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Forums > Technical Discussion > interesting idea for lighting wicks

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PyroTech


member
Location: Norwich, norfolk

Total posts: 8
Posted:hi a gentleman got in contact the other day, going by the name charles dolbel. he got me thinking on an idea. im an amateur pyrotechnitian and he asked if there was a way to light a staff, or clubs, or poi, or whatever you want to light with a wick, without holding it over the flames. i want to brainstorm this cos i have some ideas but i was wondeing if anyone has any brainwaves. I considered it and you need a powder that flares quick and hot. You can buy, quite cheaply, things called portfires from pro fireworks companys that do diy direworks for you to buy. just look in the phone book ander fireworks. Portfires are long card tubes filled with flare powder and have a way handle at the bottom. when lit they burn with a short blue flare thats quite hot. Now, the next bit is the naughty part. if you open one up you have a large amount of powder. if you warm your wicks up by lighting them in the usual way before a perfomance and use slightly warmed parafin or other fuel, then let them dry until their slightly damp. Then cover with the powder. the next part is the hard bit. I would suggest blackmatch, but thats not available to non trade so you need a hot burning fuse to wrap around the wicks on top of the powder and down to the grips, which would then be lit by hand in some manner.I havent tried this but if anyone can add some ideas to the last part i would be grateful------------------Embrace the power of firewith boths arms, then run screaming to the burns unit

Embrace the power of firewith boths arms, then run screaming to the burns unit

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adamrice


adamrice

poo-bah
Location: Austin TX USA

Total posts: 1015
Posted:A friend suggested it might be possible to do something using a model-rocket launcher and fuses for model-rocket engines.

Laugh while you can, monkey-boy

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Knagi


member
Location: Brunswick, Ohio

Total posts: 397
Posted:Model rockets!?? Damn Adam I'm supposed to be the insane one.
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Here's somethin alittle more convent and quite impressive... Now if I can only find the cash for it[URL=http://www.daytonamagic.com/Fire%20Magic/F13.htm#FLASH%20PAPER'S%20DELIGHT]------------------We are all in the cosmic movie. That means the day you die you watch your whole life repeating for eternity. So you'd better have some good things happen in there and have a fitting climax. --Jim MorrisonMost Memerable crowd saying "Hey look that dude's gonna set himself on fire again!"[This message has been edited by Knagi (edited 24 September 2001).]


We are all in the cosmic movie. That means the day you die you watch your whole life repeating for eternity. So you'd better have some good things happen in there and have a fitting climax. --Jim MorrisonIt's going to come from a direction you didn't predict at a moment of chaos which you didn't see coming. -- NYC

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woody


member
Location: Northampton, UK

Total posts: 99
Posted:I have thought about using rocket detonators. Last time I had some (years ago) they cost about 1 each. Can't remeber how much power they required, but the produced a nice flare that should be enought to light paraffin.Check your local model shop. The insulation on the wires melting is going to be a problem. The chain can be used as one conductor, however another wire is needed that is going to need to be capable of withstanding a bit of heat.The rocket detonators I used to get were about the size of an LED. I will get on the case and see what I can do.....Have fun!Woody

Luv and Lemons.WoodyMrs Jaypher said, 'It's saferIf you've lemons in your head;First to eat, a pound of meat,And then to go at once to bed.

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NYC


NYC

NYC
Location: NYC, NY, USA

Total posts: 9232
Posted:Wow, keep pushing the envelope guys! Lemme know if you actually get anything to light.

Well, shall we go?
Yes, let's go.
[They do not move.]

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Charles
BRONZE Member since Jun 2001

Charles

Corporate Circus Arts Entertainer
Location: Auckland

Total posts: 3989
Posted:Wow, I'm a gentleman! Well, it looks like I should have started this thread myself, rather than emailing Pyro directly...
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What inspired me to do this was the average movie, Miss Congeniality, where a girl had fire batons that lit themselves with a cool synced explosion.Certainly for my gigs and even for busking, I'd be prepared to pay upwards of $NZ10
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for each device if they could safely and effectively light at the same time. Biggest problem, if one of them doesn't light, it will make the audience that much harder to work with...There should be no problem with residue or wires if the devices come off after they've done their work. Should be no problem to pick them up after the performance.Pyro - is there any way of putting the powder you're talking about in a little packet? The fuse idea would look good if there was a medium sized explosion afterwards, but if there was just a gentle lighting, it mightbe a letdown to the audience. (anyone whose ever watched cartoon knows what happens when the fuse reaches the bomb!)Also, is there anyway of making a time delay, such as the fuse burning on the outside of the packet (wrapped around so it doesnt look like fuse, maybe just a glowing point ) before it ignites the internal powder?Finally, would it be easier to sync two fireworks or containers, rather than the staff itself. If so, I could hold the staff over the devices, until they flare simultaneously, which would look just as good and perhaps be easier to set up?I prefer things as simple as possible, especially for my performances, so I'll try to give everyone as many options as I can...Just a few thoughts...And thanks for the reply and starting the thread.------------------Charles (INFERNO)newdolbel@hotmail.comhttp://juggling.co.nz[This message has been edited by Charles (edited 24 September 2001).]


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Knagi


member
Location: Brunswick, Ohio

Total posts: 397
Posted:Heheh I watched that movie in slow motion at that part tryin to figure it out. You can see them cut the frame and I'm sure they are lit off camera. I think your best bet would be to get one of them magic fireballs and just use white gas so after the fireball magicly lights one end you can just drop your toy or pocket it might lose some of the drama if you do that though
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and grab the wick with your hand and trail it to the other side.


We are all in the cosmic movie. That means the day you die you watch your whole life repeating for eternity. So you'd better have some good things happen in there and have a fitting climax. --Jim MorrisonIt's going to come from a direction you didn't predict at a moment of chaos which you didn't see coming. -- NYC

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Code128


member
Location: Boston, MA USA

Total posts: 69
Posted:Hey everybody,Okay heres a few ideas as a former Magician. Well I suppose not former just no longer practicing. There is a device known as a hide, one of the common ones being a Thumb hide. This is basically a Fake Thumb that you can pull off (for stuffing silks into and out of) Anyway there is a special thumb that has a cleverly concealed Lighter inside of it for sparking things like flash paper. Maybe that could be useful.Another idea that occurs to me is what a guy I know installed on his truck. He has a very tuned engine that leaves a lot of extra fuel in the exhaust so about 10" back from the ends of each of his exhaust pipes he tapped a hole that receives an ignitor like you would use on a Gas Grill and that is then run back to his dash. When ever he likes he hits the button, sends a spark in to the exhaust pipes and gets 2 big jets of flame out the back of his truck. Not bad Ehh?Figure out how put an ignitor in your hand and make the spark catch flame and you in business, might be easier with a staff. Code128

------------------
A.N.T.H.E.L.I.O.N

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xaeda


xaeda

member
Location: Sydney, Australia

Total posts: 129
Posted:hi :-)Bear in mind this is based on somewhat limited pyrotechnic knowledge......i'm just throwing ideas around really.....please, nobody run off and try this shit without checking it out first! :-) hopefully Pyrotech will hop in and correct me if I'm wrong.Would it be possible to run electric ignition wires along the length of the staff, and have a well concealed battery pack and button in the middle (possibly hidden under handle padding)? I hope PyroTech can explain this better, I probably have the terminology all wrong, but I've worked with these fuses that are just thin wires, with a little blob at the end that has black powder or something in it........when the button is pressed the spark ignites the powder which then ignites whatever it's connected to (they're single use only, as the blob on the end pops). I'm not sure if these would light kero wicks alone, but surely they'd light kero wicks with the powder Pyro suggested on them? Or if you can't get that, perhaps flash paper? (I think my ex-flatmates in welly import it if you have trouble buying it here, charles)I have *no* idea about the safety of this, but in my mind, you could do a pretty cool effect.......just stand there, subtly press the button, and suddenly your staff bursts into flame! I don't know the exact requirements for pyrotechnic permits in NZ (you will probably need one but they might not be that hard to get for a small effect like this) but try Fireworks Professionals http://fireworks.co.nz.
They're a Christchurch company who supplied the pyrotechnics for the project I worked on (from the cauldron thread) and they can probably help you out. And let me know if you work anything out, I wanna play with explosives toooo! ;-)xaeda


the memories fire, the rhythm falls slow....

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adamrice


adamrice

poo-bah
Location: Austin TX USA

Total posts: 1015
Posted:That's very similar to the model-rocket launcher idea I had--launchers are basically battery packs that charge little fuses, which heat up from the electricity and start burning. You can probably get the gear at a good hobby shop.Rather than mount the battery pack on your equipment, you could also locate it on your body, with a breakaway connector to the equipment.And if kero wouldn't ignite, Coleman fuel (camping fuel) probably would. That lights up if you look at it crosseyed. You'd just need a brief dunk in that after whatever fuel you normally used.

Laugh while you can, monkey-boy

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PyroTech


member
Location: Norwich, norfolk

Total posts: 8
Posted:Wow!! hey you guys got my mind working with the rocket motors.Ok this will take some explaing but if anyone wants a diagram email me.madhouse@nutshell.netthis is based on a staff as thats my swingy thingyright, using a rocket detonator and the powder from either a rocket motor or a portfire(see original topic), or better a mixture of both, make a large platic bag(the length of your wick) of powder with a detonator set into it so that the contacts are on the outside and the rest of the bag is sealed. You can also use a mixture of weedkiller and sugar (for these and other pyrotechnical powders look on the web under anachists cookbook, homemade bombs etc)strap this packet onto your wick using plastic string or cotton, so that it will burn away quickly. Do this to the other. Make sure both wicks are facing towards the centre of the staff. Using a metal staff, cut a central section away and use to hold two sets of two aa batteries. These are then wired to a push switch. Take a length of stiff tubing that will fit tightly to your staff and slip over hold and fix(i havent got this part quite right IDEAS PLEASE!!)wires run from the switch to the detonators through the tube of the staff, coming into open air through a small hole close to each wick.these are then connected to detonators.with the bags on the bottom, when the switch is thrown the wicks should burst with a flash into flame.again this has not been tested, yet, so be careful if you wanna try it, especially with the powders as they can be very volatileIf people want me to think up a way to use this for poi or clubs then im sure i can come up with something, just write below. I have also been working on an idea for a flame throwing staff and other pyro goodies------------------Embrace the power of firewith boths arms, then run screaming to the burns unit

Embrace the power of firewith boths arms, then run screaming to the burns unit

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[({PoiToi})]


member


Total posts: 99
Posted:Hey.. I like this idea! As I spin poi it might be a little different but.. I used to do a lot of model rocketry and the igniter was simply a peice of wire with some black stuff at the end.(I have no idea what this is). There was leads that ran from a box.. it ran off of 2 AA batteries andyou connected these leads to the igniter and simply pushed the button and FLASH!
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Although it is a really quick ignitionand you would have to have a lot of that pyro powder around to make sure it lit. But as for disconnecting it, as soon as the igniter lit it broke into 2 pieces.. So you could have the box on tour body and I imagine yhe leads would just fall at your sides.. but then get tangled with poi??hmmm.. I think that flash paper idea might work, i'll try and see if i can get some to umm.. "experiment" with LOL
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(It's all in the name of science right?) But I will let you guys know what I find. PLURz Jon I.


---Formerly known as RaverRomantic---

AIM: RaverRomantic

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psychomonkey


member
Location: Kansas City, MO USA

Total posts: 148
Posted:I bet a stereo jack would work for the disconnecting bit. Have the male end on *short* cords, and the female end solidly mounted on wrist-nooses. With that set up, a qick jerk would disconnect them. -PSM------------------"One can only see what one observes, and one observes only things which are already in the mind."-Alphonse Bertillon

One can only see what one observes, and one observes only things which are already in the mind.-Alphonse Bertillon

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PyroTech


member
Location: Norwich, norfolk

Total posts: 8
Posted:This is comin along quite nicley.Ive been thinking about poi and you could run wires up the chains to the igniter on the packet of powder and have it secured there. the switches could be attached to the wrist loops and then disconnect from the loops, with the batterys on your belt for example so the wires run up your arms.I think thats right, i dont really know poi as i can't swing em for love nor money.keep brain stormin!------------------Embrace the power of firewith boths arms, then run screaming to the burns unit

Embrace the power of firewith boths arms, then run screaming to the burns unit

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Ithaca


member
Location: Bath UK

Total posts: 45
Posted:Rocket fuses are cheap, and light with four aa batteries in series. However the wire would wind up on the poi unless you had a swivel connector, which would look robust and not be 100% reliable....so why not soak your poi, roll them in flash paper or powder and then roll them in flint dust, then twat them together. Would look amazing, i wonder if it would work though?

------------------
errrm I intend to live forever, or at least die trying.
Voltaire

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Shouden-CrD
SILVER Member since Apr 2001

Veteran Member
Location: Tampa, FL, USA

Total posts: 495
Posted:So what about the rocket fuse, rather than connecting it near the poi head, have it attached 2-3" down the chain, possibly just dangling there..connected to a long fireworks fuse..which leads up to teh poi head, covered in firepowder or whatever(and pre soaked on coleman's)...that should light. :P *really interested in trying this out* heheCRD

-=razyRaverude=-

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Rolph


member
Location: Perth, Australia

Total posts: 22
Posted:I like the battery pack idea. If it was only AA batteries then it could all fit inside a hollow metal staff. All you need is some sort of resistor on the end that heats up.

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PyroTech


member
Location: Norwich, norfolk

Total posts: 8
Posted:Yeah a rocket ignighter.the wires would'nt catch if the length going to the ignighter is short and attatched firmly to the top so that it dosn't move. The wires would detach and the head could move freely.Ive also got ideas for flame throwers, fire balls and rocket staffs if anyones interested, though their a little more risky than this. They use the same sort of ideas though.

Embrace the power of firewith boths arms, then run screaming to the burns unit

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HappySticker


member
Location: Lubbock,TX

Total posts: 42
Posted:i dont know much about staff but with the poi i have, the tube core might be an excellent place for putting the rocket ignitor, i would bet it would light up pretty easily...and you wouldnt have to use the actual switch that comes with the rocket launcher as i remember them being about 2X3 inches....for this application you could use proably only one AAA battery with a smaller switch.may work....may not... just a thought

If you had a friend that was a tightrope walker, and you were walking down the street and he just fell over......that would be unacceptable.

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Cantus
SILVER Member since Jul 2001

Cantus

Tantamount to fatuity
Location: Down the road

Total posts: 15965
Posted:*Backs away slowly, so as not to startle the assembled LUNATICS!!!!!"------------------C@ntus

"I'll carry this....It's harder to spill a hat" - Chellybean
"...like a rabbit caught in a lighthouse?" - Chellybean

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Mark P
BRONZE Member since Oct 2001

Mark P

old hand
Location: Bath, England

Total posts: 1031
Posted:Right I like these ideas (be afraid I am sure to try something soon!)I think a better fuel than Kero/Paraffin would be Meths/Ethanol as these have a much lower flash point, thus they would be easier to light. Also there is the possiblity of colouring the flames with these fuels
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------------------Mark P (the mad chemist)


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Mark P
BRONZE Member since Oct 2001

Mark P

old hand
Location: Bath, England

Total posts: 1031
Posted:Some good and interesting ideas here people.Can I just make one suggestion...Using Kero/Paraffin is probably not too good a plan due to the difficulty to light (especially when it is as damn cold as it is at the moment). If you tried using an alcohol based fuel (meths/ethanol) then you would need a lot less energy to light the wicks (due to lower flash point).The only down side with this is the burn would not last for as long but on the up side this would open up the barriers for using coloured flames
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Hope this is of some help.------------------Mark P (the mad chemist)


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Whiffle Squeek


Whiffle Squeek

addict
Location: Hartford, CT USA

Total posts: 416
Posted:how would this work to light up, ecspecailly for staff. Say you secured a peice of flint to the staff near the wick, and then you had a ring fashioned out of steel, so then all you would need to do was strike your hand on the flint and a spark would jump and ignite the wick(which would be soaked of course), would that work, or is there something im missing? i just thought thatd would look good to an audience watching, just seeing the staff flare up when you hit it, almost like magic, but i dunno, maybe the spark wouldnt be enough to light the fuel, so yeah

Educate your self in the Hazards of Fire Breathing STAY SAFE!

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Knagi


member
Location: Brunswick, Ohio

Total posts: 397
Posted:fuel + flint = no sparksHey what about grill ingnitors? Would the non battery powered spark from one of them be enough to light a wick soaked in whitegas? If so it's so easy to do from there.

We are all in the cosmic movie. That means the day you die you watch your whole life repeating for eternity. So you'd better have some good things happen in there and have a fitting climax. --Jim MorrisonIt's going to come from a direction you didn't predict at a moment of chaos which you didn't see coming. -- NYC

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Bendy


member
Location: Adelaide, SA, Australia

Total posts: 750
Posted:Ok - now this may need to be edited depending on exactly how safe it is, but since y'all are talking about mini-rocket engines and electronic detonators, this might be a bit tame.Is it possible to put a bit of chlorine on the ground and a bit of brake fluid on the wick, and then smack em together without causing an explosion, but giving them enough time to react.You could be leaning on your staff in the pile/puddle of chlorine or brake fluid then all of a sudden your staff ignites itself.

Courage is the man who can stop after only one peanut

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GodlovinSponge


member
Location: Calgary, AB, Canada

Total posts: 125
Posted:I have an idea for a staff to light the problem is explaining it.....If you made a two piece staff that could twist in the middle, you could easily make a staff that could light at any time you want using the rocket pack idea.Putting the battery in the middle with only the + side connected to the rockets on both sides.. have the wires that connect to the other part of the rocket attached to the staff so that when you twist the staff, both wires will come in contact with the - side of the battery. At that point the connection should be finished and both rockets should fire at the same time. Then you can twist it back into the original place. This way its not noticable as much, and you can start it whenever you want. A neat idea would be to start with glow sticks wrapped around the staff, so the audience wouldnt expect a fire display.
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Man... Now I want to build this thing.. too bad Im flat broke, and dont have the talent to use fire.. ------------------May the fire of God burn its impression on your heart.


May the fire of God burn its impression on your heart.

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GodlovinSponge


member
Location: Calgary, AB, Canada

Total posts: 125
Posted:Looks like we got a bunch of ideas, and no one to prove us right or wrong. lol.I suppose we will have to test our ideas ourselves eh?Though, Im not sure if sparks are enough to light the white gas... But it might be.. maybe test a couple times on some soaked kevlar or something.. ------------------May the fire of God burn its impression on your heart.

May the fire of God burn its impression on your heart.

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GodlovinSponge


member
Location: Calgary, AB, Canada

Total posts: 125
Posted:Oh forgot to ask this... anyone know about how long a low powered model-rocket engine burns for? Cause I wouldnt want to burn through the kevlar if I ever did it.

May the fire of God burn its impression on your heart.

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kmactane


member
Location: San Francisco, CA, USA

Total posts: 97
Posted:From my hazy memories of model rocketry as a boy, model rocket engines burn for about two or three seconds. They're really fast.However, note that there's a big difference between model rocket engines and model rocket igniters. The igniter is a little teensy blob on the end of a V-shaped metal wire, which you insert in the hole at the bottom of the engine. When you run a sufficient current through the igniter, it sizzles for... maybe a half-second? -- at a very high temperature. This is what starts the engine going.The engine, in turn, is a little cardboard cylinder. They come in various lengths and diameters, but in general, we're looking at roughly the size of the cardboard tube inside a roll of toilet paper, or smaller. (Sometimes much smaller.)The engine is probably not what you want to use. They're designed to put out thrust, not heat or light. So one of those will attempt to kick the staff (or other toy) out of your hand. It probably won't succeed, but honestly, if your major goal is to ignite some fuel, I'd recommend just using the igniter. It's smaller, hence easier to conceal, and is better designed for the task at hand anyway.(The other possibel problem is, I seem to recall those igniters want a lot of current -- you don't power these things off a watch battery. The one I was using for my starter-kit rocket required a 6 volt battery -- a big, clunky thing that you could not really conceal on or in a staff without throwing the weight off in a serious way.

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GodlovinSponge


member
Location: Calgary, AB, Canada

Total posts: 125
Posted:Hmmm yea.. thats true..Then again.. were only looking for one zap right.. so... *ponders for a sec*how about regular batteries that go through a coil to generate more volts? *is that right? I think thats what the coil does*you could have two smaller batteries do the work of a bigger one that way.. and as long as you have them near the middle and equal on both sides.. it probably wouldnt be a problem.------------------May the fire of God burn its impression on your heart.

May the fire of God burn its impression on your heart.

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kmactane


member
Location: San Francisco, CA, USA

Total posts: 97
Posted:You're basically talking about a transformer. These can be pretty small, if they're not going to have to handle much current, so that might be possible. But the way they work is by essentially trading voltage for amperage (current). If you double the voltage, you halve the current.I don't know what amperage the average watch battery puts out, and I'm not sure what the minimum amperage requirement on a mdoel rocket igniter is, either. So, your transformer idea might work, or it might result in nothing happening.

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