Watch a waterjet device for firefighters cut through steel to battle blazes

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ColdCut has been making these for years. Science in the service of public safety is always a win. It can be hard to get firefighters to accept innovations though.


I tell ya these BoingBoing product placement ads are getting weirder and weirder…I just signed up for a 100 hour Javascript Gaming Code Camp and bought a firefighting water laser gizmo within minutes!


I would figure Hydrolance would be a more suitable name, like the Coldcut mentioned above, but maybe it’s already taken?


My dad sold industrial sprayers which could take the paint off of cars, but this is the next level! I wonder how much force it kicks back with. Like it is worse than a regular fire hose?

Newton says, F=ma.

In a regular fire hose, m is big because they are throwing 100’s of liters per minute. With high pressure cutting, the water consumption is much less, so m is much less. The cutting happens not from the water itself, but from the abrasive granules in the water. I suspect a is more or less in the same order of magnitude, since it depends on pressure at the nozzle and there are practical limits to how high pressure you really want fire fighters operating at.)

Most hand-held fire nozzles/hoses are engineered to operate with a team of two (for lots of reasons beyond the obvious one that fighting against the F in F=ma is heavy tiring work), and the Cobra is no different, based on the videos.



That’s neat, but why is it made to look like a militarized rifle?

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It looks like they may have borrowed some actual parts; quite likely a sensible move if you are making a niche product in low volume production and you would rather not reinvent the wheel being stamped out in industrial quantities. If you need to support something with your shoulder and apply it precisely at a variety of angles you are at some risk of convergent evolution anyway; and off the shelf parts will be cheaper.

Aside from that, the ‘not for pointing at non-targets’ design language might be a virtue given what a waterjet would quite easily to do tissue, bone, etc.

Not sure how much of a problem fire departments have with misplaced Officer Tacticools; but they probably like it as well, if present.


It has probably to do with target market. The ColdCut, wiki here, from the original (Swedish) inventors has no “weapon” design language… if you disregard 50-era space opera laser rifles that is :).

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Swiss firefighters and their equipment are not very “Tactical” ™. We like sturdy, brightly colored stuff that is clear and simple to use. As volunteers, there are long periods between training and calls, so it is easy to forget how to use complicated equipment. About the most complicated and unreliable device we tolerate is the beer tap, which always seems to be dispensing flame retardant foam instead of beer.

The Coldcut lance is probably shaped like a gun to encourage using your body to stabilize it.


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