Home Brew Ignitors ?

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Well-Known Member
Jun 30, 2010
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I've noticed the wire on estes ignitors glows BRIGHT orange when connected to a 12v battery . Could these be used as ignitors ? What type of metal is this ?
I think it's thin nichrome wire. Yes they can be used as ignitors (that's what they are):confused:

The wire heats up and ignites the pyrogen on the tip, which then gets the propellant burning.

You can make your own, but if you're flying Estes BP engines, the ignitors that come with the engines are actually very good. If you need something to replace AT Copperheads, there are several different types available that are more reliable than the Copperheads.

Well I just wanted to try and make my own ignitors that work realy. Ohh I meant can they be used as ignitors on there own without the pyrogen.
I'd think that the wire itself would be insufficient to ignite a BP motor. It doesn't cause the spark that is necessary to set off a BP deflagration, and it's pretty hard to heat a wire to reliably ignite BP (otherwise gun manufacturers would have used it long ago, instead of flash pans or the current primer systems).

Actually I think it can, as the MMX rockets just use a small piece of nichrome for the igniter. It may have something to do with their size but it works.
Once upon a time, back in the olden days, plain old nichrome wire was all we had to ignite BP motors. Requires 12V to do it reliably, but it works great.

You young whippersnappers don't know how lucky you have it these days. Why, I had to WALK to the hobby shop... in the snow - uphill! Both ways! :D
change the ratios or ingredients in ANY potentially explosive mixture unless you know WHY you are doing it and what effect it will have!

the KNO3/sugar/sulfur is basically black powder, just white...the sugar replaces carbon/charcoal in the BP formula. adding bp instead of KNO3 will change the ratios to something other than stoichiometric (or more likely, oxidizer-biased).

plain old NiCr wire works fine for igniting BP motors without any pyrogen, you just need a good battery.
Karl - BE CAREFUL!!!! The UK laws on explosive manufacture are well strict! I'm no expert on them, but basically ANY manufacture of explosives is highly illegal. In the current terrorist-paraniod times, the authorities are likely to come down like a tonne of bricks onto anybody preforming an Act of Manufacture.
Ahh well ill give it a miss lol :) But you make your own Pyroman ( I think thats what there called ) ignitors ?
I doubt those ignitors would work very well for BP motors. They are better for bates grain motors. Estes ignitors are fine for small BP motors.
lol I agree! Ive just connected a MMX ignitor up to a 12v battery and the end of the ignitor (REALY thin NW) , sprang right off and threw glowing orange balls everywhere ! Ouch they'd hurt!
Did any hit you?:eek: If a 350 degree pan leaves a big long 2d degree burn, I shudder to think what melting nicherome would do!:eek: :eek: :eek: :eek: :rolleyes:
Originally posted by Neil
Did any hit you?:eek: If a 350 degree pan leaves a big long 2d degree burn, I shudder to think what melting nicherome would do!:eek: :eek: :eek: :eek: :rolleyes:

Nope none hit me I was wearing gloves , but I dont think gloves would do anything against that heat!!