DIY Flint Lighter A.k.a ZIPPO




Introduction: DIY Flint Lighter A.k.a ZIPPO

Warning! Beware, you have just entered the DIY zone.

Don't Play with fire! You may harm people and injure yourself!

Do you ever wanted to create your own flint spark lighter or you just want to upgrade your flint and spark wheel fire starter with the fuel tank? Maybe you think that standard BIC flint is too small for your purposes and that that wouldn't help you in case no fuel will be around. Well, I think the same and decided to create an extra large modular flint spark lighter.

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Step 1: Materials

  • Magnezium,
  • Copper sheet or metal tube(inner diameter 1cm) for spark wheel and flint housing,
  • Spring,
  • bolt and nut,
  • broken saw blade for metal,
  • champagne cork,
  • wool and wick,
  • Optional: Aluminium tube\sheet for windshield and spark wheel holder,
  • Optional: Extension tube.


  • Saw for metal,
  • metal scissors,
  • awl or small screwdriver,
  • dremel,
  • pliers,
  • small file,
  • soldering iron and solder wire,
  • kitchen stove or smth similar.

Step 2: Preparing Fuel Tank

First of all, we need to remove unnecessary parts from flashlight, like trigger button, led, battery holder. To detach trigger button is easy enough. You need to hook on rubber button case by a screwdriver and pull it out. After that, you can press out a button using a lot of pressure. It will be easier to do that when a cap is screwed on and screwdriver is placed in a small hole near the button. To remove LED you need to bend out the aluminum case that is holding flashlight glass and then it will be easy to get out LED.

Step 3: Securing Holes

To close up a hole in a cap I used a sheet of copper. I have cut out round piece of copper with radius a little bigger than the inner radius of flashlight tube and made a convex shape from it using screwdriver's handle. To fix it at the place we can use a glue of your choice(i find epoxy a good choice. At first attempt I used hot glue, but fuel found a way out very fast) or solder it. I used a 60W soldering iron to put a lot of solder on it. Of course, it won't make a connection with aluminum but will fix tightly a copper part. To make a stronger connection I heated a cap on a kitchen stove. However, remember to fix a copper part with metal wire from inside so it wouldn't fall out with liquefied solder. [NB: Be ready that paint on flashlight cap will fire up.]
To fix a wick at the place I made the same copper part only with additional “wings” and pushed a hole in the center of it as seen in the picture. [NB: Wick must be as close as possible to a spark wheel if you want to fix spark tube permanently, otherwise it will be hard to light it up.] To close up a hole where LED was I used a champagne cork. It perfectly seals all holes.

Step 4: Placing a Wick

I don't know from which material strings I found are made of, but I suppose it's a pure cotton because I took them from old 5cm thick rope that was laying around. I weaved 4 strings into thicker one and secured both ends: one with thin metal wire(this end will burn) and the second one with nylon string. Don't squeeze wick's end too much with metal wire– it must be fluffy to kindle fast enough(I learned that a hard way). After that, you can place a wick where it should be and fill a tube with wool. Check everything and fill it with the proper fuel. I used kerosene. Now it's ready to be lighted up.

Step 5: Magnezium Rod Holder

It will be easier to use a metal tube, but if you don't have one you can use a sheet of metal. I used a thin copper sheet. To calculate height I assumed that will be enough: 1 cm for a wheel, 5 cm for magnesium rod and 1 cm for a nut. I found that 7~8 cm is sufficiently for width. To calculate where to drill holes for spark wheel I had to remember school geometry: C = 2*pi*r = pi*d, where C - is magnesium rod holder circumference(i have 1cm wide(d=2*r=1cm) magnesium rod, so tube must be a little bigger than that), pi = 3,14.., r – radius, half of diameter. To fix it you can use solder, glue or metal wire. Inside in the bottom of it, I placed a nut. I will screw a bolt into it to control magnesium height. Now you have two options. If you have spark wheels then you need to place spring between magnesium and bolt so that spark wheel will have a proper connection with magnesium rod, otherwise, it will badly spark. Or if you haven't you can use broken saw blade for metal. 10 cm of it will be more than enough. In this case, you don't need a spring.

Step 6: Final Thoughts

Flint lighter is ready and now you can upgrade it with extension tube. I prefer to keep there a candle. In case I run out of kerosene I can light up a candle using wool from the main lighter. Moreover, i can add multiple extension tubes to have a spare wick, magnesium rod, short saw blade, etc. And it's waterproof.
Thank you for reading and taking the time to share your views and ideas, as well.

Brave the Elements 2016

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Brave the Elements 2016

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spark master
spark master

2 years ago

that is sisal twine it smells oily/petrolish. I use it as tinder as it is as effective as dryer lint, but stays nicer in a kit. It comes from Agave and after the Morons in USA ma=de Hemp illegal to grow that was its replacement for amny things. Hemp is much better and stroneger and does not rot in salt water. That is why it was grown everywhere for canvas and rope for sailing vessels. Early English settlers had to grow it or pay a fee. And if you see Hemp as in Hempstead, in a name it is a throw back to when it was needed and demanded. Cotton shoelaces are horrible, Hemp shoelaces are indestructable !