How-To: Fireball Shooter

Computers & Mobile Craft & Design
Fireball Shooter from MAKE Volume 13

Fireball Shooter from MAKE Volume 13

Wanna shoot fireballs from the palm of your hand? Of course you do. When Joel Johnson set out to fashion his own fireball shooter, he was intent on making one with a minimum of parts that was small enough to be concealed in his hand. He shared his “Orpheus Shooter” build with us back in MAKE Volume 13, the Magic issue. Joel has some real gems in his intro, including “I’m absolutely horrible at DIY — I’d solder my fingers to my face if it were possible — so if I can cook up something like this, you should be able to take this simple design and improve it immeasurably.” You gotta appreciate a maker who sees that there’s room for improvement in his design: “My grasp of the principles of electricity ends around ‘don’t lick a light socket,’ so there may be smarter ways to rig this unit than the one I have chosen.” And naturally there is a safety warning: “Remember your fire safety fundamentals: it may be hilarious to shoot fireballs at your sleeping cat, but she’ll have the last caterwaul when you set your bed aflame.”

With all that said, we think Joel’s design is pretty nifty (and appreciate his humble sense of humor), with its simple materials list that includes a glo-plug, binder clip, AAA battery, and momentary pushbutton switch. The only specialty item is the flash cotton and paper, available at magic stores. We just shared the entire build on Make: Projects so you can get cracking building your own fireball shooter. It’s simple to build, and a blast to play with. Just make sure to keep your inner pyro in check and always respect fire.

Fireball Shooter from MAKE Volume 13

Fireball Shooter from MAKE Volume 13

Fireball Shooter from MAKE 13

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I'm a word nerd who loves to geek out on how emerging technology affects the lexicon. I was an editor on the first 40 volumes of MAKE, and I love shining light on the incredible makers in our community. In particular, covering art is my passion — after all, art is the first thing most of us ever made. When not fawning over perfect word choices, I can be found on the nearest mountain, looking for untouched powder fields and ideal alpine lakes.

Contact me at or via @snowgoli.

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