(Close Window)
Topic: The Best Ignition System?!?
Message: Posted by: Aidan (Apr 10, 2007 12:25AM)
I've searched some 25 pages of topics in this category... still not sure if this is the proper place.

I'm tired of my wheel flint ignition system!

With today's technology there IS a better way! And since I have a need for this "better way" before next month, I will likely have to purchase it... soon!!!

This ignition system has to discreet enough for close work with small, imperceptible amounts of flash cotton and/or paper. (I pull small wisps from my cuff or collar when needed.) I'm not wearing a jacket, in fact I don't even have a pocket on my shirt. But I don't lack concealment. My shirt is "French cuffed" with bloused sleeves (it's amazing what you can stash in a shirt like this, under the arms, bend of the elbow, belt band etc. and still cut the line "nothing up my sleeves!" HA!) Anyways, like Jim, I've thought of designing my own micro-system with today's newest battery and electronic technology but I'm now running out of time.

The "Igniter" by Jim seems to be my best bet so far. I know he has great favor with many here but I'm hoping for a very objective opinion of the systems that everybody personally favors. There's a lot out there... Pyro-Maniac, PyroFreak, The Igniter and more. Some with rings, some on TTs, some on retractors and wires. And some are even personally homemade.

What do YOU use? Why? And how do you apply it?
Message: Posted by: magicmonkeyphoto (Apr 20, 2007 06:52PM)
I totally agree with you. I have been looking for something like this for years. I do have practical plans for a prototype, but do not have the abillity to physically make the prototype at this point. Nor have I been able to find someone that could make it for me.

Hopefully at some point, I will, but it will be a whole other story to see if it can be manufactured for sale. I am a bit conserned with the possible law suites if anyone gets hurt. I would like to know if anyone has heard of Jim Pace or anyone else getting sued over a fire based product.

Message: Posted by: Aidan (Apr 21, 2007 02:02AM)
From all I can gather, it looks like The Igniter by Jim Pace may be my best bet in what I desire from just such a gimmick.

I went ahead and ordered one, and I’m hoping for the best. One thing for sure though… Jim is absolutely wonderful to do business with. It seems I had a problem in ordering and I couldn’t believe how quickly and efficiently he took care of it.

I expect it to arrive tomorrow and I’m a bit anxious. I have about 2 weeks to get used to it and adapt it to my needs in a presentation I have.

LONG long ago, I remember using a two-part mixture on my thumb and fingers that would ignite flash paper with a bit of friction and a snap. Just dip your thumb in one powder and your finger in the other. I also remember the scorch I’d get if I used too much! Anyone know if this stuff is still available? I sure had a lot fun with it. A little bit on the opposite corners of FP, fold it over, rub the corners together, and POOF! It wasn’t always dependable, and sometimes it was downright scary. I guess I’m wondering if today’s regulations have restricted it out of existence today.
Message: Posted by: Destiny (Apr 21, 2007 04:47AM)
I've been using The Igniter for a year with no problems.

It's more reliable than most cigarette lighters.
Message: Posted by: kendavis (Apr 25, 2007 07:53PM)
The mixture Aidan talks about used to be available from Abracadabra Magic Shop. I understand it is no longer made and possibly illegal. I used it for several years until my thumb caught fire! I gave the materials to my local fire department to dispose.

There are a lot more things available today and they are much safer to use.
Message: Posted by: Aidan (Apr 26, 2007 01:59AM)
That mix is nasty, too much and "OUCH!"

I have recieved my Igniter by Jim Pace and I must say here, that Jim REALLY knows how to take care of his customers. I'm sure this will serve me quite well as it seems very dependable.

I'm still working on something that is totally self-contained and within the size constraints of a USB flash memory case or mini keychain flashlight. Something with greater versatility and utilizing todays available technology.

Give me a bit more time... and I'll have something.
Message: Posted by: baggins321 (May 16, 2007 07:25AM)
I am also wondering which igniter is best. I had fireball by magicsmith but it broke. I think I'd prefer one that is electronic and on a pull, so that my hands are clean in the end and it makes no noise and there is no visible flame lighting the flash paper. Someone mentioned igniters on rings?!? That is genius! I'd love to get a ring with some kind of little electronic igniter on it, sounds so james bond. Where can this be found?
Message: Posted by: Bob Johnston (Jun 13, 2007 10:31PM)
To answer your original question, What do YOU use? Why? And how do you apply it?"Wanna Flash".

I have used this for years to replace the flint wheel.

It makes no noise (except for the woosh of the flash cotton.
It uses a AAA battery, but is only the size of two AAA batteries.
It will take a very big or small load and is easy to conceal. The Micro switch is very reliable and has never gone off in my pocket by mistake. I use it to "punch-up" a reveal of finish, or frankly, just for fun.

Message: Posted by: Aidan (Jun 14, 2007 02:05PM)
For many years I’ve used a simple spark-wheel. I tried others but nothing was as simple and safe as the basic wheel. The best device/system I had found was a two-part compound for use on the finger tips. A little snap of the fingers and a small flash with a somewhat auditable “snap”. The dang stuff singed your fingers sometimes and wasn’t worth the small flash. I placed some in a folded piece of FP and by sliding or snapping the folded surfaces together it would ignite with the brightness of FP. But it was HOT. Often burning your finger tips, and wasn’t something to conceal in your pocket or belt. Move just right and “POP”!!! But I was left so clean with this method that I really loved it ALOT, except for the occasional blister a few hours later!

I’ve tried piezoelectric devices but FP isn’t that sensitive. These devices have a distinct “snap” and I’d zapped myself occasionally which is worse than enduring the moment of burn from previous methods. There were problems with resetting and trying to keep the device small too. But it just won’t ignite FP!

Currently I’m working on devices utilizing modern electronic components. A small device, totally self contained. Micro-switches and modern batteries lie in its heart. Easily attached to a ring or pull if necessary. I’m using a small plastic casing but I’ve found that I want some steel involved to take advantage of certain rings I wear, so weight is also somewhat of a factor in design.

Battery life and rating is the biggest problem. Most tiny batteries just don’t have the power needed for anything similar to a glowplug or adequate ni-chrome loop. I feel that consumables should be easily and economically obtained. I’m also exploring other alternatives.

The friction paper mentioned above was just so good. I was left super clean at arms length with short sleeves… I loved it… and so did my audience. Making a coin disappear is great… but the audience knows it was a slight they missed. Making it disappear with a “Flash”… adds a momentary bit of confusion. “Did I miss that slight or did it burst into flames!?!” I don’t use “flash” very much. Sometimes I will use flash alone to instill a sense of “magic”. I use a dagger instead of a wand. It’s VERY magical and gives a whole new meaning to the phrase “hold your tongue!” Flashguns and FP add to magic, mystery and legend of “THE BLACK DAGGER!”

Message: Posted by: Mystician (Jun 14, 2007 04:55PM)
Aidan, try looking into the batteries that come stock with Polaroid film, like 600 film. Polaroid used to sell the batteries separately as the P-100 (or similar), but for some reason they discontinued doing so. Figures. The film batteries are fairly powerful, and lie very flat; the downside is the large two dimensional area they consume - not exactly a watch battery sized source of power, they're roughly 2 inches square. They can be easily palmed though, or hidden behind a playing card.

In any case, look for batteries that are based on lithium, lithium-ion, or silver oxide; they have lower internal resistances than alkaline type batteries, and so can provide a greater "burst" of wattage on demand. The old carbon-zinc technology ("heavy duty") is definitely insufficient.

I had hoped my EF device (see my sig below) would be able to ignite certain substances such as flash paper or flash cotton, but so far I've had no luck. The only thing I've successfully ignited was the butane stream from a cricket lighter, and it took a few tries to get that to happen. This was surprising to me, because my spark looked every bit as powerful as that generated by the piezo element, if not more so. I guess looks can be deceiving, however.
Message: Posted by: Sabrina (Jun 18, 2007 12:27AM)
On 2007-04-21 03:02, Aidan wrote:
LONG long ago, I remember using a two-part mixture on my thumb and fingers that would ignite flash paper with a bit of friction and a snap. Just dip your thumb in one powder and your finger in the other.


That sounds pretty hot...literally. I make my own flash paper and cotton and this would be a handy addition for an ignition. Anyone know if Chemical Magic tells how to do this?
Message: Posted by: Aidan (Jun 18, 2007 01:25AM)
I believe the chemicals necessary are now highly restricted, like those needed for making FP. Probably a very good restriction as well.

That 2-part stuff can result in 3rd degree burns… a scorch… not just a blister!!!

Just like paper and cotton, if misused it can be downright dangerous! I’m somewhat surprised that cotton is still available today considering its potential.

That 2-part stuff was an extremely clean ignition for FP, but it also meant that enough friction pressure had to be applied which resulted in a tight grip on the paper. Hold to much paper to tight and you know what happens!!! OUCH!!!

It would probably be better used with cotton. A little whisp of cotton and a snap of your fingers would probably be better, but I never had cotton at that time only paper.

Message: Posted by: Aidan (Jun 18, 2007 02:02AM)
About batteries…

Cell phone batteries were considered and would be satisfactory. They’re rechargeable and readily available. But I want something much smaller. And remember, consumables should be economical and widely available.

New battery designs are being introduced everyday now. Although some are quite expensive they need no replacement and that makes them somewhat desirable. So are batteries of low internal resistance. Still the minimum needed is about 1000mw if your using a hot wire ignition (ni-chrome) source.

Some already know that an electrical “spark” has to be quite considerable to ignite cotton and more so to ignite paper. And being zapped by that is far more than anyone can tolerate!!! So using a pure electrical “spark” isn’t safe or practical.

BUT… tremendous innovations in economical disposable and refillable butane lighters may provide us with the perfect gimmick!!! Even a tiny butane flame will ignite paper and cotton. Although slight modifications may be necessary for our intended purpose, the design of electronic igniters and valve actuators may come together into something quite useful. Some of these designs have lanyard loops and are VERY small.

I’ve been scrutinizing the lighter displays at gas stations and other places with these special factors in mind. Some are no better than a “fancy flintwheel”, but push-button and slide designs are beginning to look promising!!! And the consumables (butane) is economical and available.

So keep a sharp eye folks… these new “lighters” just might make it!!!

Message: Posted by: johnnyimpossible (Mar 1, 2008 09:50PM)
The two chemicals needed for the "bang" at your fingertips - maybe that was a bad combination of words... will go bad over time. The red chemical turns to a liquid....
Message: Posted by: John Iacono (Mar 7, 2008 12:32AM)
The white chemical can be purchsed but unless the buy has a Fed. license only one pound may purchsed per year.

The red chemical may no longer be purchsed, it is not longer listed with any of the companies that I delt with in my years as a pyrotechnician. I am sure it is out there someplace.
Message: Posted by: magicians (Mar 7, 2008 09:37AM)
So, Mystician, I take it that you are the elusive shoe bomber at the airports now?
Quite the elaborate setup.
-------Anyway, I have experimented with several ignition systems as a spoof to my "dependelite match-pull". In my lectures I produce a lit match at least a dozen times without failure. So, one evening show after my lecture I decided to deliberately allow the match pull to fail. I stared at the match and it lit.
This was accomplished with a piece of nichrome wire wound around the match head.
I used two flat photo batteries with a piece of foam between them. The foam was carefully cut to allow the two batteries to tilt and touch which effectively made the wire glow enough to light the match head. The entire apparatus extended about an inch below the match stick.
I had duct tape over the nichrome wire to attach it to the batteries, the hottest part of the wire was where it was wound at the match head. The length of the wire has to be very short, I'm essence it was less than 1.5".