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Fireworks 101 - An Introduction to Homemade Fireworks

  • Jun 27, 2014 · 7:00 PM

One of our newest members, Mr. Eric Frazer, will be teaching a Fireworks 101 class on Friday, June 27th at 7pm.

The Agenda:
-Staying Safe
-Staying Legal
-Fireworks Anatomy
-Make red sparklers from scratch
-Make black powder from scratch
(red sparklers, second dip. Break time)
-Make stars from scratch
-Assemble 'mines AKA flower pots'
-Clean up
-Fireworks Anatomy, shells, rockets, etc.
-Why build vs buy (fun / scientific / hobby / build things you cannot purchase)
-Resources: Rocky Mountain Pyrotechnics Guild, Skylighter, forums
-Wrap up with sparklers in the parking lot, and if possible a flower pot shoot.

Attendees will leave with 3+ sparklers they made, 2+ flowerpot shells, and/or prepared stars/BP from above if they're not done drying yet. (dry/finish assembly @ home)

Please bring safety glasses, rubber gloves if you like, 'bath tissue' tubes, newspaper, and masking tape. Eric will also be bringing some of these items, plus other supplies, but if we have a strong turn-out it will be good to have enough.

Please bring $20 to cover chemicals and supplies.

IMPORTANT LEGAL STUFF: This is a collaborative educational gathering and there will NOT be any fireworks for sale. Any participants under 16 years old will have to provide a permission slip of some kind or the parent must attend and will not be allowed to take any items home without the parents present.

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  • Eric

    Nice link Luna, thanks! Black powder and colored stars are on the menu for future lessons so the graphic will come in handy :)

    July 6, 2014

  • Luna

    Found this very interesting graphic about fireworks, chemicals, and colors --

    July 6, 2014

  • Heidi H.

    Eric, your feedback is interesting to read--thanks for updating us with that kind of thing. Even though we weren't able to get through everything, having more classes just adds to the fun. Thanks for teaching!

    July 1, 2014

  • Luna

    It was an awesome class. Even if it didn't work out as expected I still learned a lot.

    June 30, 2014

  • Eric

    Conclusions (2/2):
    The mix did not hold onto the sticks well when it was thick, and soaked into the sticks when wet. Also when very wet, the mix did not apply to the sticks very evenly. A thick layer is desired for best effect, and multiple successive dips may be required to build up layers slowly. Experimentation on thickness is warranted.
    This batch of sparklers seems to burn best when 2 sticks are side-by-side and lit at once – this lets them ‘feed’ off of each other.
    The overall reception of the class seemed very positive!
    To increase engagement in the hands on portion, in future classes we will prepare more stations with supplies, and work with smaller batches. We’ll target 2-3 person groups max (participants / 3 = stations)

    Please provide any other feedback so we can make the next class even more enjoyable. Thanks!

    1 · June 30, 2014

  • Eric

    Conclusions from the presenters view (1/2):
    I seriously overestimated the pace we could complete slides/activities, so Black Powder, Stars, and Fountains (mines) will be in later classes. Keep your eyes on for future schedulings!
    The sparkler recipe from Dr. Shimizu was used as a starting point.
    The mix of adding aqueous alcohol to the dextrin binder was problematic, the binder created a clump and didn’t dissolve. My previous recipes had the dextrin in with the other dry ingredients then added the h2o/alcohol, and did not exhibit this behavior. Experimentation is called for here.

    1 · June 30, 2014

  • Eric

    Slides are available at and my contact info is included

    1 · June 30, 2014

  • t

    Fun hope to do more of this and continue more fireworks classes

    1 · June 29, 2014

  • Luna

    Potentially interested. Have to check scheduling. May be bringing 1 person.

    June 21, 2014

    • Luna

      Possible family stuff may prevent me from coming. I'm at about 50/50 right now. ... If its a mater of buying chemicals, do not worry about me, I will probably just watch, as my neighborhood doesn't allow them.

      June 26, 2014

    • Luna

      Looks like I should be able to make it tonight, though I might be a bit late.

      June 27, 2014

  • Frank

    Really wanted to go, but something came up

    June 24, 2014

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