Commercial Fireworks Fun
1.4g Quad Artillery Shell Launch (wmv - click on picture to see)
Where we live, artillery shells are very popular and somewhat expensive. However, the fireworks stands almost always have a really good deal on one brand or another - usually a very cheap tube and six shells. If this is true in your area, then buy four of them and use wood screws to fasten the four tubes to a solid wood base such as a piece of 2" x 8". They should form a square that is two deep (and, of course, two wide). Be sure you screw them down to something! If you don't, one artillery shell lift might knock one of the tubes down and send a shell out sideways. Drop four artillery shells into the tubes and, using masking tape, bind the tips of the fuses together for about 1". Leave a bit of space at the end so you can light the thing. The fuses take fire from each other quite well so you will be lighting four shells at once. Since I want to get back a bit, I sometimes put an inch of visco into the tip of the fuse to give me a bit more time to get back and watch. You get a quad break display for a reasonable price. All 1.4g fireworks rules apply - have fun!
Black Cat Exploding Comet Rockets (wmv - click on picture to see)
I fell in love with these puppies. They are categorized by some dealers as 'Large Bottle-Rockets'. There are 24 to a tray and the price varies wildly but I got a deal for $3.00 a tray (I think it was a deal). Out-of-the-box they have a terribly weak finish but there is about a 1 inch space in the nose that you can put a star or two in - or flying fish fuse - or similar. Once you dress up the payload, the rocket is a lot of fun and if purchased in quantity, it is cheaper than making a 3/8" rocket and lots quicker (although it isn't as powerful). The tail is full of titanium sparks and is really nice. I often use it to test my stars. Click on the link and see what I mean.
1.4g Artillery Shell with a small comet hot glued to the nose. This was also explained in comets.html. Click on the image to see the launch.
Strings of firecrackers are fun! Here is a movie of a string of 16000 (actually a 40 lb wheel of 16000 ) that lasts about 18 seconds. The noise is awesome and it is one of the truly great 1.4g displays that you can have legally. If you light one of these wheels, be sure to unwind the string of fireworks from it first. If you just light the wheel itself, the effect will be over quite quickly (but it will be noisy!). In this case we unwrapped it and draped it around a wood tripod that was made for the occasion.
Dragon's eggs are not only messy to make, they are a contaminate/poison if you use the lead oxide versions and they are sensitive and difficult to prime. If you want to skip ahead to the fun and get a bonus to boot, then search around for a good deal on Crackling Balls. These are 1" (approximately) ground devices that are made from HDPE or similar material. Inside are a dozen Dragon's eggs that are primed and will light with soft or hard breaks from a shell. The eggs are wrapped in a flammable paper so just unwrap them and use them in fountains or in small rocket headers or even as cake loads (see the Color-to-Report load in http://www.creagan.net/fireworks/cakeshells.html ).
The shell casing is the bonus. The item snaps together and is easily disassembled. It makes a great small rocket header if you fill 1/2 with your choice of powders - put the eggs back in and spike it with stranded tape. The whole thing is fun, easy, and relatively cheap.