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Thread: Large homemade fireworks!

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    Large homemade fireworks!

    Building fireworks is my favorite hobby, thought I'd start a thread showing how I build them. My club, punisher pyro has a group event in march, so I will be building some aerial shells and rockets over the next couple months, so I will posts pictures and explain each process as I build them. Here's some pics of some I've built in the past

    Large homemade fireworks!-img_1496.jpg

    Large homemade fireworks!-img_0175.jpg

    Large homemade fireworks!-img_0340.jpg

    Large homemade fireworks!-img_1319.jpg
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    Obs
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    Damn you have a cool life! What brand do you chew?
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    I will be building a 14" aerial shell, that will have a streamer outer petal, and a blue inner petal. Tonight I mixed up the comp for the outer stars (the things that makes the colors, and or effects). I made 20lbs, which consists of the same ingredients as black powder, just different amounts of each. Hers a pic of what these stars look like in the air. They leave a long trail of orangish sparks, causing a streaming effect. The other pic is me screening some of the comp, to break up clumps.

    Large homemade fireworks!-img_1592.jpg

    Large homemade fireworks!-img_1588.jpg
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    Quote Originally Posted by Obspowerstroke View Post
    Damn you have a cool life! What brand do you chew?
    Was Copenhagen, I quit bout six months ago, along with smoking
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    That pic of me in the red shirt was in Indiana last year at the PGI annual event. It's the largest fireworks club in the country, and prob world.

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    Obs
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    Those big shells are amazing. Sending twenty two lbs of shit into the air at 400fps is impressive even without the display!

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    This is roughly what I'll be trying to achieve, with out the green and red

    Large homemade fireworks!-img_1593.jpg
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    Quote Originally Posted by Obspowerstroke View Post
    Those big shells are amazing. Sending twenty two lbs of shit into the air at 400fps is impressive even without the display!
    This shell will weigh about 40lbs, and will go about a quarter mile up. The largest you'll typically see at a show is 6"
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    Quote Originally Posted by guitarzan View Post
    Building fireworks is my favorite hobby, thought I'd start a thread showing how I build them. My club, punisher pyro has a group event in march, so I will be building some aerial shells and rockets over the next couple months, so I will posts pictures and explain each process as I build them. Here's some pics of some I've built in the past

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    Amazing

    How do you actually build something like that

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    Quote Originally Posted by marcus300 View Post
    Amazing

    How do you actually build something like that
    I'm gonna post pics and explain it as I build the one I'm currently building.
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    That is cool as hell.
    Out of curiosity have you ever had one blow up on the ground?

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    Awesome

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    Quote Originally Posted by diesel101 View Post
    That is cool as hell.
    Out of curiosity have you ever had one blow up on the ground?
    Oh yea, watch the two at the end of this video

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ioLD72kIXC4
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    Quote Originally Posted by guitarzan View Post
    I'm gonna post pics and explain it as I build the one I'm currently building.
    Cheers mate and excellent thread. I always wondered how they make these huge fireworks and make them do what they do.
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    Thought I back up and explain the star comp a little better. This particular one uses the same ingredients as black powder, (charcoal, potassium nitrate and surfer). The difference is, it uses different ratios. Black power is 75% pot nit, 15% char and 10% sul. This star comp is 39.5 pot nit, 44.5% char, 9% sul and 7% dextrin (binder)

    Another difference is black powder uses a "hotter" charcoal made from a low sap softwood, where this uses a "slower" charcoal made from hardwood or a sappy softwood like pine.

    The comp is them dampened with around 13% water, to activate them binder, and then pressed using special tooling to around 850 psi. I will press some later today and post pics

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    Quote Originally Posted by marcus300 View Post
    Cheers mate and excellent thread. I always wondered how they make these huge fireworks and make them do what they do.
    Yea, I could post links to some sites explaining it, but I figured it would be cool to explain it as I built one, and will post video of the shell when done.
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    Quote Originally Posted by guitarzan View Post
    Yea, I could post links to some sites explaining it, but I figured it would be cool to explain it as I built one, and will post video of the shell when done.
    Excellent look forward to it

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    Here's a star plate, what I will use to press the stars. There's other methods, I will get into later.
    Large homemade fireworks!-img_1610.jpg

    Loading the cavitys of the plate with the dampened star comp
    Large homemade fireworks!-img_1611.jpg
    Large homemade fireworks!-img_1612.jpg
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    Pressing the comp at around 850 psi, that's about 10,000 psi on the cylinder
    Large homemade fireworks!-img_1613.jpg

    And a finished star. Will take around 500-600 of these, just for the outer petal. These will go in a heated box, around 120 degrees, and will take about a week to completely dry
    Large homemade fireworks!-img_1615.jpg
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    Obs
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    Quote Originally Posted by guitarzan View Post
    Pressing the comp at around 850 psi, that's about 10,000 psi on the cylinder
    Click image for larger version. 

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    And a finished star. Will take around 500-600 of these, just for the outer petal. These will go in a heated box, around 120 degrees, and will take about a week to completely dry
    Click image for larger version. 

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    Rednecks can do anything. We are like Architect-engineer-welder-mechanic-machinist-chemist-surgeon-electrical-techtichian-administrators. Nice job sir!

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    Quote Originally Posted by Obspowerstroke View Post
    Rednecks can do anything. We are like Architect-engineer-welder-mechanic-machinist-chemist-surgeon-electrical-techtichian-administrators. Nice job sir!
    Indeed we are! Thank you sir
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    Quote Originally Posted by guitarzan View Post
    Pressing the comp at around 850 psi, that's about 10,000 psi on the cylinder
    Click image for larger version. 

Name:	IMG_1613.JPG 
Views:	119 
Size:	1.57 MB 
ID:	171190

    And a finished star. Will take around 500-600 of these, just for the outer petal. These will go in a heated box, around 120 degrees, and will take about a week to completely dry
    Click image for larger version. 

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    Blood hell this is crazy can you tell me how do you make the patterns and different parts of the firework explode like they do mate? how does it all go together so its works in order so to speak

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    Yes, I will be making a pattern shell as well. I will post pics of it and explain it as well. It will be a "jellyfish" shell
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    Quote Originally Posted by guitarzan View Post
    Yes, I will be making a pattern shell as well. I will post pics of it and explain it as well. It will be a "jellyfish" shell
    Excellent Guitarzan, do you earn any money selling these?

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    No, hobby only

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    Next I'm gonna make color changing stars, my favorite part of fireworks making. These particular stars will be blue to red strobe. I will be starting with #12 birdshot (shotgun shot)

    Large homemade fireworks!-img_1627.jpg

    I will be using a concrete mixer that I took the flights out of, welded up the holes and seam where the two halfs of the drum come together

    Large homemade fireworks!-img_1626.jpg

    I put the shot in and turn on the mixer, spray a litter water on the cores and and add comp. It's very tricky getting the cores damp enough, but not too damp. I use a small spray mister. Here's a pic of the cores with a little comp build up on them

    Large homemade fireworks!-img_1630.jpg
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    Large homemade fireworks!-img_1632.jpg

    Now that I have a decent amount of comp on them, I will put them in the dry box and let them cure overnight. They are very fragile at this point

    Large homemade fireworks!-img_1633.jpg

    Tomorrow I will continue to roll them up to 5/16", and let them dry some more, then I will roll the blue comp on. This is very similar to how they make jaw breakers

    Btw, I sprayed water and added comp probably around fifty times. took around 15 mins to get them to this point
    Last edited by guitarzan; 12-22-2017 at 04:02 PM.
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    I've finished rolling the strobe cores, to 5/16. Here's a star sorter, a tool I use to get all the stars the same size. You just start pouring them in wh n you know they are all smaller than the holes in the sorter. Add a little more comp and sort them, and so on
    Large homemade fireworks!-img_1644.jpg

    Large homemade fireworks!-img_1643.jpg

    Large homemade fireworks!-img_1645.jpg

    It is very important to get the stars uniform in size, to insure all the stars change color at the same time. I get mine within 1/16", I heard some of the Japanese shell builders (by far the best in the world) get there's within 1/128"!

    Next I will roll on the blue comp
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    Keep the info coming mate
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    Don't forget to film the rockets when you finally blow them up!

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    Is it 20lbs of powder in a SINGLE rocket? Just looked it up the legal limit here is 75g powder

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    Quote Originally Posted by rnsplg View Post
    Is it 20lbs of powder in a SINGLE rocket? Just looked it up the legal limit here is 75g powder
    No, that was 22 lbs to make the outer petal stars for a 14" aerial shell. It will be fired from mortar. This shell will probably have around 36lbs of comp total, counting the burst powder(black powder). Not sure how much goes in the rockets, I'll weigh it as I build the next ones. It'll be over 75 g though, probably twice that much.
    Last edited by guitarzan; 12-27-2017 at 07:25 AM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by marcus300 View Post
    Keep the info coming mate
    Will do. This will probably take another two months

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    Quote Originally Posted by guitarzan View Post
    No, that was 22 lbs to make the outer petal stars for a 14" aerial shell. It will be fired from mortar. This shell will probably have around 36lbs of comp total, counting the burst powder(black powder). Not sure how much goes in the rockets, I'll weigh it as I build the next ones. It'll be over 75 g though, probably twice that much.
    How big of a star would 75g powder make? Your work has made me interested but not sure if it's worth the effort.

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    Quote Originally Posted by rnsplg View Post
    How big of a star would 75g powder make? Your work has made me interested but not sure if it's worth the effort.
    Lets see, with the average comp, 1 ounce will make 1.2 square inch.
    75g=2.64oz
    2.64 x 1.2 = 3.16
    So it would be around 1 3/4", if it was a cylindrical shaped star.

    Yea, I will have over 40 hrs in this 14" shell, and probably $200. It'll last about 8 seconds

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    Back at it, after taking a break due to cold weather. I am now rolling blue comp on top of the red strobe cores. Here's a video of me putting the first batch of blue on.

    https://youtu.be/pc_9HyED2RU

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    Also made a batch of charcoal, for making black powder. I use paulownia saw dust, a by product from a local mill. I cook 70lbs at a time, and it yields 15-20 lbs of charcoal, enough to make 100lbs or more of black powder. This thing is awesome to watch, makes you a little nervous sometimes!

    Large homemade fireworks!-img_1785.jpg

    Here's a video of me firing her up

    https://youtu.be/fLJp08TE2YM

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    Here's a pic of the finished charcoal

    Large homemade fireworks!-img_1955.jpg

    I add 750g of potassium nitrate, 100g of sulfur, and 150g of the charcoal to a ballmill jar. I use lead media (1/2" musket balls) to mill the ingredients to a fine powder. Here's one of the mill jars with the ingredients put in

    Large homemade fireworks!-img_1956.jpg

    Here's a pick of three mill jars on the rollers. I mill the powder for two hours, then add dextrin (binder) and mill another 10 mins

    Large homemade fireworks!-img_1958.jpg

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    Got the blue\red strobe stars up to around 1/2". Gotta another 1/8" or so to go, then I'll prime them

    Large homemade fireworks!-img_1981.jpg

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