Flame tanks and volcano suits!

Special effects engineer Dave Cooper is on a mission to entertain

 

My name's Dave Cooper. I work for Aardvark FX and I'm an engineer on a mission to entertain.

 

My favourite project, probably the one that I'm most proud of, is the flame tank we built for CBBC which was essentially a six sided steel tank with a grate in the middle, that has a big fan underneath it to swirl flames, and then we put in a hundred and eighty litres of propane all at once and set it on fire to get the heat and the ferocity of a volcano.

 

The presenter was stood right in the middle and it was to prove the effectiveness of volcano suits. The reason it was my favourite... I did most of the build work for it and most of the design work, and I got to test it first time which was great fun.

 

You get great satisfaction out of seeing peoples' reactions to things. It's a really good feeling. So I think that engineering... actually there's so many different levels to it, there's so many different paths you can take, there's so many different ways to get into it. Even just putting a light bulb in is engineering in some way. You're doing something to affect your surroundings which is engineering.

 

I don't have a job, I've got a career and a hobby. Actually, Chris Evans puts it best... once you find something you love doing you'll never work again in your life.