Intro: How to Make Fire Poi (Full Performance Set)
Basically, how to use a lot of things out of Harbor Freight to make a working set of Fire Poi. Poi are part of object manipulation art: they are two balls of material spun in intricate designs around the body. One can do them with flags, socks and tennis balls, glowsticks and shoestrings, and in this case, tight masses of material and chains that are set on fire.
Step 1: What You'll Need
You can get everything in this Instructable from Harbor Freight Tools:
-5' x 5' bag of welding blanket........$12.00
-Pair of 26" dog chains...$1.86 per dog chain at Walmart
-Eye bolts, along with 4 washers that are atleast an inch thick and fit around the eyebolts...something like $1.00 per eye bolt, and 25 cents for each washer
-2 stainless steel quicklinks...should be about $3.00 even for a package of two of them at Walmart
-a power drill, with a drill bit that measures the same diameter as your eyebolts...it helps when your roommate is a carpenter/construction worker
Step 2: Making the Poi Heads - the Welding Blanket
Well, first thing to do is to cut the welding blanket into long strips, keeping it at about 2 inches thick - any thicker, and your poi will become very heavy when they are weighed down with fuel.
I chose to cut off the 2 inch border, due to it being double the thickness of the rest of the material, so you kind of have to cut out these steel loops along the sides.
Once you've got your assortment of strips, lay one of them down, and another one perpendicular to it. You then move one flap over, then bring the other flap over, and continue this cycle until you have enough material layering up in a tight little sandwich that is a little smaller than the length of your eyebolt.
With everything together, squeeze it together very hard, and place a long piece of scotch tape all the way around one side, and then another piece of tape placed perpendicular to that one. I don't use duct tape because when it's on fire and hits you, it is a sticky flaming mess.
Step 3: Making the Poi Heads - Drilling and Eye Bolts
Yep, so make sure your drill bit measures up to your eyebolt; though eyeing it up works for some, there's numbers on the side that should equal each other i.e. 3/16.
When you drill, drill right through the middle, standing on top of the poi head to keep it tight (shoes may be a good idea if you've never handled a drill before - my excuse is that my shoes were upstairs, and I didn't quite feel like going to get them).
When the drill gets all the way through, pull it back and forth a couple of times to ensure the hole has no obstructions in it.
When you start to screw your eyebolt down the hole on the poi head, make sure you have one of the washers on it in advance. When it comes through the other side, place another washer on, then place a nut on the tip of the eyebolt. From here, tighten the nut a little bit with a needle nose pliers, just to get it in the grooves. From there, use the pliers to hold the eye part of the eyebolt in place, and use a wrench to tighten the nut at the bottom of the eyebolt.
Step 4: Assembling Your Poi, Then Going Out to Spin
Attach the eye part of the eyebolt to a pair of 26 inch long dog chains (which you can get from Walmart) by using a stainless steel quicklink (Harbor Freight Tools) to join them.
And voila! They are ready to spin...be careful, now. With all the exposed metal, it's very easy for it all to get hot and cauterize the skin, so I would suggest getting kevlar arm wraps and gloves for those who scar easily.
Beyond that, probably soak the heads in Kerosene, as it has a high flash point, light em up and have fun. Just remember to be safe, bring someone with you that has a safety towel soaked in water to put out the fire poi...or you, if necessary. Also, due to heat expansion, the nut on the bottom gets loose every time you spin, so bring a wrench with you, wait till it cools down, then tighten her up.
Check out my group's fire spinning down in Peoria sometime
-David M. Van Roeyen