Step 3: Build the supply system

In this project, I assume a basic knowledge of plumbing and working with pipe and fittings. The pictures provided, combined with the fuel system diagrams and bill of materials, should be more than enough to go about making your own system. If you have any questions about how something goes together, just leave a comment and I'll get back to you ASAP!

In this step, we'll assemble the propane supply system, which is responsible for taking high pressure propane from our supply tanks, regulating it down to a lower pressure, and storing it to be used by our flame effects.

When doing any plumbing with a flammable gas, it is especially important to make sure that each joint is sealed with properly-applied hydrocarbon-rated Teflon tape and that your system has zero leaks in it.

I used three 20# tanks with individual shutoffs chained to manifold with a pressure gauge. The gas then passes through an adjustable 50-135psi propane regulator and into the buffer tank, which has a second pressure gauge attached to it. The gas is fed through a ball valve and into a quick-disconnect coupler to make its way to the main accumulator tank.

A commonly-asked question: why did I use three 20# tanks instead of one big one? The reason for this is simply that it's all I had on hand - of course, a single 100# tank for the supply would have been optimal, but at the time all I had on hand were three 20# tanks. Using a single 100# tank would also cut down on the number of fittings required for the supply system, as you wouldn't need to run individual lines to each tank.

A note about using copper tubing to connect each tank: the copper refrigeration tubing is rated for pressures well above what you'll ever see in a propane system. However, copper tubing is very sensitive to repeated flexing of the line. Flexed enough, the copper will be weakened significantly and can and will break, releasing high pressure propane everywhere until the excess flow-limiting valve on the 20# tank kicks in. If you're using a 100# tank, you won't have this luxury. Ideally, you'd use high pressure propane-rated hose to connect each tank, although the ideal system wouldn't be using little propane tanks like this. Just be sure to limit motion of the copper tubing during use.
<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 !

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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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