Here is an aluminum flashlight re-purposed into a water proof fire tinder tube. It also has a couple of extra features for use in the great outdoors. The inside of the tail switch cap contains a small compass and outer end can be used as a bearing block for a bow drill fire in a severe emergency. The lens end cap has a small signal mirror mounted there.
Step 1: Gather Your Supplies
For this project you will need:
1. One small aluminum/metal flashlight with on/off button on back cap.
2. One heavy aluminum bottle such as a long neck or deodorant bottle.
3. One small button compass (check tail switch measurements before purchasing compass).
4. Peel and stick mirror sheet or use a piece of metal listed above and polish it.
5. 5 minute epoxy.
6. metal shears.
7. Small screw drivers
8. Drill and drill bits.
Step 2: Clean Out Tube and Caps
1. Remove all the inner parts of the flashlight.
2. Remove the bulb assembly and lens from the bulb end cap.
3. Remove the on/off switch and housing from the tail end cap.
4. Remove the wall, inside the tube, that separates the battery compartment from the bulb compartment. (if you want either one long compartment or two water tight compartments.
Step 3: Set Compass
1. Make sure the compass fits inside the tail switch. (I had a compass that I had scavenged from some other item that fit. I did not purchase one for this project.
2. Mix a small amount of epoxy and set compass in place.
3. Set on counter compass up and let epoxy set.
4. Once epoxy has set turn over and fill in any remaining space with epoxy from the opening for the switch.
I am concerned that in using the tail end cap as a bearing block for a bow drill fire the heat from friction between the spindle and end cap might damage the compass. If I were to redo this project I would insert a domed peice of aluminum/metal behind the compass before setting it in place. The heat might still damage the compass but using the end cap as a bearing block is for an extreme emergency.
5. Set on counter compass down and let epoxy set.
6. Using a drill bit just smaller than the hole the switch was set in clean out just enough epoxy to allow a wooden spindle to seat in the socket.
Step 4: Set Mirror
1. Using the clear lens you removed from the bulb end cap, cut a piece of aluminum/metal sheet or bottle the same size. If using the bottle cut off the top and bottom. Cut the ring that is left to create a flat piece of metal. You will need part of this for the next step as well.
2. Mix a small amount of epoxy and set the piece of aluminum/metal into the end of the lens cap from the inside, just as the lens fit.
3. Clean off, using a rag, any excess epoxy from the outside of the cap.
4. Let epoxy set up.
5. Remove, using 300 - 400 grit sandpaper, any remaining epoxy so the "peel & stick mirror sheet" will have smooth and clean seat.
6. Once again using the lens as a pattern cut a piece of the "peel & stick mirror sheet".
7. Before removing the backing make sure it fits well to the outside of the lens cap. Trim as needed.
8. Peel off the backing and stick onto the outside of the lens cap.
Step 5: Set Middle Divider
If you want a dual sided tinder tube set in the divider. This won't work as well if there is not a slight lip left after you removed the inner working of the flashlight.
1. Using the aluminum/metal sheet or bottle (as in step 4), cut out a circle the size of the opening of the tube.
2. Trim the circle so that it fits snugly into the tube. The better the fit the less chance of it not being water proof between compartments. (this is important if you want to carry dry items and also "wet" tinder such petroleum jelly cotton balls)
3. Once you have a good fit remove the circle and apply epoxy to the edges and insert into the tube. Using a screw driver push the circle firmly into place and let the epoxy set.
4. When the epoxy has set up fill one end of the tube with water to check if it is water proof. If no leaks are detected your done. If you do have any leaks just apply a little epoxy to the edges of the circle on both sides and let cure.
Step 6: Store Your Supplies
The tinder tube is done. I store the dry tinder in the end with the compass to be sure that the petroleum jelly or other accelerants do not damage it. I can get about 10 dry cotton balls in the dry end and 10 or more petroleum jelly cotton balls in the other, enough for numerous fire.
I hope you enjoy making one for yourself and using it.