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.

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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.

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Useless Machine For An Existential Quandary

There’s no project that dives into existential quandaries more than a useless machine, as they can truly illustrate the futility of existence by turning themselves off once they have been powered on. Typically this is done with a simple switch, but for something that can truly put the lights out, and then re-illuminate them, [James]’s latest project is a useless machine that performs this exercise with a candle.

The project consists of two arms mounted on a set of gears. One arm has a lighter on it, and the other has a snuffer mounted to a servo motor. As the gears rotate, the lighter gets closer to the candle wick and lights it, then the entire assembly rotates back so the snuffer can extinguish the flame. Everything is built around an Arduino Nano, a motor driver powering a Pitman gear motor, and a set of Hall effect sensors which provide position data back to the microcontroller.

If you’re in the mood for a little existential angst in your own home, [James] has made the project files available on his GitHub page. We always appreciate a useless machine around here, especially a unique design like this one, and one which could easily make one recognize the futility of lighting a candle at all.

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Field Expedient Soldering Iron Will Do In A Pinch

If you think [Dubious Engineering]’s moniker is just a name, have a look at the pretty terrible soldering iron hacked out of a lighter in the video below. No one is suggesting this is a good idea but in an emergency, maybe it would come in handy. We liked the use of a chopstick and the formation of a heat exchanger with the copper wire coil. It was a mild disappointment that you had to drill out the chopstick, but we think you could have figured out a different method with a little thought.

The use of duct tape, of course, lends it instant hacker credibility. We suppose this might be useful not just after the robot uprising, but if you had to make a few quick solder joints far away from power and you don’t have a battery-operated iron.

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Mini Plasma Cutter

What do you get when you combine an arc cigarette lighter and some scrap glass and metal? [NightHawkInLight] created a simple plasma cutter project along with some hot glue and a few simple tools.

If you aren’t a smoker, an arc lighter uses a high voltage spark to light the cigarette. He essentially cannibalizes it for use as a power supply. Any similar high-voltage power supply should work just as well. He also uses the same cigarette lighter power supply for an arc pen, that we covered earlier.

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Hackaday Links: April 5, 2015

[Dino] found something pretty cool at Walmart. It’s a USB Lighter; basically a car cigarette lighter that’s powered by a battery and charged via USB. A few bucks will buy you a battery, charge controller, and USB plug that will deliver over 2 amps at 3.7 Volts.

Speaking of battery chargers, here’s something from [Thomas]. He works in a hospital, and the IV pumps have a terrible charging circuit. After a few dozen chargers, they’ll give a battery error on the screen. They’re not bad, only unbalanced. [Thomas] made a simple rig with a Tenergy battery charger to rebalance the packs. No link, but here’s a pic. It beats paying $34 for a new battery pack.

Those Silhouette Cameo blade cutters don’t get enough respect. You can make vinyl stickers or an Arduino-themed pop up card.

Retroreflective spraypaint. Volvo has developed something called Lifepaint. It’s for bicycles and bicycle riders. Apparently, it’s clear when you spray it on, but if you shine a light on it – from a car’s headlight – it will reflect back. Any cool ideas here?

The Art of Electronics, 3rd edition, is finally out. Didn’t we hear about this a few months ago? Yes, we did. It’s shipping now, though, and there’s a sample. It’s chapter nine, voltage regulation and power conversion.

Ah, April Fool’s. I’m still proud of the Prince post, but there were some great ones this year. RS Components had Henry the Hover Drone, but we really like the protoboard with ground planes.

The market wasn’t always flooded with ARM dev boards. For a while the LeafLabs Maple was the big kid on the block. Now it’s reached end of life. If only there were a tree whose name ended in ~ino…

The Platinum Catalyst Use In A Vintage Lighter

[Ben Krasnow] has an inimitable knack for choosing the most interesting concepts for his experiments. We’re sure it’s a combination of base knowledge and epic-curiosity. This time around he’s showing off a vintage cigarette lighter whose quirk is not needing to be “struck” to produce a flame. It’s a catalytic lighter that uses platinum to ignite methanol vapors.

The concept shown in the video below is platinum’s catalyst properties with some types of flammable gasses. The image above shows the cap of the lighter which includes a protective cage around a hunk of fine platinum powder known as platinum black. It is suspended by platinum wire and as the hydrogen passes by the reaction causes the platinum black and wire to glow red-hot.

This simple, quick experiment fills in our own knowledge gaps. We were already familiar with the role that catalytic converters play in automobiles; consuming any unburned hydrocarbons before they exit a vehicle’s exhaust system. We also know the these devices are targets for thieves seeking the platinum (and other metals like palladium and rhodium) found inside. Now we know exactly how catalytic converters work and the integral role that platinum plays in the process. All thanks to [Ben’s] demonstration of how this lighter works.

Now, if you wear a platinum wedding band and your hand passes a jet of hydrogen are you likely to get burned?

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