I've seen several methods to make cannon fuse; some professional grade, some DIY. Of all of these methods even the DIY ones often require materials that aren't easily obtained such as gun powder. As is always my way, here I showcase an incredibly simple method for making truly homemade cannon fuse without all the fuss and expense. 

Step 1: Materials

As always I try to make instructables with truly household items so the following materials should all be readily available.


2: Pliers. They will be used to remove the match heads from the wooden sticks. It is your preference as to needle nose or not.
3: Container(sealable): I have pictured a film canister and a small chemical bottle from an old chemistry kit, its again your preference as to the type of container.
4: Grinder. I use a micro mortar and pestle which are ideal, however any device that can safely grind the material to a fine mesh is suitable as long as little to no heat is generated. So a coffee grinder IS NOT safe as the heat generated can cause a small explosion.
5: String. As it's been a while since I have made these I no longer remember which material the string I used was. As it will be coated in a propellant the base material does not have to be highly flammable, however WOOL IS NON FLAMMABLE and as such should be avoided. 
6: Stirrer. I use a match stick and a pocket clip from a pen, but really anything will work. 
7: Mixing Bowl. Any small bowl will work so its up to you as far as material and size, but smaller is usually better depending on the batch size.
8: Water/Alcohol. Yes there is a reason there was a shot glass in the picture. A solvent will be needed, either water or rubbing alcohol. both will work but rubbing alcohol has the advantage of evaporating more quickly.
9: Optional-- Funnel. Just to make it easier to pour out the ground powder into the container for storage.
So black powder should work as well if not better than match powder?
Im glad i got extra matches. The second pic is a whole box of matches (32). The battery is a double AA battery. The third pic is three boxes worth of match igniter stuff, and as you can see, its not much. The 4th pic was after i ground it, and that is a 8 once cup, so now you can really see how little there is, although i did lose a bit to the m&p. i might have added to much alcohol (i really hope not) but i did fully coat a three foot(ish) string, and another shorter one that i didnt measure. when its dry, i'll see how it works.
i did in fact make the mix to thin. all my "fuse" did was smolder, unless i held it so the flame was moving up. im trying again with 5 boxes worth, and im going to be more carefull with the alcohol.
Pic one doesnt really do the differnece of 5 boxes justice. pic two is better. pic three is the powder after i added a little alcohol. its probably about the consistency of loose clay. what i did this time was put in the string, and kept adding a little alcohol while mashing it untill i was happy. its kinda hard to tell from the 4th pic, i tried it with the flash on this time, but theres a color difference (its actually red instead of pinkish red) and its heavier, and theres very little residue this time. so i do believe i have about 30 or so inches of useable fuse. i'll update (possibly for the last time) if it works.
Grumble grumble. Tomorrow ill try two coats, each with 5 boxes. and its possible i didnt quite grind it fine enough this time. Im also wondering if this would any better with a bit of black powder thrown in? i dont really want it to burn fast, but its rather labour intensive to grind all this, and im pratically a drooling zombie from all the match head removing. any thoughts? <br>P.s.i have all the individual componets for black powder, if you think a specific componet will help.
<p>If you have black powder then absolutely use that instead. The only reason i used match heads was so that anyone in any country could make these fuses without access to black powder. Additionally, if you have the base components, I seem to recall that soaking a 100% cotton string in potassium nitrate solution would yield very good results, though its been a while since I've researched the topic. </p>
When I used to do this if be using the boxes of 100+ matches and would go through quite a few. Good luck with your fuse, for the amount it looks like you might be ok, though if not, an extra coat should help.
im sticking to 3 feet(or less) at a time. since three boxes smoldered, im thinking 5 boxes will work better. Do you remember how many boxes you used?
Sorry, it's been a long time. I used to literally just grind up an entire box of 100+matches at a time and store them for another day when I'd make my fuse.
I might try this for the sake of experimentation and exploration of knowledge
<p>It's a great little project to get your feet wet in the pyrotechnics world. Also just a fun weekend project.</p>
has anyone tried coating the finished product with a wax to ad moisture resistance and a more predictable burntime
If I remember correctly, I did try coating in candle wax to provide moisture resistance. I don't believe it worked very well. Now, this could simply be because that particular batch may not have had a heavy enough coating of the match heads, because theoretically this concept should work. If you try it yourself, I'd recommend possibly double coating the string with match heads before dipping in wax.
I might try this for the sake of experimentation and exploration of knowledge
<p>this works great:)</p>
<p>Thanks :) Glad I could help.</p>
<p>Use blackpowder instead of match head chemical so no need to grinding.</p>
<p>I have, and it works wonderfully, though the purpose off this was to show people how to make fuses with only what they have in their home. Black powder isnt very easy for most people to get, matches on the other hand are easily accesaable and very cheap. </p>
<p>If your in the UK might be easier just to buy some visco fuse... check <a href="http://viscofuse.co.uk" rel="nofollow">viscofuse.co.uk</a></p>
<p>jo bro question i have a cannon with a extrem small fuse hole can u make a tuto on how to make a very thin fuse?</p>
<p><iframe allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="281" src="//www.youtube.com/embed/HZbafj0s8gQ" width="500"></iframe></p><p>this make ultra fine fuses, hope it helps ;-)</p>
can you wax coat the fuse to provide it with protection against moisture?
I actually was wondering that myself but haven't gotten around to testing it. In theory it would work but if you we're to try I would recommend double if not tripple coating the string with propellant before adding wax. A single coat of propellant is enough for a standard fuse but might not have enough power for it to be coated in wax. If you do try I'd love to hear your reults.
or try mixing some of your propellant into the wax so even the wax layer will help the fuse to burn hotter. just a thought.
That's also a very interesting idea I haven't thought of. I'll have to whip up a batch one of these days. I'll try to get some burn tests up with these ideas against the basic fuse and see how they perform. Thanks for some great new ideas.
This is great! It is a lot more simple than other tutorials that I've seen. I can't wait to try it.
That was my goal :). Hope you enjoy and have fun. If you ever need any help just let me know.

About This Instructable




Bio: Im a teenage kid who has a lot of free time, and an extensive knowledge of explosives, weaponry, and in general things that I probably ... More »
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