In this article I am going to describe a way that I make 4″ plastic ball shells. I want to emphasize the “One Way” part of this article’s title, though.
In Volume 2 of Bill Ofca’s Technique in Fire series, Design and Quick Assembly of 3, 4, and 5 Inch Plastic Ball Shells, some interesting and useful methods are described, and it was this booklet that I followed when I first started building plastic ball shells years ago.
Lloyd Sponenburgh has another way of building these aerial shells, as described in his Passfire.com
article, 4″ Plastic Ball Shell. I’ve played with Lloyd’s methods a bit as well. At regional club events, he has taught probably hundreds of folks how to build these firework shells his way.
One thing that I’ve discovered over the years is that there are many ways to skin the cat in fireworking, and that there is much we can learn from each other. Usually each of us adopts a hybrid, personal way of doing things. And, each person’s way can change and evolve over the years.
I do think my methods include some unique ways of approaching the subject, and I hope the information in here can be useful to both the beginning fireworker and the seasoned pyro who is curious about how someone else does things. Suffice it to say, I am very pleased with how these shells perform using my method.
So, this article is simply a description of my current, personal, hybrid way of building these shells. But my way will probably evolve to be a little different in a year or two. Beyond just discussing how to build one of these shells, though, I’d like to ponder how to think about some of the various aspects of the shell’s construction.
First, look at the basic design of a 4″ plastic ball shell in the diagram below.