Picture of LED Zippo Flashlight
This is a simple step by step guide to make your own Zippo Lighter LED Flashlight.

A few years ago Zippo had a flashlight version of their amazing classic lighter. These Zippo flashlights never really caught on, most likely because they were dim and the batteries didn't last. None the less, I thought this was a good idea and wanted to find a way to do it better.
Now I know what some of you are thinking, "Why would some one take apart a perfectly good Zippo?"  I have multiple lighters and I don't smoke. The only thing I use a lighter for is igniting fireworks and campfires. 
So, why not make an awesome flashlight ? The Zippo Lighter is an American icon and I wanted to put a new spin on it. Here is my idea, creation, and Instructables project. I hope you enjoy.  

For more information on LEDs please see the Wikipedia page ( HERE ). Truly amazing stuff. 

This is my second version of this project. If you would like to see my prototype and first try at this idea please see the last step. 

Step 1: Parts and Tools

Picture of Parts and Tools
You will need the following parts:
- Zippo Lighter
- Super bright white LED x2
- Mini Switch (I used a mini momentary switch from Radio Shack)
- Button cell battery x2
- Small gauge wire (I tore apart some old cat5 cable)
- Shrink tube
- Super glue
- Electrical tape

- Soldering Iron and solder
- Helping hands 
- Rotary cutting tool (Dremel Tool) or hacksaw
- Ruler 
- X-acto knife
- Pliers 
- Scissors
- Voltage meter (probably won't need this but I always have it around) 
- Small drill bit or needle file 

You may not need all of these tools but they may come in handy. 
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sashadistan4 years ago
I have (literally) just completed this project. Thanks for the cool ideas. I ended up threading my positive wire through the other hole below the switch and you can barely see it. My solder joins were quite large.

This was my first electronic project since I was about 12 and now I am training to become a DT teacher, so thank you for helping me to improve my electronic knowledge.
Boyscout201 (author)  sashadistan4 years ago
Awesome, I'm glad I could help someone. I'de like to see your work.
tutdude981 year ago
you can get 400mah rechargeable li ion that fits perfectly in zippo

Next step...rechargable :-)

beju05061 year ago

Hey! I just wanted to say thanks for posting this! I really liked the idea, so I combined it with another project that I came across to make this: http://www.instructables.com/id/Rechargeable-Zippo...

Thanks again for the inspiration! :)

nicholasm2 years ago
kipkay ...~
This is litterally the exact same thing that /YouTube user Kipkay did.
sn0manX4 years ago
about 14 years ago zippo actually made these. my dad worked on the machine that made them. it was built at classic manufacturing in Minnesota. i was like 3 and i put one together by myself XD
Boyscout201 (author)  sn0manX4 years ago
that is awesome. I wanna see this machine. I wonder if there is an episode of How It's Made for the Zippo?
this is really late but yes there is a how its made for zippos
Boyscout201 (author)  Mrcheese153 years ago
Cool I Must see this !
hey, i know im a bit late on this but i need some help with my take on this project. my lighter isnt a traditional zippo and theres some major differences and modifications that need to be done to the wiring. im just a beginner at this stuff so if you could spare some time and help me out it would be great.
i think they discontinued them soon after initial production, just werent selling i guess. i actually have one somewhere at my grandparents. i gotta find that thing
Heywasup3 years ago
i know im a bit late on this but i need some help with my take on this project. my lighter isnt a traditional zippo and theres some major differences and modifications that need to be done to the wiring. could some1 spare some time and help me out?
octochan4 years ago
This is great! I don't smoke, and I don't see the point of keeping a filled Zippo around just to let all the fuel evaporate. I want to keep the striker wheel as a switch somehow, though.
gg1220 octochan3 years ago
The flint wheel is designed to have a bit of play when you push down on it, so you could probably find a push button switch that engages at a very small distance and put it where the flint is supposed to go, or if that doesn't work you could try drilling out the wheel a bit more to add a little more play and see what happens.
molyca19864 years ago
Exactly what type of batteries did you use? All it says in the list is button cells...
Boyscout201 (author)  molyca19864 years ago
the exact batteries I used ...
2x Lithium CR1220 3V
ggourley14 years ago
Just finished my LED zippo. Created a nc switch with a push on top of the inside of the lid. Wonderful idea! I can't wait to build my next one
tomwinget4 years ago
awesome, did mine over the weekend, only needed one led :)
Boyscout201 (author)  tomwinget4 years ago
Awesome Job!
wrightway4 years ago
Great instructable! I've spent many long cold weekends out camping unprepared realizing that my zippo was out of fluid and my flashlight was still at home on the kitchen table, seeing as I always have my Zippo around this is a great idea. I'm gonna play around with it abit, try to modify it to see if I could do what MadManMoe64 did and have it flashlight AND lighter in one. hell I'll even make one for my dad!
altomic4 years ago
you could maybe put some LEDs in to the lid. using the case to ground you'd need only one wire.

some extra light.
suenami4 years ago
they make super brights without the need for a resistor in the circuit now? sorry, it's been a while since I did stuff like this.
Lhtrf suenami4 years ago
that was probably a pair of 1.5v batteries, and since leds run on 3.4v they would be underpowered, so no need for a resistor. (not all, but most colors do, i dont know about super brights, maybe they are 6v, so in that case i suppose he could have used 6v)
Boyscout201 (author)  Lhtrf4 years ago
I used two 3v button cells. After some testing I found they worked perfectly with my two super bright LEDs. I left the voltage gargen out because LEDs come in all kind of voltages and the builder will hafto make his or her own calculations based on what kind of LED they use and how bright they want to push it. Use ohms law or a resistance calculation or just test it a bunch of different ways to find what works best for your LEDs.
madmanmoe644 years ago
Really nice project, very clean looking.

Next step is, make one that has an LED and still can light a flame.

(made this when I was about 14 which is why it's kinda crummy.

Boyscout201 (author)  madmanmoe644 years ago
I like the graphic
UCBearcat4 years ago
This is an awesome project. Extremely practical. I like projects that do something more than just look cool.
i don't smoke but i have 12 different zippos. the reason is that i collect them. you should just do this with a cheap Chinese copy. those are only like $4:50 or less.
dscotthep4 years ago
Very cool project!

One suggestion: ground the LEDs to the metal case and eliminate the negative wiring.
A so, very wise. I bet you work on cars.
No, not cars. I do dabble in homebrew amateur radio...
Boyscout201 (author)  dscotthep4 years ago
I tried this in my original prototype and the battery was dead in 2 weeks. I'm not entirely sure but I think that this was caused by grounding it to the case.
noingwhat4 years ago
If you are like me and you enjoy over comlicating things, you can use an RGB led, and build a circuit so that it will flicker yellows, reds, blues, and whites, to make it seem more like a real flame.
Boyscout201 (author)  noingwhat4 years ago
How exactly would you build that circuit? I'm interested in knowing your thoughts because the simple one that comes to my mind would be too large to fit in a zippo.
Not, sure, I am just starting to learn about circuitry and everything, I was just saying if there is someone with the knowledge, that would be really cool. You can probably put the circuit inside where the fuel tank used to be, I would think you would have enough room.
all you need is an RGB LED and either the smallest AVR or PIC microcontroller, an attiny13 or pic 10f200 (in a super small 6 pin sot23-6 package). You can hook up the leds directly to the i/o lines (I suggest a common anode RGB LED, microcontrollers sink better than they source), and if the circuit is being run off of 3 volts, you may not even need resistors (google around for minimilistic LED microcontroller circuits) because at lower voltages the microcontroller limits current. To get different colors simply pwm the 3 pins
Ummm... sure, to be honest, the most complicated circuit I understand how to build and why is a band-pass filter. I'm still learning, just started from scratch about a month or two ago, so.... maybe in a year or two I can look back at this post and be like, "Ohhh... that's what he was talking about", but for now - ?????.
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