Build a Fire Tornado!




Build a fire tornado from simple tools and materials.  

Also, check out my follow up to this instructible where I build a GIANT fire tornado!

  • 4 x 3/4" PVC pipe - 2 feet long
  • 4 x 3/4" PVC end plugs
  • 4 x 3/4" PVC couplings
  • 1 Turntable / Lazy Susan
  • Aluminum window screen (do not use plastic or fiberglass!)
  • Old soup can
  • Small chunk of sponge
  • Epoxy
  • Aluminum Tape

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    29 Discussions


    3 years ago

    The instructions have disappeared from the writeup!


    3 years ago

    AWESOME instructable!!! DEFINATELY going to save. i have an idea that i will PM you for a little later after i get some kinks worked out!! :)


    Reply 5 years ago on Introduction

    I'm sorry it took so long to reply to this message. I somehow missed it. You must be thinking of a different person because I wasn't there, sorry!


    5 years ago on Introduction

    Great 'ible! I want to make this! Could you avoid the aluminium tape and thread some thin wire to hold the screening. I am just thinking that visually, it is more pleasing to have an unobstructed view of the flame. Also, in your materials list the sponge is not there. I wonder if you could use some other material to hold the alcohol that would not burn itself once the alcohol burns out and would be reusable.

    This would be a nice decorative item if one could motorise the turntable.

    2 replies

    Reply 5 years ago on Introduction

    I would investigate using 1/2" hardware cloth or similar to make a cylinder and then attach the screen to that. Then one could use mechanical fasteners to attach the cylinder to the turntable and sew the screen with thin wire to the hardware cloth. I have used tampons as fuel"holders" in making torches. Also stainless steel or copper scrub pads would work in the can. Don't use steel wool though as it burns.

    In using the PVC, you could drill and screw the caps tp the turntable instead of epoxy.


    Reply 5 years ago on Introduction

    Thank you! I think using some kind of wire would work well. The tape kind of wears off after a while anyway and isn't as effective as I wish it would be. I'll add the sponge into the materials. I've seen people make these using old record player turn tables as an easy way to motorize them. You can sometimes find those at thrift stores inexpensively.


    5 years ago on Introduction

    If you could place the tin can on the top of a larger cylinder, I believe you can attach the screen wire to that, and let it support itself, thus eliminating the plastic pipes.


    5 years ago on Introduction

    Neat tornado! Would it burn better if you popped a few holes in the bottom of the can?

    4 replies

    Reply 5 years ago on Introduction

    It would burn hotter, and therefore the flame would tend to blue rather than orange. This concept depends on an inefficient burn, because the unburned alcohol droplets need to be borne up on the warm air, then catch fire in the middle,higher.


    Reply 5 years ago on Introduction

    Thanks for the great information! I wasn't 100% sure at how this was working although I offered my best explanation in the video. This makes sense to me. It sounds like if there was a slight updraft it would possibly help make the tornado to be taller.


    Reply 5 years ago on Introduction

    No, the opposite, actually. If there was an updraft, the flame would burn much lower but hotter. You want an inefficient flame that blasts a bunch of uncombusted droplets high enough that they can secondarily combust.


    Reply 5 years ago on Introduction

    That's a good idea. I'll have to experiment with that and see if it burns better (taller would be nice).

    Bill WW

    5 years ago on Introduction

    Nice work, Rick. Your use of the video to explain the concept and building is a valid one.
    I'll have to think a while about you explanation, seems logical.

    Go Ducks.