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Why carry an flashlight in your emergency car kit, when you have a pencil and some speaker wire?  If you haven’t already caught this how-to floating around the ‘net, check it out.  It’ll show you how to convert common graphite pencil lead into up to twenty minutes of light.


5 Responses to How-To: Get Emergency Light from a Pencil

  1. eric says:

    Cute hack, but not terribly practical IMO. You can only work one-handed now, otherwise you’ll burn something or short out the battery (ooh pretty sparks and burning wire!)

  2. Crusty Justy says:

    I would think that if you HAVE a working car battery and wire, you can probably find something more practical, like say oh a light bulb! just twist one out of a socket and you’re good to go, because if you have enough light to actually split a pencil, then you have enough light to find a bulb….dont you think?

  3. I agree that it’s somewhere between silly and moronic to use a pencil lead in this situation, when you can probably get your hands on a perfectly good interior-light bulb without even unbuckling your seat belt :-).

    Speaker wire will also get hot if it’s feeding a white-hot normal-thickness pencil lead.

    I think this is also less likely to work for long with common hard pencils, since they have a higher ratio of clay to graphite in their leads.

    I’ve only ever made about ten glowing pencils in my life so far, though (plus a larger number of propelling-pencil leads…), so I can’t say I’ve done an exhaustive survey :-).

  4. Jay C says:

    it a great demostration of what you can do in a pinch. good reference.
    this method is used in a large scale for melting steel and other metals.
    great idea and use on a small scale.

  5. hmmmmm says:

    well I just carry a 9 volt battery and steel wool. Short the steel wool on the battery and then i put it in the fuel cell then there is all kinds of light.

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