If you're like me, you're either cheap or don't have much money to spend on fun projects, or both. I happen to be both. So whenever I can, I salvage things that may come of use from things that are broken or are no longer of use. Disposable lighters are cheap and I have found that they have really nice valves in them that could be used for a really sweet squirt gun or flamethrower. Plus, they're small and unlike other valves are operated by pulling on them instead of turning, so a bunch of other uses could be found.

This is my first Instructable. Unlike other people who tell you to go easy, I invite you to rip it apart as much as you like so long as you offer ways I can improve.

Step 1: Stuff You Need

Because we're salvaging a valve, you don't need much. All you will need is a lighter and some way to remove plastic. The lighter I have I was holding sideways and melted the piece of plastic that was holding the wheel in place. The wheel popped out along with the spring and flint stone. To remove plastic, I'm using the screwdriver and needle-nose pliers on my leatherman.

Step 2: Begin Disassembling

This entire process is pretty simple actually.
First you want to take off the metal casing on the lighter. You can probably do this with just your fingers, but you may need to pry it off with a screwdriver. If you still have the wheel attached, you'll need to remove it. You can just break off the plastic pieces holding it in place with a screwdriver, some pliers, or your hands, whatever works.

Step 3: Remove Some Plastic and Fluid

This is hard to describe, but you want to remove, by however you wish, all the plastic that would make it difficult for you to turn the white gear-looking thing that is the valve. There is a lever-thing(see picture) attached to the gear that you can use to turn it, but I broke it off and turned it with pilers. Turn it to the left to loosen it and you will start to hear a hissing noise as the gas is released. You should really wait until it all seeps out, in a ventilated area of course. However if you're stupid like me, pour the fluid into a bottle cap and light it on fire while working in your basement! Remove the valve and set aside. It may be a different color in your lighter.

Step 4: Finishing the Job

So at this point you can call it done it you want, but I took it a step further. The part that the main valve screws into is used as a sort of regulator to allow as much or as little flow to the valve as you wish. Keep in mind though that it doesn't go to full off if you're using it in a project. So, I wanted the regulator, to do this, I chipped off the plastic surrounding the clear plastic piece. There isn't a science to this, just get the piece off. It's OK if you damage the plastic that doesn't affect the main valve's ability to screw in. If this is unclear, look at the pictures.

Step 5: You're Not Done Yet!

You now have your valve that you can do whatever you please with. Woo! I put one on the cap of a bottle that I can pressurize and blow air or water out of, I blew some lighter fluid out of it too, but my mom just had to supervise and freaked out when she realized it was lighter fluid so I stopped. I'm working on some fun stuff using these valves, so if I get sick again and get some time, maybe we'll have something awesome you can use these for.

Your final step is to rate, comment, add to favorites, etc.
Thanks for stopping by!
Nice instructable. I was just in need of a tiny valve to control air flow and you've given me all the ideas I need. Thanks. Good luck with your studies at Uni. of Toledo.
true, I have seen small volume low pressure oxygen canisters for medical use ie for asthma, the one I saw had the same outlet as those found on a lighter gas refill canister. obviously you'd need to work out the stoichiometry.
don't forget to look at the refillable clipper lighters. they have a filling valve on the bottom. I was thinking this would be useful for gas injection in a spud gun then use a piezoelectric spark from another lighter as the trigger.
Those are cool! I've removed them before, but obviously not for this Instructable. I can't say I remember how I did it last time. The issue for using the valves for gas injection is that the gas needs to mix with air first to ignite properly in my experience. I suppose a lot of factors would go into it, especially the size of your combustion chamber, but it's something to consider.
do you have to remove any piece from the valve?<br>i found one yesterday(if i have some error sorry because i am spanish)<br>
No, the valve is complete and functional as it sits once it has been taken out of the lighter.
i always keep a dead lighter in my tinder kit in my survival gear just for the spark. if my good lighter breaks i can use it to light the gas . i also keep flint and steel and matches. when you live in the north you cant be to nutty about fire makin stuff.
Yeah, living the the suburbs of Ohio you don't have much of a need for a tinder kit, or survival gear, so the valves are fun to play with :)
OOOOOOH! but you never know, you might get lost in a square mile of trees. I live in Cuyahoga falls OH. that's near Akron.
thats very true but with ohio being really flat, you can a lot of times see from one end to the other in the daylight : ).. its nice to see someone else from the area..
simple way to avoid releasing or burning all that lighter fluid.... USE EMPTY LIGHTERS. people throw out their lighters that run out of gas all the time... so why not use them for the projects? Heck, i bet you can even trade your 1/2 full lighters for their empties. Bravo to your mother for supervising you and your flaming squirt bottles! You'll thank her later(or should) when you've lived long enough to play with the big boy fires. Oxy-fuel, Coal forges, minor explosives. You should post some shots from the "bottle that I can pressurize and blow air or water out of" I'd be interested in seeing what mechanism you used for the "pulling" of the valve, since the original lever was destroyed/removed in all your shots.
Yeah, using empty lighters would be a much better idea, but I never have any on hand. Even when they appear "empty" they always still have some pressure in them that needs to be released. I actually would be playing with oxy-fuel right now(assuming you mean HHO?) but my generator broke because I made super-strong hot glue connections(hopefully you caught the sarcasm there). And she won't take me to the store to get some stuff for a new, better, graphite-based one. It's hard to post shots because I only have so many hands to pull the valve and take pictures with. The mechanism for pulling the valve I made using a dremel out of plexiglass, but those keep breaking so I'm using the lever I got from a barbecue lighter. I thought I had posted some pictures of the bottle in step 5, but I'll do that now.
ok, that explains much. but no, when I said oxy-fuel, i was talking more about oxy-propane, oxy-acetylene, and sure, oxy-hydrogen. HHO is a theory, and commonly mistaken for a mixture of H2 and 2OH.

About This Instructable




Bio: I am currently a mechanical engineering student at the University of Toledo, and the founder of the University of Toledo Maker Society. I have a ... More »
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