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Fire Piston: The pen sized version

Discussion in 'Functional Gear & Equipment' started by Brokor, Aug 22, 2010.

  1. Brokor

    Brokor Live Free or Cry Moderator Site Supporter+++ Founding Member

  2. bnmb

    bnmb On Hiatus Banned

    Cool! Can't wait!
  3. Hispeedal2

    Hispeedal2 Nay Sayer

    I am looking forward to this review. I've been eyeballing a few online. I may try making one before buying.

    I'm still alive.

    ETA: Here is the site I was looking at:
  4. dragonfly

    dragonfly Monkey+++

    Ok, what are they made of?
    I can machine them from a varitey of materials on my lathe!
    Even a hardwood?
  5. Lynn_A

    Lynn_A Monkey+

    That is a pretty slick little piece. I suppose all you would need to do is get the volume correct in the chamber, to create combustion. Neat idea.
  6. Brokor

    Brokor Live Free or Cry Moderator Site Supporter+++ Founding Member

    Yeah, it doesn't matter because the cavity will be filled with your tinder/bark/charcloth. Just be sure to wipe it off so the 'O-ring' seals well. I am impressed at the heat generated by this baby. My other coco-bolo is not nearly as powerful as this pen. I am lucky to get an ignited tinder every 3 tries.
  7. ghrit

    ghrit Ambulatory anachronism Administrator Founding Member

    If you are making them yourself, try all the above. If you can make one of wood with a tight enough fit with a tight grained wood, it should work best because heat transfer will be slower and the punk should glow longer. Wood will be susceptible to humidity, so too tight is possible. A web search showed one made of lucite. Stainless steel might work well enough. Brass and aluminum, well, sure.
  8. Byte

    Byte Monkey+++

    That pen does look like a great piece. A bit spendy but the one with the hidden rod is cool.

  9. Falcon15

    Falcon15 Falco Peregrinus

    There are even fire pistons made out of clear acrylic. The fire piston has been around since prehistory. Natives of Southeast Asia were making fire pistons from wood for centuries before the technology was "discovered" by the Europeans (the first patent for a fire piston was awarded in 1807 and it was called a "safety match").

    The materials to make a fire piston have ranged across many types: bamboo, wood, animal horns, antlers, lead, and other metals. The main thing is creating a pressure chamber with a small recess in the piston to house the kindling material (I prefer char cloth as a kindling material).

    A diesel engine can be started and run on the principles of the fire piston. In fact one diesel engine I know of (designed and built around the 1930's) is started by hand cranking the engine until the compression in the cylinders gets high enough for ignition. A perfect back-up motor for Post EMP power generation, since it has zero electronics. It's on my to-buy list. [drooling] Just thinking about the set-up I saw on youtube...YankeePrepper's rig...[drooling] See below:
    YouTube - How to make your own electricity or Living vs. Surviving
  10. Quigley_Sharps

    Quigley_Sharps The Badministrator Administrator Founding Member

  11. Falcon15

    Falcon15 Falco Peregrinus

    SWEET Thank you VERY, VERY much!
  12. JaxShooter

    JaxShooter Monkey+

    I like that pen! I think I have a new item for the Christmas list!
  13. Quigley_Sharps

    Quigley_Sharps The Badministrator Administrator Founding Member

    Did it arrive?
  14. Brokor

    Brokor Live Free or Cry Moderator Site Supporter+++ Founding Member

    lol, no I forgot to order it. If I recall correctly, I bought new tactical gear instead, but I will be making a purchase of one soon. They have dropped in price to $75 it seems also :)
  15. Hispeedal2

    Hispeedal2 Nay Sayer

    Dang you teaser!!

  16. Brokor

    Brokor Live Free or Cry Moderator Site Supporter+++ Founding Member

    lol, hey Mags and I are trying to do a group buy to get a discount. Anybody interested, let 'em know so we can at least try to see what discount we can get. [winkthumb]
  17. thursday

    thursday Monkey+

    I didn't even know there was such a thing. I'm going to draw a sketch up for my dad (he's a machinist). Does anybody have rough dimensions?

    I wonder what the most efficient/sucessful bore x stroke is for these. You could get real fancy and engineer the "combustion" end too. Anybody here a diesel engine engineer?

    What would happen if you placed some Wet-fire or Trioxane in place of the tinder?
  18. JaxShooter

    JaxShooter Monkey+

    Count me in. I've asked for one for Christmas but I'm not holding my breath.
  19. hedger

    hedger Monkey+

    Still Undecided

    I have no experience with fire pistons, so if anyone knows about this question, please share: How long is the life of a fire piston? Should we expect a lifetime of service, 1 or two seasons of service, or somewhere in between?

    Since there is mechanical motion involved, and a close tolerance needs to be maintained in order for the pressure to be developed--which generates the heat that creates a coal--just how much wear takes place over a season or two of regular use?

    Using the diesel effect of compressing the air in the chamber to ignite a coal is impressively cool--but I have not seen any discussion anywhere regarding what the expected life of of various kinds of fire pistons may be.
  20. ghrit

    ghrit Ambulatory anachronism Administrator Founding Member

    As noted, they come in a variety of materials, and it's no mystery which ones will last longer. The piston seals are apt to need replacement now and then, but other than that, there is no maintenance other than not bending either the tube or ram. For the stainless models, we are talking decades of regular use. Bamboo, meh, maybe not so long.
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