Making 1.75-Inch Bag & Piston Mines

Making 1.75-Inch Bag & Piston Mines

Written by Harry Gilliam

Topics: How to Make Fireworks

This nifty new project shows you two methods for making mines.

To make this project, you need:

  • The supplies shown in the project below.
  • Black powder, which you can make or buy locally. If you want to make your own, check out the Red Gum Black Powder project.
  • Stars. This particular mine is small, and uses 3/8″ stars. The two projects for making Rubber Stars are perfect for these, but any small stars will work.

The mortars you use for your mines need to be securely anchored to the ground in some way. So, you might want to check out these two links on setting up mortars for a consumer fireworks display.

Have fun. This is a fun project to make a spectacular kind of firework that many people in your fireworks display audience have rarely, if ever seen. You’ll be a hero.

–Harry Gilliam

In its simplest form, a fireworks mine is a device which shoots a spray of stars skyward from ground level. This dramatic low-level effect, complementing and contrasting with high aerial shells, can lend welcome variety to any fireworks display.

Mines can be used to augment the beats in music. Many mines spaced out across your firing area may be fired simultaneously in what is called a “mine front.” Or they can be fired in rapid sequence down the line from one side of the field to the other in what is called a “mine run.”

These mines are quick, easy and inexpensive to make. So, many of them can be made to provide more devices for a show–and homemade devices at that!

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Fireworks Mines

Photo by Tom Handel


Firework Mines

Mine “Front” of Blue Mines with Shells Above

The construction of these mines and the equipment used to fire them can vary considerably, and many different effects can be created. For example:

  • Standard length mortar tubes will fire tall, narrow sprays of stars. Short mortars will create short, wide star-sprays.
  • Fast burning stars will create vertical rays of light which burn out at the top. Slower burning stars will arc over, creating gracefully drooping spark displays.
  • Other inserts besides stars may be used in mines. Small homemade devices or “repurposed” consumer fireworks devices such as hummers, bees, whirlwinds, and reports, as well as flying-fish-fuse, and go-getters may be used, either individually or in combinations with each other.

The mines we are about to work on are impressive fireworks devices, while still being in the “consumer fireworks” size range. So while they present plenty of opportunities for experimentation and creativity, they are also suitable for a basic, backyard fireworks display.

Continue Reading: Making 1.75-Inch Bag & Piston Mines…

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

  1. Buck Cheves says:

    OK .. I finally tried these, and first one out looked pretty good (I tried getting it on my camera, but was positioned too close for the results). At any rate, I discovered that the lower half of the bag was still in my mortar, and am wondering if any or all of the following could be contributing factors:

    1) The paper I used wasn’t ‘Kraft Paper’ … it may have been a bit heavier (or a good bit heavier, I’m not sure).
    2) The mine did fall to the bottom of the tube, but it was a snug fit … should I allow more clearance?
    3) I used 0.255oz of FFFg powder, but didn’t weigh out the stars … maybe this is just part of the ‘dialing in’ process.

    Thanks for a FUN project!

  2. Look out for our Mine Sequence in next weeks British Fireworks Championships (Reaction Fireworks firing 10th August)

    We are using 90 mines in a 30 second sequence. Ranging from 3 – 5 inch. I will be sure to send you a link to the youtube video.

    Fantastic blog BTW

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