This one’s pretty easy, or at least it can be depending on how devoted you feel like being to the details. In a nutshell, we put a lithium battery extracted from an E-cigarette into a wooden dowel and ran some wires to the tip. We cheated and used some high tech’ery to get some precision results but if you don’t happen to have a lathe or laser engraver lying around, there’s lots of fine alternatives.
The e-cig battery is pretty ideal because
- It’s long and skinny
- It’s designed to short out a wire heating element
Perfect! The only real difference is that we’re not atomizing vape fluid, we’re shorting thinner wire to red hot, and 3.7v and high’ish current is just about the right fit for that. You will have to be careful to avoid shorting the tip to anything metal- really anything other than steel wool, and even then, note that your goal is to either put on a little thermal light show, or start a literal fire. This is one reason you won’t find this stocked at FAO Schwartz anytime soon. However, now that I have an updated motto (“Safety 2nd” from the previous “Safety 3rd”) I added a “secret” off switch which is just a screw that makes contact at the base of the battery. If this screw isn’t tightened it won’t accidentally incendio anything. This is also handy as contact for use in charging the battery.
Ok. 3 critical steps:
- Get a stick. I think I used a 1/2″ diameter dowel.
- Drill a hole in the stick a bit oversized to your battery so that you can fit one of the wires along the side and reach the tip.
- Run a wire attached (soldered preferably) to each end of the battery, (in this case it doesn’t really matter which) to the tip of the wand.
There is a lot of opportunity to vary how you get the above done. Some options to get wires from battery to tip:
Use a lathe- and a long drill. Easy peasy. Concentric hole.
Split a stick/dowel/whatever and make a cut down the middle of each side then glue it back together.
Pop a small hole or two from your battery hole to the outside of the stick and run your wires externally to the tip. Depending on how you want to style things, you can disguise these wires or set them into a groove- whatever. Just get them to the end somehow.
If you literally want to use a stick you found on the ground (which isn’t a bad idea for that extra-organic style) you’re probably stuck with some iteration of that last option. Plenty of ways to customize cosmetic details- I wanted to try out a new laser diode mod, so that’s what I ended up with.