How a Zippo Armor lighter should have been made

144 posts / 0 new
Last post
Swosh
Offline
Last seen: 1 year 11 months ago
Joined: 10/07/2020 - 09:45
Posts: 19
Location: Somewhere in Italy...

I ordered the 912 curve lid but in brass not stainless, I love items with some “heft” to them.
I will end up buying the Douglass Field S at some point if only for the “Classy social dinner” feel that fits very well any formal look.
Btw here’s the link to the orings I’ve told you about :
https://www.aliexpress.com/i/32972673176.html sorry if the page is still in italian Big Smile

Btw it’s actually quite positive that the replacement one did not disintegrate, it could simply be a case of the one that did being “off-spec” for some reason.

I have one question for you, I’ve seen a few people call these lighters “cheap” and saying that Zippos are better made, I think this stems from the fact that people tried to use these lighters to do tricks with, to me this seems like an awful, awful idea.
The Zippos are perfect for tricks because of their innate loose tolerances that make them very fidgety and easy to fiddle with.
These Zorros on the other hand seem to have quite the stiff hinge, imho if you treat this like you would a Zippo and do tricks with it, you’ll probably break the hinge, mostly because I don’t think these kind of hinges would take well to a lateral force being applied to them, the best example I can think of that is when you open the Zippo by placing 2 fingers on the top, one on the bottom and giving it a squeeze and a twist (I hope it made some sense Big Smile ).

What’s your take on it as an owner? Happy? Any other gripes exploding o-rings aside? Smile

Gebe
Offline
Last seen: 17 hours 39 min ago
Joined: 05/11/2013 - 17:04
Posts: 825
Location: State Of Jefferson

Mine has been rock solid so far. I’m happy since changing the O-ring.

Swosh
Offline
Last seen: 1 year 11 months ago
Joined: 10/07/2020 - 09:45
Posts: 19
Location: Somewhere in Italy...

Uuuuuuuh…
IT has arrived…What a “Chunky Boi”!
Wonderful experience with aliexpress so far, I got both the lighter and a tritium fob for my keychain, arrived within 2 weeks and in the span of 1day from each other so, overall quite nice experience with the shipping too.

As soon as I am done with the day job I will post my pictures and findings on this wonderfully heavy new toy Big Smile

Swosh
Offline
Last seen: 1 year 11 months ago
Joined: 10/07/2020 - 09:45
Posts: 19
Location: Somewhere in Italy...

I have a few more details regarding the lighter :

- I’ve discovered Zippo inserts don’t actually fit in my lighter, they are a little too skinny, they basically drop in and pop out really easily therefore I stayed with the one that came with the lighter, not a huge fan of the whole fully brass lighter experience, so I will buy a spare Zorro insert just to be sure it fits, overall nothing to complain about, I knew I’d have to change that from the get go and honestly I forgot to ask the seller if it was possible to have a steel insert right away Big Smile

- The brass insert is somewhat softish, if you are used at grabbing a Zippo insert from the windguard and just yanking if off, you must be a little more careful with this one as you can feel the windguard might get squashed or bent if you grab it too tightly, again nothing major and one cannot expect brass to behave the same way steel does.

- The outer finish, this surprised me a little bit, I am not a fan of the whole China Gold Bling style, I got the polished brass version with the curved lid, and it was just too much as far as shine and bling effect, I tried forcing a patina with vinegar and salt immersions for hours to no result.
I then decided to lightly buff off what I thought might be some sort of varnish on the outer layer and I’ve found out that the lighter is solid brass, which is then plated with some sort of silvery metal (I would imagine Chrome or Nickel) which is the treated to obtain the dreaded fake gold effect, probably by using some nitrate, blueing, or something like that but clearly not a varnish.
Needless to say I did not care for the gold finish, and neither for the chrome plating underneath it, after a couple of nights of elbow grease and sand paper my lighter is now naked brass, I am getting now some scary fine grain sandpaper (1000-1500-2000-2500-3000) and I will finish the surface to develop a nice patina over time Smile

One added bonus of my obsessiveness was that by sanding all the faces of the lighter I got rid of a slight misallignment between the lid and the body of the lighter, it was basically protruding by a hair on one side, and missing the same amount of thickness on the opposite one, after removing the finish and a couple extra passes to dial down the scratch situation I created, both faces are now dead even.
Overall I think the whole DIY experience has made me like the lighter more as I got to customize it to my liking.

You could probably wait for the finish to wear out by itself but it seems quite durable and well applied so that would probably take years, I am not willing to wait that much and without some serious constant manipulation it would probably wear off in pathces here and there leaving you with a dalmatian lighter effect which I’d rather avoid Big Smile

I’ll load some pics on imgur once I am fully done and upload all of them including intermediate steps showing the chrome being removed.
Lovely lovely item, very happy with my purchase and it cost pretty much the same as my Zippo Armor in polished brass but with a much higher build quality.
The only thing that makes it less than perfect is that mine has the 5-Hinge setup instead of the 3-Hinge one that CRX shows, I do not think the 3-Hinge is available for the curved lid ones, but that is truly a minor “inconvenience” I can easily live with Big Smile

kat
Offline
Last seen: 5 days 9 hours ago
Joined: 04/21/2018 - 11:29
Posts: 476
Location: Europe

Normally I would not spend $140 on a lighter case, or nowhere near that, but with these crazy coupons that Ali has been giving in October I actually bought two. And I must say that the quality is excellent and far exceeds any Zippos.

I’ve seen that the original Titanium Zippo is selling for $1000 which is just ridiculous considering you are getting only 17 grams of thin titanium grade 1 that is probably just welded titanium sheet, with a welded steel/brass flimsy hinge.

But from China you are getting almost 100 grams of Titanium grade 4 that is fully milled from a solid block, with a much stronger milled hinge, and for $140. If this was made in the US they would probably ask $10k and a kidney

kat
Offline
Last seen: 5 days 9 hours ago
Joined: 04/21/2018 - 11:29
Posts: 476
Location: Europe

I’ve bought like 40 jet flame lighters over the time, from AE & locally, some very expensive ($25).. and ALL of them stop working properly after a few months. I mean they don’t hold the flame anymore, and you have to adjust the gas rate to the max to get it to hold. I think the problem is that over time the little holes in the burner get clogged, or maybe something caused by the gas pressure.

The gas lighters with normal flame do not have this issue apparently, but I suggest you get them with metal gas containers. They are rare and more expensive, for example the Dupont fakes on AE are made like this. Or this one.

I like the most the ones that work with oil/kerosene. Thy are full metal and never fail. And on AE you can find some models with seals, that hold the fuel very well so it doesn’t evaporate. For example 1st model here: https://www.aliexpress.com/item/32961854198.html

kat
Offline
Last seen: 5 days 9 hours ago
Joined: 04/21/2018 - 11:29
Posts: 476
Location: Europe

I got a Zippo jet flame insert, the one with 2 burners just yesterday – about 30-35$, just to see if it fits that titanium case from AE and ofc it doesn’t Smile

It’s metal on the outside, but plastic inside. I am pretty sure it will have the same problems as every other jet lighter.
I like the jet flame the most because it’s hot and works well in windy environment, but there just isn’t any reliable jet lighter out there.

Lightbringer
Lightbringer's picture
Offline
Last seen: 2 hours 30 min ago
Joined: 08/30/2016 - 14:12
Posts: 18058
Location: nyc

I’m not “a lighter guy”, but got a Zippo a few years ago just to learn tricks (I like fidgets and things), and used that ‘til the hinge pretty much exploded and the lid went sailing across the room.

Just for lighting stuff, I got a few of those with X-type electric arcs. Hot do they fare, relative to jet-type and flame-type lighters in a practical sense?

(Those lids, with the switch, aren’t too amenable to doing tricks.)

09 F9 11 02 9D 74 E3 5B D8 41 56 C5 63 56 88 C0

Lightbringer
Lightbringer's picture
Offline
Last seen: 2 hours 30 min ago
Joined: 08/30/2016 - 14:12
Posts: 18058
Location: nyc

Nope, that’s why I use an intermediate material like a piece of tissue.

Same with lighting a tiki torch a coupla summers ago. Really needed one of those longneck lighters like for fireplaces, but I just used a thin strip of paper rolled into a tube, lit one end with the lighter, then stuck it up the hole to light the wick.

I gather most people who have those arc-lighters just light cigarettes (or fuses) and not much else. Same like lights. A thrower is nigh useless for flood, and a good flooder has almost no reach.

So an arc-lighter is pretty much impossible to blow out, but can’t do something simple like lighting a pipe. Whereas a regular open-flame lighter can do that easily, but forget it in any wind.

Was just wondering if others have the same observations as I do.

09 F9 11 02 9D 74 E3 5B D8 41 56 C5 63 56 88 C0

kat
Offline
Last seen: 5 days 9 hours ago
Joined: 04/21/2018 - 11:29
Posts: 476
Location: Europe

I don’t think a jet lighter with metal/glass tank exists.
But if there is one, the best place to look for is AE- the store that sells Dupont replicas, don’t remember the name.
The replicas are actually very well made for $40, I took one apart and the internals match a real Dupont lighter, they didn’t just stick a plastic tank inside. And the machining is pretty good. But now I don’t know how to assemble it back, too many little parts and springs Sad

kat
Offline
Last seen: 5 days 9 hours ago
Joined: 04/21/2018 - 11:29
Posts: 476
Location: Europe

Those are plastic inside most likely.

This is one all metal:
https://www.aliexpress.com/item/32925786506.html
Ignore the cotton from the pics, it’s misleading. The lighter uses gas.

This is all metal too, but way heavier:
https://www.aliexpress.com/item/32275972924.html

Btw, just looked at the zippo gas insert box, and it says “manufactured in China” Smile
Same type of insert you can find on Aliexpress for $4. Aliexpress has much higher prices than chinese-targeted markets like Taobao, so that means that this insert probaby costs less than $0.5 to produce. But people will buy it for $30 thinking they`ll get some super quality product. Like I thought:)

Gebe
Offline
Last seen: 17 hours 39 min ago
Joined: 05/11/2013 - 17:04
Posts: 825
Location: State Of Jefferson

Boy, talk about thread drift and this thread going into a completely different direction! Facepalm No problem though as that’s how most threads go nowadays. Angry

To get back to the original topic, Swosh, I ordered those O-rings you linked to and with shipping they were over $1.00 apiece! Not that big of a deal as I now have plenty of extras to play with and thanks my friend! If you would like an extra, I’ll send it to you.

By the way, I discovered some inventive rubber plugs that replaces that silly square cotton piece on the bottom of the lighter insert. They are a really nice upgrade and have a built in holder that holds an extra flint and a nice firm flap that you lift up to fill the lighter and it folds back nice and tight. I had to trim a tiny bit off the flashing on the bottom to have it fit in our Zorro lighters correctly but it was minor. It’s a great addition to our lighters!

kat
Offline
Last seen: 5 days 9 hours ago
Joined: 04/21/2018 - 11:29
Posts: 476
Location: Europe

Today I tested the zippo double jet gas insert at 6-8 degrees C and surprise – it fails, just like all the other jet lighters.
At 12 degrees is working again.

Best jet lighter I have so far is this one:
https://www.aliexpress.com/item/32808993205.html

It has 4 flames and it fails after a few months like the others, but if you give it more gas it does seem to work again. The others stop working properly even if you turn the gas to the max.

Lightbringer
Lightbringer's picture
Offline
Last seen: 2 hours 30 min ago
Joined: 08/30/2016 - 14:12
Posts: 18058
Location: nyc

kat wrote:
Best jet lighter I have so far is this one:

https://www.aliexpress.com/item/32808993205.html

“It can keep humidity and raise eggplant.”

What???

09 F9 11 02 9D 74 E3 5B D8 41 56 C5 63 56 88 C0

Swosh
Offline
Last seen: 1 year 11 months ago
Joined: 10/07/2020 - 09:45
Posts: 19
Location: Somewhere in Italy...

Hah! The derailment is strong with this one Facepalm Big Smile

Don’t worry about the O-rings, I have the spare ones that came with the Zorro itself and if mine start acting funky I’ll just get the ones I linked you, but thank you very much for the offer! Thumbs Up

Regarding those rubber plugs, can you shoot me a link? The ones I know about are made of rigid plastic and not of rubber, and they always gave me the feeling of being a minor improvement overall given how much fumes any Zippo oozes out, now we have the added lip and the o-ring already making a big difference, it could be worth going full bore optimization mode and getting one of those aswell!

I’d love to know your personal experience after a little bit of usage, especially regarding fuel optimization, btw IF you got the ones I am thinking of, once you open the lighter give it a little blow to “shoo away” the vapor build up or otherwise it might take a few attempts to light, or light with a bit more “umpf” than what you want Big Smile

Swosh
Offline
Last seen: 1 year 11 months ago
Joined: 10/07/2020 - 09:45
Posts: 19
Location: Somewhere in Italy...

Let’s see if I can load up some images on the process my Zorro undewent Big Smile

!Face-to-face!
!Top-and-Bottom!

Swosh
Offline
Last seen: 1 year 11 months ago
Joined: 10/07/2020 - 09:45
Posts: 19
Location: Somewhere in Italy...

Now you can see the nickel coming off and revealing the beautiful naked brass underneath, needless to say I went over the brass with progressively finer sandpaper up to 7000 grit which gave it a nice mirror finish, not perfect but it didn’t need to be.
Later I’ll post a picture of the final result which already lost its shine and is getting close the Zippo’s patina Smile

!Face-and-Side!
!Tools!
!Aftermath!

Gebe
Offline
Last seen: 17 hours 39 min ago
Joined: 05/11/2013 - 17:04
Posts: 825
Location: State Of Jefferson
Swosh wrote:
Hah! The derailment is strong with this one Facepalm Big Smile

Boy, you got that right!

Swosh, I’m not very techie savvy and you are and I still haven’t figured out how to post pictures here so email me at genesederholm@yahoo.com and I’ll send you pictures of the insert.

I solved the ignition problem when opening the lighter by carefully stretching the flint spring a bit and now the lighter lights every time.

ChrisGarrett
ChrisGarrett's picture
Offline
Last seen: 44 min 36 sec ago
Joined: 02/12/2014 - 22:03
Posts: 1176
Location: Miami, Florida

Unless you’re a lowly cigarette smoker, nobody wants to use a petrol lighter.

Butane for the win!

Chris

Gebe
Offline
Last seen: 17 hours 39 min ago
Joined: 05/11/2013 - 17:04
Posts: 825
Location: State Of Jefferson

Yeah, good stuff Chris! Thanks for your engaging post that contributed a lot to this thread. Facepalm

ChrisGarrett
ChrisGarrett's picture
Offline
Last seen: 44 min 36 sec ago
Joined: 02/12/2014 - 22:03
Posts: 1176
Location: Miami, Florida
Gebe wrote:
Yeah, good stuff Chris! Thanks for your engaging post that contributed a lot to this thread. Facepalm

I’m sorry that you’re a cigarette smoker and that the truth hurts.

Chris

CRX
CRX's picture
Offline
Last seen: 1 month 2 days ago
Joined: 04/02/2013 - 15:27
Posts: 4243
Location: Scotland

ChrisGarrett wrote:
Unless you’re a lowly cigarette smoker, nobody wants to use a petrol lighter.

Butane for the win!

Chris


Fact checker, we need some fact checkers here.
ChrisGarrett
ChrisGarrett's picture
Offline
Last seen: 44 min 36 sec ago
Joined: 02/12/2014 - 22:03
Posts: 1176
Location: Miami, Florida

CRX wrote:
ChrisGarrett wrote:
Unless you’re a lowly cigarette smoker, nobody wants to use a petrol lighter.

Butane for the win!

Chris


Fact checker, we need some fact checkers here.

What do you need to fact check?

White gas, Naptha, Petrol lighters impart a taste that is unwelcomed if you’re a smoker of any sort. Cigarette smokers aren’t a picky lot, lol.

I’m a cigar smoker and I’d never think of lighting a cigar up with a Zippo and I have similar ‘white gas’ lighters here.

Now, if you need to build a fire to survive, you might have a point, but there are better options out there.

Sorry, but that’s just the way it is.

Chris

CRX
CRX's picture
Offline
Last seen: 1 month 2 days ago
Joined: 04/02/2013 - 15:27
Posts: 4243
Location: Scotland

I just wanted it confirmed if I was lowly or not Silly

ChrisGarrett
ChrisGarrett's picture
Offline
Last seen: 44 min 36 sec ago
Joined: 02/12/2014 - 22:03
Posts: 1176
Location: Miami, Florida
CRX wrote:
I just wanted it confirmed if I was lowly or not Silly

Are you a cigarette smoker?

If so, then you’re at the bottom of the rung, for smokers: cigars and pipes.

Maybe weed would be above cigarettes?

Just kidding of course, but petrol lighters are so 1930s.

Chris

Gebe
Offline
Last seen: 17 hours 39 min ago
Joined: 05/11/2013 - 17:04
Posts: 825
Location: State Of Jefferson
ChrisGarrett wrote:
Gebe wrote:
Yeah, good stuff Chris! Thanks for your engaging post that contributed a lot to this thread. Facepalm

I’m sorry that you’re a cigarette smoker and that the truth hurts.

Chris

Thanks for that Chris and because I’m a smoker and the truth DOESN’T hurt! What hurts is folks like you that make statements like this!

I’m not in any way trying to encourage people to smoke. This thread started by talking about these great lighters that are more durable than Zippos.

Man, it still goes back to thread drift but continue on everyone.

ChrisGarrett
ChrisGarrett's picture
Offline
Last seen: 44 min 36 sec ago
Joined: 02/12/2014 - 22:03
Posts: 1176
Location: Miami, Florida
Gebe wrote:
ChrisGarrett wrote:
Gebe wrote:
Yeah, good stuff Chris! Thanks for your engaging post that contributed a lot to this thread. Facepalm

I’m sorry that you’re a cigarette smoker and that the truth hurts.

Chris

Thanks for that Chris and because I’m a smoker and the truth DOESN’T hurt! What hurts is folks like you that make statements like this!

I’m not in any way trying to encourage people to smoke. This thread started by talking about these great lighters that are more durable than Zippos.

Man, it still goes back to thread drift but continue on everyone.

Sorry, bro. I’m sure that we have our share of Ford Model T fans here, but that hardly means that they’re the epitome of car design.

Zippos were the cheese back in their day, but not no more and I’m an American.

BUTANE is the future!

Chris

Mraz
Mraz's picture
Offline
Last seen: 2 weeks 4 days ago
Joined: 07/18/2020 - 06:58
Posts: 125

Yeah except when it’s not…

Not sure what temperatures you get in Miami FL but out here we get -20*C (thats -4F for you Yanks) on regular basics during winter and at that temperatures most butane lighters don’t work well or don’t work at all. One thing if you’re a casual smoker minding his own business and a whole different story if you’re trying to light a fire outdoors at freezing temperatures and crappy weather. I use petrol lighters because they work and a nice o-ringed petrol lighter is a thing of beauty.

ChrisGarrett
ChrisGarrett's picture
Offline
Last seen: 44 min 36 sec ago
Joined: 02/12/2014 - 22:03
Posts: 1176
Location: Miami, Florida

Mraz wrote:
Yeah except when it’s not…

Not sure what temperatures you get in Miami FL but out here we get -20*C (thats -4F for you Yanks) on regular basics during winter and at that temperatures most butane lighters don’t work well or don’t work at all. One thing if you’re a casual smoker minding his own business and a whole different story if you’re trying to light a fire outdoors at freezing temperatures and crappy weather. I use petrol lighters because they work and a nice o-ringed petrol lighter is a thing of beauty.

I can’t argue with your main point, as pressure in butane lighters does decrease with temperature, but that being said, most of us don’t live in -20* temperatures and petrol lighters still suck if you’re a smoker. Even crack heads don’t use them.

I’d venture to guess that most people carrying around lighters in their pockets, aren’t waiting to start a fire with them?

Chris

Mraz
Mraz's picture
Offline
Last seen: 2 weeks 4 days ago
Joined: 07/18/2020 - 06:58
Posts: 125

I’m not a smoker but I guess that’s true. On the other hand, a nice whiff od kerosine when you open a petrol lighter is sooo goooood Smile

Pages