Make a DIY Electric Lighter with Just a Few Parts

Much like the cigarette lighters in your car, you can make your very own electrical lighter with just a few tools.
Interesting Engineering

Have you lost your lighter again? Or perhaps it cracked and leaked butane in your bag? Perhaps it’s time to get one a little bigger and safer. I would advise this because you can have a lighter that doesn’t require any flammable liquid.

And you can make it yourself.

Much like the cigarette lighters in your car, you can make your very own electrical lighter with just a few tools. In most homes you don’t even need to make a trip to the hardware store.

You start off with two AA batteries. They will be your power source. You need two because you need enough power to create some heat.

I’m going to show you how to make an electric lighter as sturdy as possible so you can use it anywhere. So glue the batteries together side by side.

Next confiscate a 9V battery from one of your home appliances. I hope no one wants this back, because we’re going to take it apart.

Sounds like fun? It is!

A battery’s exterior is mostly for safety. You can remove the plastic with pliers. Now keep on unwrapping the battery. Underneath its metal cap, you’ll find some cardboard with thin metal inside. That’s what you’re after.

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Cut it into strips long enough to reach from one AA battery’s metal cap to the other.

How are your soldering skills? Neatly solder one strip to the tops and another to the bottoms of the AA batteries. Don’t create clumps of soldering residue that will bother you during the rest of your project.

Had an ice-cream lately? Good. Take its wooden popsicle stick, make holes on the ends and push two screws through; one on each side.

The one thing you may have to buy for your DIY electric lighter is Nichrome wire. But you only need a 20cm piece. Perhaps your neighbor has some?

Loop it around a narrow tube so there are a few spirals in the middle of the wire. Now connect the two screws’ ends with this wire.

Can you see it coming together? If you had science at school it’s starting to come back to you, right?

Somehow the battery power has to reach the wire—called a filament—to create a circuit. You do this with normal wire that runs between the batteries and screws. Once again your soldering skills are tested. You’re working on small components so take your time.

But hold on. You don’t want your homemade lighter’s circuit to be closed 24/7, right? Add a small switch—available in most hobby or hardware stores—so you can control the current without loosening wires. And glue everything together so there’s no tension on the wires.

Essentially, the device uses a length of metal filament to act as a resistor in the circuit. The metal heats up as a result of the current flowing through it, allowing you to instantly light materials on fire.

Yes, the DIY electric lighter you just built can set things alight!

Ready to impress your friends and make your life a little bit simpler? That’s what science is for, isn’t it?

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