Simple Staple Igniters

About: I'm a science and engineering enthusiast that loves to build cool and often impractical things. I started making things years ago, but have recently decided to start sharing the strange things I make with th...

I'm taking a quick break form working on a more complicated project to show you something much smaller, and possibly more useful.

There are many ways to light things on fire with electricity, but it can be difficult to find one way that's reliable enough to use for model rockets. While playing with fire and large amounts of power, I noticed that staples will glow white hot and melt when relatively small levels of current are passed through them. So I slapped some wires on it and made a simple staple igniter.

Materials Required:

  • zinc staples
  • wire
  • 12-volt battery


  • soldering iron
  • alligator clips
  • five minutes

Warning: this project involves electricity and fire. Proceed with caution!

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Step 1: Solder, Repeat

Solder a wire on each end of the zinc staple.

Yeah, that's about it. This isn't a very complicated project.

It might be a good idea to put on some safety glasses at this point.

To detonate, apply 12 volts across the igniter and wait a second. If it doesn't pop within five seconds, you might need to up the current and check your connections.

I plan to use this as part of my hydrogen rocket project.

Let me know what you think in the comments below.

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