I'm entering this in the Green Challenge and the Epilog Challenge. If you like what you see, please vote for me!
My previous green fire instructable, The Spirit Lantern (Green Fire 2.0)
, was entertaining and educational to make, but it raised a couple of concerns:
1) A methanol flame is hot (from 500˚ C up to ~1900˚ C under some conditions according to online sources - I've been able to bend borosilicate tubing over a methanol flame, so think 820˚ C/1500˚ F), and an open flame is a fire hazard
2) One of the combustion products, diboron trioxide, is a white powder that settles all over everything, and makes a mess
Although this instructable doesn't entirely solve these problems, it mitigates them somewhat, and (in my opinion) results in an end product that's both more versatile and more aesthetically pleasing. That said, this is not something you want to leave unattended (in most of it's incarnations - caveat: see "safe mode" below), and there is still some diboro trioxide that escapes the lamp, so it still might be best described as "outdoors fun." I present it to the discerning ladies and gentlemen of the Instructables community however, as an entertaining part of any soiree where children are well-behaved and supervised, or (better still) in bed, and the only thing imbibing alcohol is the lamp itself. In other words, use discretion.
A note on the photography: photographing the various flames/light sources while keeping the lamp details visible is seriously hard. If you'd like to see what the green fire looks like in it's natural state, without other incandescent light throwing off the color balance (and vice versa), check out my previous green fire instructable, referenced above.
Hey! I got written up in Hack a Day
! They're a little less sanguine about the methanol version due to the temperature of the flame and the fact that the glass is not borosilicate. So let me address that concern, at least a little: with a thicker wick (like 1/2"), the flame temperature of ~820˚ C I achieved was at the tip of the inner cone of the flame, the hottest part. This allowed me to bend a very thin borosilicate pipette. To get a higher temperature than this, you would need to have a much more sophisticated set-up, including a much better means of controlling combustion. The glass of this lantern doesn't get anywhere near that hot - most of the heat is dissipated by the time it reaches the glass. However
, I do get the concern, and so I'd like to emphasize that those who feel freaked out about a methanol lamp can make a cooler burning (albeit less purty) lamp using isopropyl alcohol (rubbing alcohol), and please do not leave this unattended. For those looking for flame temperatures of various fuels, check out the Wikipedia article on the subject
. Not to harp on the subject, but the temperature of a candle flame can be over 1400˚ C. Okay, now I'll shut up.
I've written a mod/add-on for this that allows you to heat water (or food). It's called the Spirit Samovar
! Check it out!