random bits and pieces, this DIY engineering project really does look the part.

It is amazing what a little imagination, welding, and skill can achieve when people put their minds to it.

5. This powered "Go-Kart" is a work of engineering genius

This chap managed to supercharge his backyard-engineered "Go-Kart." The final result is something that needs to be seen to be believed. 

6. This guy managed to create his own 102 MPH bicycle

Using some random bits and pieces, and their own skill for backyard engineering, this guy managed to upgrade an old bicycle. Apparently, his improvements to a regular bike succeeded in increasing its top speed to 102 miles per hour (164 kph)

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7. Ken Warby managed to build a record-breaking speedboat in his backyard

Ken Warby who dreamed of breaking the world speed record since child hood, built his record-breaking boat, Spirit of Australia in his backyard with wood and jet engines bought for just $69 and Broke water speed record in 1978 by reaching 511.1 kmph.The record still stands. from r/wikipedia

Speedfreak and backyard engineer Ken Warby has dreamed of breaking the world speed record since he was a small boy. By building his own superfast boat in his own backyard, "The Spirit of Australia," he actually achieved it in 1978.

Warby's creation managed to hit 511.11 kph using $69 engines and other bits and pieces. 

8. This backyard engineer built a thermate cutting device

Remember when National Geographic tried to say that 175 pounds of thermite couldn't cut a steel beam? And then an engineer built some homemade thermate cutting devices and demonstrated cutting the same beams in his backyard? Priceless. from r/conspiracy

This very talented backyard engineer managed to successfully build a working thermate cutting device. His cutter makes short work of some steel bars. 

9. This maniac decided to fire up a Boeing 747 engine in his backyard

Crazy Guys Run A Gigantic Boeing 747 Rolls Royce RB211 Engine In Their Backyard from r/airplanes

This crazy backyard engineer managed to get his hands on an old Boeing 747 Rolls Royce RB211 engine. That is cool enough in and of itself, but he then decided to fire it up in his own backyard!

As you do.

10. This father and son engineering tag-team are building a Batmobile in their backyard

So my son, father and I picked up our Batmobile today! Now we have to put it together.?[OC] from r/batman

A father and son team of backyard engineers managed to get their hands on a Batmobile. Now they have the great pleasure of assembling it in their backyard. 

11. These backyard engineers made their very own working submersible

And finally, this team of backyard engineers actually turned a pile of scrap into a working submersible. At least for a while.

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