Forums > Technical Discussion > Sparkley poi / staff: a new direction

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i8beefy2GOLD Member
674 posts
Location: Ohio, USA

I couldnt find anything really talking about this, and I want to try it and thought Id see if anyone had some experience to suggest...

Everyone knows about steel wool. I don't really care for it because it is so limited. I'd like a similar (but slightly more controlled) effect. I was thinking about fireworks. Namely fountains (I think). They essentially pump out sparks and noise for several minutes depending on size, and strapped to the ends of a staff or poi I think would be flipping awsome because of the color, and other effects built into them.

However, I havn't looked into them too much. They seem like they might be kinda large for these applications... Can anyone suggest some fireworks to look into?

Gnarly CraniumSILVER Member
186 posts
Location: San Francisco, USA

There are a few problems with trying to use fireworks.

Any fountain or whatever that would last 'several minutes' would be too large for such an application, even if you could find ones that didn't have lots of empty space in them to make them look bigger. 30 seconds might be about all you'd get from anything small enough.

The sparks coming out of fireworks are probably much hotter than the sparks from steel wool, which is already dangerous and unpleasant. Fireworks contain things like magnesium, which is so hot it'll continue burning even underwater. If you've ever had a sparkler accidentally thrown in your face, those sparks HURT.

Heavy use of fireworks also produces a lot of fumes which are probably much more toxic than what you get from kero.

It's illegal to use fireworks in any method other than that specified on the packaging-- which is usually to set it on pavement upright, light it, and quickly back away at least 10 feet. (They have this problem with sometimes not quite working right and exploding.)

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pricklyleafSILVER Member
with added berries
1,365 posts
Location: Manchester, England (UK)

I agree, If your looking for a more controlled effect fireworks are seriously not the way to go! Another thing adding to their danger is the fact they are designed to be stood upright and therefore have enough power to spurt out upwards, ie the sparks don't just fall out, they shoot out!. Dangerous enough if you've ever been near one when it's blown over and started firing at you but to have them tied to poi/staff and spinning in all different directions, guareenteing that a lot of the time they will be aiming straight for you they would cause serious damage. DON'T DO IT! devil devil devil

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ImmortalAngelSILVER Member
578 posts
Location: Waterloo, Ontario, Canada

Magnesium doesn't burn so hot it burns under water mate, it burns upon contact with water, and that's because it's a chemical reaction, like any of the elements on that side of the periodic table (Akali Metals and Akaline Earth Metals), that's just high school chemistry.

Beef, talk to Musashii about it, he has spun with fireworks before,
[Old link]
There's the link to the video of them performing with pyro technics, please don't try it at home.

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MikeIconGOLD Member
2,109 posts
Location: Philadelphia, PA - USA

Yeah, actually spinning fireworks is getting less rare these days. Aside from Musashi, might also wanna check out which is a rather large pyrotechnic performance company. It can definately be done, and be rather safe but you have to know what youre doing and there are special licenses for using the chemicals and such.

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LurchBRONZE Member
old hand
929 posts
Location: Oregon, USA

I think you're mixing magnesium and sodium ImmortalAngel.

Magnesium burns at ~5400 degrees Fahrenheit and reacts explosivly to water (while burning) because its hot enough to seperate the oxygen and the hydogren in the water. Throwing water on a magnesium fire is just adding an accelerant.

Sodium will react explosivly with water on contact, it doesnt have to be on fire though.

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i8beefy2GOLD Member
674 posts
Location: Ohio, USA

Thanks, Ill have a chat with mushashi... Though from what I see it seems like it may be more hassle than Im willing to throw at it. I just thought it would have a nice effect... never really thought about the fumes involved, etc. I wonder how much it would cost for the propper safety equipment... and what Id need to do to train for a pyrotechnics license in Ohio...

Off to do research.

ShuBRONZE Member
Retro Fyre Wizzard
538 posts
Location: Pietermaritzburg (KZN), South Africa


i find that using steel wool tends to look tacky and unprofessional during a performance... it also poses a greater fire hazzard than a WOW!

The best fireworks poi performance i know is with roman candles (expensive but the best to use).

1. You need a 10metre MINIMUM area to work with (a crowd does not appreciate being showered with sparks esp if their kids are there!
2. Use duct tape to tape the bottom end of the candle to avoid the explosives from shooting out the back end!
3. Remember that the "feel" is going to be very different from spinning a set of poi because the explosives are being projected out the end of the tube and towards your hand, so spin reletively quickly (and start spinning before the ignite)!

This creates a fantastic display of sparks, about 10ft worth (yes there is a diff between ft and meters) wink

if u place 2 ppl facing each other (+/- 5m apart) drop their heads (hair protection) and spion into each other (be aware you will get showered in sparks LOL's its fantastic)

these are my views... and exp. ideas!
i do not recomend this unless you're as crazy or crazier than me)!

Regards hug

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