Introduction: Firewire

About: Working wireless-ly.

No this isn't an instructable for the 1394 i variety, its much more fun then that. I love this project because its simple, cheap, easy to make, relatively safe, impressive, and fun. Odds are you have the materials lying around your house already. My only complaint is that it only lasts about 10 seconds, but its so cheap and easy to make more, thats not really a problem.

Video here:

Step 1: Parts


1. Fine steel wool
2. Wire (I used the left over magnet wire from my tesla coil) Any type of wire will do as long as its about 3 feet long and strong enough to be spun in a circle.
3. Lighter

Step 2: Assemble

Unwrap the steel wool then wrap it again to get it spread out.

Wrap the wire around the center of the steel wool, and tie it on.

Give it a few practice swings in circles to make sure that the steel wool is secure.

Step 3: Light

It has a better effect at night but works fine during the day.

Go outside and make sure there is nothing flammable around you.

Make sure that there is nothing in the way of any tangent line to the circle that will be created by swinging it around the steel wool around. This just means to make sure that if the steel wool flew off the wire, at any point, it wouldent hit anything.

Light the steel wool, and swing vigorously in circles. It should spray off sparks for around 10 seconds.

Get creative:

Put one in each hand.
Tie multiple steel wools to one wire.
Spin horozintally over your head.



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    63 Discussions

    so ive been planning to do this for 4th of july and i need to know if it works with synthetic steel wool. i would think not but what do i know

    I recommend using a 9 volt battery rather than a lighter to ignite the steel wool, it actually got me out of a run in with the fire-department. Also wear synthetic clothing, sunglasses, and a hat/hoodie for prickles in your hair. Also a bucket of water to put out hot wires for handling.

    I figured I would add some nice pictures of firewires my friends and I ignited years back, because the original author's video of a daytime firewire and pictures are lacking. Enjoy!


    Its because the individual fibers in the wool are so thin they have the ability to burn. You wouldent normally consider metal being flammable but in thin enough strands or fine enough particles it can burn pretty powerfully.

    Actually, you messed up a bit. You know how you can light cornstarch when it's aerosalized? Sort of like that. And I'm just saying, but magnesium is a flammable metal. Still, you rock, Tetranitrate!

    the iron's reactive enough to burn, but if it's in big lumps then the surface area to weight ratio's wrong and nothing'll happen. With steel wool, it's nice and thin, so it can burn well. iron filings also burn if you throw them into a fire

    is it true that if you mix rusted iron and alluminum fillings and light it it can melt iron?

    yup. the aluminium takes the oxygen from the rust to make aluminium oxide, releasing lots of heat and light energy. the by-products of this reaction (the thermite reaction, it's done in high schools) are aluminium oxide and liquid iron. it's used to weld railway tracks together. Be safe...

    Pretty much nothing short of an industrial smelter can melt tungsten. Tungsten has a melting point of over 5,000 degrees Fahrenheit.

    yea i am currently to lazy to remember thermites temperature but i dont think even thermite is hot enough to melt tungsten.

    Thermite burns at abuot 3000 C, about the same temperature tungsten melts at. Give or takea few hundred degrees. It's be close.

    I saw it on macgyver. Lemme see, about 0.5 milligrams aluminum, no rust in sight... >sigh

    u dont sound like an idoit. i was wonderin the same thing. unless i sound like an idoit... o_O