Pocket Candle, or : How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Dark.




Have you ever been watching a movie and seen where the characters are suddenly plunged into the dark. One enterprising person invariably pulls out a lighter or some matches. Yay! Unfortunately unless you're in a movie the light fades quickly from a match or the lighter will get very hot. In the case of a plastic lighter it can melt, burn you and possibly explode. Boom! I thought it was about time for a change and have something that can keep the light going and not self destruct.

Step 1: Shopping for Parts in All the Right Places!

Now that I had my Idea I new I needed parts. So off I went to my favorite goodies,parts and junk places. My big two are Goodwill, and Saver's. If you don't have these in your area I feel sorry for you and send you warm feelings of yumminess to console you in your deprived life.
     But I digress. I love brass. I am in love with the steampunk ethos, so I new I needed something with some flair and panache. This is not a steampunk idea per se. It is just a neat idea. I found a beautiful brass candlestick while foraging and new that this was what I needed. In my perusals in Saver's they have a wall of bagged goodies. These goody bags are usually a mish-mash of stuff thrown in and any old price tag slapped on it.
     Fyi, you can find some real treasures in these bags.
In one bag I found some Christmas ornaments, in this bag was some that were brass bugles. These were of the kind that are just little brass tubes with a spout soldered on the ends, not real bugles.

Step 2: Still More Parts?

Now that I had the basics of what I felt I needed. I knew that I needed parts and bits and baubles. So I went raiding through my parts bins and screw boxes. This is when it pays to save all this little bits and pieces you take off of things and then your family yells at you about all this junk you save but you just know that one day you will need and prove them wrongs and then laugh at hem when they don't have that little thingmahoozits that they are missing.  
     Woops, got off on a tangent again. So here I present to my findings of little things that I found.

So I found some:
An Allen headed and knurled screw
Some flat piece of aluminum
A striker wheel from a lighter
A couple of pen refill tubes made from metal not plastic
A fill tube from an old bike tire with the plastic cap
Some odd little metal tube piece with a screw off tube
A ground clip for some electronic piece
Oh and a ceramic fuse

Good luck finding all these little pieces your self I just happen to find what would work and piece it together. I look at things and see how they fit together so I save all these little thingies. You may not find all these things but when this ible is through you can make your own from what you find and cobble together. Some parts aren't listed here because they don't have a name they just fit together. Sorry.

Step 3: Before There Can Be Construction There Must Be DESTRUCTION!

Now that I had all these parts and pieces I started to disassemble them. I started with the candlestick. It just screws apart. It left me with a nice long threaded rod and a good brass tube that had caps on both ends. The base is nice but for this build it had no purpose. So in the parts bin it goes for a later build of some thing.

I desoldered the end pieces off the bugles.

Step 4: The Basic Idea.

My basic idea was a brass tube that acted like a zippo lighter. It would have a reservoir  that holds naphtha based zippo lighter fluid with a wick. In my studies There have been some attempt at a lighter that can be used as a candle, I can't remember the brand name but the design was a a WWI trench lighter that took old bullet casings and made a lighter with the reservoir that could be taken out and used as a candle in a pinch. But this can only be held, not placed on a table and used as a regular candle.
     My pocket candle can be left on a table and used for lighting a space, I also have an extendable tip that allows heat dispersal.

So I started off with the reservoir. I used the main tube off of the candlestick, but it was a little long. I cut it down to two inches. The candle stick had two end caps I used the wide one for the top cap of my build and soldered it to the top of the tube.

I then took a piece of my brass tubing that straightened on my my threaded rod. This had the added effect of putting a simple thread design in the thin brass. I soldered this into the opening of the top cap with a slightly pinched end. The pinched end was done using a pipe cutter.

Step 5: Working at the Bottom. We Can Only Go Up From Here!

So now that I had the main reservoir started. I knew I needed a bottom with some sort of fill port. I found one of the bugle pieces that fit very well and using another piece of brass tubing I fashioned a bottom that would fit. At first I simply jammed the pieces together for a test fit. Rummaging around I found a screw that threaded into the tubing nicely. I did a mock fit together on all this. You can see this in my first picture. Sorry it has all the other stuff there. I took pictures first and wrote this afterwards.
     I soldered this all up and cut off the excess tubing. I had also found a nut that was hollow to solder onto the base. Once it was cool I screwed in the fill screw. I filled the reservoir with cotton squares and soldered the fill cap as seen in the last picture.
     It sounds so easy here but there was a lot of guessing and figurin to get all these pieces together. Strange how afterwards it all seems to go together like nothing.

Step 6: Let's Get a Little WICKed.

From this point I took my pen fill tube; the large one, and my bike fill tube. It doesn't show it here but the inner tube fill piece was covered in rubber. I scraped that off and stuck it in my drill. I used some sandpaper to shine it all up. I soldered these two pieces together, I also soldered anohter of those bugle mouthpieces to the tip to allow heat to disperse better. Rather than have all that heat transfer to the base unit.
     This acts as a heat ablation point and it just looks cool too. But I have a soldering iron that has these on there as heat sinks to keep the handle from getting to hot. It just so happens that these bugle mouthpieces were the exact same shape. Go figure huh?
     This is where my wick is going in as well and this fit into the top of the reservoir. The tube that I soldered into the top is just slightly larger than the wick holder. With a little bending it hit the threading in the reservoir top and allowed it to hold up. This gives me the added benefit of allowing to move the flame up higher and keep the base from getting hot.
I did need to add a small piece of wire to the wick to keep it from sliding in and out of the wick holder. sorry I don't have more pics of the wick, all this is internal, so hard to show. I made the wick long enough to go all the way out the bottom of the reservoir and this allows me to push the wick back into the reservoir in a coiled pattern and this way it is pushed into the cotton inside. Again this is all internal so hard to show.
     I took the fill cap and drilled a hole into it added some screws and washers. I used the wire ground clip and dremelled it into a neater shape, drilled a hole and added the chain. I then drilled a hole into the heat sink and attached the chain so I don't lose my cap.
     I think this all came out to a fairly neat end product.

Step 7: Time to Put a Little Spark Into My World.

So now I have a neat little candle. But let's be honest without a way to light it I still have to carry another lighter to light my light. This isn't good.
    So onto making a neat little sparker. In my travels I run across little things and save them, one of them was a pre-made striker. I ripped this from some crappy lighter. I found a nice piece of flat aluminum drilled a hole in it for a screw on port. This is where i took my ceramic fuse and pulled it apart and used the ceramic tube as a fill piece for the brass tubing I straightened out. I found a large nut that screwed onto the brass tube, I bent my flat aluminum into an L shape and used the screw on port to hold it onto the tubing. Amazingly all of this stuff was just the right diameters that I was looking for and I only measured by eye.
    From here I drilled holes into my flat aluminum for the striker wheel and and added a spring to a knurled knob that I dug up. The know piece is actually three pieces that screw together with a needle point sticking out. It was onto this needle that I attached the spring and crimped it on so it wouldn't pull off to easy. This is used to push the flint into the fill port.
On the inside of the fill port went the ceramic tube and the other pen fill piece, which was cut down to the same length as the brass tube. I hit this all with some solder and heat. Allowed it to cool and threaded my knurled nob into the fill port.
     I bought some flints here recently but had one saved from that old lighter. After assembling all the pieces I dremelled my aluminum flat piece into a more comfortable shape. this also allowed me to reach the striker wheel. Lo and Behold! I was able to after a few turns get glorious sparks.!!!! YAY!

Step 8: Hey Watch Out for That Last Step It's a Lou Lou! Or: the Clip!

Surprisingly enough all I had to do now was make a clip to attach the sparker to the candle. I took the old fuse clips and dremelled it down and took some more brass tubing. I dremmeled the tube in half  and drilled holes to allow the fuse clip crimp on.  I did my amazing solder trick again. Attached it to the side of the base reservoir, let it all cool down and attached it. Finally we are done. It looks cool works well and holds a lot of fuel.
     I may have phoned in this last part of my build but I will let my pictures speak for themselves. The end product is a very  cool device that i have never seen before. I hope you like this and want to make one of your own as well. I wish I could provide more instructions for your own build but I was building by gut here and making things work without a whole lot of  precise measurements. When I get to inventing I get into the spirit of it and just instinctively feel the parts. 
     I made this initially because I like the idea. I am entering it into the 3d printer contest in the hopes of winning one, but I am realistic enough to know that might not happen. If somehow I do win I am going to design one of these in 3d format and upload to here and thingiverse to be cast in solid brass. The candle wick on that model will have some improvements that I just couldn't make here. So here is me keeping my fingers crossed. I truly feel that this is an altogether new idea and hope you like it as much as I do.
     Peace for now.

UP! Contest

Participated in the
UP! Contest

Lamps & Lighting Contest

Participated in the
Lamps & Lighting Contest



    • Planter Challenge

      Planter Challenge
    • Growing Beyond Earth Maker Contest

      Growing Beyond Earth Maker Contest
    • Sew Tough Challenge

      Sew Tough Challenge

    16 Discussions


    1 year ago

    this is so coollllllllllllllllll


    5 years ago

    You will be happy to know that I deleted the bad instructible the best I could


    5 years ago

    Putting candles in your pocket is not very smart unless you have fire proof pants not to be rude

    1 reply

    Reply 5 years ago on Introduction

    Yeah, candles in pocket make for hot pants. But some times I get cold.


    Reply 6 years ago on Introduction

    I do apologize sir, I will not contribute to your addiction as its the definition of pain.and despair, This I do not jest.


    Reply 6 years ago on Introduction

    Yeah sorry about that. I guess I need to find an ible that shows how to do macro photography or just better pics. I would also like to blame my 3.3 megapixel camera that does a digital doubling to be pseudo 6.6 mp.


    Reply 6 years ago on Introduction

    most computers have photo editing, a little contrast and color balance goes a long way, I end up doing it all the time


    6 years ago on Step 8

    That is awesome ! you did a really good job!