How do you make a great fireworks display and, most importantly, a safe one?
This is NOT the way you want your fireworks set up:
Not Secured, single zip tie on fuses, not on a stable surface, to close together
This is how it should be done to ensure a fun & safe show:
All pieces glued & taped down, 3 zip ties per fuse & metal taped, flat & protected surface, spaced correctly
Now we’ll show you how to get it done…
There are several different types of fuses. These come in packages varying between 17 and 20 feet in length. Most of the time you cannot find fuse at firework stands or warehouses because they do not want to be responsible for people modifying their fireworks by fusing on their own. We buy fuse by the case from wholesale fireworks distributor.
Burns at 21 seconds per foot
Excellent for long periods of time you need between pieces.
Be careful that you don’t create too long of a piece and create a dead space in your show.
Burns at 10 seconds per foot
This is the fuse we use the most. It burns very reliably for all of our displays.
10 seconds per foot is the (excuse the pun) perfect timing in most cases.
Burns at .06 seconds per foot
This is VERY VERY fast fuse and can be very dangerous if you aren’t careful.
Ensure that you have plenty of distance from the fuse.
Put your pyro on a flat, even surface. In this case we’ve placed it on a piece of cardboard but in “real life” we would attach it to much thicker cardboard which is screwed to a pallet or door. These make excellent platforms for creating firework “boards”.
Take a pen or Sharpie and draw on the cardboard around the edge of the piece. This creates a guide for where your piece will lay out and where the Locktite will go.
The next step, and an important one, is to secure your pieces to the board.
The first thing you need to do is to use some form of liquid nails. You can apply it to the bottom of the actual piece or on the board. We use Loctite PowerGrab exclusively. It holds great, is easy to use, and cleans up well.
Next you will use metal tape. This is used for heating ducts and can withstand temperatures up to 300 degrees. There are several on the market but we use Ace Hardware brand. It is more expensive than some others but is much easier to remove the backing from than others we have used (personal tip: 3M tape is VERY difficult to separate from the backing. Very frustrating to work with!).
Rip pieces in the length of the firework you are laying down. Place it evenly along the bottom of the piece. This will hold the firework firmly on the bottom.
Remember that most fireworks have their concussive (or lift) charges on the bottom so that’s where the force is. It will also be the place where the more likely “bottom outs” (when the piece fires downward instead of upward) could happen. The tape also helps when you have fuses crossing it on the board because it will not allow the heat from one fuse to accidentally light another.
Hayley & Riley are demonstrating how strong of a hold PowerGrab & Metal Tape have on your fireworks:
This is a 500 gram cake secured to a very flimsy piece of cardboard and it’s able to be hung upside down. The PowerGrab & Metal tape work great together for ensuring your fireworks are secured down and won’t tip over or “bottom out”(which is when a firework discharges downward instead of upward).
Next step… Zip it!
Zipties are your best friend when it comes to safety & fireworks. We use several different sizes and colors. Yellow is the color we use the most because we can see it against red, green or white fuse. This helps us see if one slips.
Next we zip tie the fuse of the piece to a piece of our own fuse. Remember to consider the speed at which the fuse burns when you’re making your set up.
Next apply 1 or 2 more zip ties & snip them off to make the connection as clean as possible. Don’t just use 1 tie-if you have multiple pieces one board the fuse could come disconnected.
Lastly, wrap the fuse connection in metal tape. You don’t have to make this wrap tight. It’s there for added security and to keep the heat inside so that the fuses can catch each other.
And the final product- 2 pieces secured and fused. The Fireworks Fiesta (left) is fused with Quick Fuse & the Crazy Commander is set up with Perfect Fuse.
Now that your individual pieces are fused it’s time to run them together…
We’re taking the fuse from each and putting them together so that we can use one lead fuse (of Perfect Fuse) to ignite both pieces. Make sure to have plenty of fuse overlap (see left pic) so that the fuses have plenty of time to ignite each other.
Decide where your fuse will start. In this case the fuse will start on the far left of our board. Pin the fuse down with the metal tape. Make sure you’ve taken the time to plan out where your fuse line will go & how much of it you’ll use.
Follow the path of the fuse and use the metal tape along the way. There will be places where the fuse will come out (see the pink fuse in the photo above) but don’t worry about it. We’ll do something about that later.
Make sure that you have enough space to lay out your planned length of fuse. Tape it down with the metal tape so you have a controlled burn as things “heat up”.
Remember we talked about those areas that you can’t tape a fuse down to? This is how we can help prevent things from burning where we don’t want them to: put a piece of metal tape on the side to keep sparks and heat away from the piece.
That’s it… our project is done and our pyro is set up and ready to go!
We now have two pieces ready to go together with the timing we planned. Everything is safely planned and secured. So go fire it up!
Enjoy! Have Fun!
DISCLAIMER: Pyrotechnics are dangerous, even for experienced shooters. Johnsons Christmas Corner is not responsible for direct, indirect, incidental or consequential damages resulting from any defect, error or failure to perform. This content is shared for informational purposes only.