I have looked on the internet for a steel wool based electric igniter and I have not found a good enough one. The tools you need for this project are pretty basic and can be found in any personal work shop. This electric igniter can be used to ignite larger quantities of black powder.
Step 1: Tools and Supplies
You will need the following:
Double strand copper wire
Step 2: Cut and Strip the Wire
Take your wire cutters and cut about five inches of wire and then separate the two ends with scissors by making a small cut in between the wire then you can peel the wire, but do not completely separate the wire, just the ends. After that strip the ends of the wire.
Step 3: Soldering the Filament
As you can see in the picture I taped the wire to the top of a vice. I pulled a long filament of steel wool from the pad of steel wool and then I taped the filament over the ends of the copper wire. I soldered the filament to the copper wire and after it's soldered it should look like the capital letter A with the cross bridge as the steel wool filament.
Step 4: Making the Housing
Cut a five inch piece of duct tape and fold it in half as my elementary teacher would say hamburger style (not long ways that hot dog style). Roll the duct tape into a cone shape and tape it so it retains its shape. Cut both ends of the cone so that the small end has a hole large enough to feed the wire through. The other end of the cone should be flat and level.
Feed the wire through the cone so that the cone is covering the end of the wire with the filament. Pull the wire down so the filament has slack as it will keep it the filament from breaking.
Step 5: Finishing Up the Housing
Cut a strip of duct tape and wrap it around where the cone and the wire meet to secure the cone to the wire. If the cone can move up and down the wire then there is a high risk of the filament breaking after you pour the black powder in. Pour the black powder into the cone almost filling it. Then cut thin strips of duct tape and tape over the top of the cone making an x pattern and completely cover the top. Then tape around the circumference of the cone to secure the ends of the tape making the x pattern on top.
Step 6: All Done Lets Test It
Here is a video I took of me lighting off the charge with a homemade detonating switch.
Step 7: Why Does This Work?/ Trouble Shooting
Steel wool filament burn at high temperatures when a charge is put through due to its high resistance. When the burning/melting steel wool is touching black powder then the black powder ignites. The housing made of duct tape is to prevent the fragile filament from breaking.
Black Powder is wet
Black powder is of very poor quality
Not using a high enough voltage