A young man creates a giant sphere by gluing 42,000 matchsticks together for one year and then sets it on fire! - WTVideo.com
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A young man creates a giant sphere by gluing 42,000 matchsticks together for one year and then sets it on fire!

February 17, 2018 • By Shirley Marie Bradby

A boy named Wallace, who lives in the state of New York, was one day fiddling around with some matchsticks when he noticed an intriguing feature about their shape. What he saw was that the colored end is usually slightly wider than the wooden stick.

From here an idea flashed in his head --- by lining up matchsticks and gluing them to each other, would that not create a sphere? Usually, curious ideas like this do not remain other than just ideas, or they are transformed at most into an original topic of conversation.

But not for Wallace. He decided to arm himself with patience and to glue thousands of small matchsticks together to confirm his intuitive idea.

After buying a few packs of matchsticks at a store in his town (where they surely took him for a pyromaniac), Wallace began by first using his computer to make a 3D rendering. Starting from the dimensions of a single matchstick, he created a 3D model of the sphere and by extracting the final data he discovered that in an ideal world, about 60,000 matchsticks would be needed. Having ascertained that the cost would not be prohibitive, he started gluing.


Wallace's work went on for many months, with alternating moods. If on the one hand, seeing the sphere slowly take shape gave him a lot of satisfaction, at times he was assailed by feelings of discomfort. The work in fact required hours and hours of hard and precise work and proceeded at an incredibly slow pace. What he was doing turned out to be much more than a crazy do-it-yourself project. It became a challenge that tested his self-control and his willpower, from which he would emerge a changed person.

Having arrived at the halfway point, that is to say, in the middle of the sphere, Wallace was very satisfied with his work, but he had to admit that it was getting to be very tiresome. In fact, at the widest point, he had to employ an enormous amount of time and matchsticks just to complete one single layer.

But the young man did not give up, and he got to the point where his creation was almost complete. By now he had abandoned the idea of being able to make and shape a perfect sphere as he had seen it in the computer rendering, and was just concentrating only on completing the project.

And voila! After over 10 months of exacting work and having used 140 boxes of matchsticks, his creation was ready! Calculating that each box contained 300 units, the total was easily reached: 42,000 matchsticks glued to each other. 

The initial calculation had predicted 60,000, so there was a difference of 20,000 matchsticks. This according to Wallace may be due to various factors: first, the matchstick boxes do not all contain exactly 300 matchsticks; or, the matchsticks are of different sizes and therefore accumulate a margin of error; and finally, the sphere is not perfectly round, which is rather evident and comprehensible. After admiring it, there was nothing left but to proceed to the final phase of the project.

What is it that matchsticks can do well? Obviously, catch on fire! So there could be no other worthy conclusion to Wallace's epic undertaking. After taking the necessary precautions, the awe-inspiring sphere was set on fire.

Although it had cost money, time, and energy, Wallace says it was worth it. Just as in every do-it-yourself project, although in this case, it might seem particularly strange, the project did not take into consideration only the result or its usefulness, but also the journey that Wallace took to arrive at the end which was fun and tiring at the same time. 

Here is the video that shows you this very unusual and intriguing DIY project from its beginning to the very end.


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