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Topic: Red hot
Message: Posted by: Chance (Mar 19, 2012 01:15AM)
I'm trying to piece together something that will become hot enough to ignite flash paper, but with no open flame or glow plug. I'm thinking along the lines of a metal stud of some sort connected to a DC battery. Flip the switch, wait 15 or 20 seconds, then touch the bill to it and *poof*.

This set-up would be worked into a street table, so it needs to be as compact and as portable (and invisible) as possible.

The stud itself should .25"/dia. or less. The battery should be as portable as possible. A series of 3 9v batteries would be fine by me, for example.

I'm looking for suggestions on what metal and what battery types work best together under these conditions. I'm not as concerned with battery life as I am with getting the effect I need -- that of iginiting a flash bill without live flame. If I only get 8 or 10 uses per battery (or battery charge) that's perfectly OK, so long as it works.

Bonus points if someone can help me with the exact electronic diagram and materials list for the radio parts store.

I'm thinking a lot of us guys could use something similar. Many thanks in advance.
Message: Posted by: jolyonjenkins (Mar 19, 2012 03:14AM)
You want nichrome wire. I've explored its use in my self-lighting candle. But flash paper is easy to ignite with nichrome and you needn't wait for it to get red hot - in fact you shouldn't because that will reduce the wire's life. Three AA batteries in series, and a piece of 34 swg nichrome about an inch long will ignite the flash paper in a couple of seconds. If you want to delay it, use 2 AA batteries, or have a timer (see my falling desk frame) or remote control (see my candle)
Message: Posted by: Chance (Mar 19, 2012 03:24AM)
Thanks RJ. It so happens that I've got some 22 or 24ga nichrome wire already that I had been using for heated clothing. It never occured to me to shorten it like that. 34ga is thinner than what I have, so I should either need a shorter piece, or go with the 3 AA batteries, correct?

Attached is a pic I had worked up before seeing your post. This is the direction my ideas were taking me. Something like this cut from copper plate maybe 1 or 2mm thick.
Message: Posted by: jolyonjenkins (Mar 19, 2012 04:10AM)
Yes shorter (I think). But experiment, of course.
Message: Posted by: Bill Hegbli (Mar 19, 2012 10:26AM)
Would a Coleman bayonet ignite work, can be used with 2 AA batteries? It has a coil wire that heats up.
Message: Posted by: Michael Baker (Mar 19, 2012 10:32AM)
On 2012-03-19 11:26, wmhegbli wrote:
Would a Coleman bayonet ignite work, can be used with 2 AA batteries? It has a coil wire that heats up.

I was thinking along the same lines... a kerosene ignitor. Works like a glow plug, but more heavy duty, and less prone to burn-out.
Message: Posted by: Chance (Mar 19, 2012 10:58AM)
Thanks everyone for your tips. All projects should go this easy.

I'm trying to stay away from glo plugs if at all possible. RJ's idea of using Nichrome wire makes a lot of sense. The attached pic shows my newest wiring diagram. The head is tiny; it could fit under a dime.

But I would also like to add a capacitor. Has anyone here worked with one before? Which type works with AA batteries and how are they rated, etc.?
Message: Posted by: EsnRedshirt (Mar 19, 2012 11:37AM)
What are you trying to do with the capacitor? I don't really see the need for it in such a simple circuit, unless you're planning something more than just heating up an ignition wire.
Message: Posted by: Chance (Mar 19, 2012 11:43AM)
On 2012-03-19 12:37, EsnRedshirt wrote:
What are you trying to do with the capacitor? I don't really see the need for it in such a simple circuit, unless you're planning something more than just heating up an ignition wire.

The effect I'm after, is to have the ignition delayed by a few seconds so that can be several steps away by the time the paper ignites. I'm also hoping to have the current stop after each use without having to return to flick the switch Off. So I'd like to just hit the On button and walk away and not have to do anything else, or worry about over-heating, etc. My first thought was a capacitor. But electronics is my weak spot. If there's something better I'd love to hear about it.
Message: Posted by: jolyonjenkins (Mar 19, 2012 12:05PM)
With nichrome usually the problem is that there's too much delay. If you want delay, just use lower voltage, or batteries which provide less juice, and wait for the wire to heat up. I made a remote control flash paper ignition device (I use it for vanishing coins in a paper fold vanish) and when the batteries are getting tired sometimes it takes up to 10 seconds for the paper to ignite.

If you want the delay completely under your control, then use a 555 timer circuit.
Message: Posted by: jolyonjenkins (Mar 19, 2012 12:12PM)
You could also use two timers so that the first determines the delay before the current flows, and the second sets the delay before it goes off.
Or, use a remote control device. That's what I'd do.
Message: Posted by: Chance (Mar 19, 2012 12:24PM)
RJ, pls check your messages.
Message: Posted by: jolyonjenkins (Mar 24, 2012 06:47AM)
Chance - please could you respond to your PMs and emails about this?
Message: Posted by: Anverdi-museum (Mar 24, 2012 01:26PM)
Hello, You do not need a capacitor for this. nichrome wire is the way to go, attach each end of wire to small alligator clip. There is a way I came up to make what you wish to happen with a simple clockwork, if you wish to know pm me.


Chuck Caputo
Message: Posted by: jolyonjenkins (Mar 25, 2012 03:36AM)
I have already solved this problem to Chance's satisfaction; he commissioned me to make him a unit at an agreed price. He was very happy with both the price and the final product and asked me to ship it to him. However having done so he is refusing to pay for it, for unspecified reasons.

Obviously I was a fool to send off anything without payment in advance, so as someone fairly new to the commercial side of prop building (though not new to making things) I offer this as a warning.
Message: Posted by: Chance (Mar 25, 2012 12:50PM)
Mr. Jenkins, you are being extremely disingenuous. You are conveniently leaving off two steps to what really transpired. And most of all, you fail to mention that I do not want your item and am not keeping it. You should expect it back at any time, unsigned for and unopened. I don't have it, I don't want it, and even if I had somehow ended up with it I would be selling it on as new and unused and sending you the proceeds. This has all been said in private already and you know it.

It's definitely not a perfect ending; it's the first transaction I've had end this way and I don't like it either. But to take a simple disagreement where in the end I have gotten nothing from you, and to try to make it sound like I have cheated you, is, to put is as mildly as I can, disingenuous in the extreme.

And you are right. This is no way to start a business. Everyone will now have to wonder whether you are going to bring every single one of your minor disputes into the public arena to try to shame them as you have tried with me. Good luck getting customers.

This matter is settled. I want to hear no more about it. I have not profited in any way from this issue, and I have tried to make reasonable amends where ever possible. You maybe don't agree with that statement, but don't you dare accuse me ever again of taking from you, sir.
Message: Posted by: jolyonjenkins (Mar 25, 2012 01:07PM)
If anyone cares, here is the full exchange (interesting character he turns out to be, too). I've edited out the non-relevant technical details, his email address, and his residential address.

from circleshow
Mar 19 (5 days ago)
to me
Thank you so much for the video [of a previous device I made].

I don't need any help with the table. All I'm looking for is the basic electrical system as shown in the video, minus the box or the solid metal uprights. The remote, the wires leading up to the wire holder, and the holder itself is what I need. Nothing more.

So how much are we looking at then?
The Escapist


Jolyon Jenkins
Mar 19 (5 days ago)

to circleshow
How about $80 plus the mailing cost?


Mar 20 (4 days ago)

to me
$80 USD plus shipping sounds great. Better than great. Thank you very much.

As far as payment goes, I will be mailing it to you. I will add a little extra to make up for the conversion fees.

Let me know when it's ready and we can exchange mailing details.



Jolyon Jenkins
Mar 20 (4 days ago)

to circleshow
OK I should be able to get started this evening.


Mar 20 (4 days ago)

FYI, even though you haven't asked, I do have a positive track record of working with fellow Café magi. [3 MC members] have all taken some of my money over the last 2 years. [2 MC members] also did custom work for me, same as you. And [MC member] I know personally. In fact, two summers ago he came over to my house and helped me install a new door! lol So I hope that lends me some credibility; I would never risk my reputation on a hundred dollar bill.


Jolyon Jenkins
Mar 20 (4 days ago)

to circleshow
Have a look at this


Mar 20 (4 days ago)

That looks amazing. And so fast! But I guess by now you're used to wiring remotes; it seems that most of your props work that way.

My address is below. Please send me a cardboard package ca. 3x5x5". Bigger than is needed, but less apt to get lost that way. Go crazy with the sealing tape.

I will be sending you a certified bank draft in USD once I know what you paid for shipping. I'll send a little extra to cover the exchange rates.

If done this week, we should each recieve our respective packages by end of next week.

Bruce Peck
[His address]

Well done. Nice working with you.

Jolyon Jenkins
Mar 20 (4 days ago)

to circleshow
Glad you like it. Here are the mailing options - let me know which one you'd like. You can do the currency conversions easily on google.

Can you send me payment by Paypal rather than bank draft?

Jolyon Jenkins Mar 21 (3 days ago)
Hello ...? I need you to tell me what kind of postage you want please


Jolyon Jenkins
Mar 23 (1 day ago)

to circleshow
Well I have sent it anyway and have forwarded you the postage receipt. The total comes to $103


5:25 PM (4 hours ago)

to me
Mr. Jenkins,

Since I have never found myself in this position before, I'm not sure how to respond. So I have so far said nothing.

I'm still not sure how to proceed. So I will simply state facts without trying to attach meaning to them. To wit: It seems you have sent me a package without authorization.

You may ask me why I paused a day after you sent me the chart of mailing costs, but the answer is not germane. What ever my reasons for the pause (and I do have my reasons), at no time did I finalize our deal and give you final authorization to send the package to me -- and frankly, that is all that matters.

So I guess you became impatient and sent me the package at your own discretion. This is what really matters.

I do not approve of how this turned out. I have never been placed in this position before, and I do not like it. So I am going to instruct the staff of my hotel to not accept your package and to have it returned to you instead.

If for some reason the package is signed for (against my instructions), I will offer it up for sale at the Magic Café and send you the proceeds. In no way do I wish to profit from this situation.

The above actions are what I will do in what ever eventuality ends up happening. There is no need for you to answer this message. There is no need for prolonged discussion, and it certainly shouldn't become personal. I wish you only the best in the coming year.

To recap: You will either have the package returned unopened, or the item will be sold and you will have the proceeds of the sale. Either way, I end up with nothing from you. Just as I wish it. It may not be the ending you prefer, but then again this didn't have the beginning I would have hoped for, either. As far as I'm concerned, we both come out of this losing a little, and not getting what either of us expected.


So there we have it. Looks like a straight forward breach of contract to me. You live and learn.
Message: Posted by: Bill Hegbli (Mar 25, 2012 03:02PM)
Chance, from the comments posted in the PM's, it looks to me like you stiffed the guy. When someone says, they will be sending a check, that sounds like an agreement. Then you even tell the guy what size box to ship it in, isn't that an agreement to send the merchandise.

Maybe it was just poor sentence structure. I am not a lawyer, and the Café is not a legal document. Very sad things like this happens.