There are many types of fireworks, where one of the most common in firework displays is the aerial shell. The aerial shell is used in fireworks displays, and can be either a round or a cylindrical shape. These aerial shells are loaded into tubes, called "mortars." Once lit, the aerial shell will fly into the air and once the aerial shell is at the higest point (apogee), it will explode and shoot pyrotechnic stars in all directions.

In this instructable I will be talking about the procedure of assembling a round aerial shell.
Note: I do NOT recommend the average person to try this! This will be illegal to do without licensence in many cases, it is on your own response wether you do this legally or not.
When working with fireworks it is very important to use proper safety gear while making. It is recommended to wear faceshield or safety goggles during the making. While making the shell, one should do it away from heat souces, such as candles, cigarettes, stoves etc.

If I somehow throw around with a lot of foreign words or have any questions, feel free to ask me.

First, let's see what a typical round aerial shell looks like:

Step 1: Shell parts

Let's start making the aerial shell (from now on it will be mentioned as 'shell')

Shell hemispheres
You will need two 3" paper hemispheres to make this shell. Note that the hemispheres themself are actually not 3", but smaller, since there must be room for pasting and quick match to make the shell fit in the 3" mortar tube.

A batch of 75 grams of 10 mm pumped "Tiger tail" stars were made for this shell, however only 70 grams were used. Remember always to make more than you need. It's better to have a bit more, than be needing. The stars were primed in meal black powder to ensure ignition. Since Tiger tail stars ignite easy, you might find that this might be unnecessary. If a 'rising comet' is desired, a 20 mm or 3/4" comet is pumped with the compostion. Make sure that the comet has a burn time equal to the time fuse or spolette (3 seconds).

Tiger tail stars:
Potassium nitrate..................44
Charcoal (Pine airfloat)........44
SGRS or Dextrin.....................6

Chemicals can be obtained at:

Bursting charge
'Meal coated rice hulls' was used in this shell.

Time fuse
A 'spolette' is a small tube, where black powder is confined in it. This will act as a time fuse, however one can also buy time fuse from such sites as:

30-40 lbs kraft paper in ~70x15 mm strips are used for pasting the shell using the 3-strip pasting method. If another pasting method is desired, the strips might have to be longer or wider. A glue is needed to paste the strips to the shell. Wheat paste is a cheap solution that works well.
Find out how to make it at a tutorial I made:
Wheat paste tutorial
Wood glue thinned with water can be used, however it is much more expensive.

Lift charge
A lift charge is needed to shoot the shell out of the mortar. Approximately 15 grams of good granulated or corned black powder works well. More or less might be used depending on the quality.

For igniting the shell either a piece of visco fuse and quick match or shoothing-wire and an e-match can be used. In this tutorial a piece of shooting wire and e-match was used. Note with this way you will need a power supply, and that you can not light the shell with a lighter

You will also need lifting cup, paper tape, scissors, drill, "gummed paper tape" or kraft paper, tissue paper, brush, hot melt glue gun, cotton twine and string.
<p>are these fireworks legal?</p>
I got shell that was dud last year is it possible to refuse the shell
<p>Random note- making fireworks for personal use is completely LEGAL without a FEL (federal explosives license) as long as its for personal use and you do not transport them on any road ways.</p>
<p>Sweet project ! I've been studying to be a pyrotechnician and love <a href="http://howtomakefireworks.org/how-to-guides/" rel="nofollow">making fireworks at home</a> to learn more. Thanks for the experience !</p>
<p>nice wow amsome</p>
this is awesome but if u mix ammonium nitrate with aluminum powder Then<br>U WILL HAVE BIG BOOOOOM
I've just stumbled onto this site through GOOGLE so I am using the free version for now. My new interest is producing my own fireworks and it appears I can benefit from the knowledge available on this site. I am an avid outdoorsman and am quite familiar with the safety issues involved in handling explosive materials as I have for a long time loaded my own ammo.&nbsp;Having&nbsp;a pound or two of nitro powder at my fingers is not unusual.&nbsp;Furthermore I can recall my father using true dynamite (ditching) to clear land/beaver dams on the farm and having me assist to&nbsp;various degrees.&nbsp;<br /> That being said, I am interested to learn how to&nbsp;produce &quot;bottle rockets&quot; and devices similar&nbsp; to what is known as a&nbsp;&quot;mortar&quot; at the local fireworks stand.&nbsp; I&nbsp;believe that would be enough to start.<br /> Any suggestions on how to begin?<br /> Oh, I am a mechanical tradesman, so such items as&nbsp;steel pipes (for launching purposes I would assume)&nbsp;and other related materials are readily available. I would think steel more reliable than cardboard tubes.<br /> Please knowledgeably advise.<br /> <br />
<p>I highly recommend that you go to skylighter.com if you are serious about learning to make fireworks. As an alternative, for a fee, you can join fireworking.com where you will find both instructional material as well as a forum in which to ask questions. To start, however, your best bet is skylighter.com. Not only are the various projects fully described, but many of them have video imbedded so that you can actually see what you have read being done by a skilled pyro maker. As a bonus, skylighter has kits for some of the projects and a huge inventory of pyro supplies. In my opinion, either site I have mentioned will provide you with more adequate information than can be found here.</p>
Regarding the bottle rockets, there is a good tutorial for those here:<br /> http://pyroguide.com/index.php?title=Bottle_rocket<br /> The method is the same for bigger rockets, except one might use a hydraulic press to press them instead of ramming (3/4&quot; or bigger).<br /> The so called mortars are also described in this instructable.They are not devices themselves, but rather works as the canon to guide the aerial shell upwards.<br /> I'm not exactly sure what you mean with the &quot;colorful balls&quot;, but it sounds like aerial shells with colored stars instead of golden/charcoal that is described here. Colors are a bit harder to achieve and you will need to buy some more chemicals. Low cost and easy preparation makes charcoal stars ideal for beginners.<br /> <br /> You could head to skylighter.com for materials as well as tools, and if you look in their newsletter archive, you should find a number of articles that explains constructions and formulas for various firework items.<br />
Thanks for your response, I will go investigate the sites you've given. I believe my terminology was incorrect and the &quot;colorful balls&quot; I spoke of are what you have named as &quot;stars&quot;. You know, when &quot;it&quot; goes up into the air and explodes into a flurry of little fireballs like would come from a roman candle. <br /> If adding color is more difficult as you stated, then I will start with the simple stuff.<br /> Thanks again for your help.<br /> Mr. Tinker.<br /> <br />
<p>where might someone get the licensing to make fireworks</p>
<p>You DO need a license (Permit) to manufacture &quot;Flash Powder&quot; fireworks (The &quot;Good Stuff&quot; as in &quot;Chest Thumper&quot;) The permit may be obtained from (in the United States) the &quot;BATF&amp;E&quot; for $150 and is valid for 3 years. And don't forget, anything that you buy &quot;Online&quot; is leaving a &quot;Footprint&quot; (&quot;They&quot; know who you are).</p>
<p>You don't need licensing to make your own fireworks except in some states. You can order the supplies to make fireworks online. </p>
How much would it cost to make a 2" complete shell. Stars,lift ect. Thanks for any answers
<p>i would estimate around $60-$70 but that will make at least 2-3 dozen </p>
<p>video is dead, the link is dead</p>
When a firework misfires and blows in the mortar PVC and fiberglass shards will go flying. When those pieces fly into a person they do not show up on an x-ray. A better product to use is black HDPE pipe. It is plastic enough to stretch out paper thin before it burst. When it does burst, the shards are like flying paper and loose velocity incredibly fast.
This is a nice article! I am going to try this out this weekend!<br> I've found quite a few other resources about <a href="http://howtomakefireworks.org" rel="nofollow">how to make fireworks</a>&nbsp;at howtomakefireworks.org. It's a nice little website with a lot of good information.
Please do not confuse flash powder with flash paper or gun cotton; the latter two have dramatic appearance but are not particularly risky. Flash powder is made with a powdered metal and a good oxidizer and can kill your young behind as it has others; it can self-detonate when ignited in quantities of 50 grams and can easily ignite. It takes pounds of gunpowder to self-detonate compared to a few ounces of flash. Please don't mess with it. Professionals use serious precautions when using flash powder, and most just don't. There are too many safer (relative term) alternatives for burst or lift charges. Black powder or gun powder are far better.
hello &quot;pudi.dk&quot; <br>I'm mohammad from IRAN, I know english a little <br>a sample firework simulation with FWsim 2 <br>mixing iranian National Anthem with firework to show <br>i made it with fwsim 2 &amp; ulead media studio 8 <br>you can to see it in this address : <br>http://www.aparat.com/v/YVkNZ
bro u ROCK!
u r epic at dis
why don't you go on to minecraft and build one?
How much did you use in the lift charge
Can we buy the materials @Sams or Radioshack or any some place like a lumberyard? or what place can we buy it that is not from the internet??
What are &quot;stars&quot;?
To all curiosity seekers...Potassium Nitrate is Saltpeter, available at any Pharmacy Store off the shelf. Saltpeter is used by farmers and cattle growers to control their herds or stock...adding it to their feed. The bulls eat it and get temporarily 'not interested in the ladies'...no hardons until it wears out of the blood system. Furthermore, US Army/Military adds it to food in Mess Halls during the 13 week training at Boot Camp for basically the same reason. To keep your mind on Military stuff and to dehumanize you for that period of time. If anyone thinks this is BS...join the Army and discover it for yourself. It lowers your sexual drive to nada.
Military chow does not lower sex drive. Being yelled at 24/7 and living around a bunch of other guys does that. Stress, not chemicals. So, to all curious truth-seekers, a reference below, you're welcome. http://www.snopes.com/military/saltpeter.asp
the act in question happened right before the Gulf War <br>
The act of putting saltpeter in the food at Military boot camps is now illegal. The act rendered someone sterile and the Army was quickly sued thereafter. So, sorry new guys, get ready for some sexual tension!! &gt;:D
lol. prior service? you nailed it though.
@ArticNemo: good post, amazing how maliciously ignorant some people are.
@ArcticNemo: Thumbs-up! Fight the BS! @pudidotdk: Great Instructable! I'll probably never make one, but it was a well-presented, interesting read. Thanks!
.....I must be immune to it, I guess. It didn't work on me. About six weeks in, it was driving me crazy.
where are you getting all the materials from? <br>
would it work ok if you made your own time fuse<br>
if i made this i would modify the steps because me being paranoid i would not want to use a hot glue gun due to the fact that the metal tip is hot an thus may cause it to prematurely explode, i would use a different glue or use the paper mache method previously stated in step four.
What happens if i just fill a 3 inch shell with flash powder, and use flash powder as a lift charge?
You kill yourself and everyone else around you.
i don't think so! every thing you have to run , probably has a spicial danger. just take care of your math!
I don't know about flash powder, but flash paper and flash cotton are what is generally used for indoor pyrotechnic displays as they produce less explosive force and little or no smoke. It should be safe, but you should be sure to have something solid to stand behind,and a lack of valuable objects nearby when you're testing it and good fire-suppression.
this may sound stupid, but what is the benefit of the rising comet? what does it do?<br>
as said on page one (i belive) the rising comet will catch fire when the lifting charge is ignited, and will act like a tracer round for a gun, marking the trail of the mortar shell through the air.
Sorry new at this and i am confused about the line &quot;insert a piece of visco fuse it&quot; could you clarify?
Fascinating Ible! Awesome!

About This Instructable




Bio: I'm Nicolaj, a Danish chemistry student interested in DIY and projects involving fabrication.
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