Any pyros here?

edited June 2018 in Everything and Nothing
Talking specifically about fireworks and 'homemade' displays.

I'm starting to have fun building racks and fusing up mortars in preparation for a private display in the next couple weeks.

I've been saving up 1.75" mortar tubes from prior displays and building 'poor man racks' and fusing up 'cakes' using various visco fuses of different burn rates.

In this video I start off with some 'slow cannon' fuse (red ~30sec/foot) and transition to 'perfect' fuse (pink~10sec/foot) and then a loop of 'quick' fuse (white~0.25sec/ft) which ignites (2) strings of 'fast artillery' fuse (yellow~2sec/ft) with 5 shells each and an additional 4 shells simultaneously for a total of 14 shells in the air at the same time.

The slow fusing at the beginning was simply for s&g, and experimentation. If you fast forward to :50, you'll get to after all the relatively slow fuse and at :52 the loop of quick fuse goes off igniting the majority of (14) 1.75" mortar canisters almost simultaneously.

I recommend watching in 720 @ 1/4 speed from :52 onward.

It was pretty wild to see all those canisters tumbling up in the air and bursting. Still need some fine tuning, but I like the sheer volume of shit blowing up so rapidly.


  • Why no officer...  No fireworks here.

  • Georgia revised a few laws in the past few years that basically allow the peasants to get our hands on some pretty good stuff.  Max of 500grams of explosive, not including the pyrotechnic mixture.
  • ZedZed
    edited June 2018
    I'm really just assembling pre-manufactured mortars for the purpose of safety and convenience. First off, the launch forces are violent enough that you could easily knock over adjacent tubes and have horizontal launches, which is bueno. I can also pre-load these tubes and fuse them up in advance, and then remove the shells, and repeat the process so I can have faster tube reloads in the field. Lastly, all the tubes are now easily portable in an assembly, so less time futzing around with setup each subsequent time.

    I have a 14 tube rack, and a 25 tube rack built so far.

    They're either HDPE or fiberglass tubes, 12" long, and 1.92" ID. I built a reinforced platform with 19/32" plywood and 2x4" and screwed down the tubes with 2" drywall screws. The 25 tube rack is 2'x4' with 2"x4" substructure and carrying handles. It has enough spare space to add another 20 tubes for a total of 45. I'll probably expand the 25 to 35. Then use the 35 tube rack for a relatively slow serial procession of mortars. Maybe I'll start off with (7) shells in serial slowly, then (7) shells in serial medium, then (7) shells in serial fast, then (2) 7-shell rapid bursts with a quick jumper to the 14 tube rack as a finale.

    Here's the racks after I built them. The smaller one in front is what is used in the video above. I mounted the outer rows with the bases overlapping the bases of the inside row to get a fan effect and spread the shells out in the sky during simultaneous launches.


    God bless GA lawmakers for letting us plebes have access to some good stuff these days.
  • Zed could see the humor in situations that had other tearing their hair out.  He had a quiet tolerance and a hobbyists curiosity.  He was a giant amongst men.

    I don't want to have to write this all at once.
  • Thanks for getting us put on a watchlist, Zed.
  • MC Escher said:

    Why no officer...  No fireworks here.

    Ohio laws suck dog balls. 

  • Seabird said:

    Thanks for getting us put on a watchlist, Zed.

    Right...  Because we weren't already on several?

  • 2.FOH. said:

    MC Escher said:

    Why no officer...  No fireworks here.

    Ohio laws suck dog balls. 

    I am free, no matter what rules surround me. If I find them tolerable, I tolerate them; if I find them too obnoxious, I break them. I am free because I know that I alone am morally responsible for everything I do.
  • Yeah we light them off on the 4th & birthdays.

    Local LEO is a family friend & he's come over & watched with us.

    The whole legal to purchase, but get them out of the state within 48hrs thing is goofy to say the least.
  • Well technically, they ARE out of the state once you set them off...
  • That's a good point.
  • Any of you guys near Warren, OH?  There's a wholesale place there that has pretty good prices, and apparently only does "pickup" orders.
  • I live down the road from Phantom.

    It's like an explosive candy store.
  • Zed said:

    Any of you guys near Warren, OH?  There's a wholesale place there that has pretty good prices, and apparently only does "pickup" orders.

    only 1.5 hrs away...
  • ZedZed
    edited September 2018
    Stepped up my game a bit, found a guy that had a "few" more mortars that he was giving away.  Now I have 3 racks with a total of 135 tubes.  Fortunately, I didn't have to pay for the 'product', I just designed & executed the display.

    Pre-show, the little trailer loaded up to take my racks out to the launch site.

    The show...

    The aftermath...
  • What are you using for fuel?

  • In the creamer fireballs? Goex cannon grade.
  • I meant the lifting charge. Sorry.
  • ZedZed
    edited September 2018
    I'm using about 1tsp of goex cannon and about 2/3 cup of lamb's milk replacer (higher fat content than coffee creamer), separated by 1 single ply of TP.  This is being launched out of a 1.75" ID tube, about 12" in length.

    Here's what they look like seen from 0:03-0:10

    I need to remember to run those by themselves instead in tandem with launched fireworks.  I almost missed getting them in the video because I was following the airborne pieces.
  • Looks like you’ve been busy.
  • ZedZed
    edited September 2018
    Yeah, loading & fusing the mortars took a little while, as did the final main line fusing on site.  The guy hosting the party & footing the bill only confirmed that he wanted to do this about a week in advance and gave me the go ahead to buy the boom on Wednesday.** Thursday I bought it, Friday night I loaded & fused the racks and did research on the duration and altitudes of all the cakes I was able to get to make a plan. I took the stuff out to the launch site mid-afternoon Saturday and fused up the main line.  Just as I finished up rain drops started to fall, so I quickly threw a 1mil plastic sheet over the whole thing. Fortunately it was just a single cloud that was leaking, as there no forecast for rain, and the sky was clear at ~9pm when the show started.

    **That's something that will have to change. Getting a decent selection of stuff, on short notice, for a decent price is a tall order. Fortunately I made some connections with a shop that was willing to hook me up.  Ideally a 4 weeks notice would be ideal. I could order stuff wholesale and load at my leisure and not at 2am day of the show.
  • So when do you start experimenting with Ammonium Nitrate?

  • Nah, just potassium perchlorate.
  • That's cool.

  • Any idea how much your homegrown show costs?  I spend ~$150 on fireworks just about every holiday, it would be nice to find a more economical and fun way to go boom.
  • ZedZed
    edited September 2018
    That was around $500-$600 worth of fireworks, and I got a good deal on that stuff (20-25% off sticker) because I dealt with a small shop, it was off peak season, and it was a fairly large order for them.  If you buy from local shops, remember you'll be paying 10-11% tax on it due to sales & excise taxes.

    All of the Phantom Fireworks stores in the Atlanta area are offering "Buy 1, Get 2 free".  Which brings them in line with what 'market level' pricing really is on comparable products from other manufacturers. (They're still a hair more expensive with B1G2, but their stores are well stocked, and have excellent selection)  Don't ever buy from Phantom unless you are getting B1G2, otherwise you're getting raped.   "Jake's" is another dealer we have in GA, they have good product, and also offer decent pricing and regularly send emails/texts with specials. (As does Phantom, but you need to sign up for both)

    Pricing example.
    World Class (brand) Excalibur (model) 1.75" canister shells (type) come 24 to a box, with 4 launch tubes. (These are also known as artillery shells, reloadables, or mortars)
    Phantom list price is $179.99, but it is buy one, get 2 free. So 3 boxes for $180+tx  = $60/box+tx
    One website sells them for $65 per box, or $300 per case (6 boxes per case), and if you order >$500 free shipping, and no GA taxes. Which in the end would net out to $50/box.
    My local shop hooked me up for $40/box plus tax.  (They were stickered $50/box)

    Outside of that, the best way to get better pricing is to get in on a wholesale purchase.  Only catch is you need to buy by the case.  There are some sites that sell wholesale, but there is a minimum order amount, and you need to have it shipped to a freight terminal to avoid huge shipping charges.

    There are forums like and that have good representation by various dealers/manufacturers, and often extend special pricing to forum members as well. - this one that offers special pricing levels to forum members, with a lowered minimum order value. - this place does 'free shipping' on orders >$500
    There's another online dealer that bases price on when you buy it. They have 4 or 5 periods throughout the year.  Around 7/4 you pay list price.  January-March it's like 40% off list.

  • Stop! I can only get so erect!
  • My state catches on fire too easily to do anything like this.

    Maybe I can play with fireworks in Alaska.
  • We have a Phantom and a Jake's by us, good info, especially about the B1G2.

    Maybe I'll just go rent a truck and pick up a bunch of fertilizer.  Might get some discounts if I buy in bulk.
  • edited September 2018
    34-0-0 unprilled

    That’s the kind you want.
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