What ARE you gonna do with all those Rubber Stars you’ll be making? Huh?

What ARE you gonna do with all those Rubber Stars you’ll be making? Huh?

Written by Harry Gilliam

Topics: How to Make Fireworks

If you don’t already have specific plans for them, you’re gonna love the next fireworks projects from Ned Gorski. They can all use your new Rubber Stars.

For Ned’s next act this week, he’s gonna show you how to make two different kindsa mines.

You know, “mines.” Think of a mine as an aerial shell full of stars that fires from the ground UP, vs. the other way around. Mines are fast, easy, and inexpensive to make. So, you can make a lot of them in time for your July 4th display.

Your audience will absolutely love them, and they make the perfect firework to be using your new Rainbow of Rubber Stars.

How about a mine “front” consisting of 30 mortar tubes, with ten different colors all fired at the same time? Or a color-changing palette of colors firing in sequence, one second apart, going from one side of the field to the other?

Slant your mine mortar tubes to the left and right, fire them at the same time and make them cross each other in the sky.

The possibilities are endless.

So watch your emails for this week’s brand new mines project.

If you’ve ever used mines in a fireworks display, tell us how you used them, and how they improved your display. Post a comment down below.

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

  1. Lightningrod says:

    I make a 1″ bag mine for small scale proximal use.
    > Use a 1/16″ wall tube 1″ or slightly less OD, cut about 3/4 long on a chop saw. This part will serve as a powder cup and a lift piston. It also keeps the stars and the lift seperate until the moment of truth.
    > Punch 5ea. 3/32″ or so holes in an end cap for the tube you are using. 4 around the edges and one in the center.
    > Insert the end cap, oriented to be flush at the end of the tube and glue in place.
    > Glue a 6″ or longer piece of visco or quickmatch in the center hole.
    > Seal the outer holes with thin tissue paper.
    > Load 2 g of your favorite BPin the bottom of the tube. (Adjust according to the powder and payload)
    > Glue a kraft paper diaphragm across the open end of the tube to seal in the BP.
    > Now take a piece of kaft about 3″ square and roll it up around the tube and glue in place.
    > Now you have a nice 3″ tall thin paper cylinder to load yer favorite stars into. I use .1″ micro stars and .25″ “minis”. Small krackle stars from consumer fireworks are also cool, as is Ti or MgAl if you just want a short intense blast of sparks.
    > Once the little devil is loaded, just crimp the paper around the fuse and secure with string or a wiring zip-tie.
    I drop them in a short 1″ ID mortar and lite ‘em up.

    This gives you a fairly rugged little mine device, which is quick and easy to build, and has the advantage of the piston to help give the stars a lift.
    You load and shoot these just like any other relaodable device. With no powder measuring , etc, during the fun.

    Have fun and be safe!
    Rod

    • Lightningrod says:

      Oh, and don’t use quickmatch by itself if yo’re hand firing. A piece of visco at the end of the QM will keep you from getting your hand burned.
      :-)

      • Robert says:

        I haven’t used visco leaders, except once IIRC. Instead I slit and peel back the piping of the end of piped match to make a bare match leader. However, I will admit that when firing in the dark, there is danger of lighting the bare leader too close to the piping, hence the safety advantage of a visco leader.

        The bag technique we used was slightly simpler than even that discussed here, in that the bag was merely taped closed on the side rather than glued. I was also taught to sprinkle a spoonful of meal powder (which for most of use would be home meal BP) over the stars before closing the bag, which may (or may not) help ignition — sort of like the pyrotechnician’s blessing.

        Come to think of it, I haven’t done a 1.75″ mine in years. Maybe this July 4 if I have the stars “to burn”. If not, then maybe just a 1.25″ like the one in my video — but deliberate this time, not a flower potted shell. Come to think of it, chaining it to a couple of film canister shells like that seems a good idea. Only maybe the mine should shoot first, to get the audience to follow the stars up to the shell break. Mortars that size are cardboard cores from produce bag rolls in groceries, with a plug sawed off from a pole and glued in.

        • ned says:

          A big prob with the peeled-back piping, Robert, is that much of the quickmatch used nowadays has multiple strands of blackmatch inside.
          Even if those strands are exposed, igniting one strand means almost instantaneous transfer of fire to the pipe and down..
          The pipe on this multi-strand match could be torn back, and all but one strand clipped back to the mough of the pipe,,but then often the single thin strand does not burn quickly or consistently..
          Visco really is the only way to go at the end of one of these quickmatch-type leaders.
          ned

        • Lightningrod says:

          Yup
          My local Wal-Mart uses plastic produce bags which come on a heavy duty spiral core, the walls are 1/4″ thick at least. They make stout little mortars, especially if you soak them in Min-Wax wood hardener. Meal powder or Mr Gorski’s hot perchlorate / MgAl prime is helpful if the stars are hard to light. I’v found the really small stars are kind of hard to light, but step priming with Neds primers seems to work every time, even if it is a pain in the keester to prime those little 1/10 inch stars.

          Peace,
          Rod

  2. Brian P says:

    A few years back I got a tip from Skylighter’s newsletter to roll my cardboard guns in Thompson’s Wood Hardener. The original article was about strengthening rocket tubes, but on cardboard guns it also has the added benefit of waterproofing as well as preventing the tubes from unraveling. I had a few cardboard-tube racks that even after several years worth of abuse (including being left out in the rain) are still in good condition.

    • Lightningrod says:

      Semi off-topic –
      I use Min-Wax wood hardener to re-inforce the tail area of nozzleless whistle rocket tubes.
      I use a good quality 1/2′ ID spiral (yes, spiral) tube. Once cut to length, I dip the last 1″ of them in the juice for about 1 min. Once the stuff cures, the tube is much more solid. This makes it easier to drill the side-fuse hole required by this frisky little motor. (They CATO if ya fuse ‘em in the middle of the cavity) Of course the toughened paper also stands up better to the exhaust, perhaps giving a bit more thrust due to the reduced erosion during the burn.
      I havent tried ti yet, but for a really hard tube, you could use (catalyzed) polyester resin thinned with styrene momomer so it would really wick into the paper. Buy the so-called finishing resin, so the cured surface won’t be sticky.

      Peace!

  3. Bob Weiss says:

    TO MAKE 50-60 MINE/MORTER TUBES QUICKLY: DROP BY YOUR LOCAL HOT-TUB FACTORY TUB COVER SHOP AND PICK UP THEIR JUNK “NAUGAHYDE” MATERIAL CORES. USUALLY ABOUT 52″ LONG WITH A NOMINAL 1.75 ID, .1875″ WALLS-MADE IN CHINA, OF COURSE. TABLE SAW ‘EM TO ABOUT 14″ LONG. PLUG THEM WITH DISCS CUT WITH A 2″ HOLE SAW-BORE HALF WAY THRU 3/4″ STOCK, TURN IT OVER AND BORE HALF WAY AGAIN-IMPORTANT TO DO IT THIS WAY. GLUE IN BOTTOM WITH GOOD WOOD GLUE ONLY. PLUG INDEX HOLE WITH 3/16 DOWEL CUT TO 1/2″. WHEN DRY FILL TUBE-NO LEAKS- HALF WAY WITH RUSTOLEUM BBQ HI-TEMP PAINT, SHAKE, AND EMPTY INTO NEXT TUBE. REPEAT, AND THEN PAINT OUTSIDE. YOU CAN DILUTE THE BBQ STUFF WITH MINERAL SPIRITS ABOUT 2 OUNCES TO THE QUART, BUT NO MORE. DRY. LOOKS NICE, HARDENS THE TUBE, FIREPROOFS IT SLIGHTLY, AND YOU GAN GET AT LEAST 10/12 REUSES FROM EACH. SORRY ABOUT NOT BUYING TUBES FROM HARRY, BUT I DO DO SOME CHEM BUSINESS WITH HIM. BEST, BOB WEISS

  4. Robert says:

    Well, in this chain of film cannister shells, the 3rd of 3 flower potted, and the whistle mix “lift” got one of the ladies (I think it was Karen) to scream, which is always worthwhile: http://www.youtube.com/user/goodmaro#p/a/u/0/zv6Ru2mgCHQ

    But seriously, when it comes to intentional mines, I made them before I attempted aerial shells, and doing so improved my displays by giving me practice which I later used in shells, as well as impressing my audience at the time as the most spectacular item I’d made, also allowing me to quickly use the variety of stars I’d made. My attempts at micro mines (as per AFN article) failed, but a simple bag technique in a 1.75″ gun worked easily.

    Unfortunately my audiences tend to be too close for mines of considerable size to be worthwhile. Shells you can lift over their heads high enough for them to appreciate the break, but too close to a large mine you can’t appreciate it. At a greater distance, mines fill in the space of your “canvas” below the shells and comets, as the pros know, and they also can have a bit of surprise value.

    However, scaled down mines work when the audience is close. I include mine shots in my cakes of 5/8″ bottom fused guns. They’re not exactly micro mines because the stars are bigger than micro — say 3 or 4 cut stars per shot. I sometimes use such a mine shot as the first, top fused shot of a candle case, the remainder being comet or candle stars. Volleys of such shots keep a lot of stars in the air, without requiring as many cases as a candle battery.

    The simple mine bag technique is widely known but was first taught to me by someone at the short lived Long Is. Pyrotechnics Ass’n. We were making a few for a display for the Boy Scouts, and they were good “front” devices for a shoot that was mostly consumer works supplemented by some class B candles, blender comets, and our homemade devices, including whistling line rockets. I don’t recall whether we used any mines at a display for a bigger Boy Scout audience half a year later that was almost all B shells, but we could’ve and maybe should’ve.

    • ned says:

      You have a lot of nice “mine” experience, Robert.
      I’ve shot a Boy Scout show or two, as well..

      One interesting thing about mines, that is sometimes overlooked, is that they can be simple star-mines, right up through layered, more-complex combinations of stars and inserts.
      The cover of the most recent PGI Bulletin has a pair of beautiful competition mines going off, with gold-spark star-sprays topped off by a couple red-white shell inserts going off. Really pretty.
      Although one has to be careful about overloading a mine, different varied ingredients and effects can be included in them.
      I also think that mines are about the quickest and easiest devices to make in order to fill out a homemade display, and fill up that lower level of the sky.
      ned

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