So, long ago I  had read about propane fire poofers. They're pretty cool... I mean, who doesn't love fire?! But, no matter how awesome, they could get pretty boring after a while of seeing the same large fireball. I never built one because I wanted something that would be exciting and thrilling every time I fired it up. So, I put the project on hold until I could come up with an awesome idea.

Back in December 2010, I was daydreaming in class about who knows what, when I thought of my fire poofer project. I thought back to this project I had read about a while back on Mikey Sklar's website where he uses an ultrasonic sensor mounted underneath a trampoline to shoot off a fireball every time someone jumps. This is pretty sweet, but it has the potential to get pretty repetitive. After a few hundred jumps, I would imagine I would get tired of seeing the same small fireball and crave something more. (besides, I don't own a trampoline!) I tried to think of ways I could apply a fireball shooter to things in ways that would be pretty awesome. I thought of using a microcontroller to sync the fire to the beat of music - now that would be pretty cool, and the patterns would always be different, so it wouldn't get as boring as fast. Then I thought of the game Guitar Hero, which uses five frets, and I had my idea! Simply interface a Guitar Hero controller to a microcontroller that would power some relays which would in turn fire off solenoid valves on five individual fire poofers! Now this could be cool; a large fire "sculpture" that is playable by anybody. Read on to see how I turned this idea into reality in a week's time!

I figure this is as good a place as any to place a disclaimer about my project. FireHero uses controlled blasts of propane gas to create pyrotechnic flame effects. DO NOT EVEN THINK OF ATTEMPTING THIS PROJECT UNLESS YOU ARE FULLY QUALIFIED AND FEEL COMFORTABLE WORKING WITH EXPLOSIVE GASSES, HIGH PRESSURES, ELECTRICITY, AND OTHER THINGS THAT CAN KILL YOU IF YOU DO NOT KNOW WHAT YOU ARE DOING.

Step 1: Acquire Necessary Parts and Materials

The project is broken down into three major sections: propane supply, propane distribution and ignition, and electronics/software.

Much of the project uses common steel or brass NPT pipe and fittings. You may already have many of the parts you'll need lying around, and the rest can be found at your local Home Depot. To duplicate this project exactly you'll need to get the parts listed below:

Propane Supply
- POL x 1/4" male NPT full-bore adapter (3)
- 1/4" FNPTx1/4" flare fitting (3)
- 1/4" MNPTx1/4" flare fitting (3)
- 1/4" flare nut (3)
- 1/4" copper refrigeration tubing
- 1/4" NPT ball balve (4)
- 1/4" NPT tee (5)
- 1/4" NPT close nipple (9)
- 1/4"x6" nipple (3)
- 1/4" FNPT quick disconnect coupling
- Fisher 67C high flow 55-135psi regulator
- 1/4" NPT 150psi pressure guage (2)
- 1/4" NPT 90 degree elbow

Propane Distribution and Flame Effects
- 1/4" ball valve (2)
- 1/4" quick disconnect coupling
- 1/4" NPT tee (5)
- 1/4" NPT 90 degree elbow
- 1/4" needle valve
- 1/4" MNPTx1/4" flare fitting (5)
- 1/4" close nipple (8)
- 1/4" x2" nipple (6)
- 3/4"x1/4" bushing
- 3/4" ball valve (2)
- 3/4" NPT tee
- 3/4" NPT close nipple
- 3/4"x2" nipple (2)
- 3/4"x3/8" reducing bushing
- 3/8" tee (4)
- 3/8" NPT 90 degree elbow (2)
- 3/8"x6" nipple (3)
- 3/8"x4" nipple
- 3/8"x1/4" reducing bushing
- 1/4" NPT 150psi 12v solenoid valve (5) (the valve's diaphragm material should be propane-compatible, such as Nitrile or Viton)
- 1/4"x6" nipple (5)
- 1/4" flare nut (5)
- 1/4" copper refrigeration tubing
- 25'+ high pressure propane-rated hose w/ male quick disconnect fittings at each end

- Arduino microcontroller (Uno or Duemilanove will work)
- 5v relay (5)
- 2N222 transistor (5)
- 1A blocking diode (5)
- breadboard and jumper wires
- Playstation 1 or 2 controller breakout (I ripped one out of an old PS1)
- Guitar hero controller
- Terminal blocks

Miscellaneous parts
- 12v battery
- computer with monitor and speakers
- Propane-rated Teflon tape (you'll probably need several rolls)
- 18AWG or higher wire (at least enough for 6x the distance you plan to be from the flame device while it's operating)

**Note that depending on how you plan on supplying propane, this parts list may change slightly. This will be explained in more detail in the next few steps.**
<p>You sir are a hero</p>
<p>DAMN!!!! amazing and funny at the same time</p>
<p>OMFG!!! I want one of these for my back yard soooooo bad.</p>
would be amazing would adapt this system to each instrument in rock band, sorry for the english :)
I have an upcoming project that does exactly that - except it can also interface to real live instruments! It's codenamed Project Vulcan and I've been working on it for over a year - stay tuned to see its release soon!&nbsp;<br> <p> <img alt="Photorealistic Rendering of project Vulcan" border="0" src="http://www.chrismarion.net/images/stories/test5.jpg" style="border: 0.0pt none;" width="400"></p>
<p>We are waiting to see that! Quite cool stuff.</p>
That thing looks almost like a target at a shooting range... <br>Although come to think of it, that might actually be cool, if you could figure out a way to do it safely. Also, pyrotechnic pinball?
Your guitar hero project, as well as Project Vulcan are both absolutely awesome applications of fire and audio - great job. Can't wait to see it published and entered into one of our contests! Congratulations.
that would be awesome!
<p>I love it!</p>
Hi, just a quick question: why is it necessary to remove the valve on the accumulator tank? Would it not simply be possible to obtain an unregulated adapter, say a POL to 1/2&quot; screw-in fitting, and attach the accumulator to the system like that? That way, you don't have to go through the tough job of busting the valve off, plus you can then reuse that tank as a normal propane cylinder if you took it out of your project...
I love guitar hero so that makes this project even more awesome!! Very nice work.
Very Sweet!
This is amazing! I can't wait to see the full video of Through the Fire and the Flames.
Very cool! Wow I want to build one of these for sure! :)
really awesome, we need to combine this with the wii kart and really create something ridiculous! we were think about figuring out how to shoot turtle shells and bananas...but this is more our style! <br> <br>nice work!
The videos just make me smile. Such an awesome project. You are deserving of the win. Looking forward to seeing your next project.
Wait until I Pick up my jaw of the floor...AWESOME PROJECT!!...Me quiero volver Chango!!!!
I saw a large version of this at a regional Burning Man event, Playa Del Fuego. The whole thing was like a big pipe organ and the game was projected in front of the pipes. Needless to say, it was quite epic.
Great idea, innovative. You write and think very clearly, especially for a younger person. Where did you get the solenoids and how much did you pay for them? They are probably the most expensive single parts.
Thanks, the solenoids I used are from STC Valves, part # 2W035-1/4. They are around $32 each.
You mounted on top of the propane tank; looks like it.<br>THAT is really stupid and dangerous..<br>Get a backfire and boom.<br>You blow up..<br>Not to mention the tremendous heat coming that close from the fire balls...<br>Use a high pressure propane hose at least 50 feet long and shield the tank.<br>Another thing Flame thrower unless you some how get a license the law will come and arrest you.
@menahunie - If you read the instructable you'll see that the tank which the flame effects are mounted on is simply an accumulator tank, not a supply tank. Furthermore, there is zero chance of a backfire occurring as long as the system is filled completely with propane vapor, as it will be during normal operation. Believe it or not, propane is actually extremely hard to ignite. Its range of flammability is from around 2.1% to 10.1% - meaning that if there is a mixture consisting of over 10.1% propane gas it will not sustain a flame. Since the operating pressure of my system is several times that of atmospheric pressure, this condition will always hold true and there is actually very little risk. In addition, I specify the additional step of pre-purging the entire system with an inert gas such as CO2 to completely eliminate any explosion or fire hazard. <br><br>The heat generated from the flames largely tends to radiate more in an outwards direction rather than downwards. This, in combination with a steady influx of large volumes of cold propane, means that even after an hour of operation the surface of the accumulator tank is hardly warm to the touch. <br><br>In addition, you hardly need a Flame Effect Operator's license to operate a small propane-fueled pyrotechnic device on your own time on private property. You won't be arrested for building one of these, and you won't be arrested for playing with it in your back yard (although I can't speak for largely populated areas). The only time you can really get into trouble for something like this is if it becomes a public show - at this point you will need to obtain the proper licenses and permits. The device must be built to satisfy the NFPA 160 standards, which will also need to be inspected by your local fire marshall. If you'd like more details on what is required to show something like this as a public display, feel free to message me for more details.<br><br>I don't attempt any project like this until I'm positive that I can do it safely - I enjoy doing this stuff and learning and I want to make sure that I'm around to do more of it next time! :)
Truly imaginative and very clever, also looks like tons of fun!
yes great ideas you could use fireworks ideas with mineral/metal powders or angle grinders and metal like copper,etc for different colours to burn in flames
There is another good reason for using 3 tanks rather than one and that is take off rate/freezing. multiple tanks allow you to take off more gas gas quicker and it takes longer before they start freezing (the vapour is boiling off from a much larger surface area of liquid gas). As you point out you have to be careful with copper, personally I'd use flexi armoured propane hoses, you can get them with the POL connector already on them (at least you can in the UK) as they are intended for manifolding cylinders in this way and generally they aren't that expensive. http://www.bes.co.uk/products/067.asp
Thats awesome! Since this deals with fire, you should do either through the fire and flames or fight fire with fire. Then make a second one and have guitar battles with someone!!!!!!!!!!
Thanks! I actually did Through The Fire and Flames with the second version of FireHero - you can see some of it in the preview in the last step. Since there was no way I could play that song perfectly by myself (I know it can be done, but not by me or anyone else I know), I built a complete control system that automated the playing by utilizing the MIDI protocol. I basically turned FireHero into a MIDI instrument, and it can play itself with perfect computerized precision. <br><br>I was saving the videos of FireHero 2 playing TTFAM for a huge release of something else that I'm working on, but I'm considering releasing them now :) <br><br>And &quot;FireHero: VS&quot; is on the horizon - which will feature two FireHero systems played simultaneously in battle mode.. of course shooting additional flames from whoever is winning!
That would make guitar hero so much more fun than just sitting in your room bored for about an hour just playing some songs. With that I would turn about 1 hour into at least 2-3!!! I can't get TTFAF 100% on expert either but I can survive it and thats good enough for me. You could also use it to cook some hot dogs or something for after you're done playing.
Well done. What are you qualified in?<br><br><br>DRH1469
Thanks, feel free to check out my website, where you'll find my resume listing all of my skills and qualifications: www.chrismarion.net.
After seeing something similar done with twenty hot air balloons I was thinking about something like this. Never would it have occurred to me to use guitar hero in it. Inspired piece of madness :)
I saw this done at Burning Man last year! They had a big tv screen in front of it also so you could see the game as well as the flames. It was the first thing we could see from the road, about a mile away.
This is a great project. But here's an idea for a future one- different gasses. different gasses burn at different colors. So y not have a different gas for each color on the guitar hero controller? Preferably the same color of flame for the button.
I believe you have won the extreme challenge.<br>
Simply put, Rock on! You got my vote.
Thanks!! You, sir, are awesome.
Really awesome job!! <br>This could be a good business for parties eheh something like renting it, to be used in private parties!<br><br>I'm pretty sure it would be success !!<br><br>regards Taimur
Thanks for the kind words, everybody! I've entered this instructable in the Extreme Challenge, the Arduino Challenge, and the Game.Life 2 Challenge. If you like this instructable, please consider voting for it in any or all of the above! <br><br>@Taimur - I've since come up with FireHero 2, which I plan on making available for renting out to parties and other events. If anyone would like to have FireHero featured at their private event, they can send an email to booking [at] chrismarion.net.
I check your site in your profile and noticed you already release some info for to appear in some events ;)
Wow ! Great job man !

About This Instructable




Bio: I'm Chris Marion, an 18-year-old kid fresh out of high school and full of ideas, ready to make his impact on the world. I ... More »
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