How to Make a Fireworks Strobe Rocket

Written by Harry Gilliam

Topics: How to Make Fireworks

If I had to make the choice of being able to construct only one type of rocket, it would be a difficult decision. I truly love the low-level simplicity and effect of the Spectacular Glitter-Tailed Rocket with Willow-Diadem-Horsetail Finish.

But for pure, high-powered, awe-inspiring and crowd-pleasing rocketry display, the strobe rocket is sure hard to beat.

Video of One-Pound Fireworks Strobe Rocket

The following video is a six-pound strobe rocket. I constructed this 1.5-inch ID model in a seminar I taught at a local pyro club event.

Note: The “one-pound” and “six-pound” rocket motor designations have nothing to do with what the rocket actually weighs. They are fireworking terms, which refer to the rocket engine tube’s inside diameter (ID), and have their roots in antique rocket-making terminology.

Video of Six-Pound Fireworks Strobe Rocket
(Video taken by Dan Thames)

That baby was really up there by the end of its flight. You can tell that from the delay between the video and audio of the report heading. These large strobe rocket engines really do sound like helicopters in flight, too. For such a relatively simple fireworks device, they sure are satisfying and attention grabbing when they work well.

Even when they don’t “work well,” and CATO (blow up) on the launch pad, these rockets are impressive! There is a lot of power packed into that engine tube, so it pays to put a long piece of Visco fuse on them, and have everyone plenty far away from the launch area just in case.

Whistle Rocket Explosion on Launch Pad

Whistle Rocket Explosion on Launch Pad
(Photo Courtesy Jerry Durand)

This is the third in a series of whistle-related articles. The first installment dealt with making whistle fuel and simple fireworks whistles. That same fuel will be used in these strobe rockets. The second article described the construction of basic whistle rockets. Many of those same techniques will be used now to make strobe rockets. So, it’s a good idea for you to familiarize yourself with those basic methods before forging ahead with this project.

Note: I will not be repeating all the basic construction details from the whistle rocket tutorial. You really will need to be familiar with those techniques if you are going to tackle this strobe rocket project.

A strobe rocket utilizes whistle fuel for power, along with strobe fuel to create the popping sound and flashing light that is unique to them.

Click here to continue reading How to Make a Fireworks Strobe Rocket…

2 Comments For This Post I'd Love to Hear Yours!

  1. morgan says:

    would it not save you enormous ammounts of time by drilling and tapping custom pipe segments so the need for constantly making new tubes is eliminated?
    I would imagine they would last for as long as you use them as long as you use the right steel and dont over load the lofting charges.

    • Lee says:

      The use of metal rocket motors, or anything besides paper, is a subject best left to the high power rocketry folks. If you had ever seen one of these CATO, you’d be very glad it was not made of anything more durable than paper. Also, what goes up must come down and a falling bit of tube is a lot safer than a piece of metal.

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