Fire Lamp!




Introduction: Fire Lamp!

This Instructable will guide readers through the fairly simple process of making a lamp from a spent fire extinguisher. I originally wanted to put some kind of flammable liquid in the empty tube, add a wick, and make a mildly ironic torch, but I like how this came out.

Perhaps it's a misnomer for the project...but hey, you're reading, so I guess it worked.

Step 1: Materials

Check the picture below for what you'll need...and mentally add a hot glue gun or some sort of effective metal-to-plastic adhesive.

Step 2: Sticker Removal (quite Optional)

I should have looked for a sticker-removal Instructable or something cause this part kinda sucked. I just went at it with a box cutter and the flat end of some pliers. Unfortunately, a fair amount of paint was also scraped off. So the side that looks like it served as a bear-mauling defensive shield should probably face a wall or something. Why couldn't the stickers just face the wall, you ask? ...Oh, just go on to the next step already.

A note: Some in high society's fire extinguisher lamp aficionado circles posit that a lamp lacking stickers might as well be a generic metal tube, so the stickers should remain. I would agree and advise leaving the decals on unless they're a bit grungy like mine. It would actually be ten times cooler if you made some custom stickers that showed a silhouette turning on a light rather than spraying chemicals at a little campfire. It would be subtle but very cool.

Step 3: Drilling Hole for Wire

As the wiring will run through the empty canister, you'll need to drill a hole to permit the wire an exit. Go for an area near the base of the extinguisher; I did it on the side that was most scraped up (the same side that will face the wall) so the wire could exit discretely.

A file would probably be a good idea (and might make the next step easier) but it's not really necessary. If you use it, smooth out all of those..."shards" on the inside when the drilling's done. I know those things have an actual name but it's not coming to mind.

Step 4: Wiring the Contraption

That nice cord you were holding needs to be severed--but wait! Several precautions must be taken first...

(1) In order to make the soldering job humanly possible, make sure that the wire that has the socket on one end is long enough to go the length of the extinguisher and protrude at least 10cm or so out. If you disregard that last sentence, you'll find yourself soldering inside a fire extinguisher...which would make for the most awesome Instructable ever if you succeeded. The length of the second piece doesn't really matter.

(2) After slicing the wire you'll need to reconnect the same ones to each other--no mixing and matching. This can be accomplished by coloring the insulation of one pair before the cut is made. Anything that differentiates the wires will do. For the safety reasoning behind this move please see the comments section of this Instructable.

Take the socket wire and stick it down the fire extinguisher; your mission, if you choose to accept it, is to get the recently-severed end out of the little hole you were drilling. Things that help: a small bend in the wire at the very end (make a slight "L"), pliers, patience, music. Things that don't help: flashlights, dirty water laced with mysterious chemicals dripping out of the hole into your lap (or face). When you succeed you can congratulate yourself. If ever there was a rate-limiting step to this Instructable, that was it.

You'll now reconnect the wires you snipped. Make sure you reattach the wires in the same way they were connected pre-severance. Strip the wires (notice the staggering--something I learned from another Instructable-user's comment); twist the strands together; solder 'em! Wrap the spliced wires in electrical tape or use heat-shrink tubing if you're feeling big and fancy--it's not shown but I used duct tape for lack of the other stuff.

Step 5: Socket Attachment

Simple--hot glue or somehow adhere the socket to your fire extinguisher. I have the light bulb attached so I can better gauge whether the thing's going on straight or not. If you're feeling ambitious, you could try to shave down the socket so it fits snugly in the extinguisher. If you're lucky this might happen without any extra effort on your part.

Step 6: All Done!

Pop on that lampshade; plug 'er in and admire!

Hope you had a good time with this Instructable; it can (and has been) done with an old nalgene bottle. The lampshade also has lots of room for Instructability--check out this link for a great-looking origami shade.



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    61 Discussions

    I love it!! Cool Lamp!!

    TY for sharing. : )

    Before putting this whole thing together, you could have spray painted it with a red primer(1 or 2 coats) & then after it dries(1 - 2 days), spray it with the reddest paint you can find(3 coats minimum, allowing 1 day between coats). then you would not have to worry about what is the good side & what is the bad side....

    Just a thought....I'm still loving this lamp regardless! : )

    I had made a fire extinguisher lamp years ago, but chose to leave the handles attached....

    I drilled a hole through the top of the handles, inserted a threaded hallow electrical pipe/tube/??? & secured it to the handle via washers & nuts....ran the wires through the body, then reattached the original handles.

    the socket for the light bulb attaches to this hallow tube.

    for stickers, I went to a store where they do maintenance on fire extinguishers & bought new ones, taking the lamp with me to show off my work & explain why I wanted the stickers. I had no problem getting new stickers.

    Don't worry about re-attaching them backwards or anything

    Regarding the electrical wiring.

    Please worry about attaching the wires backwards. Even if you intend to never give this lamp to anyone who might do stupid things with it, there is a polarity and a reason for polarity for lightbulb sockets.

    The neutral should always be the ring of the socket, and the hot should be the bottom center contact of the socket.

    If you stick your finger in the socket accidentally then chances are good you'll touch the outer ring only, and not the center contact. If it's neutral then you'll get little or no shock. If you do touch the center contact, you'll likely also be touching the ring. The electrical path will then largely be constrained to your finger and not go through your heart.

    If the socket is miswired, then touching the ring first will cause the electricity to go through your body to whatever ground it can find.


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    16 replies

    actually, sorry, but wall outlets are AC meaning it doesnt matter, their both live 1/2 the time (switches 40 tiems a electrician told me this BTW so I'm not jsut some random kid wqho doesnt know anything)

    it isnt 40 times a second, it is 60 times a second, and i should know, my dad is an electrician, and so is my uncle. so next time that you are not sure of something, say "I think it switches 40 times a second". thank you- gamer

    In the US the neutral wire is connected to ground at the breaker box. This means that the neutral wire, regardless of the AC cycle, will be at or near ground and poses very little shock hazard.

    Therefore the neutral wire is not "live" half the time.

    Also, note that simply because some lamps do not have polarized plugs does not mean it's safe to wire it this way. Lamps with terminals or connectors where a "standard" human finger can come into contact with live voltage have to obey certain rules to be UL certified. This lamp has user-accessible terminals that are directly AC connected, and should attempt to prevent this possible hazard, especially since it's so easily, cheaply, and quickly implemented.

    Many lamps do not have to worry about this for a variety of reasons. For example, they may use transformers and low voltage for the lamp, the socket and/or contacts might not be touchable (small opening for the bulb), or they may be protected behind glass when in operation.

    And some lamps are not UL certified and may pose a hazard to their users.


    Thanks for catching this! I hadn't even considered the potential hazard but it makes a lot of sense. Light bulb designers are far more thoughtful than I had ever imagined... Or maybe they're just better engineers.

    I'm not sure about regulations,but wouldn't a ground connection to the metallic base make the lamp safer ? I like you lamp ! Ciao 5V.

    I really don't initial guess would be no. I don't think a typical, store-bought metal lamp would have a ground connection to the body.

    I think a metal lamp (or any other appliance with a metal shell, for that matter), by regulation must be earthed. It's to stop a fault from developing inside the appliance which may result in the shell becoming live. It's easy to imagine a power cable becoming frayed and the active line coming into contact with the case... I'm fairly sure that's the case, check it out and see.

    As long as you don't yank on the wire, I think the chances of it fraying spontaneously are quite low. Also, I have to disagree with the whole polarity thing. many many store bought lamps do not have polarized plugs, indicating that in any given situation, either the center contact or the screw receptacle might be "hot".... my lamp has an un-polarized plug at any rate.


    I will vouch for this guy's opinion of the situation (he's a smart fella). And this is the lampshade I mentioned at the end of the Instructable. Coincidence? Not exactly.

    although its good practice to keep the same wiring, as it helps keep the power in-phase, mains voltage is AC - Alternating current, meaning that the power zips BOTH ways, one after the other, usually at a rate of 50Hz (50 times per minute). If you do stick your finger in the socket and at the same time you have (stupidly) earthed yourself, you are going to get a jolt no matter which way the plug is wired.

    You can safely touch the neutral wire as it is at ground potential. AC does "zip" both ways, but only when the circuit is completed ;) You - the meat person touching the neutral wire just so happen to be at ground potential too. That's why the hot wire will shock you - you complete the circuit :P

    I feel like I should know ten times more than I currently do about electricity given its prevalence in society and potential danger (oh, and how awesome it is). That explanation makes a lot of sense though, thanks.

    I'm not following you about "keeping the power in-phase." Are you referring to the oscillations of the current and how backwards wiring is like a small source of destructive interference? In all likelihood I'm sounding like a fool so I'll someone else have floor to explain.

    I would use a propane torch, but I don't know if it would be safe to drill into it.

    From a safety point of view, the socket should be neutral and the bottom of the bulb should be live. From a 'will it work' point of view, it doesn't matter. The neutral wire is always at or nearly at 0V, the live wire swings between 230v and -230v at a rate of 50Hz (in the UK). For this reason, you won't get shocked from by the neutral wire. And, to answer some questions on here, yes, appliances with a metal casing must be, by regulation, earthed. (Trust me, I've taken apart enough appliances in my time to notice that every one has had its metal casing earthed. Great 'ible. AlexHalford