Devil stick (AKA flower sticks, gravity sticks, or juggling sticks) are a juggling toy where you use two sticks to spin and throw a third larger stick. In this instructable I'm going to show you how to make devil sticks that you can set on FIRE!
Juggling fire is extremely dangerous! you should only try setting your stick on fire once you are confidant that you have control over it and after you have taken all the safety measurement I list at the end. I recommend reading other tutorials and even consulting experts before playing with fire. I take no responsibility for any damages or injuries that might occur during your attempts to learn this skill.
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Step 1: Tools and Materials
Most of the materials I used were recycled or could be found around the house, the only exception is the kevlar wick. You could recycle kevlar wick from heavy duty gloves, motorcycle jackets and other stuff. I recommend purchasing some original kevlar wick made for juggling toys, it will burn longer, it's safer and it's easier to work with. HERE you will find a sample of what I'm talking about but you might find some that's cheaper or closer to you.
For this project you will need:
- Aluminum tube about 67 cm long (I used an aluminum broom stick, make sure to peel the plastic)
- 2 corks (you can also use wood if you find some that fits snug into the tube)
- 2 bamboo sticks, medium thickness (about 46 cm long)
- Grip (tennis racket grips or bicycle tire's inner tube)
- Kevlar wick (enough to wrap each end at 2-4 times and then some, 70 cm should be enough but get some extra just in case)
- Some tape, screws and washers
- Optional: thumb tacks, glue, spray paint (for decoration)
- Saw (if you need to shorten your sticks)
- Electric screwdriver
- Sand paper (an electric sander is better if you have one)
Step 2: The Main Stick
Cut the aluminum tube to the wanted length using a saw (should be approximately from your armpit to the middle of your hand) and sand down all the sharp edges. Put a cork in each end of the tube, make sure to use corks that are small enough to fit but large enough to not wiggle around).
Make 2 holes in the tube and the cork at each end (see pics) with screws, make sure not to overshoot the cork. Mark the distance of the holes from the ends and the direction for later (it will be covered with kevlar). Take the screws out.
Wrap the kevlar around the ends tightly 2-4 time (start and finish on top of the holes). The more kevlar you add the longer each burning cession will be but don't over do it. I used extra thin and extra wide kevlar I had folded in half and wrapped around 3 times. Screw the kevlar in using your markings to help you know where to drill, don't forget the washers.
Step 3: Grip
Cut the bamboo to the wanted length (should be about the distance between your elbow and the tip of your fingers) and sand off any sharp edges.
If you don't have tennis racket grip lying around the house, ask in any bicycle shop for inner tubes, once they're ruined they have no use with them. I found a bunch thrown near the trash outside a bike shop on my street, I only used one and had material to spare. Simply cut the end off (the part where air goes in), cut along the tube, open it up and wash it. If it seems to wide (like mine), just cut along it again and turn one strip into two.
Wrap the sticks with grip in a spiral while making sure it's tight, the smaller stick can be covered end-to-end but in the main stick you should keep a safe distance from the flaming edges (I spaced it 12 cm on each side and the tape kind of burnt a little during my first trial, its not a problem it just means I'll have to replace the tape more often) . You can use thumbtacks to secure the end of the grip and glue so it doesn't slip (I used tacks on the small sticks and glue on the main stick). Tape off the ends of your grip to help prolong its life and to give the whole thing a cleaner look.
You can use colorful tape and/or spray paint to customize your devil sticks and make them look cool. Remember, anything near the flaming tips will burn or turn black so stay clear. You could also mark the center of gravity with tape to help with certain tricks, but you don't have to. To find the center of gravity simply balance the stick on your finger, when the stick is leveled your finger should indicate the center of gravity (hopefully it should be very close to the center of the stick).
Step 4: SAFETY TIPS
Make sure you read and follow all these tips, playing with fire is very dangerous and should be done responsibly. Don't try any new tricks while playing with fire, practice on a trick until you get it right every time, then try it with fire.
* Always have a spotter (someone who's only task is to watch you from the time you start the fire until its completely out).
* Make sure you have a bucket of water or fire extinguisher near the spotter. I recommend you also keep some cream to treat burns handy, just in case.
* Wear appropriate clothing. Closed shoes, long pants and shirt (not wool or anything very flammable), no loose items or strings. If you have long hair you should cover it with a hat, hair is very flammable!
* Choose a safe location. do not play with fire near anything flammable, large crowds, on rooftops or indoors. Remember, the stick could easily fly 15-20 meters in any direction during some tricks, make sure it won't set anything on fire. I recommend beaches (empty at night), asphalt field (for sports games or parking cars), the dessert or big treeless parks (its OK to drop it on grass just make sure to pick it up quick so you don't leave a mark).
* Don't leave the cup of lamp oil unattended, you might hit it and start a fire. I recommend you leave it near the spotter.
* If you are playing with a bunch of other people make sure everyone has enough space. Have a dry run of about 10 minutes just to make sure you all play well together in that space.
* Make sure the fire is completely out before packing the sticks (you should wipe them clean as well).
Step 5: Playing With Fire
After you have mastered a few moves (don't rush this part. get good, then use fire) and read ALL the safety tips you could move on and set your stick ablaze.
Fill up a cup with lamp oil (liquid paraffin), enough to cover all of the kevlar and let it set (the first time leave it in for about 30 minutes, any time after that a few minutes should do). When the first side is done, shake it off above the cup and put the other side in. Do not use gasoline or other flammable material, they could be too flammable and might also create a lot of unwanted smoke. After both sides have been soaked, wipe the stick off with a cloth and clear any dripping oil by throwing the stick horizontally while spinning it (warning: this will throw oil in every direction).
When your ready, hold the stick horizontally and light both ends. From this point on try not to let the stick stand vertically for too long. Play carefully and responsibly until the tip burn out, it should take 5-20 minutes depending on the kevlar, the oil and the playing conditions.
You can also play with the main stick as a short staff and just twirl it in your hands, there are many tricks you cant do with the sticks and vice versa.
Do not dunk the stick in water! If you're done playing but the ends are still flaming, set the stick aside in a safe place and let it burn out.
Be safe, have fun and don't forget to share your results.
Participated in the
Burn It! Contest