Make Fire Piston With Thread Gasket




Introduction: Make Fire Piston With Thread Gasket

About: Working as Professor in Engineering college. Post graduated in Electronics engineering. Doing Doctoral research in Aucostics.

Making fire piston is not really difficult as it seems.Its just the matter to follow few conditions ,  such as..

1. The cylinder diameter must not be more than 1/2 ", if its more then its becomes almost impossible to create the required pressure using hand strength.The ideal diameter is from 3/8" to 1/2".Remember more the diameter means more pressure is required.

2.Even though  O rings produce good seal,to get O ring of correct size is tricky. Thats why I prefer thread gaskets.

3.Use of good char cloth is essential. It must be made up of cotton fabric and must be dry.

Step 1: You Will Need

1. Copper tube of 1/2"diameter with one end sealed by brazin 6" g to make cylinder.
2. A wooden piston to fit in the cylinder.
3. Cotton thread for making gasket.
4. Petroleum jelly as lubricant.
5.Hand Drill

Step 2: Making the Cylinder

One end of the copper tube is to be sealed. I brazed a small piece of copper plate of size of penny on the end of tube tube to form the cylinder.

Step 3: Making the Piston

I used the piston that I turned using lathe machine from a wooden block. But any stick with suitable diameter may be used. It should slide in the cylinder but at the same time it must not be too loose.You can check this,while inserting it must pass through out the length of cylinder smoothly without wobbling.

The front face that goes in cylinder is drilled to hold the charcloth. And other end is turned to form grip.

Step 4: Winding the Gasket

The gasket is wound on front end of pistonby using good quality cotton thread.While winding thread must be kept very tight and adjacent turns should be pressed together using thumbnail to prevent gap.

Apply  Petroleum jelly on winding to lubricate it. You need to repeat this till winding gets soaked by llubricant.  This helps in providing good seal.

Now you can insert piston in cylinder. While inserting keep it turning in direction of winding. This helps in moulding of winding and provides good seal. If needed keep applying more lubricant.

Step 5: The Ember

Put some char cloth in hole drilled at front end of piston.
Place cylinder vertically on hard surface and insert piston with sharp and quick thrust. And withdraw it immediately.
If the thrust is sharp enough and if it withdrawn immediately, you will have ember.
And if you don't.....still its alright because it needs lot of practice.
I needed about fifty thrusts to get ember when I tried this for first time and now I get it in each thrust.

Please refer the following link for demonstration

This is my first instructable. Hope you find it informative and useful.  Thanks

Please refer my another fire-piston, it is even easier to operate

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    Reply 6 years ago

    Hello. I have made one with a push on cap that I have sealed with a glue. The air still escapes even though I have threaded the rod with 2 and 1/4 inches of string. The rod just fits in the piston. Any ideas?


    Reply 6 years ago

    The thread winding must be tight and there should not any gap in between two consecutive turns. Also don't forget to saturate it with petroleum jelly.
    This ensures tight air seal. if possible send me pics on

    I will help

    all the best


    Reply 6 years ago

    I will add more petroleum jelly and let you know. Thanks.


    6 years ago on Introduction

    Nice instructable. Can I ask, what are your thoughts on gasket-less? I also found strong suggestions that say drilling a sideways hole near the tip, leaving a slit exposed on the tip would be better. I have not tried but its supposed to leave more surface area and make it simpler to empty. I have not made a fire piston so these are things I'm just throwing out there from research involving my obsession with fire.


    Reply 6 years ago

    I tried sideways drilling but it makes the piston head weak and it cracks easily.
    Honestly O ring fire pistons are easy but you may not get O rings of required size everywhere.
    The solution is thread gasket type.

    If you have more doubts feel free to ask me


    So you just wind thread around the piston? :o

    I thought it was much harder :P