Making Homemade Fireworks Mines

Written by Harry Gilliam

Topics: How to Make Fireworks

There is a beautiful photo on the cover of Dr. Takeo Shimizu’s Fireworks, The Art, Science and Technique (FAST). At the top of the picture is a huge, double-petaled, fireworks-shell starburst, with several smaller star-flowers between it and the ground. And, at the very bottom of the shot is a spray of stars shooting upward from the ground where the shells were fired: a mine.

Fireworks Mine at Bottom of Photo on Cover of FAST

Fireworks Mine at Bottom of Photo on Cover of “FAST”

Similarly, the back cover of Hardt’s Pyrotechnics shows a rainbow of 5 colored mine-shots, with corresponding colors of small and large starbursts over each one.

Rainbow of Mines and Aerial Shells on Back Cover of Hardts Pyrotechnics

Rainbow of Mines and Aerial Shells on Back Cover of Hardt’s “Pyrotechnics”

Fireworks mines, or star-mines, can be used in conjunction with aerial shells to create such an effect, filling in the low sky as the shell bursts fill the middle and high sky.

These devices are also very effective during a fireworks display when they are fired as a mine-run: a series of firework mines fired in sequence from various spots on the field in harmony with beats of music in the soundtrack.

A single mine, a mine-run, or a wall of simultaneously fired mines all serve to bring the audience’s attention back down to the ground, providing contrast and variety during a fireworks display.

For precise timing of electrically fired mines, putting the electric match right down in the lift powder eliminates the objectionably noticeable, split-second delay, which occurs when a length of quickmatch leader is ignited by the electric match.

If I am going to put the e-match into the lift powder, I still attach a couple of inches of quickmatch to the electric match, with the e-match’s protective shroud in place. This ensures that quite a bit of flame will be introduced into the lift powder, and it further protects the e-match from premature ignition due to shock or friction.

One of the clubs I belong to, The Bluegrass Pyrotechnics Guild, has assembled and fired literally thousands of 4-inch mines over the years for our displays at the PGI annual conventions. These devices can be very easily constructed, and they provide a nice hand-made touch to a fireworks show.

In this article I’ll detail two methods of constructing 4-inch firework mines. But, these methods can be applied to any size mine, from 1-3/4-inch through 6-inch models. Simply by varying the size of the stars, the materials used in the assembly, the amount of lift powder, and the size of the mortar from which they are fired, mines can be tailored in size to any effect and any venue.>

Click here to learn how to make fireworks mines.

1 Comment For This Post I'd Love to Hear Yours!

  1. dave says:

    what size star plate do you use with a 4 inch shell

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