Introduction: How to Transform a Moka Pot Into a Carbide Lamp

The idea of transforming a moka pot into a carbide lamp came to my mind since original carbide lamps are quite expensive today. They are no longer produced and so the only way is to buy an old one, which costs between 70-200€. (There are cheaper ones too, but often there are parts missing or they are damaged)

Step 1: Material

Buy a moka pot for around 12€ or look for one in your basement or in your camping stuff. Beside the moka pot, you need a curtain pole ending out of metal (follow the link to see which one I bought:, a small glas that fits into the water tank of the pot, a wing screw, a nut and some sealing strip.

Step 2: Drill the Holes

Drill a hole into the upper part of the moka pot. There must be drilled another hole in the same alignment into the inner part of the moka pot, since the water should finally drop down into the tank below. Adapt the hole to the diameter of the wing screw that will be responsible for the water supply for the chemical reaction. Drill a very small hole into the top of the curtain pole ending. It serves as the nozzle, where the gas streams out. As you can see in one of the first pictures, there was no need to drill a hole in the side of the curtain pole ending, because there already was one (blocked by a screw to fix the ending).

Step 3: Assembly

The next step is to assemble all parts as shown in the picture. Put a small carbide stone into the glas and put the glas into the water tank. The glas is necessary, because the carbide stone dissolves in the water and leaves an alkaline suspension of calcium hydroxide Ca(OH)2 which would slowly attack and the aluminum of the tank wall. Put the seal and the sieve above and finally screw the upper part of the moka pot onto the tank. The sieve serves to separate the room where the gas is produced from the barrel where it streams out. Put the curtain pole ending on top of the barrel and screw the wing screw into the the holes to block it.

Step 4: Fill Water Into the Upper Part and Start the Reaction

Fill some tap water into the upper part of the moka pot. It serves as a water tank now. As soon as you screw the wing screw anti clockwise the water will start dropping into the glas where the carbide stone lies. You can block the hole later on again since just little water is needed. The carbide stone slowly dissolves in the water (the sound of the reaction resembles to soda powder and water) and ethyne gas is produced. It smells like garlic and you even see the jet stream. Light the gas and it will burn as long as ethyne gas is produced.

Ca(C)2 + 2 H2O --> C2H2 + Ca(OH)2

Step 5: ...light a Candle Everything's Alright...

Your lamp can be carried by the handle and the lid serves (more or less) as a mirror to reflect the light and bundle it. You can cover it with aluminum foil to improve the effect. Depending on the size of the carbide stone, it will burn between 5-15 minutes.

Have fun and enjoy.

IMPORTANT: Don't do this inside. The flame produces a lot of soot (as seen in the picture) and the fumes are not healthy. Only use small moka pots since the danger of explosion is smaller the smaller the volume. Carbide is also used for loud explosions on New Years Eve. Ethyne-oxigen mixtures are explosive. I assume no liability for damages caused by mistakes. Please only try this with a carbide-experienced person.

Greetings Joachim

PS: Many thanks to my science students of BAfEP Judenburg. We took the pictures together and produced the DIY overview. It was great pleasure to work with you.

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