How to Use PapaD’s Big Flash Fire Piston

 

Ten Second Slow Motion Clip of what happens inside a Fire Piston.

However you manage to get your hands on a PapaD’s Big Flash Transparent Fire Piston, it will open up a whole new vista of fire piston understanding and fun. They are easy enough to make. The biggest challenge is getting your hands on the right material for the clear tube. Acrylic and similar plastics are likely to shatter and potentially could cut your hand on the down-stroke. I was fortunate to get a stronger clear carbonate material that is used in the aerospace industry for windows on jets and spacecraft and for bullet-proof glass on automobiles. I don’t even know exactly what it is; it conveniently fell into my hands, but it was shrouded with drama and mystery. The amount I have is sufficient for my needs, but I will have to do some research to try to reference suitable alternatives.

How to Use the Big Flash Transparent Fire Piston

However you manage to get your hands on a PapaD’s Big Flash Transparent Fire Piston, it will open up a whole new vista of fire piston understanding and fun. They are easy enough to make. The biggest challenge is getting your hands on the right material for the clear tube. Acrylic and similar plastics are likely to shatter and potentially could cut your hand on the down-stroke. I was fortunate to get a stronger clear carbonate material that is used in the aerospace industry for windows on jets and spacecraft and for bullet-proof glass on automobiles. I don’t even know exactly what it is; it conveniently fell into my hands, but it was shrouded with drama and mystery. The amount I have is sufficient for my needs, but I will have to do some research to try to reference suitable alternatives.

I have a limited number of these clear fire pistons of a basic design that I have found effective. I make them up by hand as I watch TV to use for group demos. They are a wonderful attention grabber for introducing my alternative fire making events. Most rank and file attendees have never heard of this method of fire starting and when they see the flash produced as if by magic out of thin air, it begs further attention and investigation. I can see the my Big Flash Transparent Fire Piston also being used to introduce many other topics–as it is not a stretch to tie them in to virtually any subject.

The following clip shows PapaD’s Woodsman Clear Model in action. It is lightweight and lends itself to two-hand operation as shown in  the clip. I am making these available to blog followers via eBay. You can do a search on eBay by name and find them, if interested.

I also periodically make these once used demo models available for my blog followers. They are nothing fancy. Each one is slightly different, but they follow the same core format. For the piston rod, I use aluminum, brass, or copper. I use the same to plug and then cover the tube. Epoxy works well when a bond is needed, but make sure it is fully cured before using. Care should be taken to ensure that such bonds are solid, not only because of the need for an air-tight cylinder to gain the necessary compression for ignition–but such pressure can actually send an unsecured plug sailing out the bottom of the tube like an Air Soft bullet. But an Aluminum plug is not soft.

Mine are homemade looking to begin with and and nothing fancy, but I do try to make them look nice. The copper, aluminum, or brass hardware compliments the clear cylinders. I use stock cabinet knobs for the top rod plunger surface–made of the same things plus wood–because they are easy to get and they are broad and contoured enough to make for a painless slam. A major complaint with using most fire pistons, is that they hurt your hand when using them. These demonstrators may show slight wear from a couple of uses because I allow hands on during these workshops and seminars. But you can be sure that they have been tested for positive fire making capabilities.

Below are listed some of the features that make the Big Flash Transparent Fire Piston such a hit for both students and teachers. I would never have imagined some of these until I actually had one in hand and started using it. These features were discovered after the fact largely by accident while using them.

 More Information and Video clips

  • PapaD’s Big Flash Transparent Fire Piston is a functioning fire piston capable of making a large ember for starting recreational campfires, or in the event of emergencies. Because the tinder is enclosed in the cylinder, an ember may be ignited even in adverse weather conditions including wind, extreme cold, and even snow.
  • This Fire Piston is an excellent addition to any family Emergency Preparedness Kit recommended by the DHS or to any personal Bug-Out Bag.
  • It is especially useful for group demonstrations because it adds the exciting visual aid of actually seeing the flash at the point of ignition. This feature is sure to draw attention as it seems to make fire out of thin air.
  • It is an ideal attention-getter for teachers of many subjects beyond mere Fire-Lighting–because of its fascinating history and unlikely origins in the bamboo cultures of prehistoric South East Asia (History and Geography). The isolated and complex physics of Ignition Compression today remains little known to mainstream society and appears to be magic–demanding further examination and explanation (Science and Physics). An early novelty fire piston is said to have inspired and made possible the necessary method of combustion in the invention of the Diesel Engine (Engineering, Technology, History). Though mostly now forgotten, the Fire Piston was the most popular fire-lighting method for decades leading up to the widespread use of matches in the Nineteenth Century (Social Sciences, Technology, Human Progress, History, Geography). Even the formulae that explain how the fire piston works can be mathematically expressed (Math, Arithmetic, Geometry, Physics, General Science). And it is a natural for teaching Wood-lore, Survival, Emergency Preparedness, Self Reliance, Fire Safety, Scout-craft, Bushcraft, and Creative Thinking.
  • Even experienced practitioners of fire piston methods greatly benefit by the ability to actually see the flash at the exact point of Compression Ignition, providing several advantages over conventional fire pistons–including helping identify materials suitable as fire piston tinder that would otherwise remain unknown.
  • Being able to see the intensity of the visible flash within the cylinder also helps users at every level of competency develop their best techniques for use with all fire piston–through the immediate feedback gained with each attempt–such as the optimum combined Force & Speed required to achieve ignition.
  • It further allows the user to understand the correct amount of lubricant to use to get a proper ember.Too much or too little lubricant can mean no ember at all.
  • Observing the flash (or lack of) through the transparent cylinder illustrates the necessity of quick removal of the piston rod after ignition. Without such vision, a user may never know that an ember was started but extinguished from lack of Oxygen by not removing it quickly enough. This feedback quickly leads to techniques for quick removal.
  • Although sufficiently large enough for the flash to be seen by a group, this Transparent Fire Piston can be comfortably carried by a lanyard around the user’s neck, in a backpack, or with other necessary supplies within a belt pouch.
  • PapaD’s Big Flash Transparent Fire Piston is a simple and solid no-nonsense design and construction that allows all the best features of more expensive fire pistons–at affordable prices in line with any bare-bones or regular fire piston–but costing far less than commercially available transparent fire pistons.
  • The Big Flash may be the best choice whether considering a first Fire Piston for practical use,
  • OR desiring to better understand the best techniques and variable nuances of Fire Piston mastery,
  • OR creating interest while teaching fire starting principles
  • OR introducing virtually any subject from history to Science, Geography to Physics, Bushcraft to Emergency Preparedness, Scouting to Cooking–PapaD’s Big Flash Transparent Fire Piston may be your best choice.
  • The Big Flash Fire Piston DOES NOT require pain or discomfort to use, as can be the case with most fire piston designs. The piston knob is large and easy on the hands while “slamming” the piston in use (a common 19th century name for the fire piston was Slam Fire.) The relatively large cylinder base is also designed as intended to be braced against a solid non-slick surface for maximum efficiency.
  • However, supplies are limited as these products are a mere by-product of surplus teaching aids produced by PapaD for his own use while conducting events for his blog followers at a relatively small number of seminars and workshops.
  • Each PapaD’s Big Flash Transparent Fire Piston includes everything required to start making live embers right out of the package. Fire Piston, Extra O-rings, Char Cloth Tinder, a sample of the famous Stone Tinder as sold here on eBay and at the Stone Tinder Web-Site. Lubricant is not included because so many common lubricants may be used including, Lip balm, Vaseline, Cooking Oils, Baby Oil, or even the natural facial oils from the users skin–or in a pinch, though not ideal, saliva.
  • Detailed instructions for using this fire piston are included in a link to PapaD’s instructional blogs and resources–with constant insights and updates regularly added.

You may also find PapaD’s other alternative  fire blog interesting. Click the link to visit One Hundred Ways to Make Fire without Matches or Lighters. One Hundreds Ways . . . .

 

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