Fireworks Igniter

Picture of Fireworks Igniter
These electronic igniters will reliably light any firework with a fuse on it. They are designed to use in conjunction with my Fireworks Controller, but can be used with any electronic controller that you may have built already, or even any 12v battery. They are relatively simple to construct and are made of common materials already available in your house or at a local hardware store. You don't need nichrome wire to construct these igniters.

Use these igniters ONLY IF:
  • It is legal to launch fireworks where you live
  • You are using factory/store bought fireworks
  • You are far away from dry grass
  • The launching area around the fireworks is clear
  • There are adequate safety features on your controller to reduce the chance of an accidental detonation while connecting the igniters

The author (Systemf92) is not responsible for any accident, damage, legal trouble, encounter with law enforecement or death that may occur from the use of these electronic firework igniters. Use at your own risk.
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Step 1: Acquire your materials

The parts you will need shouldn't be to hard to find, if you don't have them around your house, then your local hardware store should carry them.

Parts Needed

  • Any small gauge insulated hookup wire, stranded or solid, around 20-24AWG (Size doesn't matter that much, as long as the gauge is not smaller than the steel wool you will be using. You will need about 6" per igniter.)
  • Matches, one per igniter
  • Electrical tape
  • Grade #3 steel wool (commonly used to remove paint and clean engines)

Tools Needed

  • Scissors (or teeth, for cutting electrical tape)
  • Wire strippers (if you don't have any, try using scissors)

Step 2: Tape wires to the match

First, cut two 3" pieces of wire for your igniter. Strip about 1/2" off of each end. Line up the wires on both sides of a match, with one end of the stripped wires lined up with the match head. Wrap electrical tape around both wires and the match to hold them in place. Make sure they have stayed on opposite sides of the match after you tape them to it. See the second picture below for the placement of these wires.
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Raydoom4 years ago
nice Igniter , How many volts did you use ?
jelimoore Raydoom3 months ago

You can use anywhere from 3 volts (not out of an Arduino, or other microcintroller) up, but I wouldn't recommend AC current

systemf92 (author)  Raydoom4 years ago
im37332 years ago
Theoretically, one could use several strands of a much finer grade of steel wool, like 00 or 000, since you can light 0000 with a normal match and it will smolder itself to oblivion, theoretically, using something a little thicker would both have the advantage of increased resistance, meaning more heat, and being burned up by the lit match. This would decrease the likelihood of a fired channel showing up as unfired on the box.
Jerimiah405 years ago
How would you recommend attaching this to the actual firework?
systemf92 (author)  Jerimiah405 years ago
I dont have a very secure way of doing this right now, but what has always worked for me is to just lean the match head directly on the fuse or slightly below it. The ignition wire I have running from the board to the ignitor is also thick enough to bend roughly into a position and stay there to ignite the fuse. I have also thought of using something like a paperclip to hold the ignitor to the fuse, you might try that.
Have a bit (~1 inch) of steel wool hanging off. Then wrap it around the fuse.
systemf92 (author)  bowmaster5 years ago
ahh, now we're talking. good idea
If you wrap a 1in. pice of fuse to the match win you wrap the match head with steel wool you can tape the fuses together
would a rubber band wrapped around the fuse and ignitor a couple times work?
if it is a rocket, attach a small piece of metal to the firing tube (the thing you stick in the ground) then attach assembly to that, and put fuse in position. i think this will work fine
i made this and tried it with a fuse and it worked fine. it took about 1 sec longer but it worked
static4 years ago
An interesting approach, but here I would think the breeze would blow out the match before it lit the fuse.
i find a small amount of something flammable such as aftershave or deodorant works really well to prevent that.
systemf92 (author)  rrrmanion2 years ago
will give this a try - thanks
kscience3 years ago
actually- a dipped tantalum capacitor, wired reverse polarity will ignite nicely from a 12v gel cell; it will also stay lit, as I found out once on a project that was not supposed to ignite. :P
systemf92 (author)  kscience2 years ago
I've heard a little bit about this method - definitely need to give it a try! Uh oh! haha
another way to do this is to take the wire setup and place it on a piece of celophane pour a SMALL amount of BP on it and cover with duct tape leaving some of the sticky part over the plastic so you can tape it to the explosive device
BP would be?

Bryan "clueless" Paschke
Black Powder context that makes sense....should have been able to figure it out. Thanks.

Bryan "truly clueless" Paschke
British Petroleum? do you soak it in gas?
why dont you just let the wires arc?
The power supply would have to be too high a voltage. That would preclude using a regular 12v battery as the power supply.
riverreaper3 years ago
so it works like a taoster ? that seems like you couldent have a timed show very well , what if you just went to the goodwill an bought some old cheep toaster took it apart sthech the heat coils out to form a line use a bit of sotch tape to hold fues to it sat back at the house with the ectetion cord an pluger it in lol
BlueFusion3 years ago
This seems to be remarkably familiar to my (very old and poorly made) instructable from 4 years ago :)
Except yours is more complex. I've made some changes to my design - maybe I should republish!
Nice work though.
emmick43 years ago
wouldn't it be easier to simply put the fuse where the match head is?
systemf92 (author)  emmick43 years ago
From what I tried, just the heat of the wires was not enough to ignite the fireworks fuses, it needed actual flame. If you play around with it some more, you might get it to work though!
PyromanX4 years ago
How about sticking the end of this in a wire nut, then twist the fuse up in there too?Is it too big?
i think that might work with the right sized nut,
Get some of those model rocket ignites
i am having troble ignighting the match head using a 12 v battery from my switch bord any sugestions?
i have a suggestion dont use alot of steelwool it will not heat up and glow to the point where the match catches fire
i am only using one strand of steel wool and it seems that there isnt enought currant flowing through the 15ft wire to heat up a copper fillament i use instead of steel wool
Thanks systemf92 for the awesome tutorial i included your idea in this project i made called the ultimate detonator : )
Cool idea. and I applaud your use of common household items. I've seen a few tutorials on different ignitors but most call for nichrome wire or flash powder(or both!), but this is nice, simple, cheap and readily available.
stocky4 years ago
Could you use Fuse wire instead of cotton wool as a love amp one with a car battery or any high current battery would result in constant fires, you could also use different thickness/current wire depending on how long you want the heat to last.
supernoeva4 years ago
I know it's more expensive, but wouldn't nitinol wire be reusable and more consistent than the steel wool? This is the stuff I am talking about, and when it shorten from the heat it'll break the circuit.
y uses aligator clips y not use longer wire? and im trying to rig aton of them together do u have any suggestions
A longer wire can only be used once before it has to be rewound/taped with the alligator clips, he can have one long wire that fires as many igniters as he wants to make. It is kind of like making a new gun every time you fire a bullet. Replacing as few parts as possible makes it cheaper and faster!
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