Introduction: Bullet Torch

Turn a magnum 44 bullet into a mini torch

I brought a bunch of used bullets from Etsy for a project that’s currently a work in progress. I had a heap left over and have been dreaming-up all types of projects to create.

Turning a 44 magnum bullet into a torch was no easy feat. There isn’t much room inside one and the wiring was tricky. The end result though looks great and the torch works brilliantly, especially as it is only one, super bright LED.

I also added a small ring to the end of the bullet so you can add it to your keys or as a necklace. The switch I used was a micro one I scavenged from an old circuit board. I think an even smaller one would work great, but this is all I had at the time.

So here’s how it’s done…

Step 1: Things to Gather

Parts:

1. 44. Magnum bullet casing. These can be purchased from Etsy

2. Super bright LED – eBay

3. Micro switch – eBay

4. Button batteries CR927– eBay

5. Lock Nut – it needs to be just larger than the opening of the bullet. I used a lock nut.

6. Small springs. These were scavenged from a small LED candle I had. Most small toys have springs in them in the battery compartment

7. Thin piece of copper

8. Thin wire

9. Heat-shrink

Tools:

1. Drill

2. Grinder

3. Pliers

4. Sandpaper. 240 grit and 800 to 1200 grit paper

5. Super glue

6. Soldering iron

7. Vice

Step 2: Making the Bullet Head

The first step is to make the bullet head. You need to find a lock nut that is slightlybigger than the bullet.

Steps:

1. Grind all of the corners off on the nut using a grinder. Go slowly and hold the nut with some needle nose pliers so you don’t lose the shin on your fingers.

2. Once the corners have been removed, continue to round out the nut on the grinder. Make sure though that you don’t grind too much as the nut will be too loose for the bullet.

3. Once you have the nut rounded and is slightly larger than the bullet, you can then start to sand down the nut.

4. Use heavier sandpaper first like 240 grit or 400, and then move onto a 800 or 1200 grit for the final smoothing. On the lock nut there is a lip at the top, I tried not to sand this as it gives the nut a more “bullet” look. It takes a little longer to sand but the effect is worth it.

Step 3: Adding the Ring

Steps:

1. Twist a piece of copper around some needle nose pliers and make a ring out of it.

2. Cut the copper and bend into shape so it makes a circle

3. Next add some flux and solder to the end of the bullet, heat-up with a small blow torch and carefully attach the ring so the solder melts into it and the bullet.

Step 4: Adding the Battery Spring and Switch

This is probably the fiddliest part. You need to add the switch to the bullet caseand solder one of the legs to the inside!

Steps:

Spring

1. Find a spring to use. The best ones are ones used in battery cases like AAA battery case or something even smaller.

2. The springs are usually mounted onto a piece of metal. Cut this down so it fits into the bullet case

3. Stretch the spring so it comes just past half way up the bullet case. If you don’t do this then the batteries will be too loose in the case


Switch

1. Drill 2 small holes into the bullet case as shown below. One needs to be slightly larger so the wire on the switch can fit through.

2. Solder a piece of thin wire to one of the legs of the switch and add a piece of heat shrink to it. Thread the wire through the larger hole in the bullet and push the legs of the switch through both holes.

3. Bend the leg of the switch without wire so it is touching the inside of the bullet case.

4. Solder the leg onto the bullet case.

Step 5: Adding the LED and Head of the Bullet

Steps:

1. Add the Led to the inside of the nut and super glue into place

2. Next trim one of the LED legs and solder on the wire from the switch. Make sure you add a small piece of heat-shrink to cover up the exposed wire. Bend the leg down and across to make way for the spring.

3. Trim and solder a small spring to the other led leg.

Note – when doing this section, make sure you are aware of the polarities of the LED. On my one I had the positive end of the battery facing-up which did work but wasn’t ideal. You really want the positive facing down. The reason being the solder on the switch will probably touch the side of the battery and on button batteries, the side is positive as well as the bottom of the battery.

4. Add the batteries to the bullet case. The batteries I used are actually 3v but very low amperage so the total is 6v. Usually this would just blow the LED straight away, but the low amperage ensures this doesn’t happen (I think anyhow!)

5. Carefully push down the top of the bullet into the case. If you find that the bullet head is a little loose, you can always slightly bend the top of the bullet case in a couple of spots. Just be careful not to bend too much!

6. Test! You should now have a super small, super bright bullet torch.

Step 6:

This was a really fun and challenging project. When I discovered that I had some button batteriesthat would actually fit into the bullet case, I knew I had to try and make a mini torch.

I was especially happy on how the head of the bullet turned out. For some time I was hunting around in my shed, trying to find the best bit to add for the head. As soon as I saw the bolts I knew what to use. Smoothing them out worked really well, although it took a few goes before I perfected it. The hardest thing about making the bullet head was ensuring that it wasn’t too small to fit correctly into the bullet. The trick is to make sure that it just doesn’t fit before you start to sand.

One of the trickiest parts was the switch! I should have wired-up the batteries so the negative pole was at the top and the positive at the bottom. Since I didn’t, the soldering point on the switch to the bullet kept touching the side of the battery and wouldn’t work. I fixed it in the end but it is very frustrating trying to work out what was wrong. If you could incorporate the micro switch inside the bullet and only have the top of the switch sticking out of a hole, then this would have kept the bullet shape more true. It would be finicky but I think you could do it…Maybe next time.

Comments

author
monster_mash made it!(author)2015-05-30

Would it work with a BIG bullet





author
gravityisweak made it!(author)2014-08-27

This is pretty cool, it reminds me of a laser pointer. Sadly though, this is illegal in Massachusetts and Washington DC unless you are licensed to own live ammunition. Just wanted to put that out there in case anyone decided to buy the spent casings on etsy. Dont do it in either of those places unless you have a firearms license already.

author
the.texas.trucker made it!(author)2015-04-24

Why? Spent ammunition is not live ammunition.

author
gravityisweak made it!(author)2015-04-24

The answer to that is mainly because Massachusetts and DC specifically define spent shell casings as ammo. If you look into it a little bit you can find many horror stories. It sounds unbelievable, but its true.

author
lbrewer42 made it!(author)2014-08-31

WHAT? I had no idea anyone in the States had to be licensed to own ammo! This is shocking, disturbing, and unconstitutional all at the same time...

Anyway - since this is not ammo - it is just the case - does this (criminal abuse of power) law also hold? Would someone actually be arrested for having a bullet casing as a flashlight?

I know I have a spent "bullet" mounted on my belt buckle and have visited DC many times. I have also wornb it while in Massachusetts. It horrifies me to think there is actually someplace in the US where they would try to arrest me for this. I have to look into this ... and keep wearing the buckle when I am there :)

Honest... I tried to write that first sentence of that last paragraph without the parenthteical statement - but spent patriot blood cries out too loudly in the deepest levels of my American heart.


author
gravityisweak made it!(author)2014-08-31

I've looked into this very thing before, and its quite disturbing. Maybe we could talk more about this at length if we started a discussion on it in the appropriate section.

author
gravityisweak made it!(author)2014-08-31

Yes, if you go strictly by the law, even a spent shell casing is illegal. I think what is boils down to is if the officer wants to or not. But look it up, its pretty well documented. The only places I could find records for were Washington D.C. and Massachusetts though.

Here is a pretty definitive link, at least to MA but it even tells you the exact law.

http://www.massbar.org/publications/lawyers-journal/2011/july/don%E2%80%99t-pick-up-after-others,-or,-the-danger-of-spent-shell-casings

author
lonesoulsurfer made it!(author)2014-08-28

I'm actually surprised that I could import them in Australia. I guess a spent cartridge doesn't pose too much of a security risk.

author
HavocRC made it!(author)2014-09-03

Really liked this project! Thanks!

author
lonesoulsurfer made it!(author)2014-09-15

Anytime - thanks for checking it out!

author
zack_man888 made it!(author)2014-08-28

*Sigh* When will people realize those are called cartridges and not bullets?Granted, it does have part of a bullet in it. ;) All joking aside, this is a very creative idea, and definitely something that goes near the top of my electronics gadgets "to do" list. Thanks for sharing!

author
Kris+Jacobs made it!(author)2014-08-28

If you want to get technical - LoneSoulSurfer is NOT using a cartridge.

This Instructable is using a case, or shell.

A cartridge consists of: Case, Primer, Propellant, Projectile.

A bullet is a projectile stuck in the end of a case, when combined with primer & propellant make a cartridge.

author
zack_man888 made it!(author)2014-08-31

Well actually I believe it was a cartridge when the creator bought it. It was simply disassembled to yield a casing and bullet that could be used for the project.

author
zack_man888 made it!(author)2014-08-31

Sorry I misread the instructable. He did say they were used shell casings, which would not qualify as a cartridge. Thanks for your input Kris Jacobs.

author
tetra28 made it!(author)2014-08-30

haha true

author
crispernakisan made it!(author)2014-08-31

Swanky!

author
artworker made it!(author)2014-08-27

Can this be taken passed the airport security? Nice ible though!

author
lonesoulsurfer made it!(author)2014-08-28

haha yeah good question! actually I'm flying tomorrow - tempted to try. knowing how tight the laws are now I doubt I'd get past the first gate.

author
lbrewer42 made it!(author)2014-08-31

I have flown in quite a few countries with my belt buckle that has a bullet mounted on it (casing I got my first buck with). The ONLY place I had trouble was in Athens, Greece. One of the X-ray attendants told me he could not allow it and confiscated it; while another attendant behind him (gave me an OK sign, and winked at me). After getting through the x-ray place, the other attendant met me before I got on the plane and handed it back to me :^).

I have never had a problem in US cities. It is obvious it is not capable of any harm.

author
lonesoulsurfer made it!(author)2014-08-28

you could definitely do it. Initially I was going to do just that but I wanted to add a loop to hang it on.

author
lbrewer42 made it!(author)2014-08-31

How about putting the loop on the side and the button on the back? Drill the holes in the side, insert the ring, and solder.

author
zenTaurus made it!(author)2014-08-28

nice except, as you said, the switch is a bummer. good show just the same!

author
Snidely70448 made it!(author)2014-08-28

Nice job!

author
Blaise_Gauba made it!(author)2014-08-28

I have to say...very cool!

author
WildB made it!(author)2014-08-28

This is awesome.

author
IzNoGuD made it!(author)2014-08-28

are you a gynecologist? I have not enough space for my fingers!

like it.

author
seamster made it!(author)2014-08-27

Nice work! That'a s little tiny space to be working in.

I'm glad you pointed out the challenges you had with the switch. I always appreciate a project a little more when authors mention stuff like that, for some reason. Good project!

author
lonesoulsurfer made it!(author)2014-08-28

cheers mate

author
Raitis made it!(author)2014-08-27

That's a neat and completely doable idea. I might as well make one like that, just got to figure how to attach it then.

author
Dalton63841 made it!(author)2014-08-27

Instead of a microswitch use a NPN transistor. In the hole where the primer was, use a plastic insulator with a metal pin in the middle.

1. Ground leg of the LED to Collector Pin 2. Emitter Pin to Ground 3. Gate Pin to the metal pin where primer was.

That will create a touch switch that is activated by touching both the body of the bullet and the pin where the primer used to be.

author
Dalton63841 made it!(author)2014-08-27

NPN transistors are very small. Shouldn't take up any more space than a microswitch.

touch sensor.gif
author
Sherry+Green made it!(author)2014-08-27

I like it.

About This Instructable

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Bio: I've always liked pulling things apart - it's the putting back together again that I have some issues with.
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