Designing a homemade electric lighter

  1. I'm trying to make an electric lighter ( like this using the framework of this guide.
    except mine will have a few more feature and the soldering tip will be replaced with nichrome most likely.

    Theres is just a few things that I am stuck on

    -First, Is nichrome the best material to use as the heating element?
    Assuming we do use a wire heating element the length of the wire will be 1.5-2 inches long, what would be the best gauge? any other details about it?

    -Second, I need the heating element to stay at a constant temp of at least 500 Fahrenheit
    What type of circuitry would I need to accomplish this, what if i wanted to to be able to control the amount of power?

    -Third, what would be the best batteries to use for this? I was hoping to be able to use 4xAAA or 3AA
    Last edited: May 13, 2014
  2. jcsd
  3. Baluncore

    Baluncore 3,203
    Science Advisor

    What are you intending to light with the device?
  4. cigarettes and pipes
  5. Baluncore

    Baluncore 3,203
    Science Advisor

    PF has a very strong policy on dangerous activities. Smoking tobacco is addictive and very dangerous. It will probably kill you.

    Now after that caveat, back on the engineering subject of an electrical igniter.

    The use of batteries to produce such heat would be very inefficient and so you would need to use rechargeable batteries.

    You could get some fine nichrome wire from something like an old hair drier. You will only need a short length, maybe only about 1% of the length used in the drier. See what wire you can find and do some experiments.

    Nichrome heater wire is a bit like stainless steel. It will be a challenge to attach it to terminals and hold the hot wire in place. You will need to back the heater coil with a good thermal insulator.
  6. NascentOxygen

    Staff: Mentor

    Electric jug element wire is very easy to solder to, if you can still get it. Toaster element wire is very difficult to solder to. In any case, the heated wire is likely to melt the solder. Perhaps a high temp solder might be a proposition?
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