Interesting project

Discussion in 'Self-made Gear' started by Barry J, Jan 8, 2017.

  1. Barry J

    Barry J Scout

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    I was thinking about finding a new, more effective way of using a magnifying glass for tender ignition. I came up with an idea to use a thin piece of copper in the center of the bundle as a focus point for the glass. The piece of copper is about 1/32" thick and about 1/3" diameter, with a whole in the edge. The idea is to put a wire lanyard through the hole, which will extend down through the tender bundle and held between the fingers of the hand holding the bundle. Focus the beam on the blackened copper to heat it enough to light the tender surrounding it.
    I tried it with a small 5 power lens and had no luck. Then I tried it with a 6 inch five power lens and got the copper hot enough to melt solder. I plan on further experimentation with this system. The idea is to enable solar powered ignition during intermittent cloud cover. The theory is that the copper will retain enough heat, so I don't have to keep starting over. Also, in my experience a magnifying lens tends to burn a hole through the tender, without really igniting it. This copper may provide a heat absorber, witch could increase the ignition potential of marginal tender. Let me hear your thoughts on this.
    BTW, the wire lanyard is to allow retrieval of the piece of copper after the tender bundle is ignited.
     
  2. Winterhorse

    Winterhorse Supporter Supporter

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    Yeah that deserves some more testing. I'm watching this thread
     
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  3. MrFixIt

    MrFixIt Old Jarhead Supporter Bushcraft Friend

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    x 2
     
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  4. LongAgoLEO

    LongAgoLEO Scout

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    Interesting... Be curious how efficacious this proves to be. Looking forward to updates.

    (BTW, I still cook grasshoppers with a magnifying glass. Some childhood skills you never lose.)
     
  5. DarrylM

    DarrylM Guide

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    Cool idea.
     
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  6. Barry J

    Barry J Scout

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    I did a bit of further experimentation today. Here you can see the copper piece, with copper wire attached and laying next to the dime. Beside the copper devise is a bundle of shredded paper. I wanted a medium, which was completely dry. on the opposite side, you will see a 5x magnifying glass.
    [​IMG]
    This is a picture of the tender bundle of shredded paper. The piece of copper is near the center of the bundle, and is dark in color and rather square in shape.
    [​IMG]
    Today in North Texas we had a lot of cloud cover, and I was unsuccessful. I was not even able to get the copper hot. I will post my findings, if clear skies prevail tomorrow. The forecast says I am out of luck. We shall see.
     
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  7. gila_dog

    gila_dog BCUSA Friend Bushcraft Friend

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    Great idea, but I wonder if the physics add up. If you didn't even get the copper warm, then you either need a much smaller piece of copper or a much bigger lens. What you are trying to do is add heat to the copper and have it transfer the heat to the fuel. And any heat put into the copper that doesn't go into the fuel is wasted, so there is a certain "inefficiency" built into the process. With a small magnifying glass as your heat source, you don't have much heat to squander. Or maybe a sunlight amplifier made by rolling a shiny material into a cone shape with the lens at the small end. That would greatly increase the effective diameter of your lens.

    I've had trouble lighting many materials with a magnifying glass, too. Usually it either burns thru, like you've seen, or the surface of the fuel is so irregular and non-flat (grass stems, wood surface, etc) that the hot spot just scatters and doesn't accomplish anything. I usually just give up and use some char cloth. My little 2" lens will start an ember on char cloth in about 2 seconds
     
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  8. Swarvegorilla

    Swarvegorilla Scout

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    With a big fresnal lense you basically have a death ray from War Of The Worlds when combined with our summer sun. A cheap A4 sized one from ebay should get that thing smokin' even with a less than ideal sun.
     
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  9. Barry J

    Barry J Scout

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    I too had the same concerns you listed. So far, I believe you are correct. I am wanting to test it one more time in bright sunlight, or intermittent clouds. We have had just enough clouds to render this process undoable. Hopefully today will be different. I think I am going to find that it is still quicker to just heat the tender.
    Either way, this has been a fun experiment.
     
  10. MrFixIt

    MrFixIt Old Jarhead Supporter Bushcraft Friend

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    You don't know till you try @Barry J , thanks for the lessons so far!
     
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  11. owenswoodworking

    owenswoodworking Mountaineer Supporter Bushclass I

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    I am watching this thread now also. I hope you get something to come together and work.
    In my experience with solar ignition I have never been able to get tender to simply ignite. I have always had to create a self sustaining ember that is added to a tender bird nest then blown to life just like char cloth.
     
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  12. Barry J

    Barry J Scout

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    This has also been my experience. I was hoping to come up with some kind of link, to facilitate a more aggressive ignition. Once the weather clears up, I will give it another go.
     
    Last edited: Jan 16, 2017
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  13. Swarvegorilla

    Swarvegorilla Scout

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    You could trap animal scat in a bag and harvest methane.... then zap that?
     
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  14. Barry J

    Barry J Scout

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    LOL! But I would look funny with singed facial hair.
     
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  15. Swarvegorilla

    Swarvegorilla Scout

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    Maybe, but end of the day..... the guy with fire wins!
    Being able to find coal, oil or natural gas could be considered a bushcraft..... especially with all the methrane clathrate breakdown on the tundra.

    +1 for taking a shovel.
     
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  16. Barry J

    Barry J Scout

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    Understood. I didn't know you could capture the methane in this manner and utilize it for making fire. Very clever idea! I always knew that dried scat would burn, but now we have a use for fresh scat as well. Thank you.
     
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  17. Jean

    Jean Guide

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    Magnesium?
     
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  18. 66drifter

    66drifter Scout

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    if HISTORY doesn't fail me now i think i remember the MOUNTAIN MEN & TRAPPERS of old always carried more than one way of making fire

    the lense method was butt one of those methods and provided fair>good results in bright sunlight

    guess i'm just sayn DON'T PUT ALL YOUR EGGS IN ONE BASKET
     
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  19. Barry J

    Barry J Scout

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    I think "don't put all your eggs in one basket" is sound advise. I actually do carry several means for making fire. I guess my whole reason for this experiment is to increase the efficiency of just one of those means.
     
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  20. Barry J

    Barry J Scout

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    You have given me food for thought. I wonder if magnesium shavings would ignight with a magnifying glass. Is this what you meant? Could be a fun experiment.
     
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