Tiny DeLorean Made From Lighters Is A Total Gas

There’s making stuff out of trash, and then there’s mind-blowing stuff like this: a DeLorean built from four disposable cigarette lighters and various other bits and bobs like wire sheathing and cotton bud sticks. If it weren’t for the video evidence embedded below, we would have never believed that [Ank Creative] or anyone else could have turned boxy acrylic into the fastback time machine we all know and love.

Is the back window the most important detail? Maybe.

[Ank Creative] seems to have wasted no parts of the lighters, and even saved themselves a bit of trouble by using curved scraps to make the wheel wells. After installing the windshield, we certainly didn’t expect them to saw the thing in half, but how else are they going to put in the little seats and the steering column when the gull-wing doors aren’t real?

This build is all about unbelievable craftsmanship and deft but daring use of hand tools. Although this totally qualifies as an open source how-to video, you’d have to be quite the sorcerer to pull this one off. Zoom past the break (if you haven’t already) and check out this amazing build.

Disposable lighters are dirt cheap, but they get the job done and you can always see how much gas is left in the tank. On the other hand, a refillable lighter is just that, and if you build it yourself, you can make it actuate like a cap gun.

Thanks for the tip, [Keith]!

29 thoughts on “Tiny DeLorean Made From Lighters Is A Total Gas

  1. I confess that many times, the “art” projects sometimes depicted on Hackaday do little more for me than evoke an eye roll. This is something very different. It is both a hack and art… both creative and delightful. I watched the construction video and found myself smiling the whole time.

    I can’t help but be reminded of a museum display I once saw called “Prison Camp Crafts.” That display featured an astonishing array of really beautiful and useful articles fashioned by American POWs from discarded tin cans, bits of cloth or wood, glass, and other garbage. In some cases, the articles produced were of a quality that, under normal circumstances, you’d happily purchase and pay for in store.

    The use of discarded cigarette light plastic and parts here is ingenious and the craftsmanship really is fantastic.

    1. I’ve been studying creativity from a psychological perspective for the past few months.

      One thing that leapt out to me (noted in the literature) is that creativity is enhanced by restrictions: having all manner of raw materials and tools available is actually counter-productive to creativity. It’s when people have really restrictive environments that brings forth their creative talents.

      (Do an image search on “Cuban ingenuity” some time.)

      I’ve found this to be true in my own endeavors: I was always thinking of the myriad things I could build with a 3d printer, then I got one and haven’t used it since – the idea mill has dried up. The same thing has happened with at least 3 other major tools.

      I figure there’s a circuit in the brain that’s triggered by scarcity of options, which would make sense from an evolutionary/survival perspective, but it’s probably not needed (and counter to survival in some way) when there’s no scarcity.

      This would also explain why creativity is exceedingly rare in the population – the median score on the creative achievement test is zero, and 91% of the population scores 1 or less on that scale.

      1. That’s a really interesting take, and something thats bugged me for a while. When I was a penniless schoolboy/student/junior engineer not having the right bits to hand or the money to buy them, making do and what we today call hacking, meant that I adapted, and found ways round the obstacles, be they mechanical, electronic or artistic. When I started to be able to afford the things I used to miss, I felt the challenge and creative interest wane. A full set of e48 resistors? Ok, so what, I don’t actually need them anymore. It’s clear to me now that working with what you have and adapting things is the key to being creative and making things to solve problems. Don’t have the right value resistor? A bunch of what you have series/parallel, job done. Don’t have the 3d printer? Carve up old lighters. Good to see.

      2. I had this thought again and again for quite a while while talking with friends about how we had our funniest and best days like 10 to 15 years ago.

        You know what tool (for me, personally) killed quite some creativity for me and us? The Internet! And especially all those YoutTube channels I love to watch and follow (which are of people who make things; funny, eh?).

        In those years we mainly brought electronics books from the library, looked at schematics and began to improvise with stuff we had. And most of that was just scavenged from old electronics like TV’s, Radios and stuff. Pyrotechnics was another hobby we did for years, nowadays you can’t go to a field and ignite 20g of flash powder anymore without people calling the police or worse…

        Of course we had access to the Internet back then and we used it, but it was of quite limited use and we needed to get information somewhere else too or think about stuff for a moment ourself.

        Now (and for the last few years really) I see thing over things over things on the net and don’t do many projects any more at all though I have a thousand ideas. Leaving for work for 9 to 10 hrs a day and having your own space to care for etc. might come into play too…

        I often feel like I could regain some of my creativity by spending less time on the net AND by using all the stuff in my drawers instead of buying new parts, PCBs, breakout boards and so on… A journey!!!

        1. Perhaps their is a sweet spot somewhere in between having access to everything and access to nothing.

          I had a very different experience with library electronics books as a kid. Most of the ones I found talked about buying vacuum tubes at the local drug store or sifting galena out of the coal in one’s own basement. Such things may as well have been written on an alien planet back in the late 80s, early 90s when I was reading them. I’ve still never seen a coal burning furnace!

          I tried to scavenge old parts but I never found a guide explaining capacitor markings in print until I didn’t need it because there was the internet. I had very little luck identifying scavenged transistors as commercial parts rarely used the same part numbers I found in hobbyist magazines. The best I could do is assume everything was a bipolar and try to identify the two diodes inside. Once I managed to achieve audio amplification with a scavenged transistor. Once!

          Don’t get me wrong, I know there were people out there achieving amazing things from junk. But it took a knowledge that didn’t exist in any of the small town libraries I had access to. Occasionally the various magazines would publish an article about component scavenging but the subject really required something much longer than a magazine article. Maybe in a big city? Or maybe if you had an experienced person to teach you?

          You know what, forget finding a sweet spot. Bring on the internet!

      3. Sleep deprivation by kids and work kills creativity very effectively.

        There’s two reasons to be creative: necessity and boredom. Having all tools at your disposal kills creativity in the first case, but not in the second.

      4. >the creative achievement test

        is bull****. It doesn’t measure creativity, it measures public recognition. Of course most people would score zero, because the public can only focus on a few people at a time, and will arbitrarily reward lesser talent and ignore greater talent.

        1. Point being, you may be creative but if you don’t tread along the lines of popular culture then people won’t like your stuff and they won’t give you accolades, you won’t get published, etc. You’re just a weirdo in a basement making macaroni helmets for budgies or something and nobody knows you.

          If you DO the derivative formulaic stuff that the public likes, then you get high scores in the creative achievement test, but you aren’t actually being creative. You’re just doing the same stuff everyone else is doing slightly better, or you’re better at promoting yourself or gaming Youtube’s algorithms, or you’re just lucky to be picked up by the media… etc.

      5. There are also other psychological factors at work.
        Before you had your 3D printer, you probably had all kind of vague Ideas for which it could be used, and it’s fun and easy to dream them up. Ideas are cheap.

        When you actually have a 3D printer, you start thinking about how useful al those things you could make with a 3D printer actually are, and you weigh them against the effort needed to design a 3D model, fiddling with printer settings, smelly and noisy gadgets in your home for hours, and that suddenly makes the whole thing a lot less attractive.

        I do not have a 3D printer. mostly because the strength of the things you can make with it is not suitable for the sort of things I want to do. I’m more into milling metal.
        Don’t understand me wrong. 3D printers are fun things, and they can be useful and even the basis for a profitable business model, but the thing itself is just a step in the direction of a useful result you can touch.

        1. I understand your comment, but I don’t think that’s what it was. I *do* consider the cost and effort of making ideas real, but what I’m experiencing is that the ideas simply stop coming.

          (Also, I consider the design work to be fun – I find working with OpenScad and Aspire pleasurable. Additionally, I paid extra to get a workhorse printer and not a “new hobby”. It’s pretty plug-and-play, I can just about drop a design into it and walk away.)

          I had a similar experience with the small milling machine: so many things I could make if I could only mill metal, then once I got the mill the ideas dried up. The before/after was quite stark and I mused over it for a long time. Eventually I gave the mill away to a young maker at the local hackerspace.

          Lots and lots of people have the experience of starting a project and never finishing, and I’ve been trying to sort this out in terms of modern psychological theory. One reason might have to do with the scarcity/abundance thing: if you can simply order all the parts you need to make something, then does the abundance circuit come into play?

        2. I too machine metal, and have a 3D printer. The capabilities of these two tools become almost symbiotic when the 3D printer is used to make jigs to be used for job and tool alignment on the metalworking equipment. It’s near magic to be able to “bake in” linear / rotational / depth or other positional accuracy into a quickly-produced throwaway jig.

          1. Well, relatively. The throwaway jigs you used to make out of scrap pieces of MDF, hot glue, and mad hacking skills in minutes, you now spend 8 hours printing.

      1. I’m sure it’s solvent cement not CA. It is what scale model builders use for assembling kits which are generally moulded from styrene plastic. CA is more applicable to limited-production resin kits, also balsa and ARTF R/C planes.

        1. If you look at the guy’s other videos, he uses what looks to be the same squirt bottle for gluing wood models, which means it’s probably a type of CA or similar.

          The runny stuff is really well wicking to wet the joint perfectly through capillary action, which means it tends to run up your fingers and even up your arm if you touch the joint.

    1. It’s probably no coincidence. Youtube tries to guess which videos might go viral, so for the same reason you found it, the HaD editors found it, and a billion other people.

    2. Agree with Dude.
      I’ve seen too many video’s that showed up on Hackaday a few days to a week later (which is in the range of Hackaday’s response time) to believe in coincidence.
      We’re al being fooled by the algorithms.

      1. “Fooled” is a weird way to describe a service you’re specifically going to a company for.

        I go to Burger King and a burger appears at my table. It didn’t materialize, it was cooked after I ordered it and brought to my table by an employee. We’re being fooled by restaurants!

        1. That’s not the complaint. Youtube has so much stuff that people simply wouldn’t know what to look at, so the people look at what Youtube is offering them, which then drives what kind of videos Youtube is offering them…

          We don’t exactly go to Youtube to watch videos that get stuck in the feedback loop, unless you treat youtube like broadcast television and just click on whatever is on the front page.

  2. He used bamboo and electric cable which are not from the lighter…it’s a fail. ^^ Sorry I had to

    This is a very impressive work, with very few tools, but the video is recorded very professionnaly, crisp image and well lit.
    I find myself loving now watching videos like this or restoring old gameboy or rusty watches. The slow pace, the calm music is relaxing.

    Thanks for you work!

  3. I call it the “Lego Paradox”.
    Totally love Lego, but only building. Once it’s built, I’m no longer interested in playing.
    Tear it down and build something else … over and over again.

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