A Simple (?) Cake
WARNING AND DISCLAIMER: If you are underage, then consult with your parents or guardians before attempting any of this. You are on your own - I'm not responsible for your actions or harm you may bring to others because of your actions. Making the items described below can result in injury or death to you or people in your vicinity. Some things mentioned here may be illegal to make in your city, county, state, or country so check the laws that apply to you before you attempt anything described here. These notes are not complete on purpose. If you are reading them and new to pyrotechnics, then you are making a mistake. Stop now - this page is not for you. Get a beginning book on fireworks (see Skylighter or American Fireworks News (very quick shipping) for a start) and read up. You can't make any of this work without more information so read up or join a club or ask someone to help you.
Making a Small Cake
Cakes require quite a bit of work to make. Even simple ones. The above picture shows a 26 shot cake with three 1 3/4" tubes for the finale. The small tubes were 5/8" cardboard that were slightly recessed into the wood, plugged with a 1/2" wood plug, pinned, and hot glued into place. They were dipped in lacquer and then painted to preserve them and to make them cleaner looking (cardboard that has just been fired looks pretty dirty). Even though the above picture looks kind of funky, the tubes are in excellent shape and can be reused again and again. The larger tubes were HDPE and were about half the length of a normal festival ball tube. The larger tubes were mounted by drilling a proper sized hole through the wood and then capping the bottom with another piece of wood and screwing the plugs of the tubes to it. Finally, the larger tubes were 'cinched up' using hot glue. The whole piece is very sturdy and can be picked up by any of the tubes without danger of breaking.
They can be loaded with comets, festival balls, or what have you. A really good load for these is to put crossettes in the small tubes ( 1/2") and double break festival balls with about 1/2 gram of hot BP or Benzolift added to the charge to get them up high enough. Fuse it with fast Visco and you have a fun piece that fills the lower part of the sky. As a precaution, tape or otherwise protect the fusing to the festival balls to prevent a premature ignition. Also, put some paper or tape on the top of the tubes after it is all loaded. There are lots of sparks flying when this thing is sequencing so the paper stops fratricide.
Click on the bottom image and watch three hours of work go up in twelve seconds! The festival balls are double break Wolf Packs.
Here is the cake fused and ready to rumble. The fuses to the middle shells are not quick match but just the normal fast Visco covered with tape so sparks won't start the middle shots prematurely.
Cakes can also get bigger and more expensive. Click on the picture below to see a 20 shot 3" cake - it takes a week or two to build everything for this .. 15 seconds of fun is what you get!