Scaled-Up Matches Are Hilarious And Moderately Effective

Regular matches are fine for lighting candles and the like, but they’re a bit small and fiddly to use. After seeing some giant prop matches used in a stage play, [Handy Bear] decided to see if they could build some functional extra-large matches at home.

The build starts with a square wooden dowel, cut into lengths to serve as the main body of the matches. Regular tiny matches were then harvested for their flammable matchheads, made of potassium chlorate. Sourcing the material this way is far simpler than attempting a chemical synthesis from raw materials. Once roughly ground, the material was glued on to the end of the wooden rod to finish the match. [Handy Bear] then whipped up a giant matchbox to suit, using the ignition strips from multiple smaller matchboxes in the process.

Impressively, the monster matches work, and work well. They readily ignite when struck, and are able to keep a strong flame burning for some time.  However they’re not quite potent enough to fully ignite the wood, so they don’t burn down like the real thing. We could see these being a great way to light a campfire with less hassle than regular matches, even if they are a bulky solution to the problem.

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Peltier Campfire Generator Put Out 14W (kind Of)


This is the control and monitoring hardware which [Jack] built for his campfire electricity generator. He’s done an amazing job to get this far. You can see he’s pulling 1 Amp at 14.2 Volts off of the system. But there one gotcha that’s still plaguing him.

The rig uses a big metal plate as a heat sink over the campfire (which is simulated by a cooking stove for testing). On the back of that plate is an array of Peltier coolers which generate electricity based on the temperature difference from one side to the other — it’s the same theory behind candle generators. The cold side has a heat sink with water running through it. What you see above are three relays which switch between using the Peltiers in series or in parallel based on their voltage output. You can’t really make it out there but there’s a radiator and recirculating pump to the right which are used to cool the water. The gotcha we mentioned is that the radiator can’t quite keep up with the heat of the fire. To get the results seen above [Jack] is running cold water from the tap through the radiator. But maybe if this were used in the winter the water could be circulated through a big box full of snow. Just keep shoveling it in to keep up the electrical potential!

After the break we’ve embedded part four of the project video as it shows off the array of peltier coolers quite well. You will also see part five (radiator and recirculating pump testing) from which this image was taken.

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