Introduction: Shotgun Shell Lighter V2

About: I've always liked pulling things apart - it's the putting back together again that I have some issues with!

This is my 2nd version of the Shotgun Shell Lighter and I have done a few improvements which has vastly improved the build. It's still pretty easy to build and you'll only need some basic tools to make it.

In this revised version I have included some copper pipe inside the shotgun shell which helps with strength and sealing the fuel inside the lighter. My original build wasn't very air tight so the fuel would evaporate after a few weeks. Also, the top section in the original build was just pushed into place. This meant that it could come off easily if the top was tugged at too hard.

In this new version, I have also added a seal which ensures the top won't come off and also keeps the fuel from evaporating. I have been able to keep it running for months without having to re-fil it!

Making one is surprisingly easy and you only need very basic tools to make your own. There’s only a very minimal amount of soldering needed and anyone should be able to put one together.

Let's get building!

Step 1: Parts & Tools


1. Shotgun shell X 2 - you can get these from a gun range if you have one near you. I pick them up for free. If not, try etsy

2. Sparkwheel fire lighter - eBay

3. Nutsert M5 - Ali Express

4. Screw M5 X 12mm - Ali Express

4. Schrader valve - Ali Express. You need to get this type as it has a seal on it

5. Schrader Cap - eBay

6. Thin wire - I got mine from a hardware store.

7. Copper tube 20mm- You can get this from any hardware store

8. Cotton Balls

7. Cotton Sash (rope) 5mm - eBay, hardware store

9. Zippo Fuel


1. Solder. try and get good quality solder which has silver in it. It's stronger and will hold better

2. Small blow torch

3. Pliers

4. Hammer

5. Files

6. Drill

7. Vice

Step 2: Adding Copper Into the Shotgun Shell

To give the lighter more strength and weight, you need to add a piece of copper tube inside the shell. Luckily, 1" tubing fits nice and snug inside the shotgun shell.


1. Cut a piece of copper tubing 58mm long. This is the perfect length to fit inside the shell

2. Remove any burrs and file the ends of the copper tube

3. Place the end of the tube into the top of the shotgun shell. You might have to twist the shotgun shell a little in order for it to go over the tube. It will though go over.

4. Place the copper tube and shotgun shell into a vice and push the copper inside the shell until it's hit the bottom section of the shell

Step 3: Removing the Primer From the Cap

You now need to remove the primer from the middle of the cap. All spent shells should also have a spent primer. However, it is possible (but not very likely) that the primer is still primed. Check to see if has a small dint in the top. If so it will mean that it has been fired. The cap will form the top of the lighter.


1. Place the cap on a vice with the top facing down and the vice slightly open

2. Place a Phillip's head, hole punch or something similar onto the back of the primer

3. With a small hammer tap the end of the hole punch until the primer pops out

4. You can throw the primer away once out

5. The hole in the end of the cap is where you will add the nutsert. This is where you will fill the lighter from

Step 4: Adding the Nutsert to the Cap

The 5mm nutsert is slightly larger than the hole where the primer was. You will need to enlarge this hole before you can add the nutsert into place.


1. Grab a drill bit that it the same size as the nutsert (5mm)

2. Slowly drill the top of the cap. You don't really want to go any deeper if you can help it and hit the plastic inside. The plastic helps keep the nutsert into place.

3. Heat-up the end of the cap with a blow torch. Not for too long though or you'll start to melt the shotgun shell! you only want to do it so the plastic section inside the shell start to melt a little.

4. Whist the cap is still hot, place the nutsert into the hole and give it a few whacks with a hammer to push into place. Unfortunately, this doesn't secure the nutsert into place so once it has cooled, remove the nutsert with some pliers. Do steps 3 and 4 ensures that the fit for the nutsert is night and tight.

5. Add some good superglue to the inside of the cap and push the nutsert back into place.

6. lastly, add some more superglue inside the shell itself. Try not to get it inside the nutsert though.

Put this aside now as it's time to move onto the top section of the lighter

Step 5: Removing a Cap From a Shotgun Shell

The top section of the lighter is made from the cap of another shotgun shell. You need to remove it from the casing which is quite simple to do.


1. Before you remove the cap from the casing, you need to remove the primer the same way you did in step 3

2. Place the casing into a vice so the cap is facing up. grab a drill bit that is slightly larger then the threaded section on the Schrader valve and drill out the top of the hole. You need to do this in order to fit the Schrader valve inside the cap

3. Keep the shell in the vice but secure it horizontally. Heat up the end with a blow torch for about 5-7 seconds. with a pair of pliers, carefully remove the cap from the casing.

4. Check to make sure the Schrader valve fits into the end

Step 6: Adding the Sparkwheel to the Cap

This is probably the most trickiest part of the whole build. You need to solder the sparkwheel to the side of the cap. Actually, it isn't too hard, just follow the steps below and you'll be fine


1. First, you need to make a small groove into the top of the cap. This will allow the sparkwheel to sit flush against the side of the cap so you can solder it in place. Use a small, round file and make the groove.

2. Place the sparkwheel against the cap and make sure it sits flat. It does - good.

3. remove all of the parts that make up the sparkwheel so you are only left with the body section.

4. Add some flux to the side of the cap where the sparkwheel is to be soldered.

5. Place the sparkwheel against the side of the cap and carefully secure it in a vice. Make sure that the sparkwheel is straight against the cap and everything is lined up nicely. if it isn't you'll end up with a crooked sparkwheel.

6. Add a little piece of solder to the section to be soldered and heat with a blow torch. remember to not apply heat directly at first to the solder and heat up the cap and sparkwheel first

7. Leave to cool and then check to make sure it all worked as planned. If you do find that it is crooked or not right, you can always just heat it up and try again

8. Oh and put the sparkwheel back together!

Step 7: Modding the Schrader Valve


1. Remove the nuts and seals from the Schrader valve. Keep them though as you will need to use some of the later

2. Remove the valve section inside with some pliers

3. At the moment, the valve is too long so you will to trim off some of the threaded section. place it in a vice (careful as the metal on the valves is quite soft) and remove about 18mm off. I used a small cutting wheel on my dremel to do this but you could also use a small metal saw.

4. Next, in order to be able to fit the rope (wick) inside the value, you need to enlarge the hole slightly. Place the valve into a vice and with a drill bit slightly larger then the inside diameter, drill through the valve

5. Lastly, file any burrs on the end of the valve and add the cap to it to make sure you haven't damaged the threat at all.

Step 8: Adding the Schrader Valve to the Cap


1. Grab one of the rubber seals that you pulled off the Schrader valve and place it back on.

2. The nuts that come with the valve are silver. If you want to give it a brass tone then heat it up with a blow torch

3. Place the valve into the hole in the cap and secure it in place with the nut. only tighten it up until you feel a little tension on the nut. You will finish tightening it right at the end of the build. The reason being, that rubber seal expands when you tighten the nut and this will form a seal inside the copper tube!

Step 9: Adding the Wick and Stuffing With Cotton

The wick is just cotton rope which you can pick up at hardware stores.


1. Thread the rope into the bottom of the valve so it comes out the top. Add a little bit of masking tape to the end of the rope. This will help you thread the wick into the valve.

2. Wrap some of the wire around the rope. This will help keep it in place when you add the cotton. I try and make sure that the wire doesn't go right to the top of the rope. If it does, it'll make it hard to pull up more wick when it has burnt down. Note however that I haven't had to do that at all with any of the lighters that I have built. It will burn down though over time

3. Place the wick inside the shell and start to stuff cotton balls inside it. Rip them in half first though as you don't want them too large

4. Push the cotton down firmly with a small screwdriver and keep on adding the cotton until it is close to the top, making sure that the wick stays close to the middle

Step 10: Placing the Top Cap Onto the Shotgun Shell

Once you have stuffed the lighter with cotton, you next have to secure the top section into place


1. Carefully push the cap onto the case of the lighter. it won't go all the way down so you'll need to place it into a vice and carefully push the cap into place.

2. Next, tighten the nut up on the Schrader valve. As mentioned, this will expand the rubber seal inside, which will make a seal and secure the top section into place

3. Cut the excess rope out the top of the valve and trim up any bit of the rope sticking out

4. Place the cap back on to make sure it doesn't catch on any of the rope

Step 11: Filling and Using Your Lighter

Finally! we are up to the best step of all - trying out your lighter for the first time


1. Un-screw the cap on the Schrader valve

2. if you have added it already, remove the screw from the bottom of the nutsert and fill with zippo fuel. Go slow as it will be the first time it has been filled and might take awhile for the cotton to soak up all of the fuel.

3. You will know when it's full when the fuel starts to comes out of the top of the value

4. Place the filler screw back into place and wipe off any excess fuel that might have spilt

5. Hit the sparkwheel and watch your lighter light for the first time! The flame will be high initially. Don't worry, it'll die down after awhile. You might need to trim the wick a little more if it doesn't

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