Cap-Gun Lighter Built From Scratch

For most of us, a lighter is a cheap $2 plastic tool that serves a purpose, and little more. Some of us may go so far as to have a nice Zippo, or perhaps a windproof lighter for better outdoor performance. But if you’re a machinist, you could consider whipping yourself up something special, like this build by [W&M Levsha].

There’s plenty to love here for those who love making chips. The body is crafted out of brass and copper, soldered together by blowtorch. The lighter works by an unusual mechanism. The fluid tank is stuffed with cotton wool and filled with lighter fluid, which feeds a wick, which by itself, is fairly ordinary. However, ignition is via a spring-loaded aluminium hammer, which fires off a paper cap, igniting the wick. The flame can then be extinguished by blowing it out.

It’s a lighter that’s sure to be a conversation piece, though we wonder how welcome it’s cracking report will be at a quiet, reserved cigar bar. The mechanism may have more consumables than a typical lighter, but that’s the price paid to be truly unique. There are other creative designs out there too, like this lighter which uses a platinum catalyst for ignition. Video after the break.

Continue reading “Cap-Gun Lighter Built From Scratch”

Air Cannon Serves Up A Blast Of Ferrocerium Sparks

OK, looks like we have a new way to entertain the kids and wreak havoc in the neighborhood, if this spark-shooting ferrocerium cannon is as easy to build as it looks.

This one comes to us by well-known purveyor of eyebrow-singing projects [NightHawkInLight], whose propane torch never seems to get a break. The idea here is a large scale version of an apparently popular trick where the “flints” from lighters, which are actually rods of ferrocerium, an aptly named alloy of iron and cerium, are heated to a nearly molten state and dropped onto a hard surface. The molten alloy thence explodes in a shower of sparks, to the mirth and merriment of those in attendance.

[NightHawkInLight]’s version of the trick scales everything up. Rather than lighter flints, he uses ferrocerium rods from firestarters of the type used for camping. The rod is stuffed into a barrel formed from steel brake line which is connected to the output of a PVC air chamber. His ominpresent propane torch is attached in such a way as the flame plays upon the loaded pyrophoric plug, heating it to a molten state before the air is released from the chamber. The massive display of sparks seen in the video below is pretty impressive, but we’re getting tired of  gender reveal parties and forest fires.  We just hope he had fire extinguishers on hand.

Seriously, be careful with stuff like this. [NightHawkInLight] has a lot of experience working with these kinds of projects, from his plasma-propelled soda bottles to making synthetic rubies with an arc welder. We’re sure he wouldn’t want to see anyone get hurt.

Continue reading “Air Cannon Serves Up A Blast Of Ferrocerium Sparks”