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The Next Best Thing To Space Camp


Hey there Fixers!

So remember when last week, I posted this epic kludge? Well turns out, NASA knows I exist. And while that brings up many disturbing questions about what OTHER government agencies are keeping tabs on me, it also brought a squeal of science girl delight to receive a special submission from the International Space Station! In fact, just typing that nearly sent me into another fit that should only be reserved for teen idols.

The engineer that was kind enough to forward these images along also wrote a heartfelt and inspiring email, which is posted, along with the OTHER PHOTOS! (Squee) after the jump.

The Email:

So seeing the Apollo 13 duct tape posting got me thinking back to the reason
I wanted to work for NASA in the first place.

As an engineer I’ve always thought of space exploration as mankind’s next
great adventure, and our efforts at achieving it pit the ingenuity of man
against an extremely harsh and unforgiving environment. It is there,
gliding miles over our heads, that the International Space Station
represents one of humanity’s first tenuous footholds into the unknown, and
it takes the best efforts of the brightest and most resourceful people in
the world (from 6 continents) to keep a crew of half a dozen people – the
best of the best – alive in a little spacecraft setting just on the edge of
our little bubble.

With that in mind, I submit the attached photos, taken by a member of the
Expedition 18 crew.

One of the things that they don’t teach you in engineering school is that
things very frequently don’t turn out like you planned, and sometimes you
have to improvise: this is what sets apart good engineers (those who merely
get good grades in school) from great ones (those who understand adversity,
appreciate elegant simplicity, and know how to react when things go wrong.
And they barely made it out of school).

So I submit these photos as further inspiration for the readers of this
site: the next time you *really* need to rig up a ventilation hose, and all
you can find to hold it together is duct tape, zip ties, and paper, just
remember: the most capable people on the planet, who have cooler jobs than
any of us EVER will, reach for the very same things when they need to get
the job done.

Elliott

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» 355 Kludgers Kludging

  1. Shiftkitty says:

    Whoever invented duct tape, we need to have an international holiday in his or her honor.

    • Tapeman says:

      It was the Scots, of course.

    • Mgr. City says:

      I second that

    • kit10s says:

      can you third? if so, i third that

    • Rizz Rustbolt says:

      You’ll have to pester Johnson & Johnson to find out the who. They still own the patent on it.

    • Diandra says:

      Who knew??? It really was called “Duck Tape” at one time…I’ll be damned…
      “Adhesive tape (specifically masking tape) was invented in the 1920′s by Richard Drew of Minnesota Mining and Manufacturing, Co. (3M). Duct tape (the WWII military version) was first created and manufactured in 1942 (approximate date) by the Johnson and Johnson Permacel Division. Its closest predecessor was medical tape.
      The original use was to keep moisture out of the ammunition cases. Because it was waterproof, people referred to the tape as “Duck Tape.” Also, the tape was made using cotton duck – similar to what was used in their cloth medical tapes. Military personnel quickly discovered that the tape was very versatile and used it to fix their guns, jeeps, aircraft, etc. After the war, the tape was used in the booming housing industry to connect heating and air conditioning duct work together.
      Soon, the color was changed from Army green to silver to match the ductwork and people started to refer to duck tape as “Duct Tape.” Things changed during the 1970s, when the partners at Manco, Inc. placed rolls of duct tape in shrink wrap, making it easier for retailers to stack the sticky rolls. Different grades and colors of duct tape weren´t far behind. Soon, duct tape became the most versatile tool in the household.”

      • dono1 says:

        This looks familiar. Wasn’t this on the TIFI New Members aptitude test?

      • CptSoda says:

        What about Oscar Troplowitz who invented the adhesive tape called Leukoplast in 1901? Not exactly Duct Tape, but I think that is where it all comes from.

      • rob says:

        Except that about the only thing the stuff is no good for is ducts! The heat breaks down the adhesive.

        • Smitty says:

          Duck tape won’t work on ducts, but on everything else. REAL duct tape will only work on ducts.

          • Ron says:

            Not true the accelerated testing was not real life. As an HVAC (retired) tech I pulled duct tape of of furnace and A/C ducts that were as old as forty years. Stuff is good. I also noted that at cold temperatures the stuff wouldn’t stick too well, but in average use even in hot attics the tape did the trick.

            • Fox says:

              Duct Tape(Duck) is banned for use upon ducts in the state of Texas at the very least, for its tendency under high heat conditions(attics, crawlspaces, etc) for drying and crumbling, leaving a fragile lattice of dried out string and crumbled plastic. And one very unsealed duct.

              Nowadays, a thermally reactant aluminum tape is used in place, specifically designed to adhere by the application of low heat, permanently setting the cement-like adhesive in place.

              The term “Duck Tape” was a clever sales tactic used by salesman to allow the tape to appeal to the home-shopping type, because otherwise the initially construction-only tape would have no use or appeal to Johnny Home-User. Yes, its initial use was for ducts.

              Duct tape remains incredibly strong, and good in relatively dry environments for application, and moist environments afterwards(it can in fact serve as an emergency patch for a boat if applied correctly, thank you Mythbusters). Because of its reinforced nature, and for its evenly applied adhesive upon a uniform plasticine seal, it is pretty tough, and can be used under extremely high tensile pressures, for short periods of time. Long term, the tensile strength drops with pressure at length, but it is much more stable than masking tape(paper and adhesive), and adheres better than scotch tape.

              As a footnote, 3M now makes a “Nuclear Grade” duct tape that is designed to handle higher environmental stresses, that may be more applicable in long-term HVAC application, but you’ll have to pass it with the state board of inspection before you try it out yourself. I will say, however, that I am amazed by its ability to pull off cleanly, even after excessive weathering. It will, however, set you back 15 bucks on Amazon, a roughly 300% mark-up from a basic roll there. Just look for the 3M 8979 tape.

              • Ron says:

                My personal preferance was the (we called it) mastic tape in GA. Or in lew of that a bucket of mastic. But I always had a roll or two of duct tape and aluminum tape.

      • Beat says:

        Actually, if I’m remembering correctly from the lecture that my Army-dad gave me, Duct tape was originally called duct tape, because it was used for ductwork, so that came first. Then people called it duck tape because A) it’s good for waterproofing and B) it quacks when you get it off of the roll. There’s another type of tape, entirely different, that actually is duck-tape, though. Your info’s good too, but I think the timeline’s backwards at the one part? *shrug*

        I vote we should have international duct-tape day, yeah.

        • kc/cc says:

          *shakes head*

          No, Army soldiers on the battlefield must duck, before they can tape. Technically, any kind of tape is eligible. Redneck chrome-type just has big government contracts, that’s all…

      • Quark says:

        What’s the difference between the commercial and military versions of duct tape? Is it just the price?

        • Jon says:

          In the army we call it hundred-mile-an-hour tape, and it is second only to 550 cord in uses.

        • rob says:

          When I was in the Navy we used a version of duct tape that we called 500 MPH tape. A jet could come back with a bullet hole (Persian Gulf War) and we would put the 500 MPH tape over the hole and send it back out. Amazingly enough, it would return with the tape intact.

      • John says:

        Another bit of trivia: the original army version of duct tape, colored OD (olive drab) was referred to as “100 mph tape” for reasons I never learned during my service in the 70′s. Anyone know the origin of this term?

      • Michael W. Cocke says:

        I must disagree with one small detail – the most versatile tool in the household is vise grips. The most versatile repair part in the house is duct tape.

    • no comment. says:

      HELL YES!!! NASA+DUCK TAPE= SAFE ASTRONAUTS

    • That one chick... says:

      Apparently I’m going to have to cube the agreement that we should make a a holiday for the inventor of Duck Tape :) (who by the way was a man by the name of Richard Drew of Minnesota Mining and Manufacturing, Co. way back in the 1920′s (totally Googled that HAHA.. epic fail on my part >_<))

    • Enigma says:

      you can thank the US ARMY for that. inveted it during WWII as a do everything quick fix.

    • deathwish01b says:

      With fireworks. There aren’t enough holidays with fireworks.

    • Kara says:

      the speech would be given something like this, i think: “today the world honors . a person who, in a difficult situation invented a product that has so many uses, i’m even using it to hold this podium together, right now!!!” LOL

    • Blah says:

      They kind of do, I remember on the red-green show went to an annual duct tape show where they built entire floats/statues out of duct tape. Crazy Canadians.

      • ladymithril says:

        **makes life size voodoo doll of Blah out of duct tape**

        **looks over at Blah then pokes the doll**

        **laughs evil crazy Canadian laugh**

      • eye noz wut says:

        I love the Canadians – they make the best cough syrup ever! Tastes bad, works good.

      • greg says:

        Actually, that was the movie “Duct Tape Forever”, starring characters from the Red Green show. Produced by S&S Productions, it was not only fiction, but comedy,… not intended to be factual.

      • HamatoKameko says:

        The Red-Green Show is the best thing ever. I used to beg to stay up to watch it when I was a kid! (Now whether or not a kid should have been watching it… that’s another discussion. LOL)

    • matt says:

      I… uh…. what ever number comes after the highest number that someone replied to this numbered XD

      International Day of Duct tape, another day off from school and work XD

    • pocket ninja says:

      I nominate the beginning of april, sometime. When it stops being too cold to care.

    • Atriarch says:

      the US government invented duck tape, and yes it is pronounced duck tape, they invented it to waterproof wood artillery and weapon boxes back in WWII, called duck tape cause they got the original idea from ducks who’s feathers were water proof.

      • Ktribble says:

        Right — except for the origin of the name. “Duck” is a heavy, plain woven cotton fabric — often used for tents and bags. The original duck tape was “duck” (the cloth) coated with the sticky sealant glue. Instead of having to paint on waterproofing (and deal with cans of sticky waterproofing glue), we now have this waterproofing stuff stuck to a roll of convenient duck.

    • flaillomanz says:

      shiftkitty… you started a HUUUUUGE list of replies.

    • chellearo says:

      so I agree. we should choose a day like Richard drew’s b-day or whoever officially invented it’s birthday, then spread the word. Holidays have always originated from societies “rituals” and only later adopted my government, all the good ones anyways. Want it to happen lets make it happen =]

    • BIG MERVE says:

      I agree except it was probably a guy, women aren’t smart enough to invent duct tape

    • lolbxk says:

      I’m down for nat’l duct day. But if we do it once will it stick?

    • JeansOregon says:

      I vote for a stamp. A Duct – Duck Stamp. It can be a grey square with ‘thank you Drew’ on it, ‘from all of us on earth and beyond.’

      I have 1 roll in my truck, 2 rolls in my home at all times. My camping gear has a roll too.

      Don’t leave earth without it!

    • Kitt says:

      I concur. ^^

    • Lowell says:

      ABSOLUTELY there needs to be an INTERnational duct tape holiday.

    • Roflmaster says:

      I think there is. There’s definitely one in the town where Duct tape was invented. They make floats out of duct tape and everything.

    • canuck says:

      twas a canadian, that invented “duct tape” and “The Red Green Show” that was on CBC for years put it to some pretty cool uses.

    • Angel4500 says:

      Duct tape (originally called Duck tape) was originally developed by the Army during World War II for The field repair of soldiers helmets, and had an olive green color. It wasn’t until after the war ended, when the civilian producers of Duck tape realized that they had a highly versatile product on their hands, that the name was changed to Duct Tape and the color changed to the dull silver gray that we all know and love today. Ironically, repairing ducts is one of the few things that Duct tape is not well suited for, as the frequent change in temperature cause the adhesive to break down, and loose it’s “stickyness.” However, with all the other uses for Duct Tape, this point becomes rather moot…

  2. Don says:

    I am totally, totally fangirling with you. I hate this word, but this is and EPIC KLUDGE.

  3.   says:

    That’s awesome!!!!

  4. OnyxAlchemyst says:

    As a friend of mine in the army says, “if it looks stupid, but works, it ain’t stupid.” It’s kudges that look stupid, barely work, and will probably kill you, that I chuckle at.

    • Greg says:

      That’s exactly how I justified wearing a helmet while cycling; which incidentally is why I have an intact skull while two of my cycling friends have plates in their heads. They WISH I was making that up.

  5. Zabinatrix says:

    The e-mail and pictures are awesome for several reasons, but my favorite part of the post is “squeal of science girl delight” – I really love “science girls” and other smart, nerdy girls. Especially when they get squeal-level excited by nerdy things like an e-mail from NASA. We need more girls like that in the world.

  6. Meowlaise says:

    This is simply amazing. (^_^)

  7. Starcat says:

    The seldom-mentioned grandmother of invention: the 340 km to the nearest repair shop.

  8. SCAScot says:

    “It has a light side, a dark side, and it holds the universe together.”

    May the Duct Tape be with you.

  9. K says:

    I think I have a tear in my eye

  10. slapchop says:

    Everything on earth, (or elsewhere) can be fixed with either duct tape or WD-40. If it doesn’t move and is supposed to, use WD-40. If it moves and it’s not supposed to, use duct tape.

  11. waldo says:

    Total Budda! A real space cowboy.

  12. JB says:

    Is that the toilet drain?

  13. Hannafate says:

    Awesomeness! Thanks so much for sharing that e-mail with us all.

  14. Mr. Own says:

    SPACE RIIIIIDE
    WE’RE GOIN ON A SPACE RIIIIDE
    DON’T FORGET YOUR
    DUCT
    TAPE
    AAAA

  15. Sparrow says:

    All I can say is y’all up there ROCK!!!!!

  16. Lamoix says:

    I’m totally going back to school to be an engineer now.

    • Johnny_gadget says:

      You don’t *go* to engineer school, you are summoned… If the force is strong with you then the call will come…

  17. Demetrius says:

    I’d say something about the lack of precision in their duct taping. But, I’ll wait until I manage to get *myself* off the planet.

  18. chris says:

    I am a man
    I can change
    If I have to
    I guess

    Amen

    • cue-tipse says:

      Sweet, It has been so long since I’ve heard that, the Red Green Show is awesome, is-it still on the air?

      • Kyle says:

        Boy, after leaving my comment below, I kind of wondered. Haven’t watched that show in years. Looks like they’re still around, but it sure doesn’t look like they’re on anymore.

        However, if someone else wants to leave a comment, I’d love to be proven wrong.

        • Paul Riddell says:

          The show ended a couple years ago in a big finale highlighted by Harold getting married (yes, you read that right). I have to admit that I slowed down on watching once “Adventures With Bill” stopped, but that silly show made me proud to be of Canadian ancestry. Seriously: the Handyman’s Corner segments gave me flashbacks of watching my grandfather work on his truck.

  19. oilstain says:

    Whoa, their duct tape has words on it! Is that why it’s $25k per roll?

  20. Keybaud says:

    If it moves and shouldn’t, use duct tape. If it doesn’t move and should, use WD-40. Nothing else is needed to solve any engineering related problem.

  21. Trekkette says:

    I’m gonna space-nerd out right along side of you. HOLY CRAP I READ A SITE THAT SOMEONE AT NASA READS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    *calming down now*

    • GeekGirlToo says:

      I know! My first thought was, “wow, that’s so cool that NASA reads this site, kudos for ICHC!” My second thought was, “OMG, I read the same site that NASA does!!!!!!” :D Even if it’s just a few of the NASA people, that’s still an epic win in my book.

      I wonder if they check it daily for their dose of humor like I do?

      • carolelaine says:

        Well, yes. Yes, we do. Granted, I’m but a humble assistant at JPL (I just support the high-falutin’ engineers and scientists), but we NASA folks love nerdy humor as much as anyone. I check the ICHC sites almost daily and I’m sure I’m not the only person who works for NASA that does.

        Doesn’t mean I haven’t been in an almost constant state of “OMFG I WORK FOR NASA!!!!” fangirly squealing for the past 3 1/2 years. I love that it never gets old.

  22. wxmanmike says:

    Man, you can do anything with duct tape, zip ties and bungee cords.

  23. Brad says:

    Is it really a kludge to use duct tape to tape ducts?

  24. TheAntiCat says:

    Of all the Kludges, in all the World, this is the one you hope to God keeps on working!

  25. Andrea says:

    Wow. Just… wow.

    But that’s real professionalism, isn’t it? Making do when things don’t work out. Coming up with clever solutions. Human ingenuity. In a way, it’s more impressive than when things go right.

  26. Sue says:

    Believe it or not, I have duct tape holding my back porch together! Not to mention the weather stripping in the car and the glass in the front door….

  27. Larry says:

    Duct Tape…WD-40 and a can of Great Stuff (minimal expanding foam)…What more ya need?

  28. Kevin says:

    Thank you, Elliott – for the kind words regarding us who barely made it out of school yet know how to improvise, adapt and overcome.

  29. Jan says:

    “Guns make you stupid. Duct tape makes you smart.”

    Michael Weston
    Burn Notice

  30. Brett Thomas says:

    With all due respect though, I think you lose some kludge points for using duct tape on an actual…well, DUCT. Isn’t this actually what duct tape is kinda supposed to be used for? ;)

  31. Mikey says:

    always good to know that even at the top level of engineering the very basic of DIY materials are turned to in times of nedd

  32. Chaikhe says:

    Thank you, thank you, thank you, engineer! We *so* appreciate you thinking of us! And thank you NASA, if the engineer had to get permission – you said yes. Great going, peoples!!!

  33. Jici says:

    “Behind every great man there’s a great Duct tape”

    -Jean Christophe Dubé Brochu-

  34. waldo says:

    “When the tides of life turn against you.
    And the storms of life sink your boat.
    Don’t cry and scream.
    Just lie on your back and float.”
    – Edward Norton -

  35. Paul Riddell says:

    For years, I’ve been arguing that “The Red Green Show” and “Doctor Who” are actually the same program, and in a strange way, this just makes me more convinced of it. I can hear Steve Smith crow right now: “Time for the Time Lord’s secret weapon…duct tape!”

  36. Captain Ned says:

    I’ll bet they’re using the lord of duct tapes; EB Green.

  37. Hippy says:

    in New Zealand you can add bailing twing and number 8 wire to the backyard engineers tool kit

  38. Sarge says:

    Epic kludge.

  39. Lars says:

    Ironically duct tape sucks at duct work since the heat dries it up and it quickly and that causes the cloth to become very brittle. It thenbasicaly falls apart. This is why aluminium tape is used.

  40. SD says:

    That’s a great story. For those of you who don’t know, amateur radio operators are able to talk directly to the ISS. I got to talk to ISS commander Bill McArthur back in 2006 from my home in Brooksville, Florida.

    I don’t doubt that you got the same thrill when they sent you photos your great web site. Bravo!

  41. Punky says:

    This looks shopped.

    … someone had to say it.

  42. marxz says:

    feh!!! duct tape is strictly for amateurs… real artful bodgers use Gaffa (Nashua brand only please)..

    that said I’ve done much the same cludge as this to run an refrigerative air conditioning unit in an over heating laboratory inside a sealed building… several gaffa sections of ducting to vent the hot exhaust out the nearest the fire door.
    I classed it up a bit by wrapping the whole thing with mylar space blankets – secured with gaffa taped and cable tied to stop the hot air leaking in to the rest of the building… and to make it look like it was “science” ;)

    • Anna Rexia says:

      You mean amateurs who work in a place you’ll only ever be able to dream of?

    • z! says:

      Or, in the US, it’s gaff tape by Permacel, the Nashua stuff here is crap. (And 3-in-1 oil, please. WD-40 doesn’t lubricate worth a damn.)

      • Ducked Ape says:

        Nope, WD-40 is crummy as a lubricant because it was supposed to be a Water Displacer (WD, geddit?) to keep sufaces from rusting, e.g. Atlas rockets, initially. It was apparently the 40th formula and was the successful one. Or at least the last one tried, who knows what WD-50 might have been capable of! Interestingly, the WD-40 company owns 3in1. So congratulations to those who use WD-40 as a lubricant. Kludge!

  43. Vaneetra says:

    Does anyone know whether this was on the space station or the space shuttle, and if it was the space shuttle, which one? And possibly who was on that mission? I’ve got an uncle who is an astronaut, and it would be funny if he was on there when that picture was taken.

  44. Bob Faure says:

    The reality is – it’s fixed. Did not take 5 years, $127 million, 4 study groups, and 5 congressional committes to figure out. $2.97, off the shelf, from Home Depot.

  45. Cowboy Steve says:

    Interestingly enough, this simultaneously showed up on a sister site, Demotivational Posters: http://verydemotivational.com/2010/02/18/demotivational-posters-duct-tape/

  46. Maggie says:

    I’m not surprised the NASA folks take a look in at this site regularly.

    Okay, so the typical reaction first time I sit down at someone else’s computer and bring up this page is gales of laughter, but they’re instantly hooked. Resourceful or idiotic, these images are addictive, and working out the rationale behind some of the fixes is quite entertaining!

  47. Catbytes says:

    “If you use duct tape on your air scrubber, you might be an astronaut.”
    - Jeff Foxworthy -

    … well, he coulda said it.

  48. dono1 says:

    With all due respect, the entire place looks like a kludge. Loose wires and tubing everywhere, exposed electronic devices, all sorts of things to trip over or bang your head on (depending on which way is “up”)… it’s an accident waiting to happen.
    And which country’s astronauts brought along the orange ducting? Didn’t they get the memo that the color scheme was ivory with metallic teal blue accents?
    But my real concern is the guy in pix #1. Putting a teacher on the shuttle is one thing but are we actually sending hobos to the space station now? I mean, what’s up with those pants, Patches? I know you can’t be from the USA because our guys have spiffy uniforms and wear clean socks… and they actually work for a living. Look at this slacker, just a sittin’ on the wall, kickin’ back in zero Gs, and watching everybody else do all the work. What do you want to bet he’s the guy that broke all this stuff in the first place?
    I say they should “accidentally” trap him in the airlock with the faulty seal.

    • Sigfried says:

      You are aware that sometimes clothes rip, and in a space satation, you have no sewing equipment?
      Also, I’m not sure if they have laundromats there, with the lack of waterbeds near them, it may get hard to wash your socks.

      And even if they owrk for a living, where do you think they go out to buy new stuff when they get their paychecks?

    • Anonny says:

      Being able to ‘trip’ in space would first mean being able to ‘walk’ in space. Zero-G, remember?

  49. sailorgallifrey says:

    That’s just brilliant! I share your science-fangirly squee. X3

  50. neener neener says:

    I still fantasize about MacGyver.

  51. Alec says:

    Well… If the station randomly explodes we’ll have a good guess as to what caused it

  52. Shadarus says:

    Okay, I’ll jump on the quote bandwagon:

    “Duct tape in spaaaaaaace!” ~The Muppet Show

  53. Uwe says:

    Around 1901 Oscar Troplowitz developed what goes as “bandaid” in the angloworld. sold under the tradename “Leukoplast” from Beiersdorf AG,
    Germany since then. Patents were voided after WWI

  54. scrapheapchallenge says:

    Rules of repair, some of these are contradictory, but nontheless fun:

    1 – “If you can’t fix it with duct tape you’re not using enough”
    2 – “if it moves and shouldn’t, use duct tape, if it doesn’t move and should, use WD40″
    3 – “if you can’t fix it with a hammer, it’s an electical problem”
    4 – “if at first you don’t succeed, use a bigger hammer”

    And as any car drifter will tell you, drift cars are held together entirely with cable ties and duct tape :D – we never drive anywhere without a good supply of both in the car.

  55. Pat says:

    Love the guys and gals working on the ISS! Keep up the awesome work and Godspeed!

  56. snotnose says:

    The father of a good friend of mine was the guy who invented duct tape (this is true by the way)…he would be proud. Necessity is the mother of all invention!

    • dono1 says:

      That’s nothing. When I went to my high school reunion (and this is true by the way), I danced with the girl who invented Post-It notes. I think her name was Romy… or maybe it was Michelle. I’m not sure which.

  57. b-Man says:

    Duct tape or Duck tape. Was originally created by the military. They needed a bonding strip that was water resistant and could blend in with the military setting. there for they came out with (green) duck tape. Due to its high resistance to water and weather. it was soon changed in color to the silvery gray tape we know as Duct tape. It was renamed Duct tape because it was used to fasten together the Air Conditioning Ducts in buildings around the world.
    - Fountian of Useless Knowlage, useful

  58. Rogan says:

    Squeally nerdie geek chicks are hott.

  59. homemom says:

    My father, a retired engineer, and husband, a lab supervisor who often has to get things working before a repair tech can come in, can attest to what can be done with what to fix what in an emergency.

  60. Pragmatic Cynic says:

    To duct tape it, or to oil it–that is the question:
    Whether ’tis nobler in the mind to tape tight
    The slings and arrows of outrageous fortune
    Or to take spray WD-40 on your a sea of troubles
    And by lubing them, end them. To lube, to tape–ay, there’s the rub.

  61. Curious says:

    Oh that is about the coolest thing ever! Getting email from someone at NASA and Pictures!!!

  62. Julie says:

    There’s a song about Duct Tape that is hilarious. Check the Car Talk Website or search for Duct tape Madrigal in C Major.

  63. s-man says:

    On submarines we call duct tape “EB green” or “EB whatever color”. It started sometime long before I came around, when Electric Boat of Groton, CT, the primary builder of submarines (in the US), would use duct tape of various colors for just about anything. Talk about engineering kludges… and it is strong too. There are stories that it would hold back 3000 psi hydraulic ruptures during emergencies.

    • ann says:

      my dad was an old sub service Torpedoman — taught me all about the uses of duct tape and wire hangers…. god, I miss him!

  64. flip says:

    Duct Tape (aka Duck Tape, or Gaffer Tape here in the UK) is The Force

    It has a dark side, and a light side, and it holds the universe together

  65. Goof says:

    Even in a mutli million dollar space craft, designed by highly educated engineers can have its simple little oopsies and Kludges.

    I remember YEARS ago listening to some live feed communications between a space shuttle and ground control. It was a lengthy exchange back and forth about the “back up navigation” device not working. In the end it didn’t have batteries in it. Some body some where forgot the batteries, go figure.

    • jens says:

      I remember another conversation between the space shuttle and ground control where they spent the better part of an hour trying to locate the right serial cable or adapter to connect a laptop to some equipment. They had a few but with the wrong gender or pinout…

  66. Peter Hendry says:

    Duct tape or Gaffer tape int he rock&roll world is like The Force?
    It has a dark side and a light side and holds the universe together.

  67. K says:

    Woah…

    We are not worthy!

  68. dono1 says:

    In space, nobody hears you kludge.

  69. carolelaine says:

    Just want to join in on the fangirl squealing. Simply awesome.

  70. Palmface says:

    Alright. Do you guys realy think that a rocket’s inside looks like the bridge of the enterprise? Any picture from inside a rocket will look like that.

  71. George J. says:

    Second the request for Elliott’s last name. that quote is stellar! har har, but seriously, that quotation is amazing and I’d love to be able to attribute it correctly.

  72. Alleykitten says:

    This post if full of win :)

  73. HotFlash says:

    Three squeals and a faint for sciencegirl and elliott. I am consumed envy. Also.

  74. Issa says:

    /runs over to join the crowd of fangirls

    Seriously, a NASA engineer checks out this site too? That’s just plain awesomeness for both sides

  75. foo says:

    So, this [Thereifixedit.com] is where you NASA engineers spend your days!

    No, but seriously. How cool to get that email and pictures.

  76. DuctTapeRocks says:

    YAY! nerdgasm… lift off! :-D but… re nerd’s tool kit – how could all you good people possibly forget a potato peeling knife? cheap, accessible, easy to use and indispensable for all electrical repairs in a domestic context.

    as for duct tape holding heating ducts together, all you need to make it work is a plastic bag so the hot steam doesn’t come into direct contact with the adhesive. don’t tape the duct together directly but instead cut open the bottom of the bag, use it like a hose between the two open ends of the duct and duct tape it to the pipe. my parents had that set-up in their basement for over twenty years – unchanged i might add – and then only changed it because they were refurbishing the place anyway. i was actually kinda disappointed when i came home the next time and found the familiar blue 1970′s grocery store bag gone. wish i could post a piccie of it, it was a genius kludge, but alas no one ever thought of taking one. *sniff*

  77. This is top secret information. The Navy has zillions of rolls of “EB Green” (green duck tape) that is used to hold submarines together.
    We always said you just need a screw chisel (screwdriver that can be used as a chisel), crescent hammer (crescent wrench/hammer), WD-40, and EB Green to fix anything.

  78. Kay says:

    Far freaki’ out!

  79. warrl says:

    Can’t verify it personally, but I’ve been told there are quite a few samples of medieval armor with a piece of linen cloth soaked in pitch covering a crack or hole.

    Dark-ages duct tape!

  80. SV` says:

    My dog just ate my duct tape – really

  81. IronChefWelsh says:

    While it’s not an internationsl holiday (yet!), there is the 7th annual Duct Tape Festival this June in Avon, Ohio. The website is http://www.avonducttapefestival.com.

  82. Zoa says:

    It’s kinda scary to think that some parts of the space station are held together with duct tape and prayer.

  83. rocketman2tm says:

    Good engineers found that the round peg goes in the round hole. Great engineers found out that with the right square peg and the right round hole, a pump can be improvised.

  84. Chris says:

    Wow that’s quite awesome to see and at the same time a little disturbing. Billions of dollars have gone into getting the ISS up in space and they still need to use duct tape to make it work.

    Good for their ingenuity, but bad for our tax dollars.

  85. Cortland says:

    Richard Preston’s wonderful book “First Light”, largely about the Hale telescope, calls clear packing tape “Palomar Glue.”

    Don’t get me started on COPPER tape; I’ve been an EMC engineer 25+ years…

  86. Skipper says:

    I feel obligated to point the Russian cosmonaut in the backgroung, as he sits there with his feet crossed, just relaxin’. As a representative of the mighty Russian race, I have to say “Ura!” Quite often the phrase “This is we cannot be defeated” is heard in Russia as a new kludge is born… We are an essential part of the ISS because of the ability to create working kludges… like Russia itself.

  87. Steve says:

    Since it’s for NASA, the tape probably costs $1,000 a roll.

  88. Emily says:

    Duct tape was invented by Richard Drew in the 1920′s :)

  89. Jessica S. says:

    This post is made of raw, unprocessed awesome.

  90. Dood says:

    just get some duct tape before you leave earth and everything will be fine… ¬¬

  91. Foxtrack says:

    Duct (duck) Tape is like the force. It has both a light side and a dark side and it holds the universe together.

  92. Catbytes says:

    The thing about the duct tape on the ISS is… was there some tape there from the start (they planned this?)???

    or did somebody say, “our space station needs work, please send up some rolls of duct tape.” ??

    I suppose that no matter when the first roll went to space, since Apollo 13, they never leave Earth without it.

    also, i wonder how many rolls it takes when that attach new modules. LOL

  93. Drewfuss says:

    that is totally inspirational to people like me. It confirms what I’ve always said, that to be really good at something you have to have a natural talent for it, not just a college education.

  94. SpaceC says:

    Next they need to invent duct tape that will withstand the heat of re-entry so they can tape the ceramic tiles back on the outside of the space shuttle. Looks like the ISS needs a few more zip ties for all those loose wires. Or I guess they could use duct tape…
    The engineering mind is awesome.

  95. knexkid42 says:

    There is actually a Duct Tape festival in Ohio, up in the Cleveland area, since they have a large duct tape factory there :)

  96. WTF says:

    What are you people? Your opinions don’t matter and shouldn’t be on the internet. Stop abusing the privilege.

  97. Galane says:

    When are they going to do a show for TLC called “Trading Spaceships”? Shoulda done that before the Russians de-orbited Mir.

  98. Lucy says:

    I always thought it was called ‘Duck Tape’ because sounds like a duck quacking when you strip pieces off.

  99. The great and powerful Oz says:

    Duct-tape is kind of like the Force…, It has a light side, and a dark side, and it binds the universe together.

  100. varun vohra says:

    As an engineer to be (in 5 months) i really appreciate this post.
    it feels good to have real world professionals back up my notion that marks are insignificant when faced with real problems.

    -in your debt.

  101. Ploeg8393 says:

    The work the astronaut has done here is actually standard for duct tape. If you notice, he is repairing ductwork, and he is using duct tape to do it. When you ship something, don’t you usually use box tape to seal the box? Same thing here.

    Has duct tape become so useful that people forgot it’s original and intended use?

  102. Eric Gahn says:

    A Nobel for the inventor of duct tape. It must be the 2nd best, most useful thing ever invented after the wheel.

  103. rocketranchhand says:

    Actually, since the first part of the ISS was put up by the Russians, the first ductape up there was not American, but Russian; and yes, as it is down here, it is an integral part of all toolkits up there … from the Gemini project, Skylab (remember that?) and on through Shuttle, Station, and hopefully Orion …

  104. Randy Sanders says:

    It doesn’t matter who or when. What does matter is that we have it, it works for vastly more things than what it was made for, and it works very well. Whoever you are, Mr. Unknown tape inventor, those of us about to tape, salute you.

  105. Adam says:

    Looks like they got some fancy schmancy Duck Tape on the ISS. It’s got some writting on it, which you can see in the close up pic. What I wouldn’t give for some of that stuff. I bet you could fix a blown engine with that NASA grade shiat.

  106. Antikythera says:

    I am so squeeful to find out that the kludges are edited by a girl.

  107. luw says:

    wait a second, duct tape can repair/seal ducts?

    also, i noticed ducttape’s equally useful half cousin making an appearance in there; ziptie. zipties of the blue and red variety at that (how classy)

  108. Danielle says:

    LOVE it! Duct tape in SPPPPAAAACCCCEEEE!

  109. Anain says:

    Ok then: let’s make tomorrow, February 26th the Internation Duct Tape Day to honor it. This is the Duct tape Age, so why not seting the date right now?

  110. kaozkontroll says:

    I missed it….at least I have a whole year of warning until the next one lol

  111. md1088 says:

    So! You guys want to have a holiday to honor Johnson & Johnson eh? Company developed. The closest you’ll get is Drew Richards of 3M who invented adhesive tape (masking tape was the oldest).

  112. razz says:

    So Lets have a duck tape holiday with duck tape beads for the ladies who wear duck tape bras, Duck tape beer glasses, DEFINATELY fireworks, and presents wrapped in duck tape. We can give tools to each other and sing songs about tape saving everything. I think I am even gonna get started on the cartoons to commemorate the occasion. YAY for DUCK TAPE!!!!!

  113. svezz says:

    I’ll second that.

  114. swirleynoise says:

    This has been the most interesting and informative bunch of comment posts ever. thanks, folks. oh, and yea, im for a duct-tape day. and GO CGNU!!!

  115. kastein says:

    I imagine it’s easier to rig stuff up like that in zero-G… at least you don’t have to worry about it falling over or peeling the tape off the ceiling!

    • Roflmaster says:

      But it’d be really frustrating if you tried to pull the tape out but due to Newton’s Law of Inertia, the roll shot out of your hand and smashed into an expensive bit of machinery, necessitating more duct-tape and more destroyed expensive things.

  116. Kevin says:

    Richard Drew was the inventor of duct tape also given credit the com. he worked for j&j

  117. Greenpeppercorn says:

    In germany duct tape ist called Panzertape – armor tape. I’m sure you can imagine, why….
    My father-in-law actually fixed my car’s tail pipe with uber-duct tape, this stuff they use on planes in german army… Now THAT’s amazing stuff!

  118. Peachy the Awesome Ruler of the Universe says:

    OMG duct tape is so awesome. I’m gonna send a letter to Obama. Seriously.

  119. bob says:

    Macgyver…IN SPACE!!!

  120. Caitlin says:

    All of the people who comment on this should really send a letter or email to Obama. Eventually, the White House will be so mail-logged that they’ll HAVE to make a holiday for Duct tape (or duck tape, whichever you prefer…)

    I’ll even send them a link to this page, so that they’ll see what a big deal this is.

  121. BubbaWhitley says:

    I know I’m late in this post……But….

    If it doesn’t move and it should, WD-40

    If it moves and it shouldn’t, Duct Tape it!

  122. KOakaKO says:

    No, they don’t have silicone caulk or WD-40 on the ISS. The fumes would be bad in a closed environment. WD-40 was originally in non-aerosol form, but it’s still inappropriate for the ISS because it spreads too much AND it evaporates. (AND it’s very flammable… I’ve proved this many times.)

    They have actual lubricating oil for when they need it. WD-40 is a penetrating oil, not a lubricant. (And yes, first invented as a water-displacement oil and first used to coat Atlas missles in their silos, because painting the rockets would reduce their effective flight range.)

    Oh, and gaffer’s tape is NOT the same thing as duct tape. Duct tape sticks hard and permanently, where gaffer’s tape will peel off cleanly. (Which is why it’s significantly more expensive.)

    And yes, the vice-grip is the best tool ever invented. First made by a farmer named Peterson in DeWitt Nebraska. ;)


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