Wave that roman candle around without risking your digits

fun-with-fireworks

Some people don’t mind missing a finger or two, but we’re quite attached to all of ours. That’s why we’ve never held on to the fireworks after lighting the fuse. [Dzl] and his son wanted to be (at least somewhat) safe while still having that kind of fun. So they built this rig which lets you wave around a roman candle from a safe distance. It’s not strictly limited to one type of firework either. You can see there is a PVC barrel which will send a bottle rocket off in whichever direction the thing is pointed. As you’ve guessed, a test run is shown off in the video after the jump.

The rig is build from laser cut nylon parts. Don’t fret if you lack the equipment to automatically reproduce this. It’s not that hard to fabricate these types of parts by hand. And the motors that make it go are just hobby servos rigged for continuous rotation. [Dzl] did add external potentiometers for position feedback.

This is a tame way to celebrate the New Year, which is nice if yesterday’s project was a bit too hard-core for you.

Comments

  1. This needs some Wii-Mote integration!

  2. paryl says:

    I’m confused… do roman candles often explode causing hand damage? I thought that was more of an M80 thing…

    Anyway, it’s still a pretty cool idea. Would be cool to have a little war with them.

    • Leithoa says:

      Roman candles have a lift charge between each ‘star’. If there is too much charge, the grains are too small, the tube has a fault, or a host of other things wrong there is potenital of serious injury. This typically isn’t common but they happen every now and again. More frequently with bargain/import fireworks due to rough handling and poor QC practices.
      I’ve never seen it happen but there are plenty of images online of folks who have had it happen to them. Like you said more often with things designed to explode(firecrackers, large bottle rockets, etc).

  3. Brandon says:

    I love that he changed the feedback for the servos to the output stage. Very clever.

  4. Andrew says:

    Why gear down the motors? There’s very little load in the weight of the firework. Why not drive the axes directly with the servo motors? It looks nice, but it’s not necessary.

    I suppose you might say that it becomes impossible to have a 360 degree range of motion for the azimuth servo, but with a potentiometer fitted to the base then it’s already restricted. However, by utilising the two servos together it’s possible to point anywhere within a hemisphere, providing both servos have a 180 degree range of motion.

  5. furan says:

    For a second I thought this was a drinking bird.

  6. biozz says:

    i have had a few pop before … it SUCKS but i never lost a digit

  7. Eirinn says:

    We once had a large roman candle that flipped and started shooting to the side. My granddads intuition was to step on the muzzle. Luckily for him it completely stopped the airflow and it burned out. Had he been unlucky he could have had a small bomb under him.

    I completely support this build.

  8. HC says:

    It’s worth pointing out, at least for the sake of the lazy, that a ninety cent leather work glove and a pair of safety goggles will also let you wave around a roman candle with an equal safety margin.

  9. joe says:

    if you’ve never held fireworks while lighting them (especially a roman candle) then sirs you are missing out on the true fun of fireworks.

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