Fire Pistons – SCOPES Digital Fabrication

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Fab Lab
Informal educator
We are Cook Inlet Tribal Council’s Fabrication Lab. We are based out of Anchorage Alaska serving Alaska Native and American Indian students based in the Anchorage school district. We teach design, building, and fabrication with a cultural emphasis. Our different… Read More


A fire piston is a primitive method of starting a fire. It consits of a hollow tube plugged at one end and a plunger rod. It uses the principles of heating gas by rapid compression of air in an inclosed space to ignite a piece of tinder. This project uses aluminum and resin to create a modern fire piston.

What You'll Need

·        6in piece of 1/2in Aluminum tubing 

·        7in piece of 3/8in Aluminum Solid Rod

·        Resin – we used West Systems Epoxy

·        Small O-ring

·        Mold making materials


Hack Saw

Drill press

The Instructions

Creating the Plunger and Rod

Creating the working Fire Piston Mechanism.

Using the Fire Piston

How to use the Fire Piston


  • (HSN.Q.A1): Use units as a way to understand problems and to guide the solution of multi-step problems; choose and interpret units consistently in formulas; choose and interpret the scale and the origin in graphs and data displays.
  • (HSA.CED.A4): Rearrange formulas to highlight a quantity of interest, using the same reasoning as in solving equations. For example, rearrange Ohm's law V = IR to highlight resistance R.

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